What's the buzz

What's the buzz

Sitting too long ups death risk

A new study has found that the more time people spent sitting down, the greater their risk of death.

American Cancer Society researcher Alpa Patel says that irrespective of the physical activity you get, the amount of time spent sitting can up death risk.

The study found that more leisure time spent sitting was associated with higher risk of mortality, particularly in women.

Women who reported more than six hours per day of sitting were 37 per cent more likely to die during the time period studied than those who sat fewer than 3 hours a day.

Men who sat more than 6 hours a day were 18 per cent more likely to die than those who sat fewer than 3 hours per day.

Associations were stronger for cardiovascular disease mortality than for cancer mortality. “Prolonged time spent sitting, independent of physical activity, has been shown to have important metabolic consequences, and may influence things like triglycerides, high density lipoprotein, cholesterol, fasting plasma glucose, resting blood pressure, and leptin, which are biomarkers of obesity and cardiovascular and other chronic diseases,” said Alpa.

Now, ‘batteries’ that deliver power after vigorous shake

A Japanese electronics firm has unveiled a vibration-harvesting generator, which could soon replace standard batteries. The Vibration Energy Cell batteries deliver power after a vigorous shake.

According to Brother Industries, the device could replace AA or AAA batteries in some applications. In an event in Tokyo, the firm demonstrated the device powering a TV remote control, a remote switch for a lamp and an LED torch. Its mechanism is similar to that of a bicycle light dynamo, only in this instance movement from a few shakes provides the energy to power.

“Our Vibration Energy Cells generate electricity using a coil, a magnet, and condenser that charges electricity. These are all embedded in the battery... Because of its low output this type of cell is designed to be used for things such as TV remote controls and LED devices, which consume low power and do not consume electrical power continuously,” said a Brother spokesman.

“Currently the cells are still in the trial phase and so far we do not have a clear business plan for this item. However, we will continue to monitor the market to make a business plan when needed,” the spokesman added.

‘Anti-bacterial’ shoes that ward off foot odour

A new form of paper made of super-thin sheets of carbon could help fight disease-causing bacteria in applications ranging from food packaging that keeps food fresher longer to shoes that ward off foot odour.

Chunhai Fan, Qing Huang, and colleagues said that scientists in the United Kingdom first discovered the material known as graphene in 2004. Since then, its commercial and industrial uses are being found.

Scientists have tried to use graphene in solar cells, computer chips, and sensors. Fan and Huang decided to see how graphene affects living cells. They made sheets of paper from graphene oxide, and then tried to grow bacteria and human cells on top. Bacteria were unable to grow on the paper, and it had little adverse effect on human cells.

“We expect this new carbon nano-material may find important environmental and clinical applications,” the report says.

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