• Are you smarter than a fruit fly?

    Northwestern University neuroscientists now can read the mind of a fly. They have developed a clever new tool that lights up active conversations between neurons during a behavior or sensory experience, such as smelling a banana. Mapping the pattern of individual neural connections could provide insights into the computational processes that underlie the workings of the human brain. 

    In a study focused on three of the fruit fly’s sensory systems, the researchers used fluorescent molecules of different colors to tag neurons in the brain to see which connections were active during a sensory experience that happened hours earlier. 

    >> Read the Full Article
  • If you're a young adult, curb your TV time!

    Watching a lot of TV and having a low physical activity level as a young adult were associated with worse cognitive function 25 years later in midlife, according to an article published online by JAMA Psychiatry.

    Few studies have investigated the association between physical activity in early adulthood and cognitive function later in life. Coupled with the increasing prevalence of sedentary or screen-based activities, such as watching television, these trends are of concern for upcoming generations of young people.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Fixing Food Deserts

    Food deserts, vast expanses of urban and rural areas that are void of fresh fruit and veggies, are a growing epidemic — affecting more than 23.5 million people nationwide. Disproportionately affecting occupants of poor, low-income neighborhoods, food deserts are the result of a lack of access to healthy food.

     

    >> Read the Full Article
  • We need to use Nitrogen fertilizers more efficiently

    The global population is expected to increase by two to three billion people by 2050, a projection raising serious concerns about sustainable development, biodiversity and food security, but new research led by Princeton University shows that more efficient use of nitrogen fertilizers may address both environmental issues and crop production.

    Today, more than half of the world's population is nourished by food grown with fertilizers containing synthetic nitrogen, which is needed to produce high crop yields. Plants take the nitrogen they need to grow, and the excess is left in the ground, water and air. This results in significant emissions of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse and ozone-depleting gas, and other forms of nitrogen pollution, including chemical over-enrichment of lakes and rivers and contamination of drinking water. 

    >> Read the Full Article
  • New DOW weedkiller issues

    Dow AgroSciences, which sells seeds and pesticides to farmers, made contradictory claims to different parts of the U.S. government about its latest herbicide. The Environmental Protection Agency just found out, and now wants to cancel Dow's legal right to sell the product.

    The herbicide, which the company calls Enlist Duo, is a mixture of two chemicals that farmers have used separately for many years: glyphosate (also known as Roundup) and 2,4-D. It's Dow's answer to the growing problem of weeds that are resistant to glyphosate, which has become the weed-killing weapon of choice for farmers across the country.

    The new formulation is intended to work hand-in-hand with a new generation of corn and soybean seeds that are genetically engineered to tolerate sprays of both herbicides.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Sushi or Ice Cream, which raises blood sugar more?

    Which is more likely to raise blood sugar levels: Sushi or ice cream? According to a new Israeli study, the answer varies from one person to another. The study, which continuously monitored blood sugar levels in 800 people for a week, revealed that the bodily response to similar foods was highly individual.
     

    The study, called the Personalized Nutrition Project, was led by Prof. Eran Segal and Dr. Eran Elinav of the Weizmann Institute. It was published in the November 19 issue of the scientific journal Cell, and has since stirred up the medical community, which might have to rethink dietary recommendations.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Sea traffic linked to hazardous levels of nanoparticles along coastlines

    The air along coastlines is being heavily polluted by hazardous levels of nanoparticles from sea traffic, a new study has found. 

    Almost half of the measured particles stem from sea traffic emissions, while the rest is deemed to be mainly from cars but also biomass combustion, industries and natural particles from the sea.

    "This is the first time an attempt has been made to estimate the proportion of nanoparticles stemming from sea traffic. The different types of nanoparticles have previously not been distinguished, but this new method makes it possible", says Adam Kristensson, researcher in Aerosol Technology at the Lund University Faculty of Engineering in Sweden.
     

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Happiness and frequency of sex linked, to a point

    More sex may not always make you happier, according to new research published by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. 

    "Although more frequent sex is associated with greater happiness, this link was no longer significant at a frequency of more than once a week," lead researcher Amy Muise said. "Our findings suggest that it's important to maintain an intimate connection with your partner, but you don't need to have sex everyday as long as you're maintaining that connection."

    Some previous studies, and a plethora of articles and self-help books, have claimed that more sex equals more happiness. But this study, based on surveys of more than 30,000 Americans collected over four decades, is the first to find that association is not there after couples report having sex more than once a week on average. The study was not designed to identify the causal process, so does not tell us whether having sex up to once a week makes couples happier, or being in a happy relationship causes people to have more frequent sex (up to once a week).

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Active older adults are more fit

    "We found that fitness level had the strongest association with physical activity, followed by gender and season. This means that fit older adults were more active than the unfit, females were more active than males and physical activity was higher in the warmer months of the year. In addition we found that higher education was associated with higher physical activity for males, but not for females. Among other interesting results, we found that the social environmental correlates, such as social support and living situation, were not associated with physical activity among the elderly", says the two first authors of the study, Hallgeir Viken and Nils Petter Aspvik, PhD candidates at NTNU.

    In the study newly published in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, researchers from the K.G. Jebsen Center for Exercise in Medicine - Cardiac Exercise Research Group (CERG) and the Department of Sociology and Political Science at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) Norway have examined how background factors (correlates) are associated with overall physical activity among older adults.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Ebola Epidemic appears to be over

    Liberia and Sierra Leone, two of the countries worst affected by the Ebola outbreak, are now virus-free according to the World Health Organisation.

    On 7 November, Sierra Leone had gone 42 days without any new cases of Ebola, allowing the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare the country free of the virus. It is an important milestone for the West African country, as the country has recorded 14,089 cases of the disease since December 2013, almost half of the total that were reported to have caused the outbreak (28,571).

    >> Read the Full Article