what's the buzz...

what's the buzz...

Fish oil may prevent psychiatric disorders

A study is now underway to test the effectiveness of Omega 3 fatty acids (fish oil) for treating psychiatric symptoms. This new study by Researchers at Zucker Hillside Hospital’s Recognition and Prevention (RAP) Program, is a randomised double-blind trial that was designed to test whether Omega-3 fatty acids improve clinical symptoms, and help adolescents and young adults (ages 12 to 25) who are at elevated risk for severe psychiatric disorders function better in school, work and other social environments.

“Of the 300 adolescents who have participated in the RAP Program, most have shown substantial improvement,” noted Barbara Cornblatt, Ph.D., director of the Recognition and Prevention (RAP) Program and investigator at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research.

“If this study continues to show success, Omega 3 could offer a natural alternative to the range of medications and therapies now offered to RAP participants. Ultimately, the goal of the RAP Program is to intervene and prevent illness before symptoms get worse,” Cornblatt added.

Omega 3 fatty acids are critical for normal brain function and they have been increasingly studied as potential treatments for medical and psychiatric disorders.

The RAP Program study will randomly assign participants to either Omega 3 supplementation or to a placebo, and will compare the groups on key measures of symptoms and functioning after six months.  Participants in both groups will be monitored closely on a monthly basis and compensation will be provided. All supplements are offered free of charge.

Next supercontinent Amasia to form at North Pole

America and Eurasia will crash into each other over the North Pole in 50-200 million years time, scientists have claimed. According to scientists at Yale University, Africa and Australia will join the new “supercontinent” too, which will mark the next coming together of the Earth’s land masses.

The continents are last thought to have come together 300 million years ago into a supercontinent called Pangaea. The land masses of the Earth are constantly moving as the Earth’s tectonic activity occurs. This generates areas such as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where Iceland has formed, and areas such as that off the coast of Japan, where one plate rides over another.

 Geologists believe that, over billions of years, these shifting plates have driven the continents together periodically, creating the hypothesised supercontinents of Nuna 1.8 billion years ago, Rodinia a billion years ago, and then Pangaea 300 million years ago.
The next supercontinent has already been given the working title of Amasia, as it is expected to involve the convergence of the Americas and Asia. What the researchers have set out to do is predict when and where it will form by looking back at where its predecessors emerged.

“We’re all pretty familiar with the concept of Pangaea, but there hasn’t been much convincing data to suggest how the supercontinents take shape,” the BBC quoted Ross Mitchell from Yale University as saying.

“In our model, we actually have North America and South America joining by closing the Caribbean Sea and the Arctic Sea closing and connecting the Americas and Asia,” Mitchell said.

The model puts the repositioned Americas within what is known as the Pacific “ring of fire”. Europe, part of the Eurasian land mass, Africa and Australia are predicted to join the merging continent, with only Antarctica left out.

The prediction is based on analysis of magnetic data locked into rocks around the world, which betray the magnetic orientation of those rocks in past ages.

Fracture putty could fix broken bones fast

Scientists say they have created a revolutionary ‘putty’ that can heal bone fractures in days rather than months. The University of Georgia Regenerative Bioscience Center scientists used adult stem cells to produce a protein involved in bone healing and generation. They then incorporated them into a gel, combining the healing properties into something they labelled ‘fracture putty.’

Working with Dr John Peroni from the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine the team used a stabilising device and inserted putty into fractures in rats.

In just two weeks the rats could run around and stand on their hind legs with no evidence of injury. Now, the RBC researchers are testing the material in pigs and sheep, too.

“The small-animal work has progressed, and we are making good progress in large animals,” the Daily Mail quoted study leader Dr Steve Stice as saying. The researchers hope the putty will revolutionise fracture treatment for injured soldiers. “Complex fractures are a major cause of amputation of limbs for U.S. military men and women,” Dr Stice said.

“For many young soldiers, their mental health becomes a real issue when they are confined to a bed for three to six months after an injury.

“This discovery may allow them to be up and moving as fast as days afterward,” he added.