Researchers debunk ‘five-second rule’: Eating food off the floor isn’t safe

Dropped Ice Cream Cone by Child's FeetTurns out bacteria may transfer to candy that has fallen on the floor no matter how fast you pick it up.

Rutgers researchers have disproven the widely accepted notion that it’s OK to scoop up food and eat it within a “safe” five-second window. Donald Schaffner, professor and extension specialist in food science, found that moisture, type of surface and contact time all contribute to cross-contamination. In some instances, the transfer begins in less than one second. Their findings appear online in the American Society for Microbiology’s journal, Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

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New Fabric Uses Sun and Wind to Power Devices

figure_1f_0Fabrics that can generate electricity from physical movement have been in the works for a few years. Now researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have taken the next step, developing a fabric that can simultaneously harvest energy from both sunshine and motion.

Combining two types of electricity generation into one textile paves the way for developing garments that could provide their own source of energy to power devices such as smart phones or global positioning systems.

“This hybrid power textile presents a novel solution to charging devices in the field from something as simple as the wind blowing on a sunny day,” said Zhong Lin Wang, a Regents professor in the Georgia Tech School of Materials Science and Engineering.

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Scientists find stress negatively affects chances of conception

Kira Taylor, Ph.D.

Kira Taylor, Ph.D.

What many have long suspected, has been scientifically confirmed – women’s high stress reduces their probability of conception.

University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences epidemiologist Kira Taylor, Ph.D., and her UofL and Emory University colleagues, found that women who reported feeling more stressed during their ovulatory window were approximately 40-percent less likely to conceive during that month than other less stressful months. Similarly, women who generally reported feeling more stressed than other women, were about 45-percent less likely to conceive. The results of the study recently published in the journal Annals of Epidemiology.

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Losing Teeth Raises Older Adults’ Risks for Physical and Mental Disability

part of a man's face with a

Maintaining good oral health may help older adults prevent a variety of health problems and disabilities. However, the effect tooth loss on physical or cognitive health and well-being is unknown.

In a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, researchers explored this connection. To do so, they examined information from the Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study (JAGES) project.

In their study, the research team examined information from more than 60,000 community-dwelling people aged 65 and older and who did not meet the Japanese criteria for needing long-term care.

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TSRI scientists reverse alcohol dependence in animal models

Authors of the new paper include The Scripps Research Institute's Olivier George (left) and Giordano de Guglielmo. CREDIT Photo courtesy of The Scripps Research Institute.

Authors of the new paper include The Scripps Research Institute’s Olivier George (left) and Giordano de Guglielmo.
CREDIT
Photo courtesy of The Scripps Research Institute.

There may be a way to switch off the urge for compulsive drinking, according to a new study in animal models led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI).

“We can completely reverse alcohol dependence by targeting a network of neurons,” said TSRI Assistant Professor Olivier George, who led the study.

The findings, published in the Sept. 7 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience, built on previous studies showing that frequent alcohol use can activate specific groups of neurons. The more a person drinks, the more they reinforce activation in the neuronal “circuit,” which then drives further alcohol use and addiction. It’s as if the brain carves a special path between alcohol and reward.

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Low vitamin D levels and depression linked in young women, new OSU study shows

Young people at Oregon State University enjoy the winter sunshine. People create their own vitamin D when their skin is exposed to sunlight. CREDIT: Oregon State University

Young people at Oregon State University enjoy the winter sunshine. People create their own vitamin D when their skin is exposed to sunlight.
CREDIT: Oregon State University

A new study from Oregon State University suggests there is a relationship between low levels of vitamin D and depression in otherwise healthy young women.

OSU researchers found that young women with lower levels of vitamin D were more likely to have clinically significant depressive symptoms over the course of a five-week study, lead author David Kerr said. The results were consistent even when researchers took into account other possible explanations, such as time of year, exercise and time spent outside.

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Throughout history humans have preferred their pigs to be black, suggests study

A modern feral Hawaiian pig may owe its black coat to its domesticated Polynesian ancestors. CREDIT: Jack Jeffrey Photography

A modern feral Hawaiian pig may owe its black coat to its domesticated Polynesian ancestors.
CREDIT: Jack Jeffrey Photography

New research suggests the Polynesians, Europeans and the Chinese have had a penchant for black pigs because of the novelty of their colour.

Pigs have played an important cultural role in Hawaii since Polynesian explorers first brought them to Hawaii 800 years ago. Scientists led by Professor Greger Larson from Oxford examined the DNA sequences of modern feral Hawaiian pigs and discovered that a novel mutation is responsible for their black coats, a significant finding because the pigs were expected to have either the Asian or the European genetic mutation leading to their black colour. The study in the Royal Society journal, Open Science, says wild pigs would naturally have camouflaged coats. However, human societies have independently selected domesticated pigs that express the trait of black-coloured coats on at least three separate occasions.

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Fitter legs linked to a ‘fitter’ brain

young fitness woman legs running on seaside wooden boardwalk

The findings, published in Gerontology, suggest that simple interventions, such as increased levels of walking, targeted to improve leg power in the long term may have an impact on healthy cognitive ageing. The research was funded jointly by the NIHR and the Wellcome Trust.

Scientists studied a sample of 324 healthy female twins from the TwinsUK volunteer registry over a ten-year period from 1999, measuring various health and lifestyle predictors. Researchers were, therefore, able to control for genetic factors affecting changes in cognitive function.

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What’s nature worth? Count the selfies

University of Vermont researcher Laura Sonter led a team that successfully used social media images --including selfies -- to measure the use and value of outdoor recreation on public lands. The team's study analyzed more than 7,000 geotagged photos on Flickr to calculate that conserved lands contributed $1.8 billion to Vermont's tourism industry between 2007-2014. CREDIT:Will Watson

University of Vermont researcher Laura Sonter led a team that successfully used social media images –including selfies — to measure the use and value of outdoor recreation on public lands. The team’s study analyzed more than 7,000 geotagged photos on Flickr to calculate that conserved lands contributed $1.8 billion to Vermont’s tourism industry between 2007-2014.
CREDIT:Will Watson

A University of Vermont-led team has successfully used social media images to measure the use and value of outdoor recreation on public lands.

The study analyzed more than 7,000 geotagged photos on Flickr to calculate that conserved lands contributed $1.8 billion to Vermont’s tourism industry between 2007-2014.

The research is the first to measure of the value of outdoor recreation in Vermont public parks and other conserved lands during these years. The findings were published September 9 in the journal PLOS ONE.

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Slow down your typing to improve your writing: Study

Woman holding glass of water with appleThe quality of your writing will likely get better if you simply type slower, according to a recent study.

Researchers from the University of Waterloo asked study participants to type essays using both hands or with only one. Using text-analysis software, the team discovered that some aspects of essay writing, such as sophistication of vocabulary, improved when participants used only one hand to type.

“Typing can be too fluent or too fast, and can actually impair the writing process,” said Srdan Medimorec, a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Arts at Waterloo and lead author of the study. “It seems that what we write is a product of the interactions between our thoughts and the tools we use to express them.”

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