The Clock of the Long Now: The Clock Designed to Tick for 10,000 Years .


The idea to build a clock that will keep time for ten millennia was conceived by Danny Hillis in 1986. Since then, he and his team of inventors, futurists, and engineers have been building The 10,000 Year Clock—a huge monolith being constructed in a mountain in West Texas. “I want to build a clock that ticks once a year. The century hand advances once every 100 years, and the cuckoo comes out on the millennium,” Hillis is quoted on the clock’s website. “I want the cuckoo to come out every millennium for the next 10,000 years.” In this documentary by Public Record, we get a portrait of Hillis and his crew as they work on a singularly huge project. The directors, Jimmy Goldblum and Adam Weber, have just released their first feature, Tomorrow We Disappear.

Watch the video. URL:http://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/416589/clock-of-the-long-now/?utm_source=SFFB

Daily handful of walnuts linked to better diet and improvements in some health risk factors


Eating a daily handful of walnuts is linked to better overall diet quality and an improvement in certain risk factors among people at high risk of diabetes, finds research published in the online journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.

The walnut diet was associated with improvements in vessel cell wall function and ‘bad’ cholesterol after six months, although it didn’t have any impact on blood pressure or blood glucose levels.

Walnuts are a rich source of essential fatty acids and other nutrients, such as folate and vitamin E. And they have been associated with various health benefits. But they are also high in calories, prompting concerns that they might increase weight gain if not part of a calorie controlled diet.

The researchers randomly assigned 112 people to either following a diet with dietary counselling designed to curb calorie intake, or one without. Within these two groupings, participants were randomly assigned to the daily inclusion of 56 g (2 oz) of in their diet or the complete avoidance of walnuts for a period of six months.

After a three month interlude, the intervention arms were reversed.

The 31 men and 81 women, who were aged between 25 and 75, were all at of developing diabetes.

Their height, weight, BMI, waist circumference, blood pressure, cholesterol, fasting blood glucose, and HbA1c (glycated haemoglobin), which gives an indication of average blood glucose levels over time, were assessed at the start of the trial, and then again after 3, 6, 12 and 15 months. Dietary intake was similarly assessed at these time points.

Diet quality was assessed using the Healthy Eating Index 2010 (HEI-2010). Improved diet is associated with a better cardiovascular risk profile and a lowered risk of long term conditions.

After taking account of influential factors, such as age, calorie and fatty acid intakes, and the amount of regular exercise taken, the analysis indicated that adding walnuts to the daily diet was associated with improved diet quality.

A walnut-rich diet was also associated with significantly improved endothelial cell function, irrespective of dietary counselling to curb calorie intake.

Endothelial cells line the walls of all blood vessels in the body, forming a selectively permeable barrier between the blood and other body tissues, enabling certain chemicals and blood gases to pass through.

Total and ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol also fell significantly among those who ate walnuts every day.

However, endothelial function and cholesterol levels also improved among those following the walnut exclusion diet, possibly due to the placebo effect, suggest the researchers.

Body fat significantly increased on the walnut-rich diet, when eaten in the absence of calorie restriction, but waist circumference fell significantly when combined with calorie restriction.

The addition of walnuts to the diet had no impact on blood pressure, fasting , or ‘good’ HDL cholesterol, and HbA1c increased on both types of diet, irrespective of dietary counselling.

“Our data suggest that inclusion of walnuts in the diet, with or without dietary counselling to adjust caloric intake, improved quality and may also improve [endothelial function], and reduce total and LDL cholesterol in this sample of adults at risk for diabetes,” conclude the researchers.

NASA Orders 1st Crewed Mission from SpaceX


It’s official: SpaceX will fly NASA astronauts to the International Space Station a few years from now.

California-based SpaceX has secured its first astronaut taxi order under its Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract with NASA, agency officials announced Friday (Nov. 20).

The milestone marks the second of four guaranteed orders the space agency will make under its CCtCap deals with SpaceX and Boeing, which received its first order this past May.

“It’s really exciting to see SpaceX and Boeing with hardware in flow for their first crew rotation missions,” Kathy Lueders, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, said in a statement. “It is important to have at least two healthy and robust capabilities from U.S. companies to deliver crew and critical scientific experiments from American soil to the space station throughout its life span.”

In September 2014, NASA awarded Boeing and SpaceX $4.2 billion and $2.6 billion, respectively, to finish work on their astronaut taxi systems. Boeing is developing a capsule called the CST-100 Starliner, while SpaceX is working on a crewed version of its Dragon cargo capsule, which has already visited the orbiting lab six times on robotic resupply runs under a separate NASA contract.

NASA Embraces Commercial Space | Video

NASA wants both Boeing and SpaceX to be ready to fly astronauts by late 2017. The agency has not yet decided which company will fly the first private crewed mission to the orbiting lab.

The United States has been unable to launch its own astronauts since the space shuttle fleet retired in July 2011; the nation has been buying seats aboard Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft, which cost more than $70 million apiece per flight.

Shifting over to private American spacecraft should reduce such costs and also boost the scientific output of the orbiting lab, because the CST-100 Starliner and Dragon will be able to carry more passengers than the three-person Soyuz, NASA officials said. Each of the American capsules can seat up to seven astronauts, though a standard mission to the space station will carry up to four crewmembers and about 220 lbs. (100 kilograms) of pressurized cargo.

“Commercial crew launches are really important for helping us meet the demand for research on the space station because it allows us to increase the crew to seven,” Julie Robinson, International Space Station chief scientist, said in the same statement. (To date, a full crew aboard the orbiting lab has consisted of six people.)

“Over the long term, it also sets the foundation for scientific access to future commercial research platforms in low Earth orbit,” Robinson added.

No substantive evidence for ‘pause’ in global warming, study finds


Global warming
Global mean surface temperature change from 1880 to 2014, relative to the 1951–1980 mean. The black line is the annual mean and the red line is the 5-year running mean. The green bars show uncertainty estimates. 

There is no substantive evidence for a ‘pause’ or ‘hiatus’ in global warming and the use of those terms is therefore inaccurate, new research from the University of Bristol, UK has found.

The researchers, led by Professor Stephan Lewandowsky of Bristol’s School of Experimental Psychology and the Cabot Institute, examined 40 peer-reviewed scientific articles published between 2009 and 2014 that specifically addressed the presumed ‘hiatus’ and found no consistent or agreed definition of such a ‘hiatus’, when it began and how long it lasted.

The researchers then compared the distribution of decadal warming trends during the ‘hiatus’ – as defined by the same scientific articles – against other trends of equivalent length in the entire record of modern global warming. The analysis showed that all definitions of the ‘hiatus’ in the literature were found to be unexceptional in the context of other trends.

The researchers also found that, if sample size is small, the ‘hiatus’ will always appear to be present. For example, anyone making a claim for a ‘hiatus’ of 12 years or below (a claim made by a third of the articles studied) will find one, not because something new and different is happening, but because small sample sizes provide insufficient statistical power for the detection of trends.

Professor Lewandowsky said: “Our study raises the question: why has so much research been framed around the concept of a ‘hiatus’ when it does not exist? The notion of a ‘pause’ or ‘hiatus’ demonstrably originated outside the scientific community, and it likely found entry into the scientific discourse because of the constant challenge by contrarian voices that are known to affect scientific communication and conduct.”

Discussing climate change using the terms ‘pause’ or ‘hiatus’ creates hazards for the public and the , the study concludes.

Professor Lewandowsky said: “Scientists may argue that when they use the terms ‘pause’ or ‘hiatus’ they know – and their colleagues understand – that they do not mean to imply global warming has stopped.

“But while scientists might tacitly understand that global warming continues notwithstanding the alleged ‘hiatus’, or they may intend the ‘pause’ to refer to differences between observed temperatures and expectations from theory or models, the public is not privy to that tacit understanding.

“Therefore, scientists should avoid the use of ‘pause’ or hiatus’ when referring to fluctuations of global mean surface temperature around the longer-term warming trend. There is no evidence for a pause in .”

Adults Can Grow New Brain Cells: How Neurogenesis Works


For those of you over the age of 25, have no fear when it comes to improving your brain: Evidence shows that neurogenesis, or the brain’s production of new neurons, continues well into adulthood. In a recent TED talk, neuroscientist Dr. Sandrine Thuret of King’s College London discusses how neurogenesis works — and how you can increase your own brain cells as you age.

While researchers are still learning about it, they do know that one of the brain regions that sees the rebirth and regeneration of neuron cells is the hippocampus, the grey structure in the center of the brain that’s associated with learning, memory, mood, and emotion. Thuret explains that neurons are important for learning and memory. If we block the ability of the adult brain to make new neurons in the hippocampus, then we block certain memory abilities — especially when it comes to special recognition as well as the quality of our memories.

But perhaps most interesting is Thuret’s research that involves the relationship of neurogenesis to depression and mental health. Research has shown that depressed patients have lower levels of newly generated neurons, while antidepressants increased their production. As a result, the ability of the brain to produce new neurons may be a protective feature against depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. This leaves us with is plenty of choices — and opportunities to boost our own neurogenesis, Thuret explains.

“Now we think we have enough evidence to say that neurogenesis is a target of choice if we want to improve memory formation, or mood, or even prevent the decline associated with aging or associated with stress,” she said in the video. “The next question is, can we control neurogenesis? The answer is yes.”

runners neurogResearch shows the brain of a mouse (left) compared to that of a mouse who spends its time running (right); the black dots signify new neurons. YouTube

Shes goes on to explain that some of the ways to increase neurogenesis include learning new things, sex, and running (or any type of aerobic activity/movement). What you eat also has an impact on new neurons — specifically flavonoids (blueberries, dark chocolate) and omega 3 fatty acids, which are found in salmon and other types of fish. The way you eat, when you eat, and the texture of what you eat all also play a role in how much your brain produces new neurons.

The things that decrease neurogenesis, meanwhile, include stress, sleep deprivation, alcohol, and a diet high in saturated fats and other unhealthy compounds.

DARPA’s latest project? A brain implant capable of restoring lost memories


File photo - A laboratory assistant holds one hemisphere of a healthy brain in the Morphological unit of psychopathology in the Neuropsychiatry division of the Belle Idee University Hospital in Chene-Bourg near Geneva in a March 14, 2011 file photo. (REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/files)

File photo – A laboratory assistant holds one hemisphere of a healthy brain in the Morphological unit of psychopathology in the Neuropsychiatry division of the Belle Idee University Hospital in Chene-Bourg near Geneva in a March 14, 2011 file photo.

Any time a new technology is either backed by President Obama or developed by DARPA, you know it’s serious business. But if something is backed by Obamaand developed by DARPA, that’s when you know to really take notice — and the government’s new Restoring Active Memory (RAM) program is just that. Freshly announced by DARPA, the project’s goal is to create an implantable neural-interface designed to restore lost memories in those suffering traumatic brain injuries.

As stated by DARPA in its recent press release, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) affect roughly 1.7 million civilians each year and an astounding 270,000 military servicemembers since 2000. Further, TBI has shown to impair one’s ability to recall memories created before suffering the injury while also limiting the capability to form new ones after. With the RAM program, DARPA intends to expedite the process of developing tech designed to bridge the gaps created in injured brains. In other words, TBI sufferers may not have to worry about lost memories if DARPA has its way.

The RAM program, which is part of Obama’s broader BRAIN Initiative, aims to accomplish this memory-saving goal by performing two steps. First, DARPA hopes to create a multi-scale computational model that describes how neurons code memories. Assuming it can gather the necessary data, DARPA’s next step is to create a neural-interface armed with the ability to bridge memory flow gaps created in the brain after a traumatic injury. The implant would essentially stimulate the desired target in the brain to help it restore its ability to create new memories.

Related: Construction is nearly complete on DARPA’s crazy submarine-hunting drone

DARPA says it plans on working with a number of human volunteers for its clinical trials and also intends to run studies of the tech with animals. For the volunteers, it’s targeting individuals with traumatic brain injuries who have trouble encoding or recalling memories, as well as those with other neurological conditions scheduled to undergo neurosurgery. Moreover, DARPA already has the insight of a relative Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications panel for supplemental information regarding human and animal trials of this nature.

“As the technology of these fully implantable devices improves, and as we learn more about how to stimulate the brain ever more precisely to achieve the most therapeutic effects, I believe we are going to gain a critical capacity to help our wounded warriors and others who today suffer from intractable neurological problems” DARPA’s biological technologies program manager Justin Sanchez tells Popular Science.

No official timetable was given regarding the release of the RAM program’s test results, though DARPA did say it had already begun administering trials since September. If all goes according to plan, the agency intends to expand the context of its research to those outside of the military who also experience brain trauma.

Physicists Are Desperate to Be Wrong About the Higgs Boson.


A visitor stands in front of a large image of the Large Hadron Collider at the London Science Museum's 'Collider' exhibition.
When Paul Glaysher was approaching the end of his master’s degree in 2012, everyone was talking about the Higgs boson. After two years of smashing protons together, CERN’s Large Hadron Collider was about to bring the mysterious particle—it helps explain how the universe got its mass—out of the theoretical realm. Students who landed a spot on a LHC research team had a chance to aid the biggest discovery in modern physics.

Glaysher bit. Then, two months before he started his PhD program with the University of Edinburgh’s CERN team, the LHC’s ATLAS and CMS experiments announced they had found the Higgs boson.

“It was a bit sad,” Glaysher says. “They waited 50 years to find it, and couldn’t wait the extra two months until I was part of the party.”

The three years that followed were a champagne-fueled hangover. Further data confirmed the Higgs discovery, and then the collider shut down for a two-year upgrade that more than doubled its particle-smashing power.

This summer, the LHC’s long-awaited restart came with a new promise: the chance to spot larger particles never before created in a human-made particle accelerator. Physicists believe they might glimpse the particles that make up dark matter—the unknown substance thought to make up a quarter of the universe—or even hints of other dimensions.

But despite the chance to study exotic new particles, Glaysher finds himself three and a half years later still studying the Higgs boson for the ATLAS experiment. Instead of spending his entire life chasing a specter, he’s examining something very real.
“Discovery—as exciting as it is, as Nobel-prize-generating as it may be—it’s actually just the first step,” Glaysher says. Theorists and other researchers at the collider agree with him. They think the Higgs could find them some new physics yet.

What Now?
The Higgs was, in a way, the end of the line. At the heart of particle physics is what’s known as the Standard Model: a group of 17 elementary particles and the rules for how they should interact. Up until the Higgs discovery, physicists had observed 16 of these particles—and the field was desperate for a 17th that would push the model in new directions. But the Higgs turned out to be totally ordinary. It acted just like the model said it would act, obeyed every theorized rule.

The physicists, in other words, had done too good of a job with their predictions. “With the Higgs, we thought we had touched the bottom,” says Andre David, a CMS research physicist leading the effort to characterize the boson.

But with a newly-upgraded LHC, the ATLAS researchers—along with their counterparts at CMS and theoretical physicists—think the Higgs could yet lead to new insights about the nature of the world. “It’s like you’ve pierced the bottom and there must be a new bottom,” says David. “You just have to keep digging.”

So far, the scientists have some juicy theories for the Higgs. When you’re part of the process responsible for giving the universe mass, it’s likely you’re mixed up in some other interesting business. This month marked the completion of the LHC’s first round of observing proton collisions at a higher energy, and the data collected could play into some of physics’ biggest questions.

One of physicists’ greatest hopes for the new LHC is to not upend the Standard Model with new observations, but to extend it—by finding a partner for each of its 17 particles, validating a theory called supersymmetry. The Standard Model has a good explanation for the weak force, which allows one particle to turn into another. But physicists don’t know why the weak force is able to overpower gravity. Theories that explained that weirdness called for a Higgs with a huge mass, but the boson discovered in 2012 was relatively light. Observing supersymmetric particles that are also light could account for the discrepancies.
The Higgs could play a role in another unobserved particle, too: dark matter. It’s possible that the Higgs likes to turn into dark matter, or play some other role in its behavior. The LHC’s huge detectors measure what happens after collisions by detecting the energies of the resulting particles—and if part of the energy disappears, it could be a hint that dark matter appeared.

Then there’s matter and antimatter. While physicists have documented both, they aren’t sure what happened right after the Big Bang, when the universe was still made of equal parts matter and antimatter. The two have a tendency to destroy each other and turn into pure energy when they collide. But something caused an imbalance, leading to a modern universe that has far more matter than antimatter. Physicists believe the Higgs’ interactions with itself could have played a part—so they plan to study what happens when two Higgs meet in the LHC.

Finally, physicists believe they could find even more Higgs particles. One prominent theory holds that instead of one type of Higgs boson, there are five. Some of them are much heavier than the Higgs found in 2012, which means the LHC may not have been powerful enough to create them. Until now.

The Known Unknown
Those are all tantalizing possibilities. Still, the LHC’s most intriguing results could come from seeing something that nobody predicted. The Higgs discovered in 2012 happens to have a mass that is suspiciously compatible with a huge number of particle interactions. That could be a coincidence. Or—hope beyond hope—it could lead to an underlying principle that physicists have missed until now. The end goal, as always, is to find a string that, when tugged, rings a clarion bell that draws physicists toward something new.

“It’s not guaranteed we have thought everything that can be thought of. It might just be we are not imaginative and creative enough,” David says. “We might be going in a direction where new physics could be subtle. It’s not like a new particle in your face.”

Scientists are, once again, starting the clock on a nebulous waiting period. Peter Higgs theorized the boson in 1964—and then the particle went unobserved for 50 years. CERN’s teams don’t know whether their current collider is powerful enough to provide the answers they seek, or if they will have to wait for a major energy upgrade years or even decades from now.

“We have lots of questions. We have indirect evidence that they might be answered by the experiments we’re doing,” says ATLAS researcher Elliot Lipeles. “We might come up empty, or we might find a shocking discovery literally next month.”

It’s tedious and generally unglamorous work. Glaysher’s group at the University of Edinburgh spends its days analyzing instances of the Higgs decaying into several specific types of particles. To uncover the Higgs’ secrets, it’s up to physicists to spend thousands of hours combing through the unfathomable number of particle collisions produced each day in the LHC. And if Glaysher is lucky, his team might be the one to find out physics has got the Higgs all wrong.

How Loneliness Affects your brain.


sanoop (CC BY 2.0)

It seems that loneliness can make us more “defensive,” which may perpetuate the cycle.

 

Loneliness makes the areas of the brain that are vigilant for threat more active, a new study finds.

This can make people who are socially isolated more abrasive and defensive — it’s a form of self-preservation.

This may be why lonely people can get marginalised.

Professor John Cacioppo, an expert on loneliness, speaking about an earlier study on the marginalisation of the lonely, said:

“We detected an extraordinary pattern of contagion that leads people to be moved to the edge of the social network when they become lonely.

On the periphery people have fewer friends, yet their loneliness leads them to losing the few ties they have left.

These reinforcing effects mean that our social fabric can fray at the edges, like a yarn that comes loose at the end of a crocheted sweater.”

‘Gene Drive’ Mosquitoes Engineered to Fight


Mutant mosquitoes engineered to resist the parasite that causes malaria could wipe out the disease in some regions—for good.

Humans contract malaria from mosquitoes that are infected by parasites from the genus Plasmodium. Previous work had shown that mosquitoes could be engineered to rebuff the parasite P. falciparum, but researchers lacked a way to ensure that the resistance genes would spread rapidly through a wild population.

In work published on November 23 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers used a controversial method called ‘gene drive’ to ensure that an engineered mosquito would pass on its new resistance genes to nearly all of its offspring—not just half, as would normally be the case.

The result: a gene that could spread through a wild population like wildfire.

“This work suggests that we’re a hop, skip and jump away from actual gene-drive candidates for eventual release,” says Kevin Esvelt, an evolutionary engineer at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who studies gene drive in yeast and nematodes.

For Anthony James, a molecular biologist at the University of California, Irvine, and an author of the paper, such a release would spell the end of a 30-year quest to use mozzie genetics to squash malaria.

James and his laboratory have painstakingly built up the molecular tools to reach this goal. They have worked out techniques for creating transgenic mosquitoes—a notoriously challenging endeavour—and isolated genes that could confer resistance to P. falciparum. But James lacked a way to ensure that those genes would take hold in a wild population.

Fast forward
The concept of engineering a gene drive has been around for about a decade, and James’s laboratory had tried to produce them in the past. The process was agonizingly slow.

Then, in January, developmental biologists Ethan Bier and Valentino Gantz at the University of California, San Diego, contacted James with a stunning finding: they had engineered a gene drive in fruit flies, and wondered whether the same system might work in mosquitoes. James jumped at the opportunity to find out.

Bier and Gantz had used a gene-editing system called CRISPR–Cas9 to engineer a gene drive. They inserted genes encoding the components of the system that were designed to insert a specific mutation in their fruit flies. The CRISPR–Cas9 system then copied that mutation from one chromosome to the other. James used that system in mosquitoes to introduce two genes that his past work showed would cause resistance to the malaria pathogen.

The resulting mosquitoes passed on the modified genes to more than 99% of their offspring. Although the researchers stopped short of confirming that all the insects were resistant to the parasite, they did show that the offspring expressed the genes.

“It’s a very significant development,” says Kenneth Oye, a political scientist who studies emerging technologies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. “Things are moving rapidly in this field.”

Other teams are developing gene drives that could control malaria. A team at Imperial College London has developed a CRISPR-based gene drive in Anopheles gambiae, the mosquito species that transmits malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. The group’s gene drive inactivates genes involved in egg production in female mosquitoes, which could be used to reduce mosquito populations, according to team member Austin Burt, an evolutionary geneticist. Their results will be published in Nature Biotechnology next month, Burt says.

Oye notes that such technological advances are outpacing the regulatory and policy discussionsthat surround the use of gene drive to engineer wild populations. Gene drives are controversial because of the potential that they hold for altering entire ecosystems.

Before testing gene drive in the field, Oye hopes that researchers will study the long-term consequences of the changes, such as their stability and potential to spread to other species, as well as methods to control them. “I’m less worried about malevolence than getting something wrong,” he says.

Esvelt says that the US-based researchers made a wise decision in selecting a non-native mosquito species for their experiments. (The team worked with Anopheles stephensi, which is native to the Indian subcontinent.) “Even if they escaped the lab, there’d be no one to mate with and spread the drive,” Esvelt says.

James predicts that it will take his team less than a year to prepare mosquitoes that would be suitable for field tests, but he is in no rush to release them. “It’s not going to go anywhere until the social science advances to the point where we can handle it,” he says. “We’re not about to do anything foolish.”

How fast your heart beats predicts if you will die


Chinese researchers found that the risk of dying from any illness raises by around nine per cent for every extra 10 beats per minute

A stethascope laid out to resemble a heartbeat

A racing heart can predict an early death, according to scientists Photo: Getty

It’s enough to make your heart beat a little faster. A new study suggests thatresting heart rate can be used as a ‘death test’ to predict your chance of keeling over in the next two decades.

Although doctors have known for some time that people with low resting heart rates are usually fitter and more healthy, it is the first time the risk has been quantified.

People who have a resting heart rate of 80 beats per minute (bpm) are 45 per cent more likely to die of any cause in the next 20 years compared to those with the lowest measured heart rate of 45 bpm.

“There is no doubt that elevated resting heart rate serves as a marker of poor health status”
Dr Dongfeng Zhang, Medical College of Qingdao University

Most people’s resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 bpm but the hearts of professional athletes beat around 40 times per minute.

The researchers found that the risk of dying from any illness or health condition raises by around nine per cent for every 10 bpm over. The chance of suffering a fatal heart attack or stroke rises eight per cent.

“The association of resting heart rate with risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality is independent of traditional risk factors of cardiovascular disease, suggesting that resting heart rate is a predictor of mortality in the general population,” said Dr Dongfeng Zhang, of the Medical College of Qingdao University, Shandong, China.

To find out the link between heart rate and death, researchers trawled through 46 studies which involved more than 1.2 million people who were monitored for an average of 21 years. Just over half were under the age of 50.

Over that time, there were 78, 349 deaths including 25, 800 from heart problems.

The team found a linear increase in resting heart rate and death. By the time heart rate had reached 90 bpm the chance of early death had nearly doubled.

The authors suggest taking a measurement of heart rate at night when the body is in its greatest state of relaxation and a more accurate reading is likely.

“The available evidence does not fully establish resting heart rate as a risk factor, but there is no doubt that elevated resting heart rate serves as a marker of poor health status,” added Dr Zhang.

“Our results highlight that people should pay more attention to their resting heart rate for their health, and also indicate the potential importance of physical activity to lower resting heart rate.”

The researchers say the information could be used to develop an algorithm that considers both resting heart rate and cardiovascular risk factors to help doctors assess resting heart rate in clinical care.

Heart charities in Britain advised people to visit their doctor if they were concerned that their heart rate was high.

Christopher Allen, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Many people aren’t concerned about their heart rate unless they’re exercising or they have symptoms such as palpitations.

“This large analysis suggests that if your resting heart rate is higher, you may have an increased risk of dying from conditions such as a heart attack or stroke.

“While we know that a slower resting heart rate can mean you’re physically fit, more research will be needed to tell us whether a quicker resting heart rate has any impact and how this can be measured accurately.”

Resting heart rate for men

Resting heart rate for women

The researchers point out that the risk of death overall is still fairly low, with only around 6.5 per cent of people dying during the time period.

Dr Kate Holmes, Assistant Director for Research and Information at theStroke Association, added: “The single biggest modifiable risk factor for stroke is high blood pressure. At the Stroke Association, we advise that anyone concerned about their risk of stroke should get their blood pressure checked regularly, and take steps to keep it within a healthy range.

“Eating a balanced diet, stopping smoking and enjoying a drink in moderation are all simple steps which can have a big impact on our health.”

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