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Ward Plunet
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59,595 followers
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A programme of personalised physical exercise reverses functional decline in the over-75s

A programme of personalised physical exercise implemented over a three-year period and involving 370 people over the age of 75 admitted to the Geriatric Service of the Hospital Complex of Navarre (CHN) has turned out to be "safe and effective" in reversing the functional deterioration associated with hospitalisation to which patients in this age group are subjected. Other aspects such as cognitive status and life quality also benefitted.
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Stem Cells Remember Tissues’ Past Injuries

Stem cells seem to retain memories of old injuries to improve future healing. When that system goes wrong, chronic inflammation can result.
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Playing high school football changes the teenage brain

A single season of high school football may be enough to cause microscopic changes in the structure of the brain, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The researchers used a new type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to take brain scans of 16 high school players, ages 15 to 17, before and after a season of football. They found significant changes in the structure of the grey matter in the front and rear of the brain, where impacts are most likely to occur, as well as changes to structures deep inside the brain. All participants wore helmets, and none received head impacts severe enough to constitute a concussion.
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Meditation and music may alter blood markers of cellular aging and Alzheimer's disease

A research team led by Dr. Kim Innes, a professor in the West Virginia University School of Public Health, has found that a simple meditation or music listening program may alter certain biomarkers of cellular aging and Alzheimer's Disease in older adults who are experiencing memory loss. Study findings, reported in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, also suggest these changes may be directly related to improvements in memory and cognition, sleep, mood, and quality of life.
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Weight lifting is good for your heart and it doesn't take much

Lifting weights for less than an hour a week may reduce your risk for a heart attack or stroke by 40 to 70 percent, according to a new Iowa State University study. Spending more than an hour in the weight room did not yield any additional benefit, the researchers found. "People may think they need to spend a lot of time lifting weights, but just two sets of bench presses that take less than 5 minutes could be effective," said DC (Duck-chul) Lee, associate professor of kinesiology. The results – some of the first to look at resistance exercise and cardiovascular disease – show benefits of strength training are independent of running, walking or other aerobic activity. In other words, you do not have to meet the recommended guidelines for aerobic physical activity to lower your risk; weight training alone is enough.
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Exosomes 'swarm' to protect against bacteria inhaled through the nose

Bacteria are present in just about every breath of air we take in. How the airway protects itself from infection from these bacteria has largely remained a mystery—until now. When bacteria are inhaled, exosomes, or tiny fluid-filled sacs, are immediately secreted from cells which directly attack the bacteria and also shuttle protective antimicrobial proteins from the front of the nose to the back along the airway, protecting other cells against the bacteria before it gets too far into the body. A research team from Massachusetts Eye and Ear describes this newly discovered mechanism in a report published online today in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI). The findings shed new light on our immune systems—and also pave the way for drug delivery techniques to be developed that harness this natural transportation process from one group of cells to another.
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Can we rule out near-term AGI?

For the past 60 years, despite all the setbacks, neural networks have steadily improved. This talk from Greg Brockman of OpenAI will explore the forgotten history of the field, and discuss why we must must dare to dream about dramatic near-term progress.
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Genetics play less of a role in lifespan than we thought

Large historical analysis points to marriage choices skewing the stats. Lifespan doesn't usually make an appearance on people’s lists of what they’re looking for in a partner. But, according to a paper published this week in the journal Genetics, longevity correlates strongly through marriage relationships, meaning that people are pretty good at picking partners who live similar lifespans. Failing to account for that behavior has meant that estimates of the genetic contribution to longevity have been substantially overinflated....Ruby and his colleagues came up with a much lower figure of seven-percent genetic influence—at most. That seven percent includes both genetics and also non-genetic inherited traits, like the healthy or unhealthy habits parents pass on to their children. Those two things can be tricky to separate, but it's fair to assume that the contribution of genetics alone is even lower.
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Goffin's cockatoos can create and manipulate novel tools

Goffin's cockatoos can tear cardboard into long strips as tools to reach food—but fail to adjust strip width to fit through narrow openings, according to a study published November 7, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by A.M.I. Auersperg from the Medical University of Vienna, Austria, and colleagues. The Goffin's cockatoo (Cacatua goffiniana) is a type of parrot. Captive Goffins are capable of inventing and manipulating tools, even though they aren't known to use tools habitually. The authors of the present study investigated two questions: do Goffins adjust tool properties to save effort, and if so, how accurately can they adjust tool dimensions for the task? The authors supplied six adult cockatoos with large cardboard sheets to tear into strips as tools for the testing apparatus: a food platform with a food reward set at varying distances (4-16cm) behind a small opening which also varied in width (1-2cm). They found that the Goffins were capable of adjusting the length of their cardboard strip tools to account for variations in food distance, making shorter tools when the reward was closer than when it was set farther away. In every case, if a first-attempt tool was too short, the second-attempt tool would be significantly longer. On average, all six birds made significantly longer tools than were required to reach the reward in all test conditions, with the birds tending to make increasingly long tools as the study progressed—perhaps as a risk-avoidance strategy.
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How Your Brain Decides Without You

In a world full of ambiguity, we see what we want to see.
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