WHAT'S THE BUZZ

Soccer better than running for women

Lead researcher Peter Krustrup, University of Copenhagen, said that many women find it difficult to fit in sport and exercise in their busy daily lives, and many give family and especially small children as the main reason for not finding the time.
The study showed that flexibility of running as exercise form actually makes running harder to stick to for most women than soccer, which requires a fixed time and place.
“What is really interesting is that the soccer players differed from the runners in their motivation,” said associate Laila Ottesen.
“The runners were motivated by the idea of getting in shape and improving health. But the soccer players focused on the game itself and were motivated by the social interaction and by having fun with others.”
“As it turns out, the soccer players got in better shape than the runners, and that combined with the social benefits makes soccer a great alternative to running,” she added.

Cholesterol crucial for brain development

Swedish researchers have shown that a derivative of cholesterol is necessary for the formation of brain cells by conducting experiments on mice.
Ernest Arenas, Karolinska Institutet, says that the study’s findings may prove helpful for scientists in cultivating dopamine-producing cells outside the body.
Arenas said that the formation of dopamine-producing neurons during brain development in mice is dependent on the activation of a specific receptor in the brain by an oxidised form of cholesterol called oxysterol.
The researcher said that dopamine-producing nerve cells play an important part
in many brain functions and processes, from motor skills to reward systems and
dependency.
They are also the type of cell that dies in Parkinson’s disease, Arenas adds.
Communicating with nature makes you more caring.Paying attention to Mother Nature not only feels good, it also makes you a better person, says a new study.
“Stopping to experience our natural surroundings can have social as well as personal benefits,” says Richard Ryan, co-author, University of Rochester.
While the salubrious effects of nature are well documented, from increasing happiness and physical health to lowering stress, this study shows that the benefits extend to a person’s values and actions.
Exposure to natural as opposed to man-made environments leads people to value community and close relationships and to be more generous with money, find Ryan and his team of researchers.
The research includesd four experiments in which 370 participants were exposed to either natural or man-made settings. Participants were encouraged to attend to their environments by noticing colours and textures and imagining sounds and smells.
The result revealed people who were in contact with nature were more willing to open their wallets and share. As with aspirations, the higher the immersion in nature, the more likely subjects were to be generous with their winnings.

Fantasy sports can improve mathematics test scores

Fantasy sports can help improve mathematics test scores in schools, says a University of Mississippi researcher.
To reach the conclusion, Kim Beason teamed up with Dan Flockhart, a former California teacher who has written a series of mathematics textbooks. The study showed that fantasy sports has increased math test scores, in areas ranging from algebraic formulas to fractions, by nearly 50 per cent among middle school students.
“This is huge,” Beason said. “Across the board, both boys’ and girls’ test scores are up dramatically.”
Algebra, perhaps the least liked subject of students due to its abstract nature, is the gateway to higher education, Flockhart, who authored ‘Fantasy Sports and Mathematics’ said.

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