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Bird's eye perspective

Humans belong to a select club of species that enjoy crisp color vision in daylight, thanks to a small spot in the center of the retina at the back of the eye. Other club members include monkeys and apes, various fish and reptiles, and many birds, which must home in on their scurrying dinners from afar or peck at tiny ...

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The mere presence of your smartphone reduces brain power, study shows

Your cognitive capacity is significantly reduced when your smartphone is within reach — even if it’s off. That’s the takeaway finding from a new study from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. McCombs Assistant Professor Adrian Ward and co-authors conducted experiments with nearly 800 smartphone users in an attempt to measure, for the first ...

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Genes, ozone, and autism

A new analysis shows that individuals with high levels of genetic variation and elevated exposure to ozone in the environment are at an even higher risk for developing autism than would be expected by adding the two risk factors together. The study is the first to look at the combined effects of genome-wide genetic change and environmental risk factors for ...

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Origins of Sun's swirling spicules discovered

At any given moment, as many as 10 million wild jets of solar material burst from the sun’s surface. They erupt as fast as 60 miles per second, and can reach lengths of 6,000 miles before collapsing. These are spicules, and despite their grass-like abundance, scientists didn’t understand how they form. Now, for the first time, a computer simulation — ...

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A simple solution to protect critical infrastructure

Protecting our infrastructure isn’t just about preventing malicious attacks, but also mitigating the damage of natural disasters. If you’ve seen a hurricane, tornado, or super storm, then you know just how much damage they can do to roads, bridges, construction sites, and especially underground subways. Think of the sheer number of ways water can enter into a subway tunnel, and ...

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Memory for stimulus sequences distinguishes humans from other animals

Humans possess many cognitive abilities not seen in other animals, such as a full-blown language capacity as well as reasoning and planning abilities. Despite these differences, however, it has been difficult to identify specific mental capacities that distinguish humans from other animals. Researchers at the City University of New York (CUNY) and Stockholm University have now discovered that humans have ...

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How viewing cute animals can help rekindle marital spark

One of the well-known challenges of marriage is keeping the passion alive after years of partnership, as passions tend to cool even in very happy relationships. In a new study, a team of psychological scientists led by James K. McNulty of Florida State University has developed an unconventional intervention for helping a marriage maintain its spark: pictures of puppies and ...

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Common household chemicals lead to birth defects in mice, research finds

A new study at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech has found a connection between common household chemicals and birth defects. Known as quaternary ammonium compounds or “quats,” the chemicals are often used as disinfectants and preservatives in household and personal products such as cleaners, laundry detergent, fabric ...

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Nickel for thought: Compound shows potential for high-temperature superconductivity

A team of researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory has identified a nickel oxide compound as an unconventional but promising candidate material for high-temperature superconductivity. The team successfully synthesized single crystals of a metallic trilayer nickelate compound, a feat the researchers believe to be a first. “It’s poised for superconductivity in a way not found ...

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On the road to creating an electrodeless spacecraft propulsion engine

Researchers from Tohoku University have been trying to find out how the plasma flow is influenced by its environment via laboratory experiments. And in doing so, have made headway on research towards creating an electrodeless plasma thruster used to propel spacecraft. The universe is made up of plasma — a gas so hot that its particles are electrically charged. This ...

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