Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Odd Body Facts

Just in case you were wondering.

What Makes Your Eyelid Twitch?

This annoyingly common condition is known as eyelid myokymia.

Not a lot is known about eye twitches, which are more likely to occur in the lower eyelid than in the upper, though they're probably caused by the misfiring of a nerve. But experts know that fatigue, stress, and caffeine all increase the likelihood of the pesky twitching. So do eyestrain, poor nutrition, excessive alcohol intake, and allergies.

Fortunately, eye twitching is almost always benign and usually goes away by itself. To put an end to a bout of the eye flutters, cut down on coffee and alcohol and give your eyes--and your whole body--a good night's rest.

Are "Cankles" Good For You?

Maybe. Scientists haven't studied the significance of ankle shape, but other research on fat distribution may point to an answer. Ankles that have lost a bit of definition over the years and appear to merge with the calf (hence the hybrid word) might actually improve your health profile, as long as you're not seriously overweight.

Fat stored in the intra-abdominal region--in and around the organs--correlates highly with metabolic disorders, such as type 2 diabetes; fat in the legs is least linked with these maladies.

Wendy Kohrt, PhD, professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Denver, found that postmenopausal women who had a relatively high level of leg fat (as opposed to abdominal fat) had lower risks of heart disease, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes. Leg fat, she explains, may protect postmenopausal women by drawing triglycerides out of the bloodstream, where they constitute a risk factor, and into fat deposits in the legs and, possibly, cankles.

Her findings suggest that removing lower-body fat cells--by liposuction, say--may not be a good idea: Women who do may begin to add weight to fat cells in the more dangerous midriff zone, she suspects.


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