Humans evolved to be taller and smarter

People have evolved to be smarter and taller than their predecessors, a study of populations around the world suggests.

Those who are born to parents from diverse genetic backgrounds tend to be taller and have sharper thinking skills than others, the major international study has found.

Researchers analysed health and genetic information from more than 100 studies carried out around the world.

These included details on more than 350,000 people from urban and rural communities.

The team found that greater genetic diversity is linked to increased height. It is also associated with better cognitive skills, as well as higher levels of education.

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Scientists identify new compounds that may treat depression rapidly with few side effects

DepressionA new study by researchers at University of Maryland School of Medicine has identified promising compounds that could successfully treat depression in less than 24 hours while minimizing side effects. Although they have not yet been tested in people, the compounds could offer significant advantages over current antidepressant medications.

The research, led by Scott Thompson, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Physiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM), was published this month in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

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Drug-resistant bacteria possess natural ability to become vulnerable to antibiotics

Infections with drug-resistant bacteria may be amenable to antibiotics after all. New research suggests that A. baumannii (above), a growing problem in healthcare settings, can naturally relinquish its ability to defy antibiotics. CREDIT Brent Weber

Infections with drug-resistant bacteria may be amenable to antibiotics after all. New research suggests that A. baumannii (above), a growing problem in healthcare settings, can naturally relinquish its ability to defy antibiotics.
CREDIT
Brent Weber

Infections with one of the most troublesome and least understood antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” are increasing at alarming rates, particularly in health-care settings.

But new research, published July 13 in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Online Early Edition, suggests it may be possible to rein in the spread of such infections without the need to develop new antibiotics, reports a team at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Bacteria are natural competitors and have the capacity to kill off other bacteria. But to become bacterial assassins, the researchers found that multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii, a frequent cause of difficult-to-treat infections in hospitals, has to relinquish its ability to defy antibiotics.

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Our brains judge a face's trustworthiness — even when we can't see it

Our brains are able to judge the trustworthiness of a face even when we cannot consciously see it, a team of scientists has found. Their findings, which appear in the Journal of Neuroscience, shed new light on how we form snap judgments of others.

“Our findings suggest that the brain automatically responds to a face’s trustworthiness before it is even consciously perceived,” explains Jonathan Freeman, an assistant professor in New York University’s Department of Psychology and the study’s senior author.

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