Latest research news

October 11, 2006

How a drink after work can increase your rate of pay
Employees who enjoy a drink after work earn more than colleagues who go straight home, according to an employment study. Research from the US indicates that social drinkers earn, on average, up to 14 per cent more than teetotallers in the same profession, with women benefiting more than men. Drinkers partial to an after-work pint may have an advantage in many workplaces because they are usually more outgoing and gregarious and use their ability to mix well to great effect at work.
The Times

Why this diet may prevent Alzheimer's
Eating a Mediterranean diet and cooking with olive oil can help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, scientists say. Those who eat lots of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, fish and drink a moderate amount of red wine are 68 per cent less likely to suffer Alzheimer’s than those who do not. The findings add to the growing evidence that Mediterranean food is good for health. The diet has already been associated with a longer life and can help to stave off cancer, obesity and coronary heart disease.
The Times

High level of male hormone in girls reveals autism clue
Studies of girls who make an unusually large amount of male sex hormone in their bodies have backed the idea that autism is caused by an "extreme male brain". Professor Simon Baron-Cohen and Sally Wheelwright have uncovered new evidence that testosterone and other sex hormones thought to shape sex differences may cause autism by pushing brain development beyond that of a typical male.
The Daily Telegraph

Walnuts can reduce effects of fatty meals, say scientists
Walnuts may soon become the next great health food following a study showing that they can boost the body's ability to withstand the effects of a fatty diet. Scientists have shown that raw walnuts can increase the flexibility of arteries, making heart attacks and coronary disease less likely. Walnuts contain natural chemicals that help to prevent the hardening of the arteries, making them less prone to becoming blocked, said Emilio Ros, of the Hospital Clinico in Barcelona.
The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, The Scotsman, The Daily Mail

Fertile women dress to impress - study
Women dress to impress when they are at their most fertile, US researchers said on Tuesday in a study they say shows that signs of human ovulation may not be as mysterious as some scientists believe. A study of young college women showed they frequently wore more fashionable or flashier clothing and jewellery when they were ovulating, as assessed by a panel of men and women looking at their photographs.
The Scotsman

Acid found in moss might be used in chemotherapy
A compound derived from moss could be used to treat cancer patients, researchers said. A study presented at the National Cancer Research Institute conference in Birmingham found that usnic acid, which is found in tiny lichens, could be used in chemotherapy drugs to kill cancer cells. Laboratory tests have shown the compound is an effective anti-cancer agent, and lacks the toxic side-effects of traditional chemotherapy drugs. Dr Virginia Appleyard, from Dundee University, said: "The interesting thing about this research is that many of the current drugs in chemotherapy provoke DNA damage.”
The Scotsman

Stinkbugs' guts reveal DNA surprise
The gut bacteria of the humble stinkbug could reveal intriguing insights into the evolutionary origins of disease-causing bacteria, researchers say. Plataspid stinkbugs lay their eggs within a small packet of special gut bacteria which the bugs' young, called nymphs, then consume. As the nymphs mature, their guts divide. The top end becomes a sac for digesting plant juice. The bottom swells into a fermentation chamber where the special gut bacteria provide the stinkbugs with still unknown nutrients. Without these, they die.
New Scientist

Damaged hearts helped by double drug treatment
The damaging effects of a heart attack may be reversible, say researchers who have successfully used drugs to boost new heart tissue and blood vessel growth. Treating the hearts of rats that had experienced simulated heart attacks, the team found the repaired hearts beat as well as undamaged hearts even after several months. “This is a dramatic recovery,” says Felix Engel, a paediatrician at the Children’s Hospital in Boston, US, who led the study. “A human with this kind of heart muscle damage would be dead.”
New Scientist

Sleeping pill that doesn't leave you feeling groggy
People who suffer insomnia could soon be helped with a drug that gets them to sleep - and keeps them that way for up to eight hours. In a study conducted by Surrey University, people who took the drug EVT 201 were able to get to sleep despite having a box under their beds playing 52 decibels of recorded traffic noise all night. Those on the drug went to sleep more quickly, stayed asleep longer and woke up less frequently. They felt no bad effects the next morning. In many cases, those who had the drug felt even better.
The Daily Mail

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