All posts by Louisa Twum-Baah

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Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg due in court over VR ‘heist’

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Mark Zuckerberg has shown great enthusiasm for VR since his firm took over Oculus

Facebook founder has shown great enthusiasm for VR since his firm took over Oculus

 

Mark Zuckerberg is expected to appear in a Dallas court on Tuesday to defend his company over claims it stole virtual reality technology.

Zenimax Media, owner of renowned games studio id Software, is suing Facebook for $2bn (£1.6bn).

Zenimax argued its early innovations in VR were unlawfully copied when Oculus built its own headset, the Rift.

Oculus was bought by Facebook in 2014, and is seen as a major part of the firm’s strategy over the next 10 years.

The BBC understands Mr Zuckerberg will argue that Zenimax was slow to appreciate the potential of VR – and that it was Oculus’ own work that made it the valuable technology it is today.

“We’re eager to present our case in court,” a spokesman for Oculus told the BBC.

“Oculus and its founders have invested a wealth of time and money in VR because we believe it can fundamentally transform the way people interact and communicate.

“We’re disappointed that another company is using wasteful litigation to attempt to take credit for technology that it did not have the vision, expertise, or patience to build.”

Carmack

The row revolves around John Carmack, the legendary games designer famed for titles such as Doom and Quake. The company he co-founded, id Software, is owned by Zenimax.

For a short time, Mr Carmack was working for both id and Oculus – but in November 2013 he left id completely.

John Carmack is accused of taking intellectual property with him after he left iD Software

John Carmack is accused of taking intellectual property with him after he left id Software

“When it became clear that I wasn’t going to have the opportunity to do any work on VR while at id Software, I decided to not renew my contract,” he told USA Today in 2014.

Zenimax now alleges that Mr Carmack shared intellectual property with Oculus while he was still working at id Software, and that when he left the company, he took that work with him.

According to court papers: “Carmack secretly and illegally copied thousands of documents containing ZeniMax’s intellectual property from his computer at ZeniMax to a USB storage device which he wrongfully took with him to Oculus.”

Speaking at the trial, which began last week, Zenimax lawyer Tony Sammi said it amounted to “one of the biggest technology heists ever”.

But lawyers for Mr Carmack characterised it differently, arguing that his contract explicitly allowed him to work with other companies that did not compete with Zenimax.

They argued that the “trade secrets” Zenimax claimed to have lost were in fact “the fruits of Mr. Carmack’s participation and involvement with Palmer Luckey and Oculus”, and therefore did not belong to Zenimax.

Missed the boat

Facebook’s defence is that Zenimax had its chance to invest in VR but chose not to – giving Oculus no option other than to seek outside investment.

The social media giant is arguing that Zenimax only showed significant interest in virtual reality after its $2bn acquisition was made public.

Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey has not appeared in public since revelations he was funding a pro-Trump online campaign

Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey has not appeared in public since revelations he was funding a pro-Trump online campaign

Also crucial to the case is Palmer Luckey. Mr Luckey – who hasn’t been seen in public since revelations he was funding an online trolling campaign in support of Donald Trump – is expected to be called to the stand at some point this week.

In court papers Zenimax paints Mr Luckey as a “gaming enthusiast” whose Oculus Rift headset, which was initially funded via Kickstarter, was a crude prototype.

Mr Luckey, Zenimax said, lacked “the necessary expertise and technical know-how to create a viable virtual reality headset”, and therefore relied on Zenimax to help him create the prototype which impressed Facebook.

Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance is expected to last most of the day on Tuesday.

On Monday, the 32-year-old posted about meeting with local communities and law enforcement groups in Dallas as part of his new year pledge to travel to 30 different US states in 2017.

Source: BBC

elects son

Gambia President-elect Adama Barrow’s son killed by dog

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Adama Barrow

Adama Barrow won the election last year but the current president has rejected the result

The son of Gambia’s President-elect Adama Barrow has died after being bitten by a dog.

Eight-year-old Habibu Barrow is reported to have died on the way to the hospital on Sunday in Manjai near the Gambian capital Banjul.

Mr Barrow missed his son’s funeral as he was advised to remain in Senegal for his safety.

Mr Barrow won the election last year but outgoing President Yahya Jammeh does not accept the result.

The regional body Ecowas has asked Mr Barrow to stay in Senegal until Thursday – the planned date of the inauguration.

Boat in Banjul

People have been fleeing The Gambia for Senegal

It also says its is considering military intervention to force Mr Jammeh to relinquish power.

Mr Jammeh applied to the Supreme Court to stop Mr Barrow’s inauguration.

But on Monday, the Chief Justice refused to rule on the issue as he was a subject of the injunction which sought to stop him swearing in Mr Barrow.

Thousands of people have been leaving the country, some telling the BBC it was not safe.

Mr Barrow is a devout Muslim who is reportedly married with two wives and had five children, according to the Gambian newspaper The Point.

Source: BBC

 

Gambians leaving

Gambians flee ahead of Barrow ‘inauguration’

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Boat in Banjul

The ferry takes people across the River Gambia towards Senegal’s capital, Dakar

A worker at The Gambia’s main ferry crossing has told the BBC that thousands of people are fleeing every day as they are “afraid of war”.

“People are in chaos, people are leaving” as they don’t know what is going to happen, he said.

The Gambia’s Chief Justice has declined to rule on an application by President Yahya Jammeh to ban the inauguration of Adama Barrow as his successor.

Mr Barrow won the election and an inauguration is planned for Thursday.

But Mr Jammeh rejected the result and is refusing to step down until the Supreme Court hears his challenge, in May.

His legal team had asked for an injunction to block Mr Barrow’s inauguration.

The BBC’s Umaru Fofana reports from Banjul that Chief Justice Emmanuel Fagbenle said he could not rule on the issues as he is a subject of it.

The motion sought to stop him from swearing in Mr Barrow.

Parliament has also reconvened for an emergency session. While the reasons for the meeting are unclear, our correspondent says that parliament may be asked to extend Mr Jammeh’s term of office.

Mr Barrow will stay in Senegal until his inauguration, state media in Senegal say.

The Gambia, a tiny country of less than two million people, is surrounded on three sides by Senegal and regional bloc Ecowas has said it is considering military intervention to force Mr Jammeh to relinquish power.

One woman boarding the boat with her three children told our correspondent that the political uncertainty made it hard to ensure she could look after her children.

“We don’t know what to expect with electricity outage, water shortage, food supplies,” she said.

Another said she was going “because things are not safe”.

“I’m going because I am afraid. I’m going until we have peace and then we can come back.”

The UN refugee agency said last week that several thousand people, mainly children, have crossed into Senegal from The Gambia since 3 January.

“UNHCR teams report seeing buses filled with children, accompanied by women, cross the border,” said Liz Ahua, the regional representative for UNHCR.

Mr Jammeh’s attempt to overturn the election result has been delayed because of a shortage of judges.

The African Union has said it will no longer recognise Mr Jammeh’s authority after his term ends.

The 51-year-old leader seized power in the country in 1994 and has been accused of human rights abuses, although he has held regular elections.

Source: BBC

 

facebook

Facebook to roll out fake news tools in Germany

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Facebook logos

Facebook is introducing new tools in Germany to help combat the spread of fabricated news stories.

The world’s largest social network said it would enable German users to flag potentially false stories.

The stories will then be passed to third-party fact-checkers and if found to be unreliable, will be marked in users’ news feeds as “disputed”.

It is the first major expansion of the fake news features since Facebook announced tests in the US in December.

“Last month we announced measures to tackle the challenge of fake news on Facebook,” the company said on Sunday in a German-language statement.

“We will put these updates in place in Germany in the coming weeks.”

Facebook has been widely criticised after some users complained that fake news had influenced the US presidential election.

German government officials have expressed concern that misinformation on the internet could influence the country’s parliamentary election this year.

Last week, the social news site Buzzfeed found Facebook pages were publishing false stories about German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is seeking re-election.

German Justice Minister Heiko Maas has also repeatedly warned about fake news on Facebook, and called on the firm to respect the country’s defamation laws, which are stricter than in the US.

In the UK, MPs are set to question executives from Facebook, Google and Twitter about fake news amid fears it is undermining democracy, according to a report in the Sunday Telegraph.

Screenshots of Facebook fake news tools

Facebook released screenshots of the German reporting tools

Under the new measures, users in Germany will be able to select “It’s a fake news story” as an option when reporting another user’s post.

They can then mark the post as fake news, let the other user know they think it is fake, or block that user.

Facebook will send potentially fake stories to Correctiv, a German non-profit body of investigative journalists, to check the facts.

If they find a story to be false, it will be marked on Facebook as “disputed” and will appear lower in users’ news feeds.

Facebook is already testing the system with certain fact-checkers in the US to verify news on its platform.

The fact-checkers must sign up to a code of principles to take part. There are currently 43 signatories, including news organisations in several different countries.

As in the US, Facebook Germany said it was looking into penalising websites, which tried to mimic major publishers or misled readers into thinking they were a well-known news source.

Last week, Facebook announced new training and tools that would be made available for journalists on its platform.

On Thursday, BBC News said it would expand its Reality Check series to target false stories or facts being shared widely on social media.

Source: BBC

Happy Black Couple

Check out the shocking secrets to a happy marriage

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With more and more marriages ending in divorce, plenty of couples are eager to figure out the secret to a happily ever after.

Somebody has taken to Reddit to ask happily married users for the piece of advice they wish everybody knew when it came to having a successful relationship.

In less than 24 hours, there have already been over 400 comments on the thread and people have been offering their honest – and hilarious – advice.

With an estimated 42 per cent of marriages ending in divorce, what is the secret to making it work?

Somebody has taken to Reddit to ask happily married users for the best piece of advice and plenty said that communication is key

Somebody has taken to Reddit to ask happily married users for the best piece of advice and plenty said that communication is key

A Redditor named babblgram took to the forum to say that the most important piece of advice that they can give is to communicate and seriously talk about things with your partner.

Somebody else said that if one of you is having a problem with the other then it is important to have it out with them so that the problem doesn’t simmer under the surface.

Plenty of people insisted that talking things through was the real key to a happy relationship

Plenty of people insisted that talking things through was the real key to a happy relationship

Another nugget of advice came from MC_Mayhem who said to never go to sleep angry with each other – and to always talk things through.

MellyC said not to compare your marriage to others’ and to always do what works for you – not what other people say is best.

Pandahadnap contributed to the thread simply by saying to laugh often with your husband or wife

Pandahadnap contributed to the thread simply by saying to laugh often with your husband or wife

Recognise when you're taking something personally or lashing out for the wrong reasons

Recognise when you’re taking something personally or lashing out for the wrong reasons

Pandahadnap had simple advice, that shouldn’t be too difficult to follow.

He said: ‘Laugh together. Often.’

Others made the point that you shouldn’t want to belittle one another, with bcal16 insisting: ‘There’s no such thing as winning a fight with your significant other.’

Ultimately, you need to be kind to your significant other and do things for them without an expectation to be repaid - and also remember to never call your wife fat 

RogueSkunk said the key to a happy and successful marriage is to have low expectations, keeping them 'reasonable and well communicated'

RogueSkunk said the key to a happy and successful marriage is to have low expectations, keeping them ‘reasonable and well communicated’

Ultimately, you need to be kind to your significant other and do things for them without an expectation to be repaid.

RogueSkunk said – despite first saying it as a joke – the key to a happy marriage is to have low expectations, keeping them ‘reasonable and well communicated’.

Source: dailymail

nigeria bombings

Three killed in Maiduguri university bomb attack

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bombing aftermath

At least three people have been killed in an early morning bomb attack at Nigeria’s University of Maiduguri, in the northeastern state of Borno.

Witnesses said two explosions went off at the facility: one at the mosque where university lecturers had gathered for morning prayers and another near an entrance gate.

The area police chief Damian Chukwu said a university professor was among those killed. Fifteen people were wounded and have been evacuated to hospitals, AP reported.

An eyewitness told the BBC that it was a suicide bomb attack and three people apart from the suicide bomber lost their lives.

It is the first time the university has been attacked by suspected Boko Haram militants.

Northern Nigeria has been dealing with an insurgency by Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

The attack comes weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari announced that the military had defeated the militants.

Source: BBC

checking-face-in-mirror

Amazing Uses of White Toothpaste that Don’t Involve Your Teeth and no.8 will shock you

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Toothpaste is a popular hygiene product that we all use daily to brush our teeth. It aids in maintaining oral health by removing bacteria and food debris from our teeth. It also assists in suppressing halitosis (bad breath) and helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

Well, the importance of toothpaste in oral health is a known fact.

But besides maintaining your oral health, toothpaste offers a wide range of healing, cosmetic, skin and cleaning benefits. However, these benefits are from basic white toothpaste only, not the gel or teeth-whitening varieties.

surprising uses of white toothpaste

Here are 10 surprising uses of white toothpaste that don’t involve your teeth.

1. Clears Up Acne and Pimples

If you are prone to acne and pimples, keep white toothpaste on hand. The toothpaste dehydrates the acne or pimples and absorbs the excess sebum, which can quicken the healing process. Excessive oil production is one of the main causes behind skin breakouts.

  1. Clean the affected area with water and pat dry.
  2. Apply a small amount of white toothpaste on the affected area before going to bed.
  3. Rinse it off the next morning.
  4. Repeat daily for a few days until your skin is free of acne.

Note: If you have sensitive skin, then don’t leave the toothpaste on your skin overnight. Just leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse it off.

2. Soothes Minor Burns

minor burns

For small, minor burns that you may occasionally get while boiling hot water, cooking something or accidentally touching a hot pan, white toothpaste is just the right treatment.

It provides immediate pain relief when applied on minor burns that are not open wounds. It also calms the burn and prevents clogging of the burned area.

  1. First of all, put the burned area under cool running water.
  2. Remove it from the water and allow it to dry.
  3. Then, dab a small amount of white toothpaste onto the burn.
  4. Reapply again if needed.

Note: White toothpaste is just for minor burns and should not be used on wounds.

3. Treats Insect Bites and Stings

mosquito bites

Mild insect bites and stings can cause a lot of discomfort. They can instantly cause redness, swelling, pain, itching and inflammation in the affected area.

For quick first aid at home, white toothpaste is just the right ingredient. This common household item helps neutralize the acidic venom, which in turn provides relief from pain and swelling.

  1. Dab a little white toothpaste on the affected area.
  2. Allow it to sit for a few hours.
  3. Rinse it off with lukewarm water.
  4. Repeat as needed.

4. Whitens Yellow and Stained Nails

how to get rid of yellow nails

You can use your regular white toothpaste to remove yellow stains from your nails. White toothpaste contains hydrogen peroxide that helps remove the mild stains.

  1. Apply a small amount of white toothpaste on your nails.
  2. Leave it on for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Using a soft nail brush, scrub your nails gently.
  4. Wipe the toothpaste off with wet cotton balls.
  5. Repeat the process 2 or 3 times a week to restore your white nails.

5. Heals Foot Blisters

home remedies for foot blisters

A foot blister, a small, fluid-filled bump that forms in the upper skin layer, can make walking very difficult.

As white toothpaste contains ingredients like baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol and menthol, it aids in drying out foot blisters quickly.

  1. Apply a little bit of white toothpaste on the blister.
  2. Leave it on overnight, or at least for 2 hours.
  3. Wash it off with a damp washcloth.
  4. Apply a light coat of petroleum jelly.
  5. Follow this remedy once daily until the blister heals completely.

You can use this remedy to treat fever blisters, also.

6. Cleans Foggy Bathroom Mirrors and Headlights

cleans bathroom mirrors

Whether you want to clean a foggy mirror in your bathroom or foggy headlights on your car, your regular white toothpaste will make your task easy and simple.

Toothpaste works as a good abrasive plastic polish, which helps remove the fogginess and add a new shine to your mirror and headlights.

  1. Clean the foggy object with a dusting cloth.
  2. Spray water on the object.
  3. Then, dab some white toothpaste on it.
  4. Gently rub the toothpaste all over the object with a soft toothbrush.
  5. Finally, wipe off the toothpaste residue with a wet cloth.

7. Polishes Silver Items

clean silver with toothpaste

Silver items look classy, but with time, they can look dull and turn into a dusky gray color. To keep your silver items shiny like new for years, use your white toothpaste from time to time to clean them.

  1. Put equal amounts of white toothpaste and table salt in a bowl, and add a little lemon juice to it.
  2. Mix the ingredients thoroughly.
  3. Apply the paste on your silver item using a toothbrush.
  4. Use the toothbrush to gently scrub the paste over the silver item in light, circular motions until it shines.
  5. Rinse off the paste with water and dry the silver item using paper towel.

8. Cleans Your Iron

clean your iron with white toothpaste

If your iron plate is not clean, it can leave horrible black marks on your clothes when you iron them. To keep your iron plate clean, the mild abrasive nature of white toothpaste can come to your rescue.

White toothpaste can scrub the gunk off the bottom plate of your clothes iron.

  1. Rub some white toothpaste onto the plate.
  2. Scrub it using a a dry rough cloth.
  3. Wait for 5 minutes.
  4. Moisten a toothbrush and scrub it on the plate.
  5. Wipe it off with a slightly damp cloth.

Note: Always make sure the iron is completely cooled down and unplugged before cleaning it.

 

9. Fixes CD Scratches

fix scratched CD

Scratches on your favorite CD can definitely spoil your mood. To fix these scratches, you can use white toothpaste.

The mild abrasive nature of white toothpaste aids in buffing the plastic layer of the disc and smoothing out the scratch.

  1. Clean any dirt or grease off the disc.
  2. Apply a small amount of toothpaste on the disc.
  3. Using a lint-free cloth, rub the toothpaste along the scratches.
  4. Gently wipe the disc with a cloth dipped in lukewarm water.
  5. Rinse off the disc by pouring a soapy water solution on it.
  6. Finally, wipe the disc using a clean, lint-free cloth and allow it to air-dry.

10. Removes Hair Dye Stains from Skin

hair dye

No matter how carefully you apply dye on your hair, chances are high that the dye will stain the skin around your forehead, neckline or your hands.

Just like white toothpaste removes stains from your teeth, it can remove dye stains from your skin too.

  1. Apply a good amount of white toothpaste on the stained skin.
  2. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Scrub the stained area with a cotton pad.
  4. Finally, rinse off the skin well with water.

Source: Top10remedies

people of cameroon

Cameroon radio station shut over Anglophone tensions

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Protesters at a demonstration in Bamenda, Cameroon

Radio Hot Cocoa is blamed for inflaming tensions among Anglophone residents

A radio station in Cameroon’s English-speaking city of Bamenda has been closed down.

A police squad visited the offices of Radio Hot Cocoa and ordered that it stop operations.

Officials accuse the station of using interactive programmes to stir up tension among Anglophone listeners, who often complain that they face discrimination.

In the last few months there have been protests in Bamenda against the use of French in courts and schools in two of the country’s two English-speaking regions. The other eight semi-autonomous administrative regions are Francophone.

An editor at Radio Hot Cocoa, Pierre Anoufack, told the BBC:

We were taken aback by this raid as there was an assault by troops who came with officials to [the station]. We want to go and meet the officials so they understand the fact that we are a radio in the service of the people just like the publicly funded media.”

A car drives past the city gate to Abuja

Nigeria has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan

Taiwan is upset by Nigeria’s order that it move its trade office from the capital, Abuja, to the commercial hub, Lagos in what as seen as show of support for Beijing.

China regards Taiwan as a breakaway province, and does not recognise its sovereignty as an independent nation.

The Taiwan trade mission office swap was ordered after a visit by the Chinese foreign minister when his government pledged a $40bn (£32.5bn) investment in infrastructure.

Taiwan’s foreign office condemned Nigeria “for collaborating with China’s political goal to engage in unreasonable, barbaric, rough and violent political manipulation”.

But a spokesman of China’s foreign ministry said it regarded Nigeria’s action as support for its “one-China principle”.

Nigeria has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, which is only recognised by 21 countries.

According to the Reuters news agency, in countries with which Taiwan has no formal diplomatic relations it often sets up trade and commerce offices.

For years China and Taiwan have been locked in a bitter diplomatic tug-of-war, luring away each other’s allies with generous financial packages in so-called “cheque-book diplomacy”, the AFP news agency reports.

Relations have become even more frosty since Tsai Ing-wen became Taiwan’s president in May – not helped when she made a congratulatory call to US President-elect Donald Trump last month, breaking with US policy set in 1979, when formal relations were cut.

A lawyer was arrested in Zambia as he held a public meeting with clients who have filed complaints about alleged pollution from a copper mine, British law firm Leigh Day tweets:

Oliver Holland was updating communities, who believe a nearby copper mine is damaging farmland and water sources, to update them on their case against London-based Vedanta Resources and its Zambian subsidiary, Konkola Copper Mines.

According to Leigh Day, the lawyer was held without charge in the police cells for four hours without access to a lawyer, food or water.

Mr Holland says the police officers who carried out the arrest were driving a vehicle displaying the Konkola Copper Mines logo.

He was eventually charged with “conduct likely to cause a breach of peace” and had to pay a $5 (£4) fine, Leigh Day says.

According to the Reuters news agency, the authorities have confirmed that Mr Holland and two local government officials were arrested and released.

Source: BBC

 

doctors strike

Kenyan doctors ‘given suspended sentences over strike’

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Six doctors from the Kenyan doctors’ union have been given a one-month suspended sentence for refusing to call off the ongoing strike which has paralysed operations in public hospital, the country’s Daily Nation newspaper reports.

The Employment and Labour Relations Court ordered the union to end the strike and finalise negotiations with the government within the next two weeks.

Several attempts to end the strike have failed as the doctors want the full implementation of a deal signed in 2013 to improve the doctors’ pay and working conditions.

Judge Hellen Wasilwa said that if the officials did not heed to the order they would be jailed for two weeks.

The BBC’s Abdinoor Aden has snapped these photos of the doctors meeting today discuss a way forward:

Doctors meeting
Doctors meeting
Source: BBC
Black woman hugging her knees

10 most common causes of missed and irregular periods

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Missed a period? The first thing to consider is pregnancy. If that is ruled out, other possible causes might be related to the use of certain birth control pills or entering menopause.

One of the side effects of a low-dose birth control pill is a light or nonexistent period. So, it may be time to consult your doctor about changing your birth control pills. Also, going through menopause can cause irregular periods before they end entirely.

Aside from those three possibilities, there are several health problems as well as lifestyle and environmental factors that can impact your periods.

If your periods have been regular but suddenly became irregular, take the issue seriously.

The abnormal absence of a period is called amenorrhea. Irregular periods can be defined as:

  • Metrorrhagia– when irregular bleeding occurs between your expected periods.
  • Oligomenorrhea– when menses occur at intervals of greater than 35 days.
  • Polymenorrhea– when menses occur at intervals of 21 days or less.

 

Here are the 10 most common causes of missed and irregular periods.

1. High Stress Level

Your stress level can affect your menstrual cycle. If you’re experiencing extremely high stress, it can cause missed or irregular periods.

When your body is busy handling extreme stress, your brain shuts down the production of estrogen and other reproductive hormones needed for ovulation. This is done to prevent reproduction in a threatening environment as well as to conserve energy. As a consequence, you don’t get your period on time.

high stress causes irregular menses

A 2015 study published in the Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research reports that high stress levels were associated with only menstrual irregularities and not with duration, amount of flow or dysmenorrhea. This cross-sectional study was conducted on 100 female undergraduate students of a medical college.

Make sure to relax after work and make time to de-stress your mind and body. Try yoga, a hot bath or reading a book.

2. Over-Exercising

Although regular exercise is good for your overall health, excess exercise can be bad for females, especially those who are athletes. In fact, excess exercise is one of the key reasons behind disruption of the menstruation cycle.

Like other stress hormones, cortisol is released in response to any physical exertion, which in turn can deplete the body of energy needed to regulate sex hormones.

A 2008 study published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences reports that exercise-induced amenorrhea can be an indicator of an energy drain, and the presence of the other components of the female athlete triad-bone density loss and eating disorders must be determined as well. The study emphasized that addressing skeletal problems related to nutritional and hormonal deficiencies in this population is very important.

Along with excess physical stress, several other factors contribute to the loss of periods in athletes. Such factors include low body fat and high energy expenditure.

Consult your doctor to determine whether your missed or irregular periods are a result of excessive exercise. You may need to work with an expert to help you plan a healthy exercise routine.

3. Low Body Fat

When your body mass index (BMI) falls below 18 or 19, you have little body fat. Low body fat can interrupt many hormonal functions in your body, potentially halting ovulation and affecting your menstrual cycle.

Body fat is important for creating the hormone estrogen, which when low can contribute to irregular periods and bone loss. In fact, those who have low body fat are at a higher risk of suffering from serious conditions such as anorexia and bulimia. People suffering from anorexia and bulimia often experience absent or missed periods.

Always remember that you need a certain amount of body fat to ovulate, so an extreme low-calorie and low-fat diet is a big no for females.

Experts believe that it is important to maintain a body fat percentage of 17 to 22 percent to maintain normal menstrual function. In fact, before beginning a weight-loss diet or starting a new training regimen, always consult your doctor.

4. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a hormone imbalance in women that affects ovulation, which can cause irregular periods. Other signs of PCOS include acne, excessive hair growth and weight gain.

When suffering from PCOS, there can be high and sustained levels of sex hormones — including estrogen, progesterone and testosterone – as compared to the fluctuating levels seen in the normal menstrual cycle.

A 2014 study published in Human Reproduction reports that elevated androgen levels in adolescence are associated with PCOS and infertility in later life. In fact, this study emphasizes the importance of early identification of menstrual irregularity.

In addition to causing irregular periods and infertility, PCOS can increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

5. Thyroid Disorder

Any kind of thyroid gland malfunction, whether it is an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) or underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), can cause menstrual irregularities.

The thyroid gland produces hormones that maintain the body’s metabolism and impacts many sex hormones. Changes in estrogen and cortisol hormones can halt ovulation, which in turn affects the menstrual cycle.

A 1999 study done in Mexico and published in Ginecología y obstetricia de México indicates that primary hyperthyroidism is one of the leading causes behind missed periods.

A recent 2016 study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology of India reports that thyroid dysfunction is an important causative etiology of menstrual abnormalities. The study put emphasis on the assessment of thyroid function in women with menstrual disorders to avoid unnecessary interventions like curettage and hysterectomy.

6. Excessive Drinking

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking alcohol can cause irregular periods as well as infertility.

Excessive and even moderate drinking can affect the menstruation cycle. The toxins in alcohol can cause permanent tissue damage and disrupt the delicate hormonal balance critical for maintaining menstrual cycles.

In fact, alcohol intake is linked to an increased level of the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone. Changes in these hormones affect ovulation, thus affecting when you menstruate and leading to irregular periods.

Not just irregular periods, alcohol toxins can make it difficult for a woman to conceive and even reduce the chances of having a healthy baby.

7. Smoking

Whether it is men or women who are active or passive smokers, smoking is bad for health.

In fact, women who smoke are at a higher risk of suffering from irregular periods. Smoking may alter levels of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and other hormones involved in the regularity of the menstrual cycle.

A 2000 study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research reports that menstrual irregularity in bulimia nervosa is associated with depression, cigarette smoking and fluctuations in body weight that act as metabolic stresses that contribute to the perpetuation of menstrual disturbances.

At the same time, women who smoke experience more severe premenstrual symptoms and an increase in cramps lasting two or more days. Also, women who smoke excessively are less likely to conceive than nonsmokers.

8. Poor Diet

A proper diet is important for your health and can play an important role in maintaining a healthy menstrual cycle.

A poor diet low in nutrients, antioxidants and probiotic foods can affect adrenal glands and the thyroid, which in turn can cause significant hormonal changes in the body and absent or irregular periods.

Also, eating more than the recommended dietary intake of fiber can reduce estrogen levels and cause period problems.

Apart from a poor diet, binge eating is bad for a woman’s health.

A 2014 study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research reports that women who reported lifetime binge eating were more likely to report either amenorrhea or oligomenorrhea than women who reported no binge eating. This could be due to metabolic and endocrinological factors. High BMI between 25 to 30 is also associated with infrequent menstrual cycles.

If you are having menstrual problems, make sure to eat the proper amount of food and make it the right kind. Eat high antioxidant foods that are nutrient-dense.

9. Exposure to Pesticides

Pesticides mimic hormones and when exposed to them, it can block the hormones in your body, making it difficult for your endocrine system to function properly.

A 2004 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology reports that pesticide use can affect the menstrual cycle. In fact, women who used probable hormonally active pesticides had a 60 to 100 percent increased odds of experiencing long cycles, missed periods and inter-menstrual bleeding as compared to women who never used pesticides.

A 2014 study published in the Journal of Preventive Medicine & Public Health reports that environmental mercury can precipitate pathophysiological changes along the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal and gonadal axis that may affect reproductive functions by altering the circulating of hormones.

Another 2014 study published in the Medical Journal of the Islamic Republic of Iran highlights the connection between menstrual disturbances and hormonal changes in female workers exposed to a mixture of organic solvents in a pharmaceutical company. The study puts emphasis on periodic evaluation of the reproductive system of women who work with chemicals in pharmaceutical companies.

10. Shift Work

If you work a shift job, chances are high that you may suffer from menstrual problems. The more your work schedule fluctuates, the more likely you are to experience such problems.

Shift work disrupts your body’s circadian rhythm, which controls a variety of biological functions including your menstrual cycle.

In a 2011 study published in Epidemiology, researchers analyzed more than 71,000 U.S. nurses and found that those working rotating shifts were more likely than other nurses to have irregular menstrual periods.

Another study published in BMC Women’s Health in 2016 reports that rotating shift work can increase the prevalence of menstrual cycle irregularity.

Women who work night shifts also can find it harder to conceive.

Source: Top10remedies