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Site last updated on
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May 2020

Here we highlight just a few bits of news coming from the worldwide science science. As with any real science, all of these snippets are based on the most recent evidence but things might change as more research is done.

Men are hit harder by Covid-19 seems to depend on a range of factors but one being researched is the fact that reproduction gives women two X-chromosomes while men only get one. A number of critical immune genes are located on X chromosomes. Having said that, across the widest population, men tend to be less hygienic - how many don’t wash their hands? Other contributing factors are generally higher in male populations - obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and lung and cardiovasdcular disease.

Getting a good night’s sleep is good for your mental health. Research in Italy looked at how a group of volunteers responded to sleep patterns. Firstly they were allowed to sleep ‘normally’ and their wrist-mounted sensors showed they typically slept for 7-8 hours. After that they were prevented from going to sleep until around 02:00. Tests before and after these exercises not surprisingly found the second batch more sleepy but also found them less attentive and in a lower mood. Getting a good night’s sleep also seems to depend on ‘routine’, something we need to think about in the current lock down situation.

Covid-19 vaccine is a long way off. Between 1998 and 2009 the average time to develop a vaccine was 10.7 years! Having said this depressing fact, the intensity of worldwide research and development is such that this time for Covid-19 vaccine is almost certainly going to be much shorter - but how much?

Antarctic glacier at rick of collapse with the risk that see levels could rise by up to 3 metres! Pine Island glacier off the west coast of Antarctica is retreating and disintegrating rapidly. Long-term predictions are difficult because modern observations only go back to the 1970s. Collapse could happen more quickly!

Strength training can have more potential to keep you healthy than so-called aerobic exercise. Our muscle strength tends to peak in our 30s and then declines. Strength training could add years to our life and also protect from some major killers. Having stronger muscles seems to decrease the chance of getting cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes. In the current ‘stay at home’ situation, this can also mean an easier programme. Strength training can be based around lifting weights - or just your own - ‘squats’, press-ups, up-and-down stairs - you choose.

Parakeets are now rated as ‘common UK birds! These green birds are globally extremely good ‘invaders’ of environments. A recent survey estimated the UK’s parakeet population as about 30,000.

Venice’s canals are cleaner because of Covid-19! This much reported fact gives a feel for our effects on our environment.

Out-of --Africa origin of humans now getting a massive ‘reset’. Until recently the ‘standard view of human origins had our ancestors leaving east Africa about 60,000 years ago. However, recent years have progressively demolished this view Modern evidence points to modern-ish humans living in Africa more than 200,000 years ago. The newest estimate of the origin of Homo sapiens points to 315,000 years ago!