What's the Buzz

What's the Buzz

Pine tree extract can cure brain injury

An antioxidant extracted from the bark of the pine tree can help treat people with a traumatic brain injury, according to Auckland researchers.

In the study the extract, called Enzogenol, given to 60 people with a brain injury over three months, helps boost memory and improve attention span.

AUT stroke specialist Professor Valery Feigin said patients who took it were less likely to forget people’s names or basic directions, common problems for brain injury sufferers.
 The results were great news as there were few evidence-based treatments for people with mild brain injury problems, she said.

“Other than brain exercises, there are limited treatments available to improve damage,” the Courier Mail quoted Prof Feigin.
 She is hoping to launch a large-scale trial on the back of the successful pilot study.

Now, a dish that ‘talks’ to fight obesity
 The National Health Service (NHS) has introduced a talking plate in the UK, which warns fat families about their eating habits and tells people not to wolf their food.

The Mandometer, which is available for 1,500 pounds, monitors the amount of food leaving the plate and tells users who gobble to “please eat more slowly.” The Swedish device is to be used in an NHS initiative to help hundreds of obese families lose weight.

The device comes in two parts, a scale placed under the plate and a small computer screen showing a graphic of the food that gradually disappears as the user eats.
A red line on the screen shows the user’s speed of eating, while a blue line shows a healthy rate.

If the user guzzles, the red line angles away from the blue one, warning them to ease off, and if the lines deviate too much, the computer voice tells them to slow down.
The screen also flashes up messages like “are you feeling full yet?”, to remind users to think whether they have had enough.

Around 600 families with at least one obese parent and child, aged from just five, will be targeted in the project by Bristol University in conjunction with GPs and nurses. Professor Julian Hamilton-Shield, who is leading the initiative, said that obese children and adolescents using the Mandometer ate from 12 to 15 percent less per meal at the end of the 12-month trial.

Sinuses play role in brain cooling driven by yawning
Yawning assists in controlling temperature of the brain and helps cooling it down, a new study has suggested. The new theory, proposed by Gary Hack, DDS of the University of Maryland School of Dentistry and Andrew Gallup, PhD of Princeton University, also insists that human sinuses play a pivotal role in this cooling process.

The researchers have argued that yawning does not occur because a person is tired, bored, or even in need oxygen, Newswise reported.

“The brain is exquisitely sensitive to temperature changes and therefore must be protected from overheating,” the authors said.

“Brains, like computers, operate best when they are cool.” The scientists have proposed that the walls of the human maxillary sinus flex during yawning like a bellows, which in turn facilitates brain cooling.

The theory helps explain the function of the human sinuses, which is still debated among scientists.

In fact, Hack says everything concerning the human sinuses is debated. “Very little is understood about them, and little is agreed upon even by those who investigate them. Some scientists believe that they have no function at all,” he said.

Beyond the physiological curiosity, the brain cooling theory of yawning also has practical medical implications.

Bouts of excessive yawning often precede the onset of seizures in epileptic patients, and predict the onset of pain in people with migraine headaches, said Gallup.