Category: Science

Better medical record-keeping needed to fight antibiotic overuse

Better medical record-keeping needed to fight antibiotic overuse

A lack of detailed record-keeping in clinics and emergency departments may be getting in the way of reducing the inappropriate use of antibiotics, a pair of new studies suggests. In one of the studies, about 10% of children and 35% of adults who got an antibiotic prescription during an office visit had no specific reason for the antibiotic in their record. …read more

Global life expectancy to increase by nearly 5 years by 2050 despite geopolitical, metabolic, and environmental threats

Global life expectancy to increase by nearly 5 years by 2050 despite geopolitical, metabolic, and environmental threats

The latest findings forecast that global life expectancy will increase by 4.9 years in males and 4.2 years in females between 2022 and 2050. Increases are expected to be largest in countries where life expectancy is lower, contributing to a convergence of increased life expectancy across geographies. The trend is largely driven by public health measures that have prevented and improved survival rates from cardiovascular diseases, COVID-19, and a range of communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases (CMNNs). …read more

Modern plant enzyme partners with surprisingly ancient protein

Modern plant enzyme partners with surprisingly ancient protein

Scientists have discovered that a protein responsible for the synthesis of a key plant material evolved much earlier than suspected. This new research explored the origin and evolution of the biochemical machinery that builds lignin, a structural component of plant cell walls with significant impacts on the clean energy industry. …read more

Physicists propose path to faster, more flexible robots

Physicists propose path to faster, more flexible robots

Physicists revealed a microscopic phenomenon that could greatly improve the performance of soft devices, such as agile flexible robots or microscopic capsules for drug delivery. …read more

Sweet taste receptor affects how glucose is handled metabolically by humans

Sweet taste receptor affects how glucose is handled metabolically by humans

The sweet-taste receptor might be the first stop in a metabolic surveillance system for sugar. The receptor is also expressed in certain intestinal cells, where it may facilitate glucose absorption and assimilation, as part of this system. A team found that stimulation and inhibition of the sweet receptor helps regulate glucose metabolism in humans and may have implications for managing such metabolic disorders as diabetes. …read more

When saying ‘please’ is more strategic than magic

When saying ‘please’ is more strategic than magic

By kindergarten age, most children have been taught that ‘please’ is a magic word. ‘Please’ is an expression of politeness that shows courtesy and respect, turning a potential demand into a request that will — poof! — magically be granted. But a new study on the ways people make requests of one another suggests that ‘please’ might not be an all-purpose marker of politeness, but rather a more focused, strategic tool to manage frictions or obstacles among family members, friends and even coworkers. The study shows that people say ‘please’ much less often than expected, and mostly when they expect a ‘no’ response is forthcoming. …read more

Scientists want to know how the smells of nature benefit our health

Scientists want to know how the smells of nature benefit our health

Spending time in nature is good for us. And knowing more about nature’s effects on our bodies could not only help our well-being, but could also improve how we care for land, preserve ecosystems and design cities, homes and parks. Many studies have focused on how seeing nature affects us. A team of scientists from around the world wants to understand what the nose knows. They are calling for more research into how odors and scents from natural settings impact our health and well-being. …read more

Killer whales breathe just once between dives, study confirms

Killer whales breathe just once between dives, study confirms

A new study has confirmed a long-held assumption: that orcas take just one breath between dives. The researchers used drone footage and biological data from tags suction-cupped to 11 northern and southern resident killer whales off the coast of B.C. to gather information on the animals’ habits. Confirming orcas take only one breath between dives allowed the researchers to calculate how many litres of oxygen adults and juveniles consume per minute. This provides another piece of the puzzle in estimating orca energy expenditure, and eventually, how many fish the animals need to eat per day, key to their conservation. …read more

Animal brain inspired AI game changer for autonomous robots

Animal brain inspired AI game changer for autonomous robots

A team of researchers has developed a drone that flies autonomously using neuromorphic image processing and control based on the workings of animal brains. Animal brains use less data and energy compared to current deep neural networks running on GPUs (graphic chips). Neuromorphic processors are therefore very suitable for small drones because they don’t need heavy and large hardware and batteries. The results are extraordinary: during flight the drone’s deep neural network processes data up to 64 times faster and consumes three times less energy than when running on a GPU. Further developments of this technology may enable the leap for drones to become as small, agile, and smart as flying insects or birds. …read more

The crystallization of memory: Study reveals how practice forms new memory pathways in the brain

The crystallization of memory: Study reveals how practice forms new memory pathways in the brain

A new study has shown that repetitive practice not only is helpful in improving skills but also leads to profound changes in the brain’s memory pathways. …read more