Monday, 2 December 2019

Exceptional people: 61-year-old grandma training army recruits

Platoon commander and First Warrant Officer (1WO) Margaret Leon is the oldest serving female officer in the Singapore army.

A sea of shirtless male recruits doing push-ups and sit-ups to the latest hip-hop or “dangdut” tunes on a weekday afternoon is not an unusual sight at the Basic Military Training Centre on Pulau Tekong.

What is unusual is the person leading the group: A 61-year-old grandmother, whose job is to turn these fresh-faced recruits into hardy soldiers and who can outrun these young men.

Her secret to keeping fit? A daily routine of exercise.

She also has the goods to show for it: She has been getting the gold award for the individual physical proficiency test (IPPT) every year in the last 43 years that she has served in the army.

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Leaky bladders: Malaysian specialist discusses risk factors, treatment options

Urinary incontinence is an embarrassing health complication that stops some people from leaving the house or even keeping a relationship.

Yet, many people choose to bear the consequences of the complication as they find it too embarrassing to seek doctor’s attention about their symptoms, said Gleneagles Kuala Lumpur Hospital consultant urologist Dr Warren Lo Hwa Loon.

According to him, urinary incontinence can occur at any age for any number of reasons, and is three times more common among women than men.

However, the good news is that there are many options to effectively treat the illness.

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One in four children are addicted to their smartphones

Image for illustration only

One in four children and young people have a problematic relationship with smartphones, research suggests.

These youngsters are exhibiting 'problematic smartphone usage', meaning they use the devices in a way that is consistent with a behavioural addiction, scientists found.

The study, by researchers at King's College London and published in BMC Psychiatry, analysed 41 studies published since 2011 on smartphone usage and mental health.

It concludes that between 10% and 30% of children and young people use their phones in a dysfunctional way, meaning that on average 23% were showing 'problematic smartphone usage' (PSU).


High-intensity exercise is key to ward off dementia

For the first time in human history, older people outnumber younger people. This has created unique health challenges. Dementia may be one of the scariest — a debilitating condition that erases memories; a condition without a cure.

But dementia does not have to be your fate. Exercise protects our memories from being erased and our latest research shows that it is never too late to start.

Our latest research suggests that the intensity of the exercise matters. We enrolled sedentary seniors in a new exercise program and in just 12 weeks their memories improved. But this only happened for those who walked at a higher intensity, and their memory gains were directly related to their improvements in physical fitness.

Our next step is to understand how exercise alters the brain - so we can establish personalized exercise prescriptions for brain health in aging.