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Killer gas in low doses could relieve stress

Toxic carbon monoxide gas, belched from car exhausts on city streets, could actually help ease the stress of urban living, according to scientists at Israel's Tel Aviv University.

A university website said research by Professor Itzhak Schnell showed that 36 healthy adults sent to pound Tel Aviv's pavements, ride its buses and shop in its street markets suffered less than expected from traffic fumes.

"The most surprising find of the study... was in looking at the levels of CO that the participants inhaled during their time in the city," said an English summary of the research published by the American Friends of Tel Aviv University.

“Not only were the levels much lower than the researchers predicted, approximately 1-15 parts per million every half hour, but the presence of the gas appeared to have a narcotic effect on the participants, counteracting the stress caused by noise and crowd density.”

Moonless planets too can support life

Contrary to what many scientists have made believe, planets don’t need large moons for a stable tilt and climate.

Previously, the researchers have showed that without the moon, Jupiter's gravity would make the current tilt of some 23 degrees stroll in pandemonium between 0 and 85 degrees, which would result in huge climate swings, making it hard for life to survive, especially large, land-based organisms like us.

But now, a study has revealed that moonless planets have been discarded unjustly.
“There could be a lot more habitable worlds out there,” the New Scientist quoted Jack Lissauer of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, who led the research, as saying. “The astrobiology community has taken it to mean there will be these really wild variations, and we wanted to test that.”

For the study, Lissauer and his colleagues replicated a moonless Earth over 4 billion years, about the age of the Earth today.

The researchers found that Earth’s tilt varied only between 10 and 50 degrees, a much smaller range than inferred by previous studies.

There were also long stretches of up to 500 million years when the tilt was predominantly stable, varying between 17 and 32 degrees.

Although scientists have accepted that much larger changes might still take place on timescales longer than 4 billion years but in that situation, the changes will not hold any relevance anyway as sun-like stars burn out after 10 billion years.

Two sugary drinks a day can boost heart disease risk

A new study has found that drinking two or more sugar-sweetened beverages a day may expand woman’s waistline and increase her risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Women consuming two or more beverages per day are nearly four times as likely to develop high triglycerides, and were significantly more likely to increase their waist sizes and to develop impaired fasting glucose levels. The same associations are not observed in men.

“Women who drank more than two sugar-sweetened drinks a day had increasing waist sizes, but weren’t necessarily gaining weight,” said Christina Shay,  lead author of the study. Women may have a greater chance for developing cardiovascular disease risk factors from sugar-sweetened drinks because they require fewer calories than men which makes each calorie count more towards cardiovascular risk in women, Shay said.

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