April 22, 2019

    Short Science News, Articles And The Latest Scientific Discoveries And Research

    Go take a walk in the forest to reduce stress

    Health | Apr 04, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    Destressing in nature works
    Go take a walk in the forest to reduce stress - interesting science news

    In this recently published study, participants were asked to take a stroll in nature for 10 minutes or more for at least 3 times per week. The levels of cortisol as measured saliva samples both before and after the nature exposure was also done to study its impact.

    Even taking a 20-minute break in nature will significantly reduce your stress hormones. Researchers have for the first time found the most effective dose of urban nature experience.

    These ‘nature pills’ could be a low-cost solution to negate the health effects of increased urbanization and indoor lifestyles which is linked to several disease conditions.

    Read the full story: Frontiers (via ScienceDaily)
    Scientific publication: Frontiers in Psychology


    20% of death linked to poor diet

    Health | Apr 04, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    Unhealthy diet accounts for more deaths than previously thought
    20% of death linked to poor diet - interesting science news

    The Global Burden of Disease study tracked 15 dietary factors between 1990-2017 of 195 countries and estimated that 1 in 5 deaths that occur globally are linked to poor diet or diets which contribute to chronic diseases. That’s an astonishing 11 million deaths.

    Of the 11 million deaths, a staggering 10 million were due to cardiovascular diseases, 913,000 due to cancer and 339,000 associated with type 2 diabetes. Also, these 11 million deaths is an increase from the 8 million deaths linked to diet in 1990.

    Further, the study found that in 2017, more deaths were associated with low amounts of food like whole grains, fruits and nuts as compared to deaths due to high levels of trans fats, sugary drinks and red meat.

    Read the full story: ScienceDaily
    Scientific publication: The Lancet
    Scientific publication: The Lancet


    Reintroducing top predators: does it bring back historic ecosystems?

    Earth | Apr 04, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    Wolves face off with cow elk in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park. While wolf reintroduction in the mid-1990s resulted in a drop in Yellowstone elk numbers, it didn't necessarily restore the ecosystem to historical conditions, according to new research. Image: Daniel Stahler
    Reintroducing top predators: does it bring back historic ecosystems? - Biology short science news

    While it is generally believed that reintroducing top predators such as wolves brings an ecosystem back to natural conditions, this might not be necessarily the case. Indeed, the reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone National Park has decreased the numbers of elk, and improved vegetation, but has the Park returned to how it was before the wolves had disappeared in the 1920s?

    Researchers are now beginning to address this question, and the first results indicate that it is hard to predict what will happen exactly when the top predators return. The only consistent effect they found is that the number of small predators increased.

    Thus, more research is necessary to be able to predict how reintroduction programs of top predators will play out in an ecosystem.

    Read the full story: University of Wyoming
    Scientific publication: Biological Conservation


    The future of agriculture: Cyber agriculture

    Technology | Apr 04, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    The taste of basil has been enhanced using algorithms that determine optimal growth conditions
    The future of agriculture: Cyber agriculture - technology short science news

    Researchers are in the process of growing crops that taste good, without genetic modifications. To this end, they use computer algorithms to determine optimal growing conditions to obtain the best concentration that give the plants flavor.

    The first plants to have been cultured with artificial intelligence is basil, but it is envisaged that this is only the first of many.

    Researchers believe that such “Cyber agriculture”, as they call it, may play an important role in growing crops, not only to improve taste but also to make plants more resistant to disease or to study how crops grow with changing climate conditions.

    Read the full story: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Scientific publication: PLoS ONE


    Worldwide survey: almost 5 million premature deaths because of air pollution

    Health | Apr 03, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    Smog awaits these ships making port in Shanghai
    Worldwide survey: almost 5 million premature deaths because of air pollution - health short science news

    In 2017, close to 5 million people died as a consequence of air pollution, according to today’s (April 3, 2019) State of Global Air report 2019.

    Most deaths, 2.9 million, occurred because of exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2,5), and 1.6 million people died from air pollution due to cooking with contaminating fuels. Ozone was the cause of another 0.5 million premature deaths.

    Breathing in polluted air increases the risk for cardiovascular diseases, respiration diseases, infections of the lungs, and cancer. Air pollution is the fifth most important cause of premature deaths worldwide, topping e.g. alcohol, malnutrition, drugs, or traffic accidents. Air pollution reduces the average life expectancy of newborns by 20 months.

    Read the full story: Health Effects Institute and Institute of Health Metrics


    Digital multitasking linked to obesity

    Mind and Brain | Apr 03, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    Excessive multimedia use linked to obesity
    Digital multitasking linked to obesity - interesting science news

    Researchers have found out that mindlessly switching between several digital devices is associated with increased susceptibility to food temptations and lower self-control which could ultimately lead to weight gain.

    The scientists used the Media Multitasking Revised scale which measures compulsive behavior like urge to check the phone for messages while interacting with someone else and passive behaviors like media distracting us from work. The higher score on this scale was associated with higher BMI as well as higher body fat.

    Further, certain participants then underwent a functional MRI scan and it was observed that people with higher BMI and body fat showed increased activity in the brain regions associated with food temptation on exposure to food photos.

    Read the full story: Rice university
    Scientific publication: Brain Imagaing and Behavior


    Diabetes and heart risk increased due to shift work

    Health | Apr 03, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    Night shift increases the risk of poorer health
    Diabetes and heart risk increased due to shift work - interesting science news

    Atleast 20% of the population works in night shifts, especially in the healthcare and transportation sector. This is a major healthcare problem which isn’t getting its due attention for several years now.

    Now, researchers have found out that shift work negatively impacts the way triglycerides are metabolized in the body as well as the way sugars are used. The study compared those who regularly did night shifts and those who didn’t and found that the former had higher levels of blood sugar and triglyceride levels.

    This study shows the long term impact of shift work and its impact on hart disease, diabetes and obesity in the future.

    Read the full story: The Physiological Society (via ScienceDaily)
    Scientific publication: Experimental Physiology


    The soda debate: reduced consumption following tax election

    Health | Apr 03, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    Soda consumption was reduced immediately after a soda tax had been elected in Berkeley, months before the tax was actually introduced
    The soda debate: reduced consumption following tax election - health short science news

    Soda sales in Berkeley (USA) dropped immediately after the soda tax bill was passed in November 2014. This drop, equaling between 10 and 20 percent, occurred months before the tax was introduced and soda prices went up.

    A new study shows that the election of soda tax, and the vigorous campaigning around the tax that led up to the vote, also may have played a major role in changing drinking habits.

    Thus, to change habits, prices matter, but information is also important, at least in the soda debate.

    Read the full story: UC Berkeley
    Scientific publication: Economic Inquiry


    How poverty affects brain activity of children

    Mind and Brain | Apr 02, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    Poverty experiences in childhood could have long-lasting effects on the brain
    How poverty affects brain activity of children - interesting science news

    Researchers compared the brain activity of children from poor rural Indian background to those coming from families in Midwest America and found that the former had weaker brain activity and hence were more likely to be distracted.

    The scientists studied the visual memory which stores information momentarily. This skill develops early in childhood and is an excellent marker of cognitive development. The children from the poor Indian backgrounds performed poorly and showed increased distractibility. The frontal cortex which is involved in working memory was affected in these children.

    This shows that being born in a poor environment significantly impacts the neurological development which then could contribute to the vicious cycle of poverty.

    Read the full story: University of East Anglia
    Scientific publication: Developmental Science


    Zipping through pristine air tells us how bad pollution is

    Earth | Apr 02, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    Pollution has changed the air for ever
    Zipping through pristine air tells us how bad pollution is - interesting science news

    Researchers analyzed air samples captured over the Amazon rainforest and the city of Manaus by the Gulfsteam-1 research aircraft and the picture revealed the startling effect of man-made pollution on the air quality.

    The results indicate that the secondary organic aerosols produced by cars and power plants amongst others resulted in a marked increase in absorbed sunlight, create clouds and change rainfall patterns. These secondary aerosol particles are formed due to interaction between carbon emissions and nitrogen oxide.

    The results also indicate that several of the changes are irreversible and human activities have made permanent damage to the environment already.

    Read the full story: DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
    Scientific publication: Nature Communicaton


    Gut bacteria direct the immune system to attack cancer

    Health | Apr 02, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    The gut microbiome is a determining factor in the fight of the immune system against cancer
    Gut bacteria direct the immune system to attack cancer - health short science news

    In line with many recent studies showing that the gut microbiome is important for immune activation to fight cancer, a new publication describes a molecular link between gut bacteria and the immune system.

    The study identified eleven bacteria species that support immunotherapy against melanoma by controlling the so-called « unfolded protein response » (UPR), a cellular signaling pathway that maintain protein health. Melanoma patients who are responsive to immunotherapy show reduced UPR.

    These results might help more people benefit from immunotherapy in the future, scientists say.

    Read the full story: Sanford Burnham Prebys
    Scientific publication: Nature Communications


    Restauration of forests to meet climate goals

    Earth | Apr 02, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    18-year-old naturally regenerating forest in Kibale National Park, Uganda. The forest already supports elephants and many species of monkey. Image: S. Lewis
    Restauration of forests to meet climate goals - climate change short science news

    A new study, published as a commentary in Nature, shows that international plans to restore forests to limit global warming are flawed.

    The reason is that many policy makers do not promote the bringing back of natural forest, but instead aim to create plantations.

    Such monocultures are much poorer at storing carbon than natural forests, so that the amount of carbon that needs to be captured to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celcius will be largely insufficient.

    Read the full story: Nature


    Breakthrough in immunology: how T cell signaling prevents autoimmune reactions

    Health | Apr 01, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    The atomic structure of the SOS protein, a cell messaging molecule that uses a unique timing mechanism to regulate activation of a critical immune system pathway. Image: Steven Alvarez/Berkeley Lab
    Breakthrough in immunology: how T cell signaling prevents autoimmune reactions - health short science news

    Scientists have succeeded for the first time to image the process by which an individual immune system molecule is activated in response to a signal from the environment, such as the presence of a virus.

    This imaging has led to the discovery that one of the signaling molecules of T cells, known as SOS, has a built-in timing device to regulate activation of pathways of the immune system.

    Activation of SOS depends on the assembly with other proteins, and takes between 10 and 30 seconds. When assembly doesn’t happen during this time window, SOS is not activated and no immune response will follow. This is likely to be important to prevent autoimmune reactions.

    Read the full story: Doe/Lawrence Berkely National Laboratory
    Scientific publication: Science


    The source of new neurons in the brain discovered

    Mind and Brain | Apr 01, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    Stem cells are a source of continious new neurons even in adult life
    The source of new neurons in the brain discovered - interesting science news

    While it was once believed that mammals cannot make new neurons throughout life, researchers have shown that in mice there is a type of stem cell that makes adult neurons in the brain hippocampus all along.

    It has been shown for the first time that neurons from in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus come from a single population of stem cells and these are more flexible as compared to mature neurons which is important for healthy memory, learning and mood.

    This is like adding new units to a computers motherboard thereby keeping it at an optimal functional status. This discovery could help us understand how to repair and regenerate brain parts after injury and aging.

    Read the full story: University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
    Scientific publication: Cell


    Climate change could expose a billion new people to Dengue fever

    Earth | Mar 29, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    Climiate change could introduce mosquitoes in new regions
    Climate change could expose a billion new people to Dengue fever - interesting science news

    A new study that investigates temperature changes on a monthly basis worldwide indicates that at least a billion new people could be exposed to disease carrying mosquitoes by he end of this century due to global warming.

    This is harmful even in those areas which have only a minimal risk of having a climate suited for mosquito breeding since the Dengue virus is known for explosive outbreaks if it gets the right environment for even a brief time.

    The mosquito Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus can not only carry dengue, but also carry chikunguyna and Zika viruses as well as another dozen pathogens which could pose huge threats in the next 50 years.

    Read the full story: Georgetown University Medical Center
    Scientific publication: PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases


    Subscribe to our mailing list

    * indicates required