what's the buzz

what's the buzz

Fat in red meat may be bad for your brain

Eating too many foods containing “bad” fats, such as saturated fats or trans fats, is said to be unhealthy for heart.

Now, a new research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), has found one “bad” fat—saturated fat—to be associated with worse overall cognitive function and memory in women over time.

By contrast, a “good” fat—mono-unsaturated fat was associated with better overall cognitive function and memory.

The research team analyzed data from the Women’s Health Study—originally a cohort of nearly 40,000 women, 45 years and older.

The researchers focused on data from a subset of 6,000 women, all over the age of 65. The women participated in three cognitive function tests, which were spaced out every two years for an average testing span of four years. These women filled out very detailed food frequency surveys at the start of the Women’s Health Study, prior to the cognitive testing.

“When looking at changes in cognitive function, what we found is that the total amount of fat intake did not really matter, but the type of fat did,” explained Olivia Okereke, MD, MS, BWH Department of Psychiatry.

New prosthetic retina may help restore sight

Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have devised a system using tiny solar-panel-like cells surgically placed underneath the retina, which may someday restore sight to people who have lost vision because of certain types of degenerative eye diseases.

This device — a new type of retinal prosthesis — involves a specially designed pair of goggles, which are equipped with a miniature camera and a pocket PC that is designed to process the visual data stream.

The resulting images would be displayed on a liquid crystal microdisplay embedded in the goggles, similar to what’s used in video goggles for gaming.

Unlike the regular video goggles, though, the images would be beamed from the LCD using laser pulses of near-infrared light to a photovoltaic silicon chip — one-third as thin as a strand of hair — implanted beneath the retina.

Electric currents from the photodiodes on the chip would then trigger signals in the retina, which then flow to the brain, enabling a patient to regain vision.

Zebrafish could be used to study psychiatric disorders

Zebrafish could hold the key to understanding the underlying causes of psychiatric disorders, say scientists.

In a study, scientists at Queen Mary, University of London, have found that zebrafish can modify their behaviour in response to varying situations.

“Zebrafish are becoming one of the most useful animal models for studying the developmental genetic mechanisms underlying many psychiatric disorders; they breed prolifically and we have many new and exciting techniques that allow us to explore their genetic make-up in the laboratory,” said Dr Caroline Brennan, from Queen Mary’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences who led the study.

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