What's The Buzz

Broken heart ups heart attack risk

A broken heart can prove to be a serious health threat, say Australian researchers who found that people mourning the loss of a loved one are six times more likely to suffer cardiac arrest.
As per a Heart Foundation study of the physical changes suffered immediately after a profound loss, grieving people were at significantly higher risk of heart problems, said lead researcher Thomas Buckley.
The study was conducted to shed fresh light on why people traumatised by the loss of a loved one are more susceptible to having a heart attack.
A team at the University of Sydney, Australia, studied 80 bereaved adults to reach the conclusion.
Buckley said: “Emotional and mood changes were greatest during this time”.
“Overall, the bereaved had ­increases in anxiety, depression and anger, with elevated stress hormones and ­reduced sleep and appetite.”
“They also showed increases in blood pressure and heart rate, ­together with immune and blood ­clotting changes — all changes that could contribute to a heart attack,” he said.

How HIV cripples immune cells

Experts at the Heidelberg University Hospital in Germany have discovered a mechanism in an animal model revealing how HIV cripples immune cells.
Oliver Fackler examined the movement of cells in living zebra fish embryos, and showed that cell mobility is inhibited by the HIV Nef protein.
The researcher said that further experiments on cell cultures showed Nef to cause a short-circuit of two cellular mechanisms, thus inhibiting the reorganisation of the cell structure element actin and the cell’s ability to move.
Consequently, said Fackler, the affected immune cells could no longer perform their function.

Green tea’s effects on bone health

Green tea may help improve bone health, researchers in Hong Kong have reported.
The boffins found that the tea contains a group of chemicals that can stimulate bone formation and help slow its breakdown.
In the study, Ping Chung Leung and colleagues noted that many scientific studies have linked tea to beneficial effects in preventing cancer, heart disease, and other conditions.
The scientists also showed that high concentrations of ECG blocked the activity of a type of cell (osteoclast) that breaks down or weakens bones. The green tea components did not cause any toxic effects to the bone cells, they noted.

Understanding idioms

While many people tend to use idioms very frequently and easily, Italian researchers have found that when it comes to understanding them, humans have to use both sides of their brain.
The researchers investigated how the brain recognises that the first phrase means the same as the second, and have suggested that we use both hemispheres to understand idioms.
Alice Proverbio, University of Milano-Bicocca, used electrophysiological and LORETA source reconstruction analysis to investigate the role of the two cerebral hemispheres in idiom comprehension.
She has suggested that idioms are more difficult to understand, and denote
superior levels of language use and processing.

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