Health

Women advised to sleep on side to help prevent stillbirth

A study of just over 1,000 women found the risk doubles if women go to sleep on their backs in the third trimester.

The study looked into 291 pregnancies that ended in stillbirth and 735 women who had a live birth.

Researchers say the position in which women fall asleep in is most important - and they should not worry if they are on their back when they wake up.

About one in 225 pregnancies in the UK ends in stillbirth and the study authors estimate that about 130 babies' lives a year could be saved if women went to sleep on their side.

Heart surgery survival chances 'better in the afternoon'

The body clock - or circadian rhythm - is the reason we want to sleep at night, but it also drives huge changes in the way our bodies work.

The research, published in the Lancet, suggests the heart is stronger and better able to withstand surgery in the afternoon than the morning.

And it says the difference is not down to surgeons being tired in the morning.

Doctors need to stop the heart to perform operations including heart valve replacements. This puts the organ under stress as the flow of oxygen to the heart tissue is reduced.

'Handful of changes' make cancer

The team, at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, showed the answer was a tiny handful, between one and 10 mutations depending on the type of tumour.

It has been one of the most hotly debated issues in cancer science for decades.

The findings, published in the journal Cell, could improve treatment for patients.

If you played spot the difference between a cancer and healthy tissue, you could find tens of thousands of differences - or mutations - in the DNA.

Avoid being infected by gruesome flesh-eating bacteria

She was said to have caught it on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula, where cases seem to be on the rise.

Buruli ulcer, also known as Bairnsdale ulcer, occurs in many areas of the world, including Victoria.

Love, audibility

Whether they are a man or a woman, the best way to find out if the object of your crush returns your affections is probably just to talk to them.

But in judging whether there's a spark between you, what they are saying may not be as important as how they say it.

Dr Marina Kalashnikova, a speech and language researcher at the University of Western Sydney, said research had shown people's voices "carry a lot of information" about their feelings towards the person they're conversing with.

Have humans always slept through the night?

But the notion that we need all of our sleep in one unbroken block, is not necessarily driven by our biology. And there's a good deal of evidence to show we haven't always had this approach to sleep.

In Geoffrey Chaucer's 14th century text, The Squire's Tale, the king's daughter, Canacee, is described as having a "fyrste sleep," arising in the early morning ahead of her companions, who sleep fully through the night.

Carbs could be key to effective malaria vaccine

Experts from Melbourne independent medical research centre, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, have discovered carbohydrates play a vital role in the malaria parasite's infection of humans.

Justin Boddey and his team made the discovery, which debunks the long-held belief that the single-celled malaria parasite only uses proteins to infect humans.

"So what this research has shown is that the parasite tags many of the proteins on its surface with carbohydrates," he told AM.

Why Pap smear tests are changing

They're being phased out in favour of an alternative known as HPV tests — which will start at a later age, with more than double the time in between examinations.

The move, slated for early December, will improve early detection and save lives, experts say.

But before you start celebrating: the end of the Pap smear won't mean the end of invasive examinations.

Yoga: A beginner's guide

In fact, centuries before Instagram and activewear, "doing yoga" didn't involve the body at all.

At its core, yoga is a practice for tapping into your mind and poses are just one way of doing that.

Yoga's philosophy is based on eight limbs; only one of them, asana, is about the poses. The rest: yama, niyama, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi, are best described as moral and ethical codes to live by.

Let's talk about the mental load

You know the scene — you're making dinner, calling the plumber/doctor/mechanic, checking homework and answering work emails — at the same time.

All the while, you are being peppered with questions by your nearest and dearest "where are my shoes?", "do we have any cheese?", "what time's my basketball game?", "what are we doing next Saturday night?".

But even if you know this experience well, you may not have the language to describe it.