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Dengue outbreak halted by special mosquitoes 

Novel strategy


The release of special mosquitoes has halted a dengue fever outbreak in the Australian city of Townswille. Now, scientists hope the same technique could help tackle Zika and malaria. The results of the Townsville project are published on the Gates Open Research site.

The first large-scale deployment of mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia bacteria, which makes them unable to transmit viruses, has stopped all outbreaks of dengue fever in the city for the last four years.The project was part of the World Mosquito Program at Monash University. The programme is being replicated in 11 countries. 

Battle against viruses 


Selfie posting may do more harm than good 

Limit the activity

Research suggests that social media use can be a significant impediment to mental health. ‘Selfies’ (self-taken photos) are a common self-presentation strategy on social media. A new study points specifically to posting of selfies as a mood and confidence-lowering activity.

The study titled ‘Selfie harm: Effects on mood and body image in young women’ was published in the journal Body Image. A group of 113 Canadian women, between the ages of 16 and 29, participated in the study led by researchers from York University. Those who posted selfies showed increase in anxiety and decrease in confidence and reported feeling less attractive after posting a selfie. 

Question of mental health


Baby talk helps in infant learning

Language development

Baby talk speeds up an infant’s learning by expanding vocabulary and boosting memory, a Scottish study has found. Babbling terms of endearment such as ‘coochie coo’ helps infants and toddlers pick up language more quickly and could give them a head start at school, according to the University of Edinburgh study published in the journal Cognitive Science.

Interestingly, certain words are more beneficial than others. Words ending in ‘y’, such as ‘doggy’, ‘mummy’ and ‘tummy’, are particularly beneficial. Repeated words, like ‘night-night’ also boost the learning skills of children aged between nine and 21 months. 

Some words more useful

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