Focusing on muscle building is more effective than losing fat to counter diabetes and cardiovascular disease

Focusing on muscle strengthening rather than fat loss could prove to be a more efficient tactic to combat cardiovascular disease or diabetes, according to a new study by researchers at the medical school of the University of Augusta.

According to the researchers the poor health of the muscles, in particular the skeletal ones, is an equally important factor, as regards the sensitivity of the human body to insulin or obesity, compared to other factors such as an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity or also stress.

A notion of this kind could make, among other things, the measurement of muscle health a more accurate indicator of our health than the detection of fat.

The study made use of the analyzes carried out on the data of 400 pairs of twins aged between 22 and 45 years. In fact, identical twins have helped researchers to understand which are the main factors that can contribute to obesity, in addition to genetics.

Unlike other research, however, in this the muscle becomes the real target, as reported by Ryan A. Harris, a vascular physiologist and one of the authors of the study: “We believe it is an organ that we can really direct towards improving metabolic health and cardiovascular health.”

Kratom herb supplements are dangerous according to a new study

A study confirms the danger of the kratom herb used for pain relief or even to treat opioid addiction. This herb comes from a plant native to Southeast Asia. It has been reported that the chemicals that this herb contains can have a positive effect on the body’s opioid receptors but other studies have also pointed to its degree of toxicity to the human body.

The degree of toxicity or in any case the very negative side effects are now underlined by another study, published in Pharmacotherapy and conducted by William Eggleston, a researcher at the University of Binghamton, who wanted to understand the toxicity levels of a herb-based supplement kratom. To do this he examined various databases of New York State medical examiners to understand all the deaths associated with this herb.

The researcher worked on 2312 cases of exposure to kratom grass of which 935 saw the compounds of this herb as the only assimilated substance.

Among the negative side effects that the researcher found were agitation, tachycardia, drowsiness, vomiting and confusional states. To a lesser extent, the researcher also found cases of convulsion, abstinence, hallucinations, respiratory depression, coma and cardiac or respiratory arrest.

The death of four of the people analyzed could be traced back to kratom, which could be considered a cause or a trigger for death.

According to Eggleston, in too high doses the kratom can cause effects that see sedation and slowing of the breath as well as convulsions and liver toxicity.

According to the same researcher, further research is needed to understand more about the safety of its use and its effectiveness, but these results show that “it should not be available as an herbal supplement.”

New detection system developed that analyzes gaze and detects autism

A new method to more effectively detect autism spectrum disorders in children has been developed by researchers at the University of Waterloo. The new method is based on the analytical and detailed observation of the gaze of children in front of people’s faces.

The researchers, who published their own study on Computers in Biology and Medicine, noticed that children with an autism spectrum disorder scan the face of people differently than children without autism.

In the course of the experiments, the researchers analyzed the reactions of 17 children with an autism spectrum disorder and 23 neurotypical children when they were shown photographs of faces on a screen. The eyes of the children were traced by a special infrared system that also analyzed the iris.

By analyzing how the children moved their eyes and scrutinized the faces as well as the ways in which the eye moved, the researchers were able to establish the presence of an autism spectrum disorder. It is a method that according to the authors could be very useful also because the current approaches, as specified by Mehrshad Sadria, one of the authors of the study, are not very suitable for children and are subject to errors.

“Our technique is not just about behavior or whether a child concentrates on the mouth or the eyes, but it is about how a child looks at everything,” says Anita Layton, professor of applied mathematics, pharmacy and biology at Waterloo and another author of the study.

Medicinal cannabis oil is useful in children with severe epilepsy

A group of researchers, through a study published in Frontiers in Neurology, announces that they have achieved good results by experimentally using medicinal cannabis oil, containing both cannabidiol and minimal amounts of THC, in cases of children with severe seizure episodes due to epilepsy.

According to the researchers, after taking small amounts of medicinal cannabis oil, the children also showed a general improvement in the quality of life, including in terms of communication skills with family members. The compound used by the researchers had 95% cannabidiol and 5% THC (the latter, in higher doses, can be toxic).

In addition to not detecting particular side effects, the researchers did not notice any trace of THC intoxication, which could make this new therapy an interesting treatment option for those children with severe epileptic episodes for which the drugs are not helpful, as specified Richard Huntsman, a pediatric neurologist who led the study.

The children on whom this new therapy was tested did not respond to different anti-convulsive drugs and continued to have multiple seizures.

In one of the cases, a child with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a severe epileptic form, who lived a lethargic life and who suffered attacks substantially throughout the day, started to show clear improvements regarding the frequency of crises once who started taking the compound.

Intentionally elongated skulls of people who lived between 12,000 and 5,000 years ago found in China

Skulls discovered by a group of researchers from China, Singapore and the United States have been defined as the oldest case of cranial modification in a human being ever identified.

The researchers, who published their work in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, have in fact discovered skeletal remains at a site in China, called Houtaomuga, which showed signs of intentional cranial changes.

The cranial modification is a process that sees the alteration of the shape of the skull intentionally and that is carried out, in most cases, by tying ropes or pieces of cloth around the heads of newborns at a time of life during which the bones of the skull are still soft, therefore more malleable. In most cases, this custom, which can still be found in some tribal groups, is to lengthen the skull.

The researchers believe that this type of modification is carried out to label a person who belongs to a certain elite or in any case a special person. The researchers analyzed the remains of 25 human skeletons and found that 11 of these had signs of cranial changes.

They were almost all skulls belonging to adult males (they identified only one case of a woman) who lived in a period between 12,000 and 5,000 years ago: in fact, the bones were not buried at that same point in the same period.

Carbon dioxide used to create graphene by imitating plant enzyme

A team of researchers from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) published a new study in the journal ChemSusChem which considers the possibility of using carbon dioxide to produce graphene.

According to the researchers, in fact, the carbon dioxide that is emitted into the atmosphere following the combustion of raw materials such as coal and oil can be used to synthesize precious materials. And it is not just about reducing air pollution: the process could lead to a new profitable sector.

Among other things, we already have an example in nature: chlorophyll photosynthesis made by plants combines carbon dioxide with water and light to create biomass, a cycle that researchers have been trying to reproduce for years. However, in this study, the researchers of the German institute have analyzed above all the enzyme based on metal RuBisCo.

This enzyme absorbs carbon dioxide from the air and makes it reusable for other chemical reactions in the plant. The researchers, trying to mimic the process carried out by this enzyme, are therefore trying to convert carbon dioxide into graphene.

The process involves temperatures up to 1000 ° F and particular catalytic preparations.

As Mario Ruben, professor at Molekulare Materialien explains, and one of the authors of the study, “if the metal surface shows the correct relationship between copper and palladium, the conversion of carbon dioxide into graphene will take place directly in a simple one-step process.”

Wind energy could supply 10 times the energy needs of the whole of Europe

According to a new study published in Energy, Europe could satisfy its need for electricity, up to 10 times, through the sole exploitation of wind energy.

Whilst aware that 100% of the electricity from wind power would not be possible for various social, economic and political reasons, the calculation that researchers made about onshore wind energy in Europe sees a potential level of generation of electricity of 34.3 PWh per year. This is a level higher than the highest estimate made by other scientists of 13 PWh per year.

According to the speakers of the article on Energy, this discrepancy would be explained by the methods used for identifying the land on which a wind power plant can be profitably built, as well as the methods used to identify other factors such as improvements in the technology sector. The technological improvements would concern above all the turbines used for wind power plants that will become much more efficient in the coming decades, something that will drastically change the results achieved in the wind sector.

Of course, this will also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions that result from the use of fossil fuels.

The European Union intends to reduce these emissions by 80-95% by 2050 compared to the 1990 level, but to achieve these goals it will still require a huge shift towards renewable energy sources.

In any case, wind power seems to be one of those sectors that could be of greater help in this regard.

New metal alloy created that can change shape with a magnetic field

A new type of metal alloy that can change shape under the influence of a magnetic field was created by the research group of the Polytechnic University of St. Petersburg. Specifically, this new metal alloy, in addition to emitting and absorbing heat simultaneously, can change volume and size in a magnetic field which causes these changes at the structure level.

This is a new alloy which, according to the researchers, could prove very useful in industrial or medical fields. The study, published in Key Engineering Materials, describes a new metal alloy subject to the phenomenon of magnetostriction, a phenomenon that occurs when a body changes its volume or its dimensions when it is subjected to a specific magnetic field.

By changing various properties of the latter, it is also possible to modulate the changes in the body itself. This new alloy, composed of terbium, dysprosium, gadolinium, cobalt and aluminum, can be used to develop magnetostrictive transducers. These, in turn, can be used in devices such as sensors that use the magnetic field to carry out measurements.

An example made by researchers sees those devices that help to find air bubbles inside building structures or constructions. Precisely these bubbles can over time create larger and larger cracks and cause very serious damage.

“The transducers based on our alloys will be more durable and durable than the existing ones and will work in a wide range of magnetic fields. In addition, alloys can be used in medicine as they can change their shape under the influence of magnetic fields that are safe for human health,” specifies Alexey Filimonov, one of the researchers working on the project.