what's the buzz

Popping aspirin daily could be hazardous

Health experts have warned that healthy people who take a daily aspirin in a bid to reduce their risk of disease should stop doing so because of potential health dangers.

Many people take a dose once a day to ward off the threat of cancer or heart attacks.
But a major new NHS review concluded that it is a “fine balance” due to the dangers of bleeding in the brain and stomach, the Mirror reported.

Overall, it warned against taking the drug until there was more evidence.

Aspirin makes the blood less sticky so it reduces the odds of clots which could cause a heart attack or stroke. Some studies suggest it can cut the risk of cancer.

But the most comprehensive review ever undertaken - by Warwick Medical School for the NHS National Institute for Health Research - concluded that healthy people should avoid aspirin. Prof Aileen Clarke, who led the research, said that the risks are finely balanced and for now there is not the evidence to advise people to take it.

Plant sterols may prevent onset of Alzheimer’s disease

High cholesterol levels have long been discussed to increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, but now researchers have demonstrated preventive effect of sterols in the disease.

“Plant sterols are present in various combinations in nuts, seeds and plant oils. As plant sterols are the equivalents of animal cholesterol, they can in principal influence metabolic processes, where cholesterol is involved. Because they also lower cholesterol levels, they are extensively used in the food industry and as dietary supplements,” Marcus Grimm, Head of the Experimental Neurology Laboratory at Saarland University explained. Grimm said studies have already shown that cholesterol promotes the formation of so-called senile plaques.

These plaques, which are composed of proteins, particularly beta-amyloid proteins, deposit at nerve cells within the brain and are regarded as one of the main causes of Alzheimer’s disease.

Why life expectancy of plants is higher than animals

Plant researchers at VIB and Ghent University have found that plants generally live longer than animals because they utilize their stem cells, which are crucial for the uninterrupted generation of new cells, better than animals.

One of the researchers, Lieven De Veylder, said that the study suggests that certain organizing stem cells in plant roots are less sensitive for DNA-damage and these cells hold an original and intact DNA copy that can be used to replace damaged cells if necessary.

Even though animals rely on a similar mechanism, plants have more likely employed this in a more optimized manner, Veylder asserted.

“This could explain why many plants can live for more than hundreds of years, while this is quite exceptional for animals,” Veylder said.

Seven-planet solar system discovered

The discovery of a seventh planet around the dwarf star KIC 11442793 could be a record, as it may be one of the richest planetary systems yet.

According to two separate teams of researchers, the system bears some similarities to our own, but all seven planets orbit much closer to their host star, which lies some 2,500 light-years from Earth, the BBC reported. The crowded solar system is described in two papers published on the pre-print server Arxiv.org.

One of the identifications was made by volunteers using the Planet Hunters website. The site was set up to allow volunteers to sift through the public data from Nasa’s Kepler space telescope - which was launched to search for so-called exoplanets - worlds orbiting distant stars.

Kepler uses the transit method to discover new planets, which entails looking for the dip in light as an alien world passes in front of its host star. But there is simply too much data for mission scientists to examine every light curve, so they developed computer programmes to search for the signature of a planetary transit.

Chris Lintott, from the University of Oxford, co-author on the Planet Hunters paper said that this is the first seven-planet system from Kepler, using a transiting search.
The new planet is the fifth furthest from its parent star, orbiting with a period of nearly 125 days.

With a radius of 2.8 times that of the Earth, it fits into a family that now includes two roughly Earth sized worlds, three “super-Earths” and two larger bodies.

Co-author Robert Simpson, also from Oxford University said that it actually looks like our Solar System in one sense, with all the small planets on the inside and the big planets on the outside.

While there might be resemblances to our Solar System, all seven planets are closer to their host star.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get the top news in your inbox
Comments (+)