Mercoledì, 08 Novembre 2017



Young people with lower school grades than their peers run a higher risk of mental ill-health and attempted suicide. In a new study published in the journal Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden show that this risk persists into middle age. The study examined the records of over 26,000 women and men from their final year of compulsory education at the age of 16 to a maximum age of 46, cross-referencing their school grades with data on post-attempted suicide hospital treatment. “We found that the lower the school-leaving grade, the higher the risk of attempted suicide,” says Dr Alma Sörberg Wallin, postdoc researcher at Karolinska Institutet’s Department of Public Health Science. “The risk was five times higher for pupils with the lowest grades than for those with the highest.” The correlation was equally strong for women as for men, and the results were unaffected by childhood socioeconomic position, parental mental illness and suicidal behaviour, or immigrant background.

Pubblicato in Scienceonline

In a Child Development ( study of 21,103 children aged 4-17 years, those with lesbian and gay parents did not differ from children of heterosexual parents in terms of emotional and mental health difficulties, as assessed on parental questionnaires. Children of bisexual parents appeared to have greater difficulties, but this difference disappeared after taking into account markers of greater minority stress among bisexual parents. “As lesbian, gay, and bisexual parented families become more visible, the findings bolster previous studies revealing that children raised in these families have comparable psychological well-being compared with children raised by heterosexual parents,” said lead author Dr. Jerel Calzo, of the San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health. “In addition, the results indicate the need for continued investment in strategies to prevent sexual orientation–based discrimination and to support sexual minority parents who may experience minority stress.”

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Pubblicato in Scienceonline
Mercoledì, 08 Novembre 2017 09:00

The wild ass returns

 Kulan foal.  John Linnell/NINA.


On 24th October 2017, a first group of nine animals was released into an acclimatisation enclosure on the edge of the Altyn Dala protected area in central Kazakhstan. The animals had been transported 1200 km by helicopter from Altyn Emel National Park in the southeast of the country. They will be released in early spring. This is the first step in a multi-year project that aims to restore the full range of large herbivores to this unique area of steppe habitat. Kulan once ranged across the Middle East and Central Asia – from the Mediterranean to the east of Mongolia. During the last two centuries, their range has been dramatically reduced to less than 3% of their former range. Although the species is doing relatively well in Mongolia, the Central Asian subspecies is classified as Endangered and only persists in small isolated populations in Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

Pubblicato in Scienceonline
Mercoledì, 08 Novembre 2017 08:59


Come possono le piante cambiare il nostro futuro? Produrre energia elettrica sfruttando l’interazione tra batteri e fotosintesi vegetale si può, ecco come.

La fonte che permette il sostentamento di tutti gli esseri viventi sulla Terra è il carbonio, più in specifico l’anidride carbonica (CO2) che si trova nella nostra atmosfera.  La produzione delle biomolecole ha inizio con i processi innescati dal Sole, il più grande generatore di energia rinnovabile del pianeta. La grande stella luminosa irradia con onde elettromagnetiche l’atmosfera e una piccola parte di questa energia raggiunge gli organismi fotoautotrofi, i quali attraverso la fotosintesi elaborano sostanze per il loro sostentamento e quello degli eterotrofi. 

Il processo fotosintetico, nella prima fase luminosa, permette alla pianta di intercettare attraverso l’ausilio del pigmento clorofilla, una certa lunghezza d’onda specifica dei raggi del sole, denominata PAR (radiazione attiva fotosintetica), che attiva la produzione di energia “eccitando” gli elettroni, che si muovono per poi ritornare al loro posto. Questo movimento dell’elettrone provoca un rilascio di energia che la pianta trasforma in energia chimica (molecole di ATP e NADHP) da impiegare nella seconda fase al buio. Durante la fase buia la CO2 entra nella pianta grazie ad aperture sulle foglie chiamati stomi ed è trasformata attraverso una serie di reazioni chimiche in ossigeno e zuccheri semplici, come il glucosio, utilizzando le molecole ad alto rendimento energetico create nel corso della prima fase. La seguente formula ne riassume il processo:

CO2 (Anidride carbonica) + 6 H2O (Acqua) + Luce → C6H12O6 (Glucosio) + 6 O2 (Ossigeno)

Pubblicato in Ambiente
Svelato un nuovo segreto del successo degli atleti. Non sono solo dieta e preparazione atletica a fare la differenza ma anche il loro microbiota intestinale, cioe' i miliardi di germi (batteri in gran parte ma anche virus e funghi) che tutti alberghiamo nel nostro intestino. L'analisi genomica del microbiota potrebbe fornire insomma un giorno non solo la carta di identita' del nuovo Usain Bolt, ma anche contribuire a migliorare le performance di atleti e gente comune, somministrando loro la carta 'biologica' vincente degli atleti, sotto forma di probiotico 'di talento'. Si perche' il microbiota degli atleti e' 'avanti', brucia meglio i carboidrati, sintetizza piu' aminoacidi, sa come disfarsi in tempo record dell'insidioso acido lattico che si accumula nei muscoli dopo una gara. E forse giova anche alla lucidita' mente, secondo il vecchio adagio 'mens sana in corpore sano'.
Pubblicato in Medicina

A close-up view of nano-sized semiconductors that initiate and speed up a natural process called photocatalytic oxidation. 


Harnessing the Sun’s radiation to help rid the oceans of microplastics contamination is one of several technical innovations to be developed by a new EU-funded project. Beginning in November 2017, a system developed at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden for breaking down microplastics from personal care products will be tested for implementation in homes and wastewater treatment plants. While exposure to sunlight can degrade plastics into harmless elements, it’s a slow process. In some cases plastics can take several years to decompose. Joydeep Dutta, chair of the Functional Materials department at KTH, says this system will speed up that process by making more efficient use of available visible light and ultraviolet rays from the Sun. The system involves coatings with material of nano-sized semiconductors that initiate and speed up a natural process called photocatalytic oxidation, Dutta says. In a test household, these nano material coated filter systems will be placed at the exit of wastewater from homes. Similarly, in wastewater treatment plants these devices will be used to initiate microplastics degradation after the classical treatments are completed.

Pubblicato in Scienceonline

Talking about dental health with children and parents – about what is healthy and unhealthy for your teeth – can be one way to prevent children from developing overweight. This is suggested in a thesis from Sahlgrenska Academy on children’s diet, BMI and well-being. “Weight can be a sensitive subject, but if you talk about eating behaviors alongside dental health, you’re looking at the issue from a different angle,” confirms Louise Arvidsson, registered dietitian and PhD student at the Institute of Medicine. In one of her sub-studies, she reviewed eating behavior, BMI and dental health of 271 pre-school and primary school children in Sweden. The children’s height, weight, and food intake over one day were compared with the prevalence of cariogenic microorganisms in saliva - and the link was clear: The children who had higher amount of caries bacteria also had significantly higher BMI and worse eating habits. They ate more frequently and consumed more foods rich in sugar.

Pubblicato in Scienceonline


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Autorizzazioni del Tribunale di Roma – diffusioni:
telematica quotidiana 229/2006 del 08/06/2006
mensile per mezzo stampa 293/2003 del 07/07/2003
Scienceonline, Autorizzazione del Tribunale di Roma 228/2006 del 29/05/06
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