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Fruits and vegetables can uplift mood

A new research from New Zealand's University ofOtago has suggested that eating more fruit and vegetables may make young people calmer, happier and more energetic in their daily life. Department of Psychology researchers Dr Tamlin Conner and Bonnie White, and Dr Caroline Horwath from Otago's Department of Human Nutrition, investigated the relationship between day-to-day emotions and food consumption.

A total of 281 young adults (with a mean age of 20 years) completed an internet-based daily food diary for 21 consecutive days. Prior to this, participants completed a questionnaire giving details of their age, gender, ethnicity, weight and height. Those with a history of an eating disorder were excluded. The results showed a strong day-to-day relationship between more positive mood and higher fruit and vegetable consumption, but not other foods.  "On days when people ate more fruits and vegetables, they reported feeling calmer, happier and more energetic than they normally did," said Dr Conner.

To understand which comes first – feeling positive or eating healthier foods – Dr Conner and her team ran additional analyses and found that eating fruits and vegetables predicted improvements in positive mood the next day, suggesting that healthy foods may improve mood. These findings held regardless of the BMI of individuals.

Controlled crumpling of graphene  for artificial muscle 
  
Duke University engineers are layering atom-thick lattices of carbon with polymers to create unique materials with a broad range of applications, including artificial muscles.
The Duke engineers attached the graphene to a rubber film that had been pre-stretched to many times its original size. Once the rubber film was relaxed, parts of the graphene detached from the rubber while other parts kept adhering to it, forming an attached-detached pattern with a feature size of a few nanometers. As the rubber relaxed, the detached graphene was compressed to crumple. But as the rubber film was stretched back, the adhered spots of graphene pulled on the crumpled areas to unfold the sheet.

“In this way, the crumpling and unfolding of large-area, atomic-thick graphene can be controlled by simply stretching and relaxing a rubber film, even by hands,” Zhao said.

Plain packaging of tobacco products could cut smoking

Plain packaging of tobacco products would cut smoking, experts suggest. Experts estimated that plain packaging would reduce the number of adult smokers by one percentage point (on average) two years after the introduction of plain packaging. More impressively, they believe that generic packaging would reduce the percentage of children trying smoking by three percentage points (on average) two years after plain packaging is introduced. Dr Rachel Pechey, first author of the study from the University of Cambridge's Behaviour and Health Research Unit, said: "Given that the majority of smokers first try smoking in adolescence, the impact on children is of particular importance. Nicotine dependence develops rapidly after lighting up for the first time, even before the user is smoking once a week."

The tobacco control experts indicated that plain packaging would reduce the numbers of children trying smoking because they expect younger people to be more affected by less appealing packs.

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