The body language between two people is often a great way to determine the status of the relationship. Reading the other person’s body language can make the communication a lot easy. Body language speaks volumes about a person’s interest in the relationship as your bonding progresses. It can help you in finding out the true intentions of a person, so that you’re more aware of how to handle the situation in the best way possible.
The more flights of stairs a person climbs and the more years of school a person completes, the “younger” their brain physically appears.
Climbing the stairs can not only help you stay physically fit but also improve brain health, suggests new research.
“There already exist many ‘Take the stairs’ campaigns in office environments and public transportation centres,” said lead researcher Jason Steffener from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.
For the study, Steffener and his co-authors used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to non-invasively examine the brains of 331 healthy adults who ranged in age from 19 to 79. They measured the volume of grey matter found in participants’ brains because its decline, caused by neural shrinkage and neuronal loss, is a very visible part of the chronological aging process. Then, they compared brain volume to the participants’ reported number of flights of stairs climbed and years of schooling completed.
Results were clear — the more flights of stairs climbed, and the more years of schooling completed, the younger the brain. “This is encouraging because it demonstrates that a simple thing like climbing stairs has great potential as an intervention tool to promote brain health,” Steffener said. –
“This study shows that these campaigns should also be expanded for older adults so that they can work to keep their brains young,” said Steffener.
The researchers found that education also played a positive role in brain health.
The study, published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging, showed that the more flights of stairs a person climbs and the more years of school a person completes, the “younger” their brain physically appears.
Using Herceptin in combination with another drug can shrink tumours in less than two weeks, study finds.
The findings could potentially lead to fewer women needing chemotherapy, researchers say.
Using Herceptin in combination with another drug before surgery shrinks and may even destroy tumours in women with an aggressive form of breast cancer in less than two weeks, an “astonishing” study suggests.
The results of the Cancer Research UK-funded trial, presented at the 10th European Breast Cancer Conference in Amsterdam, could – if successfully replicated – lead to fewer women needing chemotherapy.
Around a quarter of 66 women with HER2 positive breast cancer treated for 11 days with both trastuzumab (the generic name for Herceptin) and lapatinib saw their tumours rapidly shrink significantly or even disappear.
Prof Nigel Bundred, from the University of Manchester and the University Hospital of South Manchester NHS foundation trust, who presented the data, said: “This has groundbreaking potential because it allows us to identify a group of patients who, within 11 days, have had their tumours disappear with anti-HER2 therapy alone and who potentially may not require subsequent chemotherapy.
“This offers the opportunity to tailor treatment for each individual woman.”
Samia al Qadhi, chief executive at Breast Cancer Care, said: “The astonishing findings in this study show that combining these two drugs has the potential to shrink HER2 positive breast cancer in just 11 days.
“For some HER2 positive breast cancer patients the effect of this drug combination will be amazing and mean they can avoid chemotherapy and its gruelling side effects completely. For others, their tumours may not shrink, but doctors will know either way very quickly, giving them the ability to rapidly decide on further treatment.
“Although an early study, this has game changing potential. Yet before this can be made available we need to see more evidence. Particularly because, at present, trastuzumab’s (Herceptin) licensing means it is only available to be used alongside chemotherapy and not alone. All cancer patients deserve access to clinically effective treatments.”
Trial co-leader Prof Judith Bliss, director of the clinical trials and statistics unit at the Institute of Cancer Research, London, said: “It was unexpected to see quite such dramatic responses to the trastuzumab and lapatinib within 11 days.
“Our results are a strong foundation on which to build further trials of combination anti-HER2 therapies prior to surgery – which could reduce the number of women who require subsequent chemotherapy, which is also very effective but can lead to long-term side effects.”
The trial, led by researchers from Manchester University, the University Hospital of South Manchester NHS foundation trust and the Institute of Cancer Research, studied 257 women with HER2 positive breast cancer in the short gap between their initial diagnosis and surgery to remove their tumours.
Initially women were randomised to receive either trastuzamab or lapatinib or no treatment. Halfway through the trial, after evidence from other trials of the effectiveness of the combination, the design was changed so that additional women allocated to the lapatinib group were also prescribed trastuzumab.
Of the women receiving both, 17% had only minimal residual disease – defined as an invasive tumour smaller than 5mm in size – and 11% had no biological sign of invasive tumour in the breast. Of the women treated with trastuzumab only, 3% had residual disease or complete response.
HER2 positive breast cancer is more likely to come back after treatment than some other types of breast cancer. It is generally treated with surgery, chemotherapy, endocrine therapy and targeted anti-HER2 drugs.
Current treatments are effective, and complete response is common after three to four months, but observing a disease response so quickly took the researchers by surprise.
In the UK, around 53,000 women a year are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, and in 10% to 15% of these cases it is HER2 positive breast cancer. Around 11,500 women die from the disease every year.
Herceptin was approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) 10 years ago after pressure from patients. Lapatinib has not been approved and so is not routinely available on the NHS due to its expense.
According to Cancer Research UK, current treatments are effective, and women often experience a complete response after three to four months. Nevertheless, researchers said the 11-day response was very surprising.
Prof Arnie Purushotham, senior clinical adviser at Cancer Research UK, said: “These results are very promising if they stand up in the long run and could be the starting step of finding a new way to treat HER2 positive breast cancers.
“This could mean some women can avoid chemotherapy after their surgery – sparing them the side-effects and giving them a better quality of life.”
Every time you eat whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables – foods very rich in dietary fibre, which is a type of carbohydrate present in plants – you are not only taking care of your health, but also nourishing some of the trillion microbes inhabiting your gut that, in turn, take care of you. And as a new study suggests, your diet not only conditions your health and microbial community but also those of your children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren.
According to the results of research led by microbiologists of Stanford University and published inNature, you do not just pass your genes on to your offspring, but also a whole gut ecosystem shaped in response to your dietary habits. If fibre intake plummets, so does the richness and diversity of bacteria living in the gut.
In a study conducted with mice, Justin and Erica Sonnenburg and colleagues at Stanford Universitywanted to simulate the effects of a low-fibre diet on the gut microbes of mice. To do so, they transplanted microbiota from a human donor (a 36-year-old American man) to a group of 10 germ-free mice.
They then separated the rodents into two groups: one was fed a diet rich in fibre and the other just the opposite. The animals were monitored for seven weeks and although in the beginning the microorganisms present in the mice’s guts in both groups were similar, after some weeks therodents on the low-fibre diet showed a depletion in the diversity of their gut microbiota. In fact, they had 60% fewer bacteria species compared with the animals following the control diet.
Researchers switched the food regime of the microbiota-depleted mice and put them on the control diet to check whether they could recover some microbial diversity. This was partly achieved when a high-fibre diet was reintroduced, although 33% of all species remained at low or undetectable levels.
What about those mice’s offspring? Would they also suffer the consequences of this depletion? In order to answer this question, the scientists bred four generations of both groups of mice. They observed that the pups from the mice following a low-fibre diet showed a reduced microbial richness in every generation. Indeed, the fourth generation showed 72% less microbiota diversity.If those pups were switched to a high-fibre diet, their microbial community experienced a small recovery, but remained 67% lower than in rodents that had always been fed with a high-fibre diet.
Recent studies have linked the benefits of higher dietary fibre intake to less cardiovascular disease and lower body weight. Nevertheless, humans cannot metabolise the complex dietary carbohydrates found in fruit and vegetables nor obtain energy from them; rather, gut microbiota does it for us.
In light of the results of this research, it seems that once an entire population has experienced the depletion of key bacterial species, simply ‘eating right’ may no longer be enough to restore these lost species to the guts of individuals within that population.
We must not forget, however, that the study has been carried out with mice, so caution must be exercised before extrapolating results to humans. In fact, as the authors point out in their article, the next step will be to test whether the same results are relevant to humans.
Australia’s most newly-discovered spider surfs, swims and can catch prey up to three times its own size.
The spider was revealed at the World Science Festival in Australia, and was given the name ‘Brian’, after a famous scientist called Professor Brian Greene.
The spider can be found in Queensland, Australia, and eats fish, frogs, tadpoles, and even big cane toads, but luckily isn’t dangerous to humans.
Brian catches its prey by sitting on the surface of water, and feeling vibrations caused by the creatures it wants to hunt.
When it feels a vibration, it runs across the water to grab its prey.
It then dives under the water with it, before swimming back to shore to eat it up.
‘Ultra-processed’ foods make up more than half of all calories consumed in the US diet, and contribute nearly 90% of all added sugar intake, finds research published in the online journal BMJ Open.
Ultra-processed foods are formulations of several ingredients. Besides salt, sugar, oils and fats, they include substances not generally used in cooking, such as flavourings, emulsifiers, and other additives designed to mimic the qualities of ‘real foods’.
Ultra-processed foods include mass produced soft drinks; sweet or savoury packaged snacks; confectionery and desserts; packaged baked goods; chicken/fish nuggets and other reconstituted meat products; instant noodles and soups.
To assess the contribution of ultra-processed foods to the intake of added sugars in the US diet, the researchers drew on dietary data involving more than 9000 people from the 2009-10 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), an ongoing nationally representative cross sectional survey of US civilians.
They looked at the average dietary content of added sugars and the proportion of people who consumed more than 10% of their total energy intake–the maximum recommended limit–from this source.
Ultra-processed foods made up over half of total calorie intake (just under 60%) and contributed almost 90% of energy intake from added sugars.
Added sugars represented 1 in every 5 calories in the average ultra-processed food product–far higher than the calorie content of added sugars in processed foods and in unprocessed or minimally processed foods and processed culinary ingredients, including table sugar, combined.
A strong linear association emerged between the dietary content of ultra-processed foods and the overall dietary intake of added sugars.
Furthermore, the proportion of people exceeding the recommended upper limit of 10% of energy from added sugars was far higher when ultra-processed food consumption was high, rising to more than 80% among those who ate the most ultra-processed foods.
Notably, only those Americans whose ultra-processed food consumption was within the lowest 20% had an average daily added sugar intake that fell below the maximum recommended limit.
Several leading health bodies, including the World Health Organization, the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, the American Heart Association, and the US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee have concluded that excess added sugar intake increases the risk not only of weight gain, but also of obesity and diabetes, which are associated with a heightened risk of cardiovascular disease, and tooth decay.
Cutting back on the consumption of ultra-processed foods could be an effective way of curbing excessive added sugar intake in the US, conclude the researchers.
Meldonium, the same purported performance enhancer that landed tennis star Maria Sharapova in hot water, enjoyed plenty of popularity among athletes who attended the Baku 2015 European Games, a new report from the British Journal of Sport Medicine released January 8 has found.
The authors examined testing results taken during the Games by the World Anti-Doping Agency Monitoring Program. More than 650 athletes at the Games from June 12-28 submitted blood and urine tests before and during the event. Of them, 8.7 percent tested positive for meldonium. Tellingly, only 3 percent of athletes self-reported their use of the drug prior to the test. though meldonium wasn’t placed on the the agency’s prohibited substance list until this January.
“These findings highlight the excessive and inappropriate use and prescribing of this prescription drug in a generally healthy athlete population,” the researchers concluded.
Sharapova announced in a press conference Monday that she tested positive for meldonium during the Australian Open in January, claiming she had often used it since 2006 to help with a number of medical issues, including magnesium deficiency. She also stated she was unaware that it was on the prohibited list, not having read an email sent from the doping agency in December regarding the changes. Sharapova, who is currently injured, was provisionally suspended from the sport by the International Tennis Federation for the failed test, with no word yet on how long the ban will last.
The study authors cautioned that Sharapova may not be alone in being ignorant about meldonium’s now-banned status, and advocated that National Anti-Doping Organizations launch a global awareness campaign aimed towards both athletes and healthcare providers to prevent future violations. “In addition, further education for athletes and their medical support personnel about appropriate prescribing of medical drugs only for legitimate medical care is warranted,” they wrote.
Of course, meldonium isn’t the only relatively obscure drug on the prohibited list.
There’s salbutamol, a long-used asthma drug traditionally available as an inhalant. When injected or taken as a tablet, though, it and other beta2 agonists act more like anabolic steroids. Or dextromoramide, a narcotic more potent than morphine but only available in the Netherlands. While not directly performance enhancers and plenty dangerous when not used correctly, narcotics allow athletes to ignore injuries and stress during competition and push themselves further than expected during training. Let’s not forget pindolol, one of many banned beta-blockers. Beta-blockers dull the effect of adrenaline, in turn allowing competitive archers, race car drivers, and even pool players to stay cooler under pressure with a slower heart beat and reduced anxiety.
Meldonium, the only major addition onto the 2016 ban list, is medically used to increase blood flow, prevent the enlargement of heart muscle, and increase stress tolerance. Strangely enough, though, its status as a bonafide performance enhancer isn’t set in stone.
“The evidence to demonstrate any performance enhancing effects of meldonium in the athlete population is limited,” the study authors noted. “There appears to be some evidence that meldonium may benefit exercise performance in rodents, but specific studies to evaluate potential effect on performance specifically in elite athletes have not been identified.”
Given many healthy athletes’ willingness to take the drug, and their later reluctance to admit to it, though, it’s likely there’s some proof in the pudding. The World Anti-Doping Agency, having previously placed meldonium on its 2015 watch list, apparently thought so too
You have probably been told that one ought not lie. And you probably hope that people tell the truth to you. But have you ever thought of lying as an interesting social ability? Lying is actually tied to empathy, the ability to see things from another person’s perspective. Most humans begin to develop these skills around the age of three, when they begin to understand that what they know about the world might be different from what other people know about the world. Telling lies might be a skill, but lies can, of course, cause trouble. Sometimes you would probably really like to know how to tell a truth from a lie. Will the lie detector proposed in this science project really work?
Lying is a process that activates specific parts of the brain. Lying is also often accompanied by a feeling of guilt, which creates stress. Standard lie-detection techniques look for the body’s reactions to this stress, such as elevated heart rate or blood pressure, faster breathing or sweating. This is difficult. How can you distinguish between stress that is related to a lie and other stress, such as the anxiety about taking a lie detector test? Or what if the person telling a lie does not feel guilty about the lie, or has learned to stop the body’s response to feeling guilty?
Neuroscience provides an alternative method to separate a truth from a lie that uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (or fMRI) of the brain. An fMRI scan shows which parts of the brain receive the most blood—or are the most active—as the brain performs a specific task. These scans reveal that more and different parts of the brain are active during lying, as compared to truth-telling. In short, the brain works harder when it is telling a lie than when it is telling the truth.
Excluding unconscious tasks such as walking and talking, we generally sacrifice efficiency when we do two or more activities at the same time. Do you think it is harder to perform well at a physical task while our brain is busy telling a lie, compared to while our brain is busy telling the truth? Find a friend and see if you can detect a hard-working brain!
- Paper and pen or pencil
- If your volunteer(s) are much taller than you, you will need a stable stool or chair on which to stand. If the difference is relatively small, the first or second step of a stair will help. The goal is to have your shoulders at the same level as the shoulders of your volunteer.
- Inform your volunteer that you would like to test a particular lie detector and need to collect a little information from the volunteer to do so.
- Ask your volunteer to complete the following sentences three times, filling in something different each time. “I strongly dislike …” Write down the answers or draw a picture of it so you remember what it was.
- Repeat the previous step with the following sentence: “I really like …”
- Have the volunteer stand facing you, a few feet away. If you are much shorter than your volunteer, then raise yourself up on a stair, stool or chair so your shoulders are approximately level with the shoulders of your volunteer.
- Have your volunteer extend his or her arm straight out in front, palm facing down so the whole arm is at shoulder level. Tell the volunteer you are going to have him or her say a few phrases, that you will push the arm down and you would like him or her to try to keep the arm up.
- Extend your arm straight out and place your hand, palm down, over the volunteer’s hand and wrist.
- Ask the volunteer to say the following sentence three times in a row: “I really like …” where you fill in the blank with the first item your volunteer mentioned in the list she or he really likes, so that this is a truth for your volunteer to say out loud. As the volunteer says the sentences, press down on the volunteer’s arm and apply a steady, constant pressure. You do not need to press it all the way down; you just want to get an idea of how hard you need to push to get the arm to move down. Is it easy or hard to get the arm down?
- Repeat the previous two steps, replacing the sentence with “I really like to vomit.” This phrase is a lie for the volunteer because nausea is universally an unpleasant experience. Is it easier, similar or harder to press the arm down compared to when the person was telling the truth (previous step)? In other words, was it easier or harder for your volunteer to perform the task of holding up his or her arm?
- Repeat the previous steps, filling in the stated likes or dislikes of your volunteer and rate each time how much resistance you feel, or how difficult it is to get the arm to lower. Can you see a pattern? Is it easier, similar or harder to get the arm down when your volunteer is telling a truth compared to when your volunteer is telling a lie?
- Extra: Can you also detect specific body language revealing a lie? Pay attention to facial expressions, the pitch of the voice, hand movements and breathing rate. Do any of these change when the volunteer tells a lie compared to when the volunteer tells the truth? Why would this be so?
- Extra: Test several volunteers. Does the lie detector work better on some volunteers than others?
- Extra: If you feel the lie detector works, test if it passes the “blind” test. In this case, do not tell the volunteer you are testing a lie detector. Instead, only ask the volunteer to perform the task of holding his or her arm up while you push on it and ask the volunteer to tell a few truths and lies that they are okay revealing later whether or not they were truths. Were you able to distinguish the truths from the lies?
- Extra: How is this lie detector test setup different from real-life experiences where you try to uncover a mystery? If you feel the lie detector works in the test setup, do you think it would also work in real-life cases? Why or why not?
- Extra: In this test, you used a raised arm as the task for the volunteer to do. Can you find other tasks that better display when someone is telling a lie compared to telling the truth?
Observations and Results
You probably felt that it was easier for you to push the arm down when the volunteer was telling a lie compared to when the volunteer was telling the truth. This is what is expected; the volunteer will likely have a harder time fulfilling a physical task while telling a lie.
Neuroscientists have discovered that the brain works harder when it is telling a lie than when it is telling a truth. They found that just four parts are active during truth-telling, whereas seven parts are active during lying. This difference in brain states makes it harder for volunteers to perform a small physical task while telling a lie. As a result, your volunteers had a harder time performing well on the task to hold their arm up while their brains were busy telling a lie, compared to when their brains were engaged in telling the truth.
Telling a lie is often accompanied by other clues, were you able to spot any?
The test situation in this activity is very different from a real-life situation. In this test, the subject is asked to tell a lie and no consequences are attached. In real life, lies are self-generated and more might be at stake. These and other factors might influence how well the lie detector works.
Researchers who have analyzed America’s eating habits say they can sum up what’s wrong with our diet in just two words: ultra-processed foods.
These foods — a group that includes frozen pizzas, breakfast cereals and soda — make up 58% of all calories Americans consume in a typical day. Not only that, they delivered 90% of the added sugars that Americans ate and drank, according to a study published Wednesday in the medical journal BMJ Open.
Government health experts advise Americans to get no more than 10% of their total calories in the form of added sugars. But most of us aren’t listening. Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said that 71% of American adultsexceeded that 10% goal, and that added sugars accounted for 15% of all the calories they consumed.
More than 75% of the sugar and high-fructose corn syrup eaten by Americans was used by the food industry, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. So researchers thought it would be a good idea to figure out the extent to which the food industry was feeding America.
To find out, they turned to data collected by the CDC as part of its ongoing National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which tracks the eating habits of a nationally representative group of children and adults. The researchers focused on interviews with 9,317 people in 2009 and 2010 who recalled every single thing they had eaten in the previous 24 hours. More than 280,000 food items were named.
The survey-takers consumed 2,070 calories per day, on average. About 28% of those calories came from unprocessed or minimally processed foods, such as eggs, milk, vegetables and fish, and 3.1% from cooking ingredients like table sugar and olive oil. (The amounts were slightly different when the researchers calculated the average for the individual study participants instead of considering the whole group at once: Calories from unprocessed and minimally processed foods made up 30% of a typical person’s diet, and calories from cooking ingredients accounted for 2.9%.) An additional 10% of calories were traced to processed foods, including cheese, canned vegetables and cured meat.
But the caloric contribution of ultra-processed foods was greater than for all other categories combined, accounting for nearly 3 in every 5 calories consumed.
The researchers defined ultra-processed foods as those that used artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, stabilizers and other additives to make them taste like real food or mask their “undesirable qualities.” Breads, cakes, cookies, pies and salty snacks were the most popular ultra-processed foods, as measured by their contribution to the day’s total calories.
Overall, 14% of all calories could be traced to added sugars, the survey data revealed. But some types of food were sweeter than others.
By definition, unprocessed and minimally processed foods contained no added sugars. Processed foods got 2% of their calories from added sugars, on average. For ultra-processed foods, that figure was 21%.
The significance of these results is clear, the researchers said: If Americans are ever going to get serious about added sugars, they’ll have to cut way back on ultra-processed foods.
Dr. Carlos A. Monteiro, a professor of nutrition and public health at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil and the senior author of the report, said he wasn’t too surprised to find that ultra-processed foods were such a huge part of the American diet. A previous study he worked on found that the average American purchased 307 kilograms (about 677 pounds) of ultra-processed foods and drinks in 2013, far more than the culturally similar Canadians (230 kilograms, or 507 pounds) or residents of the United Kingdom (201 kilograms, or 443 pounds).
What did surprise the researchers was that there was so much variation in the amount of ultra-processed foods Americans ate. Though the typical study participant got nearly 60% of his or her calories from ultra-processed foods, one in five got fewer than 30% of their calories that way.
In other words, about 60 million Americans consumed more than 70% of their calories in the form of “real food,” Monteiro said. “This shows that there is hope.”
Hypersonic shock tunnels are considered indispensable for any research or study in the field of aerospace engineering, but few institutions that offer the course have the facility given its high cost and the space required for installation.
Now, a start-up incubated at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) here has developed a miniature version of the hypersonic shock tunnel that will make it feasible for any institute to have such a facility.
The size of regular shock tunnels varies from 10 metres in length to more than a hundred metres. The ‘Reddy Shock Tube’, as it has been named, consists of two sections: a 400-mm-long driver tube with a manually operated piston and a 600-mm-long driven tube. The two parts are small enough to be put on a tabletop and allow students a hands-on experience with hypersonics, a statement from the IISc said.
Super-Wave Technology Pvt Ltd, which developed the miniature shock tunnel, was co-founded by researchers at the IISc, whose study on the development of the tunnel has been published in the international journal ‘Shock Waves’.
The shock tunnel was named after Prof K P J Reddy from the Department of Aerospace Engineering, IISc, who also founded the laboratory for Hypersonics and Shockwave Research at the IISc.
“It was Prof Reddy’s wish to see improvements in the field of hypersonics research in India. He wished to instal a shock tunnel in all major engineering institutions. Once he realised that we could produce shock waves even in syringe-sized tubes, we worked to fabricate the Reddy Shock Tunnel,” Dr Sudhiesh Kumar, Project Manager at Super-Wave Technology Pvt Ltd, said. “It’s compact and allows basic hypersonics research to be conducted in educational institutions.”
Hypersonics is the study of objects moving at a speed higher than Mach 5, i.e. five times the speed of sound. When an object moves so fast, it encounters a shock wave right in front of it that also moves along with the object. Shock tubes recreate shock waves in the laboratory environment and allow scientists to study them deeply.