Top Stories

New DNA Screening Reveals Whose Blood the Vampire Bat is Drinking

The vampire bat lives up to its name. Its diet consists of blood, which it gets by biting animals and lapping up their blood. The vampire bat prefers to feed on domestic animals such as cows and pigs. When it does so, there is a risk of transmission of pathogens such as rabies. Now, a new study lead by Assistant Professor Kristine Bohmann from the Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, describes a new DNA method to efficiently screen many vampire bat blood meal and faecal samples with a high success rate and thereby determine which animals the vampire bats have fed on blood from. Furthermore, the authors show that the technique can be used to simultaneously assess the vampire bat’s population structure.

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Meditation Could Help Anxiety and Cardiovascular Health

It sounds like a late-night commercial: In just one hour you can reduce your anxiety levels and some heart health risk factors. But a recent study with 14 participants shows preliminary data that even a single session of meditation can have cardiovascular and psychological benefits for adults with mild to moderate anxiety.

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“Fight, Flight, or Freeze:” Animal Study Connects Fear Behavior, Rhythmic Breathing, Smell Centers of Brain

“Take a deep breath” is the mantra of every anxiety-reducing advice list ever written. And for good reason. There’s increasing physiological evidence connecting breathing patterns with the brain regions that control mood and emotion.

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Tiny Microenvironments in the Ocean Hold Clues to Global Nitrogen Cycle

Nitrogen is essential to marine life and cycles throughout the ocean in a delicately balanced system. Living organisms—especially marine plants called phytoplankton—require nitrogen in processes such as photosynthesis. In turn, phytoplankton growth takes up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and helps regulate global climate.

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Research Brief: Grassland Plants React Unexpectedly to High Levels of Carbon Dioxide

Plants are responding in unexpected ways to increased carbon dioxide in the air, according to a twenty-year study conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota and published in the journal Science. For the first 12 years, researchers found what they expected regarding how different types of grasses reacted to carbon dioxide. However, researchers’ findings took an unanticipated turn during the last eight years of the study.

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A Fat Belly is Bad for Your Heart

Belly fat, even in people who are not otherwise overweight, is bad for the heart, according to results from the Mayo Clinic presented today at EuroPrevent 2018, a European Society of Cardiology congress.

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A Study Links Soil Metals with Cancer Mortality

Spanish epidemiologists and geologists have found associations between esophageal cancer and soils where lead is abundant, lung cancer and terrains with increased copper content, brain tumor with areas rich in arsenic, and bladder cancer with high cadmium levels. These statistical links do not indicate that there is a cause-effect relationship between soil type and cancer, but they suggest that the influence of metals from the earth's surface on the geographical distribution of tumors should be analyzed.

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Research Reveals Stronger People Have Healthier Brains

A study of nearly half a million people has revealed that muscular strength, measured by handgrip, is an indication of how healthy our brains are.

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Faster Walking Heart Patients are Hospitalised Less

Faster walking patients with heart disease are hospitalised less, according to research presented today at EuroPrevent 2018, a European Society of Cardiology congress, and published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

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Colour us impressed

When it comes to paint, there are two main types people can chose from, latex or oil-based. But now, a new option has been developed at Queen’s University that promises a more environmentally-friendly choice.

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