Grandma gets brain boost from Facebook
Of course, you’d rather not run into your grandma on Facebook. But as much as it might bother you, it could be doing her a lot of good. A new study from the University of Arizona found that using Facebook provided a 25 percent cognitive boost to both men and women over the age of 65.
The study broke older adults – aged 68 to 91 – into three groups. The first group was given training in how to use Facebook and was encouraged to update at least once per day. The second group updated a private blog with short posts once per day, but without the social sharing. The third group did not participate in any online postings. At the end of the study, the Facebook group saw improvement in “mental updating” aspects of cognition, while the other groups saw no improvement.
The researchers tied these improvements to two different elements: learning a new skill and the social aspects of Facebook… Learning how to use Facebook was essentially teaching a complex new skill, which is known to help keep the brain sharp. The research also indicated that the feelings of social connectedness also provided a benefit to the study participants.
Sourced from: Science Daily, Should Grandma Join Facebook? It May Give Her a Cognitive Boost, Study Finds
Mosquitoes ignore Deet after first exposure
Deet, the most popular insect repellent, was originally developed by the U.S. military to protect its soldiers during jungle warfare. For decades, it was effective, to the point that it became a common household item. Unfortunately, it appears that the chemical is losing its effectiveness as mosquitoes are becoming resistant to the spray. It appears that some mosquitoes are turned away only upon first exposure to Deet; after that, they appear to ignore it.
This is what researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found when they conducted a study in which a Deet-covered arm was exposed to mosquitoes. The first time the mosquitoes encountered the arm, they avoided it. Hours later, the test was repeated, and the same mosquitoes appeared to show little reason to avoid the human, despite the presence of Deet. When electrodes were attached to the mosquitoes’ antennae, the results were confirmed: the mosquitoes were no longer sensitive to the chemical. The researchers concluded that this was a product of long-term genetic changes in mosquitoes, as well as temporary changes to the bugs’ senses of smell.
Still, with many global diseases still transmitted by mosquitoes – including yellow fever, dengue fever and malaria – the researchers urged continued use of Deet until something new is developed.
Sourced from: BBC News, Mosquitoes ignore repellent Deet after first exposure
One-third of fish mislabeled
There’s something fishy about much of the fish being sold in the U.S. According to a new report from the ocean conservation group Oceana, nearly one-third of all fish are mislabeled in markets. In sushi restaurants, the researchers found that nearly three-quarters of the fish was mislabeled, while 18 percent of fish in grocery stores was not what it was sold as.
The organization purchased 1,215 samples from 21 states, and found that fraud was widespread. However, mislabeling did vary dramatically across regions: Seattle had a relatively low amount of fraud, while roughly half of all fish purchases in Pennsylvania and Southern California were mislabeled.
Often a cheaper type of fish was being sold instead what people thought they were buying. The biggest culprits? Red snapper was not actually red snapper 87 percent of the time, while fish labeled as tuna was another type of fish 60 percent of the time. Fish labeled as “white tuna” was commonly escolar, which could be more dangerous to the digestive tract than tuna due to its high mercury levels.
The study, unfortunately, had trouble locating the source of the fraud, as tracking the fish from boats to consumption was extremely difficult.
Sourced from: Live Science, Fish Fraud Widespread in US: Report