29 June 2017

RSS Facebook



Solar storm has minor impact on Earth

Saturday 10 March,


WASHINGTON: A solar storm that shook the Earth's magnetic field on Thursday spared satellite and power systems as it delivered a glancing blow, although it could still intensify until early Friday, space weather experts said.

The geomagnetic storm surging from the sun was initially expected to be strong enough to disrupt power grids, airplane traffic and space-based satellite navigation systems. But government scientists on Thursday downgraded their prediction on the intensity of the storm - a big cloud of charged particles spawned by two solar flares

Saturday 10 March,

ILLINOIS: Some bees love a good adventure while others prefer to hang out at the hive, and a new analysis of bee brains suggests some of the same chemicals that affect human personality could explain why.

Honey bees are known to have a structured society in which different bees serve different tasks -- some work as nurses while others forage for food, for example.

But within these ranks, it appears that bees have different personalities, said the study in the journal Science that examined the difference between nest scouts that forage for new food sources and those that do not.

"There is a gold standard for personality research and that is if you show the same tendency in different contexts, then that can be called a personality trait," said lead author Gene Robinson, professor of entomology and neuroscience at the University of Illinois.

Researchers differentiated between bees by setting up new feeding posts with unique colors and smells, one by one over several days, and tracking which bees liked to test new chomping grounds and which ones stuck with the familiar.

When they examined the brains of the adventurous bees, they found differences in gene expression related to the same molecular pathways that regulate novelty-seeking in mammals and humans -- including catecholamine, glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) signaling.

These chemicals in the brain are known to influence the level of reward a person feels when seeking new experiences.

The differences in gene activity between the two types numbered in the thousands.

The team further discovered that treating bees so that levels of glutamate and octopamine would be higher caused non-scout bees to start exploring.

When they blocked the pleasure chemical dopamine, the bees scouted less than before.

"Our results say that novelty-seeking in humans and other vertebrates has parallels in an insect," Robinson said. "One can see the same sort of consistent behavioral differences and molecular underpinnings."

The research also suggests that the same sort of genetic toolkit evolved among bees, animals and humans, and that adventuring was a worthwhile trait to preserve because it could help species find new sources of food.

"It looks like the same molecular pathways have been engaged repeatedly in evolution to give rise to individual differences in novelty-seeking," Robinson said.

The study was funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and the Illinois Sociogenomics Initiative.

Sunday 05 February,

(BNA)  TOKYO: Japanese scientists say they have found a link between consumption of vitamin E and the degenerative bone condition osteoporosis, in a study likely to shed new light on the use of supplements.

Researchers found that giving mice increased doses of the vitamin to a level similar to that found in supplements caused the animals' bones to thin.

The mice developed osteoporosis after eight weeks on the diet, which had levels of vitamin E significantly higher than those found in a mouse's natural diet, according to the study, published in the journal Nature Medicine.

The team, led by Shu Takeda of Keio University, said vitamin E stimulates the generation of bone-degrading cells, which normally work with bone-forming cells to maintain bone strength.

Osteoporosis is a disease that causes the thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density over time. It often affects older people, particularly women, who may become more prone to bone fractures.

Vitamin E is found naturally in various foods including vegetable oil, nuts and some leafy vegetables.

It is also a popular health supplement as an antioxidant, and is widely believed to enhance health and slow problems related to ageing.

The study called for greater research into how enhanced levels of vitamin E affect human health.

"It is possible that with the volume (of vitamin E) contained in health supplements, bones may become fragile," Takeda told the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper.

The findings come after researchers found mice that had been genetically modified to be deficient in vitamin E had a high bone density.

Thursday, March 1, 2012,



NEW YORK: Coffee drinkers have no more risk of getting illnesses such as heart disease or cancer, and are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, according to a German study involving more than 40,000 people over nearly a decade.

The findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, came in the wake of many previous studies that produced conflicting results, with some tying coffee drinking to an increase in heart disease, cancer, stroke and more.

"Our results suggest that coffee consumption is not harmful for healthy adults in respect of risk of major chronic disease," said Anna Floegel, lead author of the study and an epidemiologist at the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke.

The researchers collected information at the beginning of the study on coffee drinking habits, diet, exercise and health from more than 42,000 German adults without any chronic conditions.

For the next nine years, the team followed up on the participants every two or three years to see whether they developed any health problems, particularly cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attack, diabetes and cancer.

They found that coffee drinkers and non-drinkers were similarly likely to develop one of those illnesses