What's The Buzz

What's The Buzz

Calorie-restricted diet boosts longevity

Scientists have discovered how calorie-restricted diets increase longevity. They have found that proteins in the fat cells change as pounds drop off.

According to researchers, the proteins could become markers for monitoring or boosting the effectiveness of calorie-restricted diets — the only scientifically proven way of extending life span in animals.

Edwin Mariman and colleagues note that scientists have long known that sharply restricting intake of calories while maintaining good nutrition makes animals live longer and stay healthier.

Recent studies suggest that people may gain similar benefits. However, scientists know little about how these diets work in humans, particularly their effects on cells that store fat.

The new study focused on proteins in abdominal subcutaneous fat cells from a group of overweight people before and after they went on a five-week-long calorie-restricted diet.

The volunteers each lost an average of 21 pounds. Scientists identified changes in the levels of six proteins as the volunteers shed pounds, including proteins that tell the body to store fat.

Skunk users more likely to suffer from psychosis

Smokers, who take the highly potent form of cannabis known as skunk, have been found to be almost seven times more likely to develop a psychotic illness than those who use the traditional strength drug, says a new study.

The first of its kind study by scientists at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London came up with the discovery after analysing admissions to hospital for psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia, paranoia and serious depression.

They found that the patients were seven times more likely to have smoked skunk than ordinary cannabis or hash.

And this was above the increased risk associated with heavy use of the weaker variety of the drug. “Our study is the first to demonstrate that the risk of psychosis is much greater among people who are frequent cannabis users, especially among those using skunk, rather than occasional users of traditional hash,” said Dr Marta Di Forti.

Antibiotic fails to prevent preterm labour

A new British study has found that antibiotic azithromycin is ineffective in preventing preterm labour.

Scientists at Liverpool looked into the effectiveness of the antibiotic in keeping a check on premature births in Southern Malawi to come up with their findings.

Out of 2,000 pregnant women, half were administered antibiotic orally and half were given placebo drugs. It was seen that the antibiotic made no major difference to the outcome of the pregnancies between both the groups of women. Although, infection rates came down due to the antibiotic use, a large number of women still went into preterm labour.

Jim Neilson said: “Labour that occurs before 37 weeks is defined as a preterm birth and is a major cause of infant death and illness. Currently there is no effective way to prevent premature births”.