what's the buzz

what's the buzz

Holiday plans on FB, an invitation to burglars

If you advertised your holiday plans on social networking sites and your home gets burgled  –– you may face a crackdown from the insurance agency. Insurance companies have decided to take information being put social networking sites into account when analysing claims. A survey from the Co-operative Insurance of 3,000 has found a third of Britons who use the sites unwittingly put themselves at risk of being burgled. Some 36 per cent use the sites to update friends on their whereabouts, while 35 pc count down to events such as holidays, potentially alerting criminals.

Separately Legal & General surveyed nearly 3,000 customers and discovered 40 pc think that location-based social network services such as Foursquare or Facebook are risky. David Neave, of the Co-operative Insurance, said he could envisage a future where claims could be rejected if it was discovered that someone had been reckless with personal information they had posted on a site.

Teens' sleeping patterns a clue to mental health risk

The sleeping patterns of teenagers can provide a clue to their longer-term risk of developing depression or bipolar disorder, say scientists. Erratic sleeping patterns were an often overlooked feature of “basically all mood disorders and all psychiatric disorders”, explained Naomi Rogers of the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Research Institute. “In people who develop depression, often you can trace back and find they have had early sleep disturbance,” she said.

“We know that disturbed sleep occurs in basically all psychiatric disorders, and the more disturbed sleep patterns are we tend to see worse mood symptoms. But whether disturbed sleep is a risk factor, we are not yet sure,” she said. She cautioned parents to not look at a child’s sleep-wake cycle in isolation, but to also look for evidence of “withdrawing”. Noticing these early warning signs could lead to an earlier diagnosis of a mental health problem and allow an earlier intervention.

Salmonella ‘could be used to cure cancer’

Scientists at Glasgow University have revealed that Salmonella, the bacteria known for causing food poisoning, could be used to cure cancer patients. They discovered how a protein in the bug manipulates what happens in the body’s cells, causing them to die off- that could be directed to kill cancerous cells. In future, it is hoped that special forms of salmonella could be injected into patients to destroy their cancer, before they are treated with antibiotics to rid them of remaining bacteria.

Dr Donal Wall, who worked on the study, said the team had discovered how a protein in the bacteria called SipA causes the enzyme to proliferate, prompting cell death.

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