Rounding up science's latest discoveries
ARTIFICIAL LIGHT COULD BE MAKING US SICK
The natural cycle of day and night is important for our health.
Artificial lighting could be making us sick and frail, with weakening muscles and fragile bones, a new study found.
Researchers from the Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands kept mice under a constant light for six monthsand when the mice were examined after, they had muscle loss, early signs of osteoporosis and were reacting to an infection.
With the findings, the researchers said that light exposure should be taken into consideration, particularly for elderly and vulnerable people.
About 75 per cent of the world's population is exposed to light during the night and such constant light exposure is also common in intensive care units.
The only good news in the paper, published in the journal Current Biology, was that the mice recovered after they were exposed to natural light.
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DRINK WATER TO LOSE WEIGHT
Forget pills or expensive diets.
Drinking a large glass of water with your meal is the key to weight-loss success, said a new study from the Netherlands.
Wageningen University researchers collected data from 19 participants during two separate sessions with different consumption procedures.
It showed that the stomach stretches after a person drinks a large glass of water with his meal, making him feel more full than usual.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) images taken also provided scientists with new insight into how the brain listens to the stomach during eating.
They found that adding water not only increased stomach distension and curbed appetite in the short term, it also increased regional brain activity.
This new research approach can be used to investigate the interplay between feelings of fullness, volume of the stomach and activity in the brain.
LEARN BETTER WITH CINNAMON
Scientists have discovered an easy approach to convert poor learners to good ones - eating cinnamon.
Researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago said that feeding cinnamon to mice with a poor learning ability turned them into brainiacs.
They trained the mice for two days in a maze comprising 20 holes to observe if they could learn to find their target hole.
Previous research found poor learners to have less of a protein vital to memory and learning, known as CREB, and more of a protein known as GABRA5 in the hippocampus, the part of the brain primarily associated with memory and spatial navigation.
But after a month of daily cinnamon doses, poor-learning mice showed increased CREB and decreased GABRA5.
Their bodies converted cinnamon into sodium benzoate (a preservative found in food, beverages and condiments), which promotes healthy neurons.
The mice were able to navigate a maze in half the time it took them before, even though the exit moved with each test. Their ability was similar to that of the good-learning mice.