The Endoc

People do’ see red when they are angry

Posted on


Angry people really do “see red” where others don’t, scientists have shown. And a preference for red over blue may even be an indicator of a more hostile personality. In a study examining humankind’s ancient association of the colour red with anger, aggression and danger, researchers found that when shown images that were neither fully red nor fully blue, people with hostile personalities were much more likely to see red.
Scientists said that the connection may be linked to our evolution from ancestral hunter-gatherer times to link red with danger and threats.
The research is believed to be the first to look at personality, hostility and the colour red, and involved a number of separate experiments. In the first, researchers from North Dakota State University asked a group of people which colour they preferred, red or blue. Participants then completed personality tests. Results showed that those who opted for red tended to be inter-personally more hostile.
During a second test, participants were presented with images which were faded so they were red or blue to some extent. There was no absolutely dominant colour, and they could be perceived as either. Those who predominantly saw red scored 25% higher on indicators of hostility in the personality test section of the study.
“Hostile people have hostile thoughts; hostile thoughts are implicitly associated with the colour red, and therefore hostile people are biased to see this colour more frequently,” the researchers said, reporting their findings in the Journal of Personality.
The test participants were presented with imaginary scenarios where they could take various forms of action. Red-preferring people were more likely to indicate that they would harm another person in the scenarios than those who preferred blue.
“A core take-home message from this research is that colour can convey psychological meaning and, therefore, is not merely a matter of aesthetics,” the researchers said.

Low back pain biggest source of global disability

Posted on


The Endoc`
Back Pain

Low back pain causes more disability around the globe than any other condition, and accounts for a third of all work related disability, according to new research. Almost one in 10 people (9.4 per cent) worldwide suffer from low back pain, researchers found. The prevalence of low back pain was highest in Western Europe, followed by North Africa and the Middle East, and lowest in the Caribbean and Latin America.
As world population growth gathers pace, and the proportion of elderly rises, the problem is set to worsen over coming decades, warn researchers, who urge governments and health services to take the issue more seriously than they have done so far. The researchers based their findings on data for the Global Burden of Disease 2010 study, which assesses ill health/disability arising from all conditions in 187 countries grouped into 21 regions for 1990, 2005, and 2010.
They looked at the prevalence, incidence, remission, duration, and risk of death associated with low back pain in 117 published studies covering 47 countries and 16 of the 21 Global Disease world regions; plus surveys in five countries about the impact of acute and severe chronic low back pain with and without leg pain; and data from national health surveys in many countries.
The authors then assessed the toll taken by low back pain in terms of disability adjusted life years (DALYs). These are worked out, by combining the number of years of life lost as a result of early death, and the number of years lived with disability. Out of all 291 conditions studied, low back pain came top of the league table in terms of years lost to disability, and sixth in terms of DALYs, researchers said. It was ranked as the greatest contributor to disability in 12 of the 21 world regions, and the greatest contributor to overall burden in Western Europe and Australasia.
“With ageing populations throughout the world, but especially in low and middle income countries, the number of people living with low back pain will increase substantially over coming decades,” researchers said.
According to another study, low back pain disability linked to workplace factors accounts for a third of all work related disability around the globe.
Agricultural sector workers and those aged between 35 and 65 seem to be at greatest risk. Agricultural sector workers were almost four times as likely to develop low back pain disability as any other group of workers. Researchers showed that in 2010 there were just short of 22 million DALYs worldwide caused by workplace related low back pain.
The largest number of DALYs were in regions with the highest populations Asia and North Africa and the Middle East. The studies are published in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

NASA searches for ideas to bring asteroids closer to earth

Posted on


A n image provided by NASA/JPL-Caltech shows a simulation of asteroid 2012 DA14 approaching from the south as it passes through the Earth-moon system on.
U.S. space agency NASA has announced a formal proposal worth $6 million for projects that would help robots and astronauts grab an asteroid from deep space and bring it closer to earth for further study.
In support of NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission a key part of the agency’s stepping stone path to send humans to Mars agency officials are seeking proposals for studies on advanced technology development.
NASA envisages spending up to $6 million on over 25 proposals this year. The proposal should focus on technologies that can be used to identify potential targets like sending robotic spacecraft to capture the selected asteroid and put it in a stable orbit beyond the moon. The technology should also help astronauts get to the space rock and bring back samples in the mid-2020s, NASA said in a statement. “We are reaching out to seek new and innovative ideas as we extend the frontier of space exploration,” said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration and operations.
“To reach Mars, we would rely on new technologies and advanced capabilities proven through the Asteroid Initiative. We are looking forward to exciting ideas from outside NASA as well to help realise that vision,” he added. The proposals have to be submitted before May 5 and the space agency would reward the winners around July 1 for projects that would wrap up in six months. According to Greg Williams, NASA’s deputy associate administrator for plans and policy, the selection process would build on a workshop that generated hundreds of ideas for asteroid exploration last year.
NASA is already supporting projects such as the Asteroid Data Hunter contest, which is offering $35,000 in awards over the next six months to citizen scientists who come up with improved algorithms for identifying asteroids.
Next year, the space agency would review mission concepts for redirecting an asteroid up to 10 metres wide or breaking off a piece of a bigger asteroid and bringing it back.

Tall people may be smarter than their shorter counterparts

Posted on


The British study suggests that vertically challenged might be short on intellect, as according to Britain’s Sunday Times short people may tend to have smaller Iqs. Researchers at Edinburgh University’s Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine analyzed the DNA of more than 6,800 people, none of whom was related to any other, to “estimate the genetic correlation between height and general intelligence.” The end goal of the study, the first of its kind, was to explore whether this genetic link may determine other health outcomes.
The Institute’s Riccardo Marioni told the publication that they found was a small association between height and intelligence such that people who are taller tend to be smarter. In addition to describing the relationship as “small,” though, Marioni let it slip that it was “statistically significant.” He also said that the research indicated that 70 percent of short people’s smaller IQs could be attributed to genetic factors.

Revealed: How Twitter shapes public opinion

Posted on


The Endoc
Twitter shapes

With its over 240 million users tweeting out more than 500 million messages daily, Twitter is shaping public opinion like never before and a new research reveals how these viewpoints are evolved.
Dominant, majority viewpoints emerge quickly on Twitter and once stabilised, these opinions become difficult to change, it said. Moreover, Twitter users are more likely to work to change the opinions of others than to admit to changes of their own.
“Since public opinion levels off and evolves into an ordered state within a short time, small advantages of one opinion in the early stages can turn into a bigger advantage during the evolution of public opinion,” explained Fei Xiong, a lecturer at Beijing Jiaotong University in China.
Once public opinion stabilises, it is difficult to change, he added. To understand how public opinions are evolved on Twitter, a group of researchers gathered about six million messages that were tweeted over a six-month period. They ran these messages through computer algorithms that sorted them by topic and they analysed the underlying sentiments of the authors as they evolved over time.
“The new revelations may shape how political candidates run their social media campaigns or influence the way companies market their goods and services,” Xiong noted.
Xiong, along with professor Yun Liu, discovered that public opinion on Twitter often evolves rapidly and levels off quickly into an ordered state in which one opinion remains dominant. In true social media form, this consensus is often driven by the endorsements of larger and larger groups which tend to have the most influence. The work also revealed that when dominant opinions emerge, however, they tend not to achieve complete consensus.
When Twitter users who hold minority views are faced with overwhelming opposition, they are still not likely to change their opinions, said the study described in the journal Chaos.
“By focusing on a ‘network application’, candidates or companies can analyse the characteristics and behaviour patterns of their supporters and protestors to explore whether the measures they take can influence public opinion and which opinion may succeed,” Xiong said.

CBSE introduces English novels in course curriculum

Posted on


In an attempt to encourage reading habits among school children, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has introduced English novels in the course curriculum of students from classes IX to XII in all its affiliated schools from the academic session 2012-13.
According to Vineet Joshi, chairman, CBSE, the Board constantly encourages schools to provide multi-fold learning experiences to young children. Good reading habits help children to acquire the power of imagination, expression and appreciation of literature. Though all the skills of gaining proficiency in a language are equally important, nevertheless, reading habit helps tremendously in improving comprehension, accuracy, fluency and in increasing vocabulary.
Reading provokes questioning, helps in generating ideas and inspires students to think. It also supports the syllabus in diverse ways by enhancing language competence across the curriculum.
Strengthening of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) has added further impetus in fostering interest in children to read books. As part of the formative assessment in CCE, schools are being advised to take up Reading Projects. Schools have also been encouraged to use multiple modes of assessment such as conducting reviews, script, reading, etc. The board prescribes a multi-cultural and technology enabled pedagogical approach in all the languages offered by it. In this process, incorporating all the four skills reading, writing, listening and speaking in the curriculum prescribed by the board has placed an equitable emphasis on essential skills of English language.CBSE recommends that reading skill should be fostered in children to make them better orators, autonomous learners as well as critical and creative thinkers, adds Joshi.
Every school has finalised one classic for students to read. Students will be evaluated continuously under CCE for the reading skills. At the end of the session, their marks on reading skills will be totalled in their final marks, informs Prabha Sharma, assistant to English consultant, CBSE.

Bhopal prefers Ayurveda for heart ailments

Posted on


The Endoc
The Endoc

The trend of adopting Ayurveda treatment for heart diseases is on the rise in Bhopal . In the wake of benefits of Ayurvedic medicines and reduced chances of its side-effects , more and more people are preferring Ayurvedic medicines in place of allopathic ones. Dr Umesh Shukla, head of medicine department at Pt Kushilal Sharma Ayurveda Mahavidhyalaya Sansthan, said in the past two to three years, Bholal residents have shown tremendous interest in Ayurveda.
Around 150-200 patients suffering from heart disorder get themselves treated in his department every month, he said.
“people are now showing interest in using Ayurveda to get themselves treated for diseases like heart attack also. Some prefer to take entire Ayurveda treatment and some take Ayurvedic medicines as supportive drugs with allopathic medicines. Not only adults, we are providing treatment to children suffering from congenital heart disorder,” Dr Shukla said.
He said a major cause of heart problems was congestion of the arteries, which can restrict blood flow and can damage the heart muscles by putting pressure on the muscles and tissues. Arjuna, one of the Ayurveda’s wonder herbs, works tremendously towards strengthening the cardiac muscle, reducing arterial congestion and lowering blood pressure.
Similary, Triphala Guggul reduces high cholesterol and high level of blood fats easily. Ashwagandha helps in reducing tension and strengthens the heart muscles.
Garlic is also used for controlling high blood pressure (hypertension), high cholesterol (cholesterol management), coronary disease, heart, and “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis heart- disease). He said Ayurveda has a concept of preventive cardiology and it focuses more on preventing the disease form critical stage. The supplements and tonics prescribed under Ayuveda are less costly as compared to medicines of allopathic, he added.
“I have seen that Ayurvedic medicines respond well on heart ailments, and that is the reason why more and more people are coming forward to get themselves treated. People can afford Ayurvedic medicines and treatment as compared to expensive allopathic treatment,” he added.

Scientists ‘freeze’ light for an entire minute

Posted on


The Endoc
The Endoc

What it is: Scientists have trapped light, the fastest traveling thing in the universe, and held it still in a small space.
Light travels at 300 million meters per second that alone is testimony to its slippery nature, and casts in comic light any suggestion to trap it. Imagine, it can make 7,500 trips around the Earth along the equator ever second! How do you trap something like that?
By simply being clever, think a bunch of German scientists, and they have a unique result to show for it. They were able to ‘freeze’ light inside a crystal for one full minute using a phenomenon called electromagnetically induced transparency (EIT).
A specially chosen crystal was found to be transparent for certain frequencies of light an occurrence called EIT. They shot a laser beam, which is a source of light, into the crystal. After some time, they turned on another laser that cut off the first one. This immediately killed the crystal’s transparency, trapping the first laser beam inside.
The achievement is awesome in another context, too. Light has a property called quantum coherence. If quantum coherence is preserved, then the light beam can carry information without losing it. The German researchers found that the laser beam trapped inside for a minute retained its quantum coherence. Why it matters: Therefore, such EIT crystals can be used to store light for longer and longer periods of time using lasers, setting the stage for high-efficiency, high-speed data storage devices.

It’s a Car, It’s a Cycle: It is a Blend, an Organic Bike

Posted on


The Endoc
The Endoc

Stewart’s ELF is only about the 40th to come off the production line. While few bike shop workers have seen the contraption, the materials, such as the tires and pedals, are items on your average bicycle.
Organic Transit CEO Rob Cotter took technology from aircraft, boats and bicycles and incorporated them into a “green” 130-pound (59-kilogram) vehicle. He was consulting on bike-sharing technologies being considered by New York City when he saw there was a market for his vehicle.
A combination of environmental catastrophes, high fuel costs, climate change and a migration of people moving to the cities all combined for a trend of people looking for an automotive alternative. But not everyone can fit a bicycle into their daily life,” Cotter said.
Demand has grown significantly, and Organic Transit has opened a second factory. The company is working on its 75th bike, with more than 200 already sold or reserved with a deposit.
While the ELF is classified as a bicycle by Organic Transit, the laws surrounding such a vehicle vary. In the District of Columbia, where Stewart’s GPS was taking him, the ELF is not allowed on the bike trails and paths. The city classifies it as a motorized bicycle.
“They can’t operate the unit on a sidewalk, they can’t park on a street and they can’t operate on off-street bike trails or bike routes,” said Monica Hernandez of the city’s Department of Transportation. “The only thing you can do (on the street) is stop to unload or load the unit.” Stewart says so far he’s only gotten looks of curiosity.
A lot of cops have gone by me no one’s said boo. They’ll look, they’re interested but they don’t question its right to be on the road,” Stewart said.

Aspirin may lower skin cancer risk’

Posted on


The Endoc
The Endoc

Women who take aspirin are at a reduced risk of developing melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, according to a new study. The study also found that the longer the women took the drug, the lower the risk of developing this type of skin cancer.
The findings suggest that aspirin’s anti-inflammatory effects may help protect against the cancer. In the Women’s Health Initiative, researchers observed US women aged 50 to 79 years for an average of 12 years and noted which individuals developed cancer.
At the beginning of the study, the women were asked which medications they took, what they ate, and what activities they performed.
When Jean Tang of Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, and her colleagues analysed available data from 59,806 Caucasian women in the study, they found that women who took more aspirin were less likely to develop melanoma skin cancer during the 12 years of follow up.
Overall, women who used aspirin had a 21 per cent lower risk of melanoma relative to non-users. Each incremental increase in duration of aspirin use (less than one year of use, one to four years of use, and five or more years of use) was associated with an 11 per cent lower risk of melanoma.
Thus, women who used aspirin for five or more years had a 30 per cent lower melanoma risk than women who did not use aspirin. The researchers controlled for differences in pigmentation, tanning practices, sunscreen use, and other factors that may affect skin cancer risk.
“Aspirin works by reducing inflammation and this may be why using aspirin may lower your risk of developing melanoma,” said Tang.
Other pain medications, such as acetaminophen, did not lower women’s melanoma risk. Tang noted that the findings support the design of a clinical trial to directly test whether aspirin can be taken to prevent melanoma.