Researchers from the Sage Colleges in Troy, NY, reported today their findings that specific bacteria common to our environment may increase learning behavior. Dorothy Matthews and Susan Jenks, who conducted the study, shared their findings with those in attendance at the meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in San Diego.
The bacteria, Mycobacterium vaccae, is well known to scientists, as the dead bacteria is being tested as immunotherapy for asthma, cancer, depression, psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and tuberculosis. M. vaccae, so named because it was first discovered in cow dung in Austria, is naturally found in soil, and it is inhaled when people spend time outdoors, especially where there are plants and trees.
It was found in previous research that heat-killed M. vaccae had anti-depressant effects on mice by stimulating the growth of neurons and levels of serotonin. Mathews and Jenks, however, were curious about the effects of live M. vaccae, and fed live bacteria to an experimental group of mice to see how it would effect their navigation of a maze.
The mice that were fed the live M. vaccae learned the maze twice as fast as the control group, which had not received M. vaccae, and the experimental group exhibited less anxiety as well.
Some time later, the experimental group was taken off the bacteria and tested again against the control group. This time, the experimental mice did not learn the maze as fast as when they were given the bacteria, but they were still faster than the control mice.
In yet a third maze learning experiment, conducted after the mice had rested for three weeks, the experimental mice ran faster than the controls, but not fast enough to make a statistically significant difference. This suggested to the researchers that the effects of M. vaccae are temporary.
"This research suggests that M. vaccae may play a role in anxiety and learning in mammals," says Matthews. "It is interesting to speculate that creating learning environments in schools that include time in the outdoors where M. vaccae is present may decrease anxiety and improve the ability to learn new tasks."
Take a walk outdoors when you
take a break. You'll return more relaxed and smarter!
Friday 11 December 2009
GMO cornfields in Canada. A new European study "clearly reveals ... new side effects linked with GM maize consumption" affected the liver and kidneys, but also other organs for three Monsanto GMO corn varieties. (Photo: DawnOne)
A study published in the International Journal of Biological Sciences demonstrates the toxicity of three genetically modified corn varieties from the American seed company Monsanto, the Committee for Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering (Criigen, based in Caen), which participated in that study, announced Friday, December 11.
"For the first time in the world, we've proven that GMO are neither sufficiently healthy nor proper to be commercialized. [...] Each time, for all three GMOs, the kidneys and liver, which are the main organs that react to a chemical food poisoning, had problems," indicated Gilles-Eric Séralini, an expert member of the Commission for Biotechnology Reevaluation, created by the EU in 2008.
Caen and Rouen University researchers, as well as Criigen researchers, based their analyses on the data supplied by Monsanto to health authorities to obtain the green light for commercialization, but they draw different conclusions after new statistical calculations. According to Professor Séralini, the health authorities based themselves on a reading of the conclusions Monsanto has presented and not on conclusions drawn from the totality of the data. The researchers were able to obtain complete documentation following a legal decision.
"Monsanto's tests, effected over 90 days, are
obviously not of sufficient duration to be able to say whether chronic
illnesses are caused. That's why we ask for tests over a period of at
least two years," explained one researcher. Consequently, the
scientists demand a "firm prohibition" on the importation and
cultivation of these GMOs.
These three GMOs (MON810, MON863 and NK603) "are approved for human and animal consumption in the EU and especially the United States," notes Professor Séralini. "MON810 is the only one of the three grown in certain EU countries (especially Spain); the others are imported," he adds. A meeting of EU ministers over MON810 and NK603 is scheduled Monday
Translation: Truthout French Language Editor Leslie Thatcher.
By Kristen Hallam
Oct. 15 (Bloomberg) -- People living near gardens, parks and other green spaces
have lower rates of anxiety, depression and poor physical health than those
living in urban areas, Dutch researchers found.
The scientists reviewed the medical records of more than 345,000 people in the
Netherlands and calculated the percentage of green space near the patients’
homes. For those with 10 percent of green space within a 1-kilometer radius of
their homes, the prevalence of anxiety disorders was 26 out of 1,000 people,
according to the study. In a residential area that was 90 percent green, the
prevalence was 18 out of 1,000.
Better health may stem from access to fresher air and more opportunities to
relax, socialize or exercise, though more research is needed to confirm those
theories, said Jolanda Maas and colleagues at VU University Medical Center in
Amsterdam. Expanding green spaces may help prevent chronic illnesses that cost
billions of dollars to treat each year, they said.
“The role of green space in the living environment for health should not be
underestimated,” they wrote in the study published in the British Medical
Journal’s Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. “Most of the diseases
which were found to be related to the percentage of green space in the living
environment are highly prevalent in society and in many countries, they are the
subject of large-scale prevention programs.”
The study also found fewer cases of depression, heart disease, back pain and
asthma among those living near green spaces. The link between green space and
health was strongest for children and people with low incomes, who are less
mobile and spend more time closer to home, the study found.
The research was funded by a grant from the Netherlands Organization for
Scientific Research. # - Prahladananda Swami - 21/10/09; 1:12:34 AM - Comment