A few minutes of light exercise, rather than a sweaty gym workout, is all that is needed to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, study suggests

Even small amounts of physical activity can offer health benefits that protect against diabetesEven small amounts of physical activity can offer health benefits that protect against diabetes, new research suggests.

A new study found that even a little exercise wards off insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes which can result from a high-fat diet.

Insulin resistance occurs when the cells of the body stop responding to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels in the body.

Exercise can prevent insulin resistance by prompting the body to remove damaged cells and enhancing the quality of mitochondria, the cell’s energy powerhouses.

Type 2 diabetes affects 4.5 million people living in the UK and 29 million people in the US.

Even small amounts of physical activity can offer health benefits that protect against diabetes

The study also casts doubt on the previously held view that increasing the quantity of mitochondria could help fix some consequences of a high fat diet, including insulin resistance.

The researchers found that the benefits from physical activity were not affected by the quantity of mitochondria.

Lead researcher Megan Rosa-Caldwell, a doctoral student at the University of Arkansas, found that mice genetically engineered to have higher quantity of mitochondria were not more protected against high-fat diet induced insulin resistance.

How was the research conducted?

The researchers fed all the mice in the study a Western diet high in fat.

The genetically engineered and control mice were further divided into a group that was allowed to exercise, and a sedentary group.

Their results showed that physical activity, regardless of the amount of mitochondria, offered similar health benefits against insulin resistance.

Even a little exercise wards off insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes which can result from a high-fat diet

Study found even a little exercise wards off insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes

The researchers said that it appears that exercise’s ability to help remove damaged cells and enhance the quality of the mitochondria may be more effective for preventing insulin resistance.

But they said these aspects need to be further tested.

Exercise offers ‘the greatest protection’

Ms Rosa-Caldwell said that with rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes continuing to increase, understanding the cellular processes that help or hurt insulin resistance can help doctors better tailor effective preventative measures such as exercise.

She added: ‘For now, physical activity is the greatest protection, but further research may enable us to prevent and treat insulin resistance, and subsequent diabetes, more effectively.’

The research was published in the journal Experimental Physiology.

[“Source-ndtv”]

 

Researchers ‘reprogram’ network of brain cells in mice with thin beam of light

In this photo of living mouse neurons, calcium imaging techniques record the firing of individual neurons and their pulses of electricity.
Credit: Yuste Laboratory/Columbia University

Neurons that fire together really do wire together, says a new study in Science, suggesting that the three-pound computer in our heads may be more malleable than we think.

In the latest issue of Science, neuroscientists at Columbia University demonstrate that a set of neurons trained to fire in unison could be reactivated as much as a day later if just one neuron in the network was stimulated. Though further research is needed, their findings suggest that groups of activated neurons may form the basic building blocks of learning and memory, as originally hypothesized by psychologist Donald Hebb in the 1940s.

“I always thought the brain was mostly hard-wired,” said the study’s senior author, Dr. Rafael Yuste, a neuroscience professor at Columbia University. “But then I saw the results and said ‘Holy moly, this whole thing is plastic.’ We’re dealing with a plastic computer that’s constantly learning and changing.”

The researchers were able to control and observe the brain of a living mouse using the optogenetic tools that have revolutionized neuroscience in the last decade. They injected the mouse with a virus containing light-sensitive proteins engineered to reach specific brain cells. Once inside a cell, the proteins allowed researchers to remotely activate the neuron with light, as if switching on a TV.

The mouse was allowed to run freely on a treadmill while its head was held still under a microscope. With one laser, the researchers beamed light through its skull to stimulate a small group of cells in the visual cortex. With a second laser, they recorded rising levels of calcium in each neuron as it fired, thus imaging the activity of individual cells.

Before optogenetics, scientists had to open the skull and implant electrodes into living tissue to stimulate neurons with electricity and measure their response. Even a mouse brain of 100 million neurons, nearly a thousandth the size of ours, was too dense to get a close look at groups of neurons.

Optogenetics allowed researchers to get inside the brain non-invasively and control it far more precisely. In the last decade, researchers have restored sight and hearing to blind and deaf mice, and turned normal mice aggressive, all by manipulating specific brain regions.

The breakthrough that allowed researchers to reprogram a cluster of cells in the brain is the culmination of more than a decade of work. With tissue samples from the mouse visual cortex, Yuste and his colleagues showed in a 2003 study in Nature that neurons coordinated their firing in small networks called neural ensembles. A year later, they demonstrated that the ensembles fired off in sequential patterns through time.

As techniques for controlling and observing cells in living animals improved, they learned that these neural ensembles are active even without stimulation. They used this information to develop mathematical algorithms for finding neural ensembles in the visual cortex. They were then able to show, as they had in the tissue samples earlier, that neural ensembles in living animals also fire one after the other in sequential patterns.

The current study in Science shows that these networks can be artificially implanted and replayed, says Yuste, much as the scent of a tea-soaked madeleine takes novelist Marcel Proust back to his memories of childhood.

Pairing two-photon stimulation technology with two-photon calcium imaging allowed the researchers to document how individual cells responded to light stimulation. Though previous studies have targeted and recorded individual cells none have demonstrated that a bundle of neurons could be fired off together to imprint what they call a “neuronal microcircuit” in a live animal’s brain.

“If you told me a year ago we could stimulate 20 neurons in a mouse brain of 100 million neurons and alter their behavior, I’d say no way,” said Yuste, who is also a member of the Data Science Institute. “It’s like reconfiguring three grains of sand at the beach.”

The researchers think that the network of activated neurons they artificially created may have implanted an image completely unfamiliar to the mouse. They are now developing a behavioral study to try and prove this.

“We think that these methods to read and write activity into the living brain will have a major impact in neuroscience and medicine,” said the study’s lead author, Luis Carrillo-Reid, a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia.

Dr. Daniel Javitt, a psychiatry professor at Columbia University Medical Center who was not involved in the study, says the work could potentially be used to restore normal connection patterns in the brains of people with epilepsy and other brain disorders. Major technical hurdles, however, would need to be overcome before optogenetic techniques could be applied to humans.

The research is part of a $300 million brain-mapping effort called the U.S. BRAIN Initiative, which grew out of an earlier proposal by Yuste and his colleagues to develop tools for mapping the brain activity of fruit flies to more complex mammals, including humans.

source”gsmarena”

Outdoor light has role in reducing short-sightedness in kids

Increasing exposure to outdoor light is the key to reducing the myopia (short-sightedness) epidemic in children, according to ground-breaking research by Australian optometrists.

Optometrist and lead researcher on the project, Associate Professor Scott Read who is the director of research at QUT’s School of Optometry and Vision Science, said children need to spend more than an hour and preferably at least two hours a day outside to help prevent myopia from developing and progressing.

Speaking at the Australian Vision Convention in Queensland on the weekend, Professor Read said it was not ‘near work’ on computer and other screens causing myopia, but a lack of adequate outdoor light.

“While screens are contributing to children spending more time indoors than in previous years, the research shows they are not the direct cause of the increased incidence of myopia,” he said.

“Optometrists need to make their patients aware that less than 60 minutes’ exposure to light outdoors per day is a risk factor for myopia.

“It looks like even for those with myopia already, increasing time outside is likely to reduce progression.”

Optometry Australia president Kate Gifford said “this new finding is of significant importance in our endeavour to mitigate the growing rate of myopia in children.”

In February, it was announced that half the world’s population will be short-sighted by 2050 with many at risk of blindness.

The global study, published by the Brien Holden Vision Institute, forecasts that 10 per cent of the world’s population will be at risk of blindness by 2050 if steps are not taken to stop myopia turning into high myopia (requiring glasses with a prescription of minus five or stronger).

The QUT study measured children’s eye growth via study participants wearing wristwatch light sensors to record light exposure and physical activity for a fortnight during warmer then colder months to give an overall measurement of their typical light exposure.

“Children exposed to the least outdoor light had faster eye growth and hence faster myopia progression,” Professor Read said.

“source -cncb”]

Google shines the light on upstart titles with new Indie games corner

google play games

One of the eagerly-anticipated debuts at MWC 2016 comes courtesy of Xiaomi in the Mi 5 flagship. The Chinese giant has been enjoying high domestic and international interest, especially over the last year and, this time around, the company’s VP Hugo Barra has decided to dive head-on into one of the industry’s major events where he will be hosting the global launch of the Xaiomi Mi 5.

Mind you, the announcement is global, but judging from the company’s track record, availability for the handset probably won’t be.

The event is set for later today February 24 at 9:00 CET and you can follow along using the live stream below.

As for the Xiaomi Mi5, it is still shrouded in a lot of mystery, mainly concerning all its alleged variants. The most recent leak suggested it would have two versions. The base model is expected to have a 5.2″ 2K (1440×2560) IPS display and should run on Snapdragon 820 chip with 4GB of RAM. The rest of the specs include a 16MP rear snapper and a front 8MP selfie shooter.

Another new feature is expected to be the fingerprint reader in the home button on the front.

Tune back in when the event kicks off to see how close these rumors came to the real thing.

[“source -cncb”]