Monday, April 18, 2005

New Scientist Breaking News - Happiness helps people stay healthy

Happiness brings all things good into our bodies chemistry...

New Scientist Breaking News - Happiness helps people stay healthy: "researchers at University College London, UK, have linked everyday happiness with healthier levels of important body chemicals, such as the stress hormone cortisol.
�This study showed that whether people are happy or less happy in their everyday lives appears to have important effects on the markers of biological function known to be associated with disease,� says clinical psychologist Jane Wardle, one of the research team. �Perhaps laughter is the best medicine,� she adds.
�This is the best data to date that associates positive emotional feelings with good effects on your health,� says Carol Shively, at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, US. �We usually concentrate on things that are either bad or wrong, rather than good or right.�"

Saturday, April 09, 2005

New Scientist Premium- X chromosome activity different in every woman - News

New Scientist Premium- X chromosome activity different in every woman - News: "Baffling variations between women have emerged from an X chromosome study - some females may get an overdose of X genes
UNEXPECTED and baffling variations between individual women have emerged from a study of the X chromosome.

While men have one X and one Y chromosome, women have two X chromosomes. If all the genes on both X chromosomes were active, women would get an overdose of the proteins these genes code for. To prevent this, every cell in the early female mammalian embryo switches off one of its X chromosomes, which then remains silent in all the descendants of that cell - a process called X inactivation.
However, while some cells switch off the X inherited from the father, others switch off the X chromosome from the mother. So most women are a mixture of two different cell populations, each of which is expressing genes on a different X chromosome"

New Scientist Life's top 10 greatest inventions - Features

New Scientist Life's top 10 greatest inventions - Features: "THE BRAIN
BRAINS are often seen as a crowning achievement of evolution - bestowing the ultimate human traits such as language, intelligence and consciousness. But before all that, the evolution of brains did something just as striking: it lifted life beyond vegetation. Brains provided, for the first time, a way for organisms to deal with environmental change on a timescale shorter than generations.

A nervous system allows two extremely useful things to happen: movement and memory. If you're a plant and your food source disappears, that's just tough. But if you have a nervous system that can control muscles, then you can actually move around and seek out food, sex and shelter.

With brains come senses, to detect whether the world is good or bad, and a memory. Together, these let the animal monitor in real time whether things are getting better or worse. This in turn allows a simple system of prediction and reward. Even animals with really simple brains - insects, slugs or flatworms - can use their experiences to predict what might be the best thing to do or eat next, and have a system of reward that reinforces good choices.

The more complex functions of the human brain - social interaction, decision-making and empathy, for example - seem to have evolved from these basic systems controlling food intake. The sensations that control what we decide to eat became the intuitive decisions we call gut instincts. The most highly developed parts of the human frontal cortex that deal with decisions and social interactions are right next to the parts that control taste and smell and movements of the mouth, tongue and gut. There is a reason we kiss potential mates - it's the most primitive way we know to check something out.

Thursday, April 07, 2005 News: Tai Chi Helps Parkinson's Patients News: Tai Chi Helps Parkinson's Patients: "Tai Chi, an ancient Chinese form of martial art that is practiced by about 300 million people worldwide, incorporates circular, concentrated movements that are proving helpful for Parkinson's disease patients. In Tai Chi, when one part of the body moves, all parts move, and the exercises improve flexibility, energy and balance.
'The patients get such wonderful benefits from it,' said Lyvonne Carriero, Parkinson's program coordinator at Shands. 'They say after one class they can see a difference in their balance.'
At a recent class, Jones and Saul were joined by their wives, Mae and Elayne, respectively, and about a dozen other participants. Instructor Genera Holladay led the group through a series of postures that were challenging but designed around the limitations of Parkinson's patients. Tai Chi techniques vary by style, and Holladay, who also is a pharmacist and acupuncturist, was using modified medical forms of the Yang style.
'This class differs from most Tai Chi classes,' said Holladay, who learned the ancient art while living in Japan and Korea in the early 1960s. In martial arts, the movements are geared outward for defense and striking. For this class, she emphasizes inner energy instead.
'If we are in a challenged health position, using these same techniques can strengthen the body for health,' Holladay said. 'Instead of letting the energy out, we use it to strengthen the organs, bones and muscles.' "

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

New Scientist Breaking News - TV may turn four-year-olds into bullies

so we know how depression can make us sick... So what about the TV pumping our minds full of crap? How uncivilized do we ahve to get before we will change this???

New Scientist Breaking News - TV may turn four-year-olds into bullies Young children who watch a lot of television are more likely to become bullies, a new study reveals. The authors suggest the increasingly violent nature of children’s cartoons may be to blame.

Previous studies have linked television to aggressive behaviour in older children and adolescents. But a team led by Frederick Zimmerman, an economist at the University of Washington in Seattle, US, has now traced the phenomenon to four-year-olds.

The researchers used existing data from a national US survey to study the amount of television watched by 1266 four-year-olds. Then they compared that amount with follow-up reports - by the children's mothers - on whether the children bullied or were "cruel or mean to others" when they were between six and 11 years old.