Rounding up science's latest discoveries
VIRUSES MORE POTENT IN THE MORNING
If you get the flu in the morning, then you are in for it.
Viruses are found to be at their strongest in the morning, a University of Cambridge study said.
Scientists infected mice with influenza and herpes viruses and found that the viruses were 10 times more successful if the infection started in the morning.
The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The studies also found that a disrupted body clock makes it more vulnerable to infection.
Unlike bacteria or parasites, viruses are completely dependent on taking over the machinery inside cells to replicate. These cells change as part of a 24-hour pattern or the body clock.
The researchers say the findings could lead to new ways of stopping pandemics.
FREQUENT SEX BETTER FOR OLDER WOMEN
Older women with robust sex lives tend to have lower blood pressure. But it is a different story for older men, a new study has found.
Researchers from Michigan State University found that men aged between 57 and 85, who indulged in sexual activity once a week or more, doubled their risk of heart attack, stroke or other heart conditions compared with those who went without.
The findings came from one of the first large-scale studies that looked at the impact of sex on the health of older people. More than 2,200 people took part.
One reason for the disparity between older men and women is that the men exhaust themselves in their effort to reach orgasm, creating more stress on their heart.
For women, those who found sex to be pleasurable or satisfying had a lower risk of hypertension five years later than those who did not.
The study was published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.
HARM FROM BULLYING LONG-LASTING
Childhood bullying exacts the same long-term psychological trauma on girls as severe physical or sexual abuse, a new survey found.
The study, conducted at the University of Illinois, involved 480 university students - from freshmen to seniors - and showed that the detrimental effects of bullying linger for years, affecting the victims' mental health well into young adulthood.
The participants were asked about their traumatic experiences, including bullying, cyber-bullying and crimes such as robbery, sexual assault, and domestic and community violence - from birth to age 17.
The students who experienced bullying as children reported significantly greater levels of mental health problems than their peers, according to the study, published online by the journal Social Psychology of Education.
It was found that going through bullying was the strongest contributor to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among the students.
It surpassed other types of trauma such as community violence or being abused or neglected by adults, the researchers found.
Women particularly struggled with the emotional damage inflicted by bullying, reporting significantly greater levels of depression, anxiety and PTSD than their male peers.