Latest research news

August 25, 2004

Young smokers five times more likely to have heart attacks
Smokers under the age of 40 are five times more likely to have a heart attack than non-smokers, with women at an even higher risk, research has shown. A study of almost 23,000 non-fatal heart attacks, based on data from the World Health Organisation, found that four-fifths of victims aged 35-39 were smokers.
( The Times )

Cigarettes worse than cars for pollution
Cigarettes smoke produces far more air pollution than diesel car exhaust, according to new research. Scientists analysed air quality in a garage after running a diesel Ford Mondeo for half an hour, and compared it with pollutants produced by three smokers over the same time
( The Times )

Turn off body clock 'to boost sex'
Scientists have boosted the sexual stamina of male fruit flies by removing genes that control the body clock, they report today. Because the same genes are found in people it could shed light on variations in the sexual endurance of men. Two genes representing vital components of the 24-hour circadian clock somehow also influence sexual stamina in the fruit fly Drosophila, reports a team at Oregon State University. The study, published in Current Biology , shows that although these genes rule the day/night sleep/wake cycle they can also influence much shorter time scale behaviour - in this case, copulation.
( Daily Telegraph )

How first 'marathon mouse' can run twice as far
Genetically modified mice that can run twice as far as normal mice have been developed by researchers in the United States and South Korea. The marathon mice are also naturally slim, even when fed on a high-calorie diet. The key seems to be enhancing the “slow-twitch” muscle fibres, needed for endurance, at the cost of the “fast-twitch” fibres needed in a sprint.
( The Times )

Roche sets arthritis target
Swiss drugs firm Roche, working with Harvard medical school, has identified a new target for rheumatoid arthritis treatments. They identified peptide molecules which can inhibit a type of immune cell response which is thought to be involved in diseases such as arthritis. That opened the way for synthetic forms of the peptide to be developed as a drug, the firm said.
( The Guardian )

Tropical turtles turn up off British shores
The leatherback turtle, long seen as a resident of exotic climates and warm seas, may be quietly turning up as a tourist off Britain when no one is looking, says new research. Marine ecologists suggest that turtles spotted in the Irish Sea have not taken a wrong turn but rather they deliberately headed north to search for food in cooler waters.
( The Guardian )

Blueberries 'can help to reduce cholesterol'
A substance found in blueberries can cut harmful cholesterol as effectively as a commercial drug, and has the potential for fewer side effects. The chemical, pterostilbene, could offer an alternative for people who do not respond well to conventional drugs, according to the American team that made the discovery.
( Daily Telegraph )

Genghis Khan 'was a contemplative chap'
Genghis Khan, long perceived as the world's most notorious barbarian, was, in fact, a highly literate scholar of Taoist philosophy, according to a Chinese historian. He claims to have uncovered evidence that the leader of the Mongolian hordes could read and write. Attempting to debunk previous theories that the 13th-century emperor was too busy raping and pillaging to learn his three Rs, Tengus Bayaryn, a professor at Inner Mongolia University, announced he had found an "autographic edict" written by Genghis Khan in 1219.
( The Guardian )

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