Post has attachment
Creative people physically see and process the world differently

If you’re the kind of person who relishes adventure, you may literally see the world differently. People who are open to new experiences can take in more visual information than other people and combine it in unique ways. This may explain why they tend to be particularly creative. Openness to experience is one of the “big five” traits often used to describe personality. It is characterised by curiosity, creativity and an interest in exploring new things. Open people tend to do well at tasks that test our ability to come up with creative ideas, such as imagining new uses for everyday objects like bricks, mugs or table tennis balls. There’s some evidence that people with a greater degree of openness also have better visual awareness. For example, when focusing on letters moving on a screen, they are more likely to notice a grey square appearing elsewhere on the display. Now Anna Antinori at the University of Melbourne in Australia and her team are showing that people who score more highly when it comes to the openness trait “see” more possibilities. “They seem to have a more flexible gate for the visual information that breaks through into their consciousness,” Antinori says.

Post has attachment
Could genetics influence what we like to eat?

Researchers found that variations in certain genes play a significant role in a person's food choices and dietary habits. For example, higher chocolate intake and a larger waist size was associated with certain forms of the oxytocin …more. Have you ever wondered why you keep eating certain foods, even if you know they are not good for you? Gene variants that affect the way our brain works may be the reason, according to a new study. The new research could lead to new strategies to empower people to enjoy and stick to their optimal diets. Silvia Berciano, a predoctoral fellow at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, will present the new findings at the American Society for Nutrition Scientific Sessions and annual meeting during the Experimental Biology 2017 meeting, to be held April 22-26 in Chicago. "Most people have a hard time modifying their dietary habits, even if they know it is in their best interest," said Berciano. "This is because our food preferences and ability to work toward goals or follow plans affect what we eat and our ability to stick with diet changes. Ours is the first study describing how brain genes affect food intake and dietary preferences in a group of healthy people." Although previous research has identified genes involved with behaviors seen in eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia, little is known about how natural variation in these genes could affect eating behaviors in healthy people. Gene variation is a result of subtle DNA differences among individuals that make each person unique. For the new study, the researchers analyzed the genetics of 818 men and women of European ancestry and gathered information about their diet using a questionnaire. The researchers found that the genes they studied did play a significant role in a person's food choices and dietary habits. For example, higher chocolate intake and a larger waist size was associated with certain forms of the oxytocin receptor gene, and an obesity-associated gene played a role in vegetable and fiber intake. They also observed that certain genes were involved in salt and fat intake.

Post has attachment
Study finds obesity as top cause of preventable life-years lost

A team of researchers from Cleveland Clinic and New York University School of Medicine have found that obesity resulted in as much as 47 percent more life-years lost than tobacco, and tobacco caused similar life-years lost as high blood pressure. Preliminary work presented by Cleveland Clinic today at the 2017 Society of General Internal Medicine Annual Meeting analyzed the contribution of modifiable behavioral risk factors to causes-of-death in the U.S. population, using 2014 data. Based on this preliminary work, the team found the greatest number of preventable life-years lost were due to (in order from greatest to least) obesity, diabetes, tobacco use, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. However, researchers also noted that some individuals may have needs that are very different than those of the broader U.S. population. For an obese and alcoholic patient, for example, alcohol use may be more important to address than obesity, even though obesity has a greater impact on the population. Results highlight the clinical and public health achievement of smoking cessation efforts because 15 years ago, tobacco would have topped the list.




Post has attachment
Why the Menace of Mosquitoes Will Only Get Worse

That Dallas’s unusual weather favored the growth of mosquitoes might seem like random bad luck. But Haley doesn’t think of it as an accident. He considers it a warning. Climate change is turning abnormal weather into a common occurrence: Last year was the warmest year on record, the third in a row, and there were more heat waves, freezes and storms in the United States that caused $1 billion or more in damage just in 2016 than in the years 1980 to 1984 combined. Anything that improves conditions for mosquitoes tips the scales for the diseases they carry as well: the West Nile virus that flattened Dallas, the dengue that returned to Florida in 2009 after 63 years and the newest arrival, Zika, which gained a toehold in the United States last year and is expected to surge this summer. “These aberrant years are becoming more common,” Haley told me. “Climate change is clearly altering the environment in ways that increase the potential for these diseases.” When the health effects of climate change are discussed, the planet-scale impacts get the attention: rising temperatures, which can cause death from overheating; earlier springs, which pump more pollen toward the allergic; runoff from violent storms, which washes fecal bacteria out of sewer pipes; changing airflows that trap ozone near the ground, stressing the systems of people living with heart disease.

Post has attachment
Amino acids in diet could be key to starving cancer

Cutting out certain amino acids—the building blocks of proteins—from the diet of mice slows tumour growth and prolongs survival, according to new research published in Nature. Researchers at the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute and the University of Glasgow found that removing two non-essential amino acids—serine and glycine—from the diet of mice slowed the development of lymphoma and intestinal cancer. The researchers also found that the special diet made some cancer cells more susceptible to chemicals in cells called reactive oxygen species. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy boost levels of these chemicals in the cells, so this research suggests a specially formulated diet could make conventional cancer treatments more effective. The next stage would be to set up clinical trials with cancer patients to assess the feasibility and safety of such a treatment.



Post has attachment
Research shows fish oil component helps damaged brain and retina cells survive

A team of researchers led by Nicolas Bazan, MD, PhD, Boyd Professor and Director of the Neuroscience Center of Excellence at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, has shown for the first time that NDP1, a signaling molecule made from DHA, can trigger the production of a protective protein against toxic free radicals and injury in the brain and retina. The research, conducted in an experimental model of ischemic stroke and human retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells, is available in Advance Publication Online in Nature's Cell Death and Differentiation.




Post has attachment
Researchers produce all RNA nucleobases in simulated primordial Earth conditions

In 1952, chemists Stanley Miller and Harold Urey conducted a famous experimental simulation of the conditions thought to prevail on early Earth in order to determine possible pathways to the creation of life. The Miller-Urey experiment used water (H2O), methane (CH4), ammonia (NH3) and hydrogen (H2) sealed inside a glass flask. They introduced water vapor from a separate flask while firing electrical sparks between electrodes to simulate lightning. The chemists maintained this reaction for a week, and then chemically halted it. Analyzing the resulting solution, they positively identified amino acids glycine, α-alanine and β-alanine, along with evidence of the existence of others. Decades later, more sophisticated tests of the original solution preserved in a sealed container positively identified 20 amino acids. Though this result provides a clear pathway for prebiotic chemistry that could have led to the emergence of life, the experiment has been criticized over the years because the gas mixture Miller and Urey used was considered to be too reducing, and because the production of only amino acids was of limited relevance. Still, the duo pioneered the laboratory simulation techniques now widely used to explore the origins and basis of life. And a recent study by researchers in the Czech Republic specifically sought to validate and extend the results of the original experiment. Their results have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Their experimental setup was similar to the original experiment, using a simple reducing mixture of NH3 + CO and H2O. In addition to electric discharge in water vapor, they also subjected the solution to powerful laser discharges to simulate the plasmas resulting from asteroid impact shock waves. The results of the experiment demonstrated that all RNA nucleobases were synthesized, strongly supporting the emergence of biologically relevant chemicals in a reducing atmosphere. In their paper, the authors write, "As the most important finding, discharge treatment of NH3 + CO + H2O led to the formation of a significant amount of formamide and hydrogen cyanide (HCN)." This result is key, as formamide has been experimentally shown to create guanine, an RNA nucleobase, at high temperatures under ultraviolet light.

Post has attachment
How gut bacteria change cancer drug activity

The activity of cancer drugs changes depending on the types of microbes living in the gut, according to a UCL-led study into how nematode worms and their microbes process drugs and nutrients. The discovery highlights the potential benefit of manipulating gut bacteria and diet to improve cancer treatment and the value of understanding why the effectiveness of drugs varies between individuals. The study, published today in Cell and funded by Wellcome, the Royal Society and Medical Research Council, reports a new high-throughput screening method that unravels the complex relationship between a host organism, their gut microbes and drug action.


Post has attachment
Post-biotics may help shield obese from diabetes

You've heard of pre-biotics and pro-biotics, but now you'll be hearing a lot more about post-biotics. Researchers at McMaster University have begun to identify how post-biotics, or the by-products of bacteria, lower blood glucose and allow insulin to work better. Jonathan Schertzer, assistant professor of biochemistry and biomedical sciences and senior author of a paper published by Cell Metabolism today, explains it this way: "We know that gut bacteria, often called the microbiome, send inflammation signals that change how well insulin works to lower blood glucose. "It was previously thought that bacteria only caused problems such as higher inflammation and higher blood glucose. But this is only half of the story. We discovered that a specific component of bacteria actually lowers blood glucose and allows insulin to work better during obesity. "Understanding how different parts of bacteria control glucose could lead to new therapies that avoid some of the problems with pro-biotics or pre-biotics. We have found a "post-biotic" that lowers blood glucose during obesity."
Wait while more posts are being loaded