What's the buzz..

What's the buzz..

Sleep helps decision-making

The notion that a good night’s sleep helps when making important decisions is now endorsed by scientists.

They say that a good sleep enhances complex cognitive skills necessary for decision-making. In a first such study of its kind, researchers probed the effects of sleep on affect-guided decision-making — that is decisions on meaningful topics where subjects care about the outcome. Lead researcher Rebecca Spencer, of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, taught a group of 54 young people to play a card game for rewards of play money in which wins and losses for various card decks mimic casino gambling. Subjects who had a normal night’s sleep drew from decks that gave them the greatest winnings, four times more often than those who spent the 12-hour break awake, the Mail said quoting the study. Those who were rested also better understood the underlying rules of the game, it said. “There is something to be gained from taking a night to sleep on it when you’re facing an important decision.“We found that the fact that you slept makes your decisions better,” Mail said quoting Spencer.

She and her colleagues believe this sleep benefit in making decisions may be due to changes in underlying emotional or cognitive processes.

Dishwashers may contain fungal pathogens

A new study has confirmed the presence of harmful fungal pathogens in our most commonly used household appliances, especially in the dishwasher seals.

According to the researchers, electrical equipment such as dishwashers, washing machines and coffee machines serve as the perfect habitat for the pathogens due to the moist and hot environment.

The study showed 62 per cent of the dishwashers contained fungi on the rubber band in the door, out of which, 56 per cent included the polyextremotolerant black yeasts Exophiala dermatitidis and E. phaeomuriformis. Both Exophiala species displayed remarkable tolerance to heat, high salt concentrations, aggressive detergents, and to both acid and alkaline water.  This explains why the fungi survived even in high temperatures, despite the use of aggressive detergents and high concentrations of salt in the dishwasher.

Researchers say that this is a combination of extreme properties not previously observed in fungi. Exophiala dermatitidis is frequently encountered as an agent of human disease and is also known to be involved in pulmonary colonization of patients with cystic fibrosis.

It has been found to be occasionally causing fatal infections in healthy humans. The invasion of black yeasts into our homes represents a potential health risk.

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