what's the buzz

Smoking alters several health genes

A new study has revealed that smoking alters several genes that can be associated with health problems for smokers, such as increased risk for cancer and diabetes.

Researchers at Uppsala University and Uppsala Clinical Research Center examined how the genes are changed in smokers and users of non-smoke tobacco. They could identify a large number of genes that were altered in smokers but found no such effect of non-smoke tobacco.

This means that the epigenetic modifications are likely not caused by substances in the tobacco, but by the hundreds of different elements that are formed when the tobacco is burnt, lead author Asa Johansson said.

The results from the study also showed that genes that increase the risk for cancer and diabetes, or are important for the immune response or sperm quality, are affected by smoking.

“Our results therefore indicate that the increased disease risk associated with smoking is partly a caused by epigenetic changes. A better understanding of the molecular mechanism behind diseases and reduced body function might lead to improved drugs and therapies in the future,” Johansson added.

Fungus can help in fight against mosquitoes

Researchers have claimed that fungus could be the key to controlling mosquitoes.
The researchers from Swansea University said that fungus Metarhizium anisopliae, which lives in soil and kills a whole range of insects, also affects mosquito larvae if added to the water where the insect breeds, the BBC reported.

Scientists explained to the publication that normally what happens is the fungus attaches to its hosts, germinates and penetrates the body of the insect, colonises the insect and in the process the insect dies.

However, they said that in this case it doesn’t germinate it just stays as spores packed in the body, in the gut, of the insect where it causes stress which activates a number of genes which trigger a whole range of responses leading to the death of the insect.

New sleep mask blinks you awake with soft lights

A new sleeping mask lets users to have a nap of their choice of duration without worrying about sleep inertia.

The Napwell sleeping mask coaxes the wearer awake gently as it slowly lights up providing a soothing effect.

Developers Justin Lee and Neil Joglekar believe that the napping tool can help users feel more energized at work, better on plans or establish a new sleeping plan, Tech Crunch reports.

According to the report, the device lets users set a nap duration and then nod off and once the user nears the end of nap, the mask slowly lights up with a diffuse.

Lee said that the Napwell is far more portable than other sleeping masks, is battery operated and doesn’t need Wi-Fi Bluetooth or a smartphone to make it work.

The Napwell starts at 50 dollars for a production unit and will ship in September next year, the report added.

Comments (+)