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In Brief

In Brief

Teens' aggression linked to brain
Aggression in some teenage boys may be linked to overly large Amygdalas in their brains, a study by scientists in Australia and the U.S. has found.
In an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, they said "It is important for parents to bear in mind that while their teenage child looks like an adult and does very complicated work at school, parts of their brain are still developing really until the 20s," Nicholas Allen at the University of Melbourne's psychology department said. "Those parts of the brain that help the child control his own emotions and behavior ... it's important to realize that these parts of the brain are still developing for these young people."
Species encyclopedia
About 30,000 species of creatures and plants have been listed in a draft "Encyclopedia of Life" that may aid understanding of issues from human aging to disease, scientists said on Monday.
The free Internet encyclopedia (www.eol.org) aims to eventually list all 1.8 million known species of life in a US$100 million, 10-year project begun in 2007.
The first draft is due to be launched at a conference in Monterey, California, on Wednesday. A further 30,000 have less detailed information.
"Our major message to the world is 'Here's our first attempt at putting together this encyclopedia, please give us our feedback, your criticisms, your comments'," said James Edwards, executive director of the project.
Oscar snubbed
Blogs were buzzing with discussion of why actor Brad Renfro was left out of the Academy Awards tribute to Hollywood figures who died in the past year.
The troubled 25-year-old died January 15 of a heroin and morphine overdose. Heath Ledger, killed by an overdose of prescription drugs one week later, appeared at the conclusion of the three-minute video tribute at Sunday night's Oscar ceremony.
"Unfortunately we cannot include everyone," said Leslie Unger, spokeswoman for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. "Our goal is to honor individuals who worked in the many professions and trades of the motion picture industry, not just actors."
Unger shook off the suggestion that Renfro wasn't included because of his history with drugs.
Scientists discover new species of fish
Australian scientists announced the discovery of a new species of freshwater fish yesterday, two decades after it was sighted in a disused uranium mine in the outback Northern Territory.
The Barraway's carp gudgeon, or Hypseleotris barrawayi, was found by a biologist in a uranium pit in the Kakadu National Park in 1988, but was only recently declared a new species after extensive studies.
"The Barraway differs from other native carp gudgeons because it has distinct vertical bars on the body and the dorsal fins have horizontal stripes of light blue, black and red," said Helen Larson from the Museum of Art Gallery in the Northern Territory. "In addition the caudal fin has several dusky bars, or row of spots, and a dark bar on the pectoral base," said Larson.
The fish was probably washed into the uranium pit during monsoon rains.
Herbal medicine
An extract of Coccinia indica, a perennial herb that grows abundantly in India, may help people with mild type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar levels, the results of a study suggest.
In the journal Diabetes Care, researchers note that while Coccinia indica, also known as Coccinia cordifolia, has been widely used in traditional treatments of diabetes, carefully controlled studies have not been done. The study showed that fasting blood sugar levels at 90 days in people taking the Coccinia extract fell by an impressive 16 percent, while fasting blood sugar levels rose slightly in the placebo takers. Likewise, patients in the Coccinia extract group had an 18-percent decrease in post-meal blood sugar levels at the study's end, whereas the placebo group experienced a small increase in post-meal blood sugar levels.
Vitamin supplements
The use of vitamin E supplements appears to increase the risk of tuberculosis in some middle-aged smokers, according to a study in the British Journal of Nutrition.
In the analysis, vitamin E use did not affect the odds of tuberculosis in smokers. In people who smoked at least 20 cigarettes per day and consumed diets high in vitamin C, however, vitamin E supplements more than doubled the risk.
Trials in human subjects have shown unpredictable effects of vitamin E on various infectious diseases.


Updated : 2021-01-20 12:19 GMT+08:00