What's the Buzz

What's the Buzz

Garlic may protect  heart against damage

A study reveals that a compound in garlic oil may protect the heart from damage following a heart attack or heart surgery.

Garlic has long been linked to cardiovascular health, thanks to a compound called allicin, which reacts with red blood cells and produces hydrogen sulphide that relaxes the blood vessels and keeps blood flowing easily.

Now a potent-smelling component of garlic oil called diallyl trisulphide (DATS) may help “release protective compounds to the heart,” stated the researchers at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in Orlando, Florida.

Scientists tested a synthetic, highly purified version of the compound on mice at risk of heart damage from blocked coronary arteries.

 In the study researchers from the Emory University School of Medicine were examining treatment options for cardiac patients, and their findings suggest that the treatment of hydrogen sulphide gas—which is considered unstable and dissipates quickly —could possible be replaced with injectable diallyl trisulphide, which helped reduce the amount of heart tissue damage by 61 per cent.

“Interruption of oxygen and blood flow damages mitochondria, and loss of mitochondrial integrity can lead to cell death,” said lead researcher David Lefer.

“We see that diallyl sulphide can temporarily turn down the function of mitochondria, preserving them and lowering the production of reactive oxygen species.”

First evidence found that dinosaurs ate birds
Recent evidence has confirmed what palaeontologists long suspected – dinosaurs preyed on their feathered relatives.

Jingmai O’Connor and colleagues at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing found an almost-whole skeleton of a bird in the stomach area of a fossilised dinosaur.

The bird, part of an extinct group called Enantiornithes, was found inside an early Cretaceous winged theropod called Microraptor gui.

They were part of the prehistoric ecosystem known as the Jehol biota, existing in present-day China. As the skeleton was almost intact, scientists believe the bird may have been swallowed alive as a whole.

O’Connor’s team also makes a number of speculations based on their new findings.
 For eg the fossil bird’s feet - adapted for perching - show that it lived on trees. On its part the Microraptor had four wings, so it may have glided through trees to hunt there where it may have made a meal out of this bird.

Night-flowering orchid discovered in New Britain
A team of botanists has described an orchid species that flower at night, the first of its kind known to science.

The plant, Bulbophyllum nocturnum, was discovered by a Dutch researcher during an expedition to New Britain, an island near Papua New Guinea.

Experts said the “remarkable” species is the only orchid known to consistently flower at night, but why it has adopted this behaviour remains a mystery.

“It was so unexpected because there are so many species of orchids and not one was known to be pollinated at night,” Andre Schuiteman, senior researcher and an orchid expert at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, told BBC News.
“It was quite remarkable to find one, after so many years of orchid research, that is night-flowering,” he said.

The specimen was discovered by co-author Ed de Vogel during a field trip in a region of lowland rainforest on the Southeast Asian Island.

Although the tiny Bulbophyllum nocturnum is the first known night-flowering orchid, it is not uncommon for plants to flower at night. Most orchids though, flower both day and night.