Vitamin D protects against severe asthma attacks

Story Source: Materials provided by Queen Mary University of London. Taking oral vitamin D supplements in addition to standard asthma medication could halve the risk of asthma attacks requiring hospital attendance, according to research led by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). Asthma affects more than 300 million people worldwide and is estimated to cause almost 400,000 deaths annually. Asthma deaths arise primarily during episodes of acute worsening of symptoms, known as attacks or ‘exacerbations’, which are commonly triggered by viral upper respiratory infections. Vitamin D is thought to protect…

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A need for bananas? Dietary potassium regulates calcification of arteries

Low dietary potassium leads to calcified arteries and aortic stiffness, while increased dietary potassium alleviates that in a mouse model, suggesting dietary potassium may protect against heart disease and death from heart disease in humans Story Source: Materials  provided by University of Alabama at Birmingham. Bananas and avocados foods that are rich in potassium may help protect against pathogenic vascular calcification, also known as hardening of the arteries. University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers have shown, for the first time, that reduced dietary potassium promotes elevated aortic stiffness in a…

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How Skipping breakfast is associated with hardening of the arteries

Eating breakfast may be good for your heart, research shows. Credit: © wavebreak3 / Fotolia   Skipping breakfast is associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis, or the hardening and narrowing of arteries due to a build-up of plaque, according to research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.   Eating a healthy breakfast has been shown to promote greater heart health, including healthier weight and cholesterol. While previous studies have linked skipping breakfast to coronary heart disease risk, this is the first study to evaluate the…

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How Low consumption of vitamin K by adolescents is associated with unhealthy enlargement of the heart’s major pumping chamber

 Scientists have found another reason for children to eat their green leafy vegetables. Credit: Phil Jones, Senior Photographer, Augusta University A study of 766 otherwise healthy adolescents showed that those who consumed the least vitamin K1 found in spinach, cabbage, iceberg lettuce and olive oil were at 3.3 times greater risk for an unhealthy enlargement of the major pumping chamber of their heart, according to the study published in The Journal of Nutrition. Vitamin K1, or phylloquinone, is the predominant form of vitamin K in the U.S. diet. “Those who…

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Study reveals that “Eating nuts can reduce weight gain”

Five-year study examined diet, weight of 373,000 Europeans across 10 countries                                    Assorted nuts (stock image).  Credit: © bit24 / Fotolia A study recently published in the online version of the European Journal of Nutrition has found that people who include nuts in their diet are more likely to reduce weight gain and lower the risk of overweight and obesity. The findings came to light after researchers at Loma Linda University School of Public Health and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) evaluated diet and lifestyle data from…

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Why take too much sugar? Even ‘Healthy People’ are at risk of developing Heart Disease

There are newfound cardiovascular risks associated with a high sugar diet, even in otherwise healthy people. Credit: © WavebreakmediaMicro / Fotolia  Story Source: Materials provided by University of Surrey. Healthy people who consume high levels of sugar are at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. A ground-breaking study from the University of Surrey found that a subject group of otherwise healthy men had increased levels of fat in their blood and fat stored in their livers after they had consumed a high sugar diet. The study, which has been…

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To breed or not to breed? Migratory female butterflies face a monsoonal dilemma

                This is an image of a Euploea sylvester. Credit: Dr. Krushnamegh Kunte, NCBS-TIFR   What do CPUs, stockbrokers, and butterflies have in common? They are good at investing their resources in the right place at the right time so as to maximize their returns! Trade-offs are a way of life for butterflies and other small insects that must budget their energy between numerous morphological features and activities during their short lifespans. Time, food, and space are always at a premium, and optimizing resource use is particularly important for…

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Brain study reveals how insects make beeline for home

Researchers have shed light on the complex navigation system that insects use to make their way home in a straight line following long, complex journeys. Credit: © duskojovic / Fotolia Story Source: Materials provided by University of Edinburgh. Scientists have discovered how the wiring of bees’ brains helps them plot the most direct route back to their hive. Researchers have shed light on the complex navigation system that insects use to make their way home in a straight line following long, complex journeys. They have revealed how a network of…

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An algorithm that explains how ants create and repair trail networks

Ants of the species C. goniodontus, painted so that researchers can track their movement through the network of vegetation that connects their nests and food sources. Credit: Deborah Gordon Story Source: Materials provided by Stanford University. Imagine you’re a member of the Cephalotes goniodontus species, an arboreal ant with a Darth Vader-like head that has inspired humans to call you “turtle ants.” You’re moving along a branch of the tangled tree canopy in Jalisco, Mexico, following a scent trail left by other ants from your colony, but you hit an…

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Scientists and farmers work together to wipe out African Love-Grass

Highly invasive African lovegrass is threatening pastures and native grasslands Australia-wide. Credit: QUT Marketing & Communication Story Source: Materials provided by Queensland University of Technology. A partnership between QUT, the NSW Government and farmers could lead to the eventual eradication of the highly invasive African lovegrass threatening pastures and native grasslands Australia-wide. What they discovered is that local knowledge is the key to a successful management approach. The results of a research project by Associate Professor Jennifer Firn from QUT’s School of Earth, Environmental and Biological Sciences, Emma Ladouceur from…

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Toxins Entering Plants through Soil

Soil amendments for healthier spinach: Combo of biosolids, zinc, limestone prevents toxic uptake The 44 plants from the experiment on harvest day. Plants were grown with different combinations of soil additives to prevent cadmium uptake. Credit: Carrie Green Story Source: Materials provided by American Society of Agronomy. Soils keep plants healthy by providing plants with water, helpful minerals, and microbes, among other benefits. But what if the soil also contains toxic elements? In areas like Salinas Valley, California, the soils are naturally rich in the element cadmium. Leafy vegetables grown…

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Massive projected increase in use of antimicrobials in animals by 2030

                                   Pigs in cages on truck. Credit: © Soonthorn / Fotolia  The amount of antimicrobials given to animals destined for human consumption is expected to rise by a staggering 52% and reach 200,000 tonnes by 2030 unless policies are implemented to limit their use, according to new research. The researchers, from ETH Zürich, Princeton, and the University of Cambridge, conducted the first global assessment of different intervention policies that could help limit the projected increase of antimicrobial use in food production. Their results, reported in the journal Science, represent an…

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