What's the Buzz

What's the Buzz

Chubby kids at risk later in life

Chronic disorders like heart disease and diabetes may germinate much earlier in life than was previously believed, according to researchers. As per the study reported on MSNBC.com, fat toddlers may have an increased chance of developing the disorders.
The site reports that the markers for cardiovascular disease have been noted in kids as young as three, and kids as young as seven already have the warning signs of Type 2 diabetes.

It is believed that an increase in the number of overweight youngsters and a decrease in their level of exercise may be the reasons behind the chronic diseases showing up in kids. “I think parents should be not so much worried as motivated,” Dr Eliana Perrin, co-author of a new study in ‘Pediatrics,’ said.

“Catching something early gives us as parents and pediatricians an opportunity to prevent problems down the road. Parents have a huge role in helping children make healthier choices in what they eat and how often they play.” To reach the conclusion, experts focused on 16,000 kids from age 1 to 17.

Tsunami generator helps protect against catastrophes

Scientists have developed and successfully tested a unique wave-generating machine that mimics the activity of real-life tsunamis with unprecedented realism, which would help protect against future catastrophe.

The simulator, tested in an Oxfordshire laboratory, has copied the first massive wave of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. Developed and built with Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funding, the tsunami generator will improve understanding of how tsunamis behave.

Mounted in a 45 metre-long wave channel, the tsunami generator uses a pneumatic (air-driven) system comprising a fan and control valves to suck up water into a tank and then release it in a controlled way.

This makes the facility fundamentally different from all other wave simulators worldwide, which generally use pistons to produce waves by pushing at the water. The new pneumatic technique has a range of advantages over a piston-based approach. In particular, tests by UCL researchers at HR Wallingford have shown that it can reproduce the draw-down phenomenon that is characteristic of ‘trough-led’ tsunamis where the sea is sucked out first before rushing back towards the shoreline.

Why some people are smarter than others

Scientists have found why some people are smarter than others? Because they have more efficient neural networks in their brains. Martijn van den Heuvel, a neuroscientist at Utrecht University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, found that smarter brains seem to have more efficient networks between neurons. This means that it takes fewer steps to relay a message between different regions of the brain.

That could explain about a third of the variation in a population’s IQ, he said. Another key factor is the insulating fatty sheath encasing neuron fibres, which affects the speed of electrical signals.

Paul Thompson at the University of California, Los Angeles, has found a correlation between IQ and the quality of the sheaths. Many studies have estimated that genes contribute around 40 to 80 per cent to intelligence. This wide range of estimates might have arisen because genes contribute more to IQ as we get older, according to a study published last year.