Archive for May, 2019

A Gene That Mutes Appetite

Some people are thin all their lives. They never have to worry about obesity. They don’t feel compelled to think about what their next meal is going to be. The researchers told us that it’s because they have unusual metabolism rates that allow them to digest all they eat. Now some fresh research in Britain brings out a new reason.

It seems that these people carry a genetic alteration that tends to mute their appetite. The study was based on data from the UK BioBank and included a half million people in the age group of 40 to 69. The gene modification allows these people to reduce the chance of getting diabetes and heart disease as well.

Sadaf Farooqi, professor of metabolism and medicine at the University of Cambridge and Nick Wareham, an epidemiologist, led the study of appetite dulling mutation. The gene named MC4R was studied and it was found that those people who had a mutation in this gene were likely to be obese. Nearly 300 different types of mutations have been recorded in scientific study.

In thin people the gene MC4R is always turned off instead of on, leaving them with no real hunger or appetite to eat. This means that their brain is always telling them that they are satiated, they have no need to eat.

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123456 Please Change Your Password

One would believe in this day and age where people are aware of cyber security, they would be a bit more careful about choosing the passwords they use. However it seems that millions of people still use the extremely generic 123456 as their account password.

The study was conducted by the National Cyber Security Centre in the United Kingdom and BBC reported that the first cyber survey analysed public databases to see which words, phrases and strings people used most commonly. Nearly 23 million accounts used 123456 as the password.

Other popular strings included “123456789”, again easy to crack, “qwerty”, “111111111” and “password”. They were found in the top five passwords being used by people. Ian Levy the technical director of NCSC said that using such passwords left people open to being hacked.

Another trend was to use famous football teams such as Liverpool and Chelsea as the password. Also popular was the name Ashley followed by Michael, Daniel, Jessica and Charlie. The scientific study shows that people are not as concerned about their cyber security as they should be.

A strong password is always a combination of words and numbers. A few random characters may be added so that it may not be cracked easily. The longer a password is, the more difficult it is to hack.

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Want to Exercise Regularly?

The unhealthy trend of obesity that is running through our society is causing a whole new bunch of health issues for the population. Most doctors agree that these so called lifestyle diseases would all be eliminated if people paid attention to just two things – their diet and the exercise they get. It is recommended that an adult gets 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous workout activities per week to stay fit.

A study carried out by the University of Liverpool in the UK has come to the conclusion that dog owners are four times more likely to meet their recommended physical activities guidelines than their peers. Having a pet dog ensures that you get out of the house at least twice a day and are more physically active.

Out of the 385 households that participated in the study conducted by Carri Westgarth, the dog owners were much more active physically. They also recorded relatively better physical health than their non pet owner peers. So as per this science study if you want to get more regular with your exercise regime, go adopt a dog!

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HIV turns Savior for Rare Immunity Disorder

The HIV virus was responsible for so much death and destruction in the human race that it was considered the villain of the story. However now researchers have used the virus in an altered form to help eight babies who were born with a very rare immunity disorder known colloquially as the Bubble Boy Disease.

This name comes from a famous case study of SCID or severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome in the 1970s, where a boy in Texas lived for 12 years inside a protective plastic bubble to isolate him from potentially fatal infection caused by germs. Children born with SCID don’t have a working germ fighting system and any infection can be threat to their very lives.

The research based treatment carried out at the St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis used the HIV virus to help normalize the immunity system of the babies born with SCID. Since the rare disorder usually kills the children born with the disease within the first two years of birth, it is heartening to know that the results of this science project have been extremely positive.

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First Genetically Modified Albino Lizard

Genetics have been changed on mice, pigs, sheep, chickens, goats and butterflies during research projects in the past decades. However reptiles have been pretty much untouched when it came to scientific research so far. With tools such as the Crispr making gene editing much easier to manipulate, students at the University of Georgia decided to give reptile genetics a make over.

The first nearly transparent Anolis Lizard has the claim to fame of being the subject of this scientific study in which graduate student Ashley Rasys participated. She was floored when she saw the lizard as she didn’t really expect to be successful. The lizard broke through it’s thick egg shell to reveal the albino trait that had been modified into it’s genes. The trait was chosen by the students as it was a visual marker.

Douglas Menke is the director of the Department of Genetics at the university. Douglas says that they can now create two to four mutant lizards from just a day’s work. With one successful gene editing tweak under their belts, now one wonders what the researchers will experiment with next.

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Google Drone Delivery Begins in Australia

Getting all permissions from the civil aviation authority, allowed the Google Parent company Alphabet Inc to make it’s first commercial air delivery on 9 April, in the province of North Canberra, Australia. Wing, the company’s drone delivery arm is hoping to expand it’s service to a set of eligible homes in the suburbs of Crace, Palmerston and Franklin. Wing hopes to extend the drone delivery service to Harrison and Gungahlin later on.

The blog on Wing said that they have been testing drone delivery in Australia since 2014. Over the past 18 months they have delivered food, small household items, over the counter chemist products and more. More than 3000 deliveries have taken place in the testing phase to houses located in Fernleigh Park, Royalla, and Bonython communities. It’s taken considerable time and effort to get Wing ready for commercial deliveries.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority of Australia has said that Wing meets the acceptable level of safety and works within the guidelines for commercial drone operators flying over 2 kgs weight. What was once simply a pipe dream has now come true. The various science projects that have been part of this process have proved that when you want to, you can bring the future into your present.

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