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Computer gamers’ brains differ

Playing computer games has been linked to a range of effects from addiction to improved reasoning. The brains of people who regularly play computer games differ from those of infrequent gamers, research suggests. A study of teenagers showed the ‘reward hub’, which is involved in addiction, was larger in regular players.

An international group of researchers investigated whether playing changed the structure of the brain. Brain scans showed a large ventral striatum, which is the hub of the brain’s reward system, in regular gamers. In fact, playing video games for half a day a week may structurally change the brain, experts say.

Probiotic bugs to treat depression

Probiotic bacteria have the potential to alter brain neurochemistry and treat anxiety and depression-related disorders according to a research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. Scientists have identified a type of gut bacteria that can directly influence the brain.

A team at the University College Cork in Ireland fed laboratory mice with lactobacillus rhamnosus JB-1, a bug that naturally lives in human gut. They found that the mice, displayed significantly less behaviour linked with stress, anxiety and depression and had lower levels of stress hormone corticosterone in response to stressful situations.

Fruit peel used to make gold, silver nanoparticles

Fruit peel, that usually goes into your garbage can, is rich in phenol compounds like ellagic acid and can stabilise silver and gold nanoparticles in water, according to scientists. In a joint study at universities in India and Portugal, pomegranate peel was used to synthesise nanoparticles of precious metals.

Researchers say that the method is very eco-friendly and does not even require heating. The study published in the journal Advanced Materials Letters, found that stable nanoparticles were formed within an hour of the reaction. This is one of the fastest ecological methods to produce silver and gold nanostructures using food waste, according to the researchers.

Men in love more inclined to children

New lovers show greater activation of brain areas related to parental attachment when they see a baby compared to singles, shows a study conducted by the Bar-IIan University, Israel. The effect is particularly seen in men, which indicates that they might have babies on their mind from the outset of a relationship.

While they looked at pictures of infants, the brain activity of 65 volunteers, including singles, new lovers as well as new parents, was monitored by the team of researchers, through electroencephalography. They found that parents and new lovers showed greater activation of brain areas associated with parenting like nucleus accumbens, anterior cingulated and amygdala.

A spoonful of sugar ages your skin prematurely

Consuming sugar and sugary foods doesn’t just give you that extra kilo of weight; it makes your skin look older, concludes a study, published in Age. A team of researchers at Leiden University in the Netherlands studied people with low, medium or high concentrations of blood glucose after a meal.

Independent assessors were then asked to rate their pictures on how old they looked. The results showed that people with higher blood sugar levels appeared older, even when other factors affecting appearance were accounted for, such as actual age, smoking and a history of sunbathing.

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