Garlic fails heart test
Garlic does not have the cholesterol-reducing properties that have been claimed, a study has shown. Stanford University School of Medicine team says its study provides the most rigorous evidence so far that consuming garlic does not lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol among adults with high levels. "It just doesn't work," said Professor Christopher Gardner of Stanford. "There's no shortcut. You achieve good health through eating healthy food. There isn't a pill you can take to counteract an unhealthy diet."
The Daily Telegraph
Scientists learn to program pigeons
Scientists in eastern China say they have succeeded in controlling the flight of pigeons with micro electrodes planted in their brains, state media reported. Scientists at the Robot Engineering Technology Research Centre at Shandong University of Science and Technology said ther electrodes could command them to fly right or left or up or down, Xinhua news agency said. "The implants stimulate different areas of the pigeon's brain according to signals sent by the scientists via computer, and force the bird to comply with their commands," Xinhua said.
The Scotsman, The Daily Telegraph
Poaching threatens elephants with extinction
Up to 5 per cent of Africa’s elephants are being slaughtered for their ivory each year, according to research which suggests that poaching threatens the animals with extinction despite a global ban on the sale of ivory. More than 23 tonnes of illegal ivory were seized between August 2005 and last August, most of it from recently killed elephants. Scientists believe that the true weight of smuggled tusks is ten times greater. This would mean that about 234 tonnes of ivory were exported from Africa that year and about 23,000 elephants were killed. Continued poaching on this scale would drive the species rapidly to extinction.
The Times, The Daily Telegraph
Hard-to-swallow history of milk
Europeans only learned to stomach milk within the last 7,000 years, the latest research suggests. Human remains dating to 5,000BC were found to be missing the gene that allows adults to digest milk without unpleasant side effects. Milk tolerance must have evolved rapidly alongside the emergence of dairy farming, providing early Europeans with a major survival advantage, said scientists. Today, more than 90 per cent of northern Europeans can drink milk without ill-effects, as can some African and Middle Eastern populations. However, most of the adult global population are still unable to digest the natural milk sugar lactose.
The Scotsman, New Scientist
Regular exercise found to cut risk of breast cancer
Regular aerobics classes, jogging or swimming may protect women against invasive and early-stage breast cancer, new research suggests. A major study in the US found a significant correlation between taking regular physical exercise and lower rates of the disease. Fitness fanatics appeared to benefit most. Women who spent more than five hours a week running, swimming going to aerobics classes, or engaging in other forms of strenuous exercise reduced their risk of both early-stage cancer and invasive disease. Moderate activity, such as brisk walking or playing golf, had some influence on invasive cancer but did not affect early-stage cancer.