Smoking impairs memory, language and perception


Apart from the long list of ills associated with smoking, a new study has revealed the damaging effect smoking has on the brain. Cigarettes thin the outer layer of the brain, the cortex, responsible for memory, language and perception. Although the cortex grows thinner with normal ageing, smoking appears to accelerate this process.

Scientists in Edinburgh and Montreal have found that in non-smokers, the brain cortex, is thicker than in smokers. While the cortex can regain some thickness once a smoker quits, the recovery process is slow and incomplete. The study is published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

Computers are wasting energy when not in use

Electronic products such as computers, when not fully turned ‘off’, consume power all the time. The California Energy Commission (CEC) has released a set of standards to increase the energy efficiency of desktop computers and monitors.

The report titled ‘Analysis of computers, computer monitors and signage displays’ observes that reducing the amount of energy used in ‘on mode’ is a large energy-saving opportunity because computer monitors spend about 30% of the time in this mode. Computers, monitors, and signage displays account for 5% of the electricity used in the state. Apart from cutting electricity bills, lower electricity consumption results in reduced greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions.

Street lights are harmful to plants

Artificial light has an impact on the growth and flowering of plants and even on the number of insects that depend on them for food. Researchers from the University of Exeter simulated the effects of street lighting on artificial grassland plots containing pea aphids, sap sucking insects, at night. They were exposed to two types of light – white and amber.

The low intensity amber light was found to inhibit flowering in a wild variety of peas and beans. The pea aphids feed on these flowering shoots and, as a result, the numbers of these also significantly reduced due to non-availability of food. This way light pollution had an adverse impact on the natural environment including the food chain.

Going to the gym can make you fat


Many people gain weight in spite of going to the gym because they allow themselves treats after a workout reports A study of 1,000 people on their diet and exercise habits revealed that 26% of the people surveyed actually put on weight after working out due to their indulgence in high-calorie snacks post-workout.

Approximately 40% of gym-goers burn as little as 300 calories during each visit, leaving them prone to weight gain if they choose to consume a high-caloric snack after exercising. This is mainly because many people go to the gym because they know they have no control over their eating habits. Also, many gym users have far bigger appetites than people who do not exercise.

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