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Tranquil scenes boost brain function

A new research suggests that tranquil living environments have a positive effect on the human brain function. Research at the University of Sheffield used functional brain imaging to assess how the environment impacts upon our brain functions.

The findings have demonstrated that tranquil environmental scenes containing natural features, such as the sea, cause distinct brain areas to become ‘connected’ with one another whilst man-made environments, such as motorways, disrupt the brain connections.

Researchers carried out functional brain scanning to examine brain activity when people were presented with images of tranquil beach scenes and non-tranquil motorway scenes.

They utilised the fact that waves breaking on a beach and traffic moving on a motorway produce a similar sound, perceived as a constant roar, and presented the participants with images of tranquil beach scenes and non-tranquil motorway scenes while they listened to the same sound associated with both scenes.

How brain switches from a wakeful to a sleeping state

Researchers have discovered a mechanism by which the brain switches from a wakeful to a sleeping state. This could be a breakthrough for a set of discoveries, from sleeping aids to treatments for stroke and other brain injuries.

Washington State University researchers said that the mechanism — a cascade of chemical transmitters and proteins-opens the door to a more detailed understanding of the sleep process and possible targets for drugs and therapies aimed at the costly, debilitating and dangerous problems of fatigue and sleeplessness.

The researchers documented how ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the fundamental energy currency of cells, is released by active brain cells to start the molecular events leading to sleep. The ATP then binds to a receptor responsible for cell processing and the release of cytokines, small signaling proteins involved in sleep regulation.

By charting the link between ATP and the sleep regulatory substances, the researchers have found the way in which the brain keeps track of activity and ultimately switches from a wakeful to sleeping state.

Breastfeeding burns 500 calories a day

Breastfeeding can burn up to 500 calories a day, according to a recent New York State Department of Health campaign.

As per the campaign, this weight-loss boost can translate into other health benefits including a reduced risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The New York DOH launched the 1.6 million dollars public health education campaign last week to educate new mothers on the health benefits of breast-feeding.

At least 75 per cent of babies today are breast-fed for some period of time compared with 60 per cent 15 years ago.

While the physicians behind the campaign say new mothers should continue to breast-feed for a year or longer, many choose not to nurse beyond six months, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

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