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Bright lights make people honest

A new study suggests that bright lights make people more honest, altruistic and ethical, and less selfish.

Experiments showed that people in a brightly lit room donated more than twice as much as those in a dim room, and were more likely to offer to help others.

The researchers from National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan said that they provide the first experimental evidence showing that brightness appears to heighten the salience of morality to the individual, thereby leading people to perform ethical deeds, the Independent reported.

They suggest that brightness may enhance the self-importance of morality and thereby increase ethical behaviour.

Calcium supplements may be lethal for kidney patients

A new study has found that kidney patients who take calcium supplements to lower their phosphorous levels could be at a 22 per cent higher risk of death than those who take other non-calcium based treatments.

The study calls into question the long-time practice of prescribing calcium to lower phosphate levels in patients with chronic kidney disease. The researchers suggest some of the calcium is absorbed into the blood stream and may expedite hardening of the arteries, leading to a higher risk of heart disease and even death.

Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death for people with chronic kidney disease.

“Doctors commonly prescribe calcium supplements to prevent elevated phosphate levels, which can damage the body, but a growing number of studies have shown calcium supplements may actually increase the risk of heart disease,” Dr Sophie Jamal, a physician at Women’s College Hospital and an associate professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, said.

“Our study validates these claims and, for the first time, shows the long-term consequences of taking calcium supplements can be dangerous for patients with kidney disease,” she said.

Stem cell discovery may help replace damaged organs

Researchers have found a key role for a protein called BMI1, which may help scientists develop tissues to replace damaged organs in the human body.

Ophir Klein, MD, PhD, who directs the Craniofacial and Mesenchymal Biology (CMB) Program and serves as chair of the Division of Craniofacial Anomalies at UCSF, said that the scientists have known that Bmi1 is a central control switch within the adult stem cells of many tissues, including the brain, blood, lung and mammary gland.
He said that Bmi1 also is a cancer-causing gene that becomes reactivated in cancer cells.

Klein’s research group now has shown that BMI1 plays another role in ensuring that the process of development unfolds normally.

The hallmarks of all stem cells are that they are immature, they keep dividing to replenish their numbers almost indefinitely, and they generate new specialized cells to function in the tissues in which they reside, a process called cell differentiation.

Pushed in one direction, the BMI1 switch enables normal stem cells to divide and renew their own numbers. Thrown in the other direction, it keeps cell proliferation in check.

But now, Klein’s research team has shown that BMI1 also keeps this stock of stem cells from spinning off daughter cells that mature into the wrong type of specialized cell in the wrong place.

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