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Posted at: May 13, 2017, 12:47 AM; last updated: May 13, 2017, 12:47 AM (IST)

A dog is good for kids with disabilities

A dog is good for kids with disabilities
Parents, if you're looking for the latest in home exercise equipment for your children with disabilities, consider something with four legs and a wagging tail. The family dog could serve as a partner and ally in efforts to help children with disabilities incorporate more physical activity into their daily lives, a new study from Oregon State University indicated. In a case study of one 10-year-old boy with cerebral palsy and his family's dog, researchers found the intervention program led to a wide range of improvements for the child, including physical activity as well as motor skills, quality of life and human-animal interactions. Initial findings indicate that it is possible to improve the quality of life for children with disabilities and get them to be more active, and simultaneously, too. The researchers detailed the child's experience in the adapted physical activity intervention program in a case study just published in the journal Animals. 

Male, female hearts break differently

A recent study has found that the male and female brains react differently during cardiovascular activity. A region of the brain that helps to manage body functions including stress, heart rate and blood pressure reacts differently between men and women when presented with certain stimuli, says a new study. The findings suggest that cardiovascular diseases also may manifest differently in women and men, which ultimately could affect how they should be diagnosed and treated. In the study, functional MRI or fMRI, scans were done on volunteers while they performed hand-grip exercises, which raise blood pressure and heart rate through signals from the brain. The researchers found that the portion of a brain region called the insular cortex (which is made up of gyri, or folds) showed differences in activity between men and women. In women, the right side of the front insular gyrus was activated by the hand-grip exercise more than men, who instead had a greater left-side activation of the same region. Women showed a higher resting heart rate than did males, but didn't have as great a heart rate increase when challenged with the hand-grip exercise. The study indicated that healthy men's and women's brains respond differently. So experts may have to re-evaluate separately what constitutes a disease state versus a healthy state to see if people are more or less vulnerable to cardiovascular illness according to their sex. The study is published in the journal Biology of Sex Differences. —Agencies

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