Latest research news

March 23, 2005

Research on twins supports 'God gene'
Religious belief is in the genes and can literally be inherited from one's parents, according to new research. While environmental factors were the largest influences on children, genetic make-up played a significant part in whether people continued to believe into adulthood, it found. The research will refuel the controversy about the existence of a so-called God gene, which has been hotly disputed by clerics and theologians. Based on an analysis of more than 500 identical and non-identical twins, the study at Minnesota University in America set out to discover whether spirituality was the result of nature or nurture.
The Daily Telegraph

Cash boost on research
A 20 per cent rise in funding for the promotion of commercialised research is among measures announced by the Scottish Executive in a bid to strengthen profitable links between higher education and business. The substantial increase in the grant by the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council from £12.5 million to £15.5 million over the next two years forms part of the Executive’s response to a UK-wide survey of business-university collaboration.
The Scotsman

Worried women lose more sleep
Women are more likely than men to lie awake fretting about work or family problems. Females lose an average of 90 minutes of sleep a night as their increasingly busy work and home lives make it harder to wind down, new research has found. But while they lie awake under the bedclothes, their male partners invariably snooze contentedly beside them. Sleep experts say most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep nightly.
The Daily Mail

Prevent diabetes by eating chocolate
Chocolate could be an unlikely new weapon in the battle against diabetes, one of Britain's fastest growing illnesses. New research shows that eating dark chocolate reduces the risk of damaging changes in the body that can lead to the condition. But it works only if you eat plain, dark chocolate high in disease-fighting chemicals called flavanols. Milk or white chocolate is unlikely to have the same effect. The findings, by a group of Italian researchers, reveal that snacking regularly on the equivalent of one medium-sized bar a day protects against a condition called insulin resistance.
The Daily Mail

Nature has ways of making us feel better
There is increasing evidence to show that getting close to nature can make us feel less stressed and better about ourselves. A new study, from the University of Essex, shows that "green" exercise can boost mood, physical fitness and self-esteem. Professor Jules Pretty, who led the research team at the department of biological science, measured the mood and self-esteem of 263 people who took part in 10 different "green" activities, such as walking, mountain biking and canal boating.
The Daily Telegraph

Global warming could trigger ant invasions
Global warming may lead to an unexpected threat from the insect world - swarming invasions of tiny ants - suggests new research. The study of 665 ant colonies in environments ranging from tropical rainforests to frozen tundra suggests that in warmer environments the ants' body size shrinks, on average, while the number of individuals in the colony booms.
New Scientist

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