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Times of India, Pune, January 16, 2016 Pp.13

Standing desks could make kids smarter



Use Linked To Better Executive Function & Working Memory Capabilities: Researcher
Washington: Standing desks in classrooms could make
children smarter by improving their cognitive performance, a new study by an Indian-origin researcher has found. The study provides the
first evidence of neurocognitive benefits of stand-height
desks in classrooms, where
students are given the choice
to stand or sit based on their
preferences, researchers said.
Ranjana Mehta, assistant
professor at the Texas A&M
Health Science Centre School
of Public Health, researched
high school students who
used standing desks. Tests
were performed at the begin-

Mother Image/mother image/ Caitie McCabe/mother image/Corbis

The study provides the first evidence of neurocognitive benefits of

stand-height desks in classrooms

ning and again at the end of

their freshman year.
Through using an experimental design, Mehta explo-


Humans inhabited the Arctic

10,000 yrs earlier than thought

he remains of a prehistoric mammoth bearing evidence of having been attacked by

arrows or spears suggests humans lived in the
Arctic thousands of years earlier than believed,
according to a study published on Thursday
in the journal Science. The findings by a team of
Russian scientists in the Siberian Arctic are
leading experts to rethink earlier estimates that
placed human habitation in the region beginning some 35,000 years ago. The new research
suggests that humans may have lived in the
area as far back as 45,000 years ago 10,000
years earlier than originally thought. The reassessment is based on a study conducted in 2012,
by Alexei Tikhonov and his fellow researchers at
the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg. The scientists excavated the frozen carcass of a male woolly mammoth in the central
Siberian Arctic. Through radiocarbon dating of
the animal's remains, scientists placed the age
of the animal at around 45,000 years old.

red the neurocognitive benefits using four computerised

tests to assess executive functions. Executive functions

E-cig users 28% less

likely to kick the butt
Los Angeles: People who use electronic
cigarettes, which are widely promoted
and used to help smokers quit traditional
cigarettes, are actually 28% less likely to
kick the butt, a new study has warned.
Researchers at the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF) reviewed
38 studies assessing the association between e-cigarette use and cigarette cessation among adult smokers. The studies included smokers who both were and were
not interested in quitting, and included
people as young as 15 years old.
The irony is that quitting smoking is
one of the main reasons both adults and
kids use e-cigarettes, but the overall effect is
less, not more, quitting, said Stanton A
Glantz from UCSF. While there is no question that a puff on an e-cigarette is less
dangerous than a puff on a conventional cigarette, the most dangerous thing about ecigarettes is that they keep people smoking
conventional cigarettes, he added. PTI

are cognitive skills we all use

to analyse tasks, break them
into steps and keep them in
mind until we get them done.
These skills are directly related to the development of many academic skills that allow
students to manage their time
effectively, memorise facts, understand what they read, solve
multi-step problems and organise their thoughts in writing.
Because these functions
are largely regulated in the
frontal brain regions, a portable brain-imaging device (functional near infrared spectroscopy) was used to examine associated changes in the frontal
brain function by placing bio-

sensors on students foreheads

during testing.
Test results indicated
that continued use of standing desks was associated
with significant improvements in executive function
and working memory capabilities, Mehta said. Changes
in corresponding brain activation patterns were also observed, she said.
Interestingly, our research showed the use of standing desks improved neurocognitive function, which is
consistent with results from
previous studies on schoolbased exercise programmes, Mehta said. PTI

Citizens genes decide

a nations happiness
London: Ever wondered why
some countries are happier
than others? It may all come
down to the citizens genes, a
new study suggests.
The citizens of nations
which rate themselves happiest are more likely to have a specific allele in their DNA, involved in sensory pleasure and pain reduction, researchers found. They used data from the
World Values Survey (20002014), calculating the average
national percentages of respondents who unambiguously reported being very happy.
The researchers, including those from Varna University of Management in

Bulgaria, found a strong correlation between a nations

happiness and the presence of
the A allele in the fatty acid
amide hydrolase (FAAH) gene
variant rs324420 in its citizens genetic make-up.
This allele helps prevent
the chemical degradation of
anandamide, a substance that
enhances sensory pleasure
and helps to reduce pain. Nations with the highest prevalence of the A allele are quite
clearly also those who perceive themselves happiest.
Economic wealth, the type
of law governing a nation or
disease patterns did not significantly influence national
differences in happiness. PTI

UK gets its 1st spacewalker


London: United Kingdom took a giant step in space exploration on Friday after astronaut Tim Peake became the
first Briton to walk in space.
Peake launched into space
on December 15 for a sixmonth stay becoming the first
Brit to undertake a long duration mission on the International Space Station (ISS).

Two astronauts Peake hanging beneath the airlock

and Nasas Timothy Kopra and I can have a look around,
look down on planet
ventured outside on
Earth and see what
Friday morning to resthat feels like, Major
tore full power to the
Peake said. Tims misISS. They need to resion, named Principia
place an electronic
will see him carrying
box that failed two
out science as well as
months ago, slashing
being a test subject for
the space stations poTim Peake
health research. The
wer by one-eighth.
ongoing spacewalk is scheduThis is the pinnacle of
my career. I will have a few led to last for about six hours.
(With inputs from agencies)
moments where Ill just be

COSMIC EXPLOSION: An artists impression shows ASAS-SN-151h, the most luminous supernova ever
observed. It is believed to be up to 200 times as powerful as the average supernova, 570 billion times as
bright as our sun and 50 times brighter than the Milky Way. It was spotted in a galaxy believed to be 3.8
billion light-years away. The precise galaxy is unknown. It was discovered by the All Sky Automated Survey
for SuperNovae team (ASAS-SN), an international collaboration at the Ohio State University in US. It has been
theorised that these super-luminous supernovae are powered by so-called magnetars, neutron stars with
extremely powerful magnetic fields, with the magnetism providing the engine for the immense luminosity

Chimps, like humans, make

friends based on trust

Berlin: Friendship may not

be unique to humans as
chimpanzees also bond with
each other based on trust, a
new study suggests. The findings suggest that friendship based on trust has evolved much earlier than previously thought.
Researchers from Max
Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany (MPG) observed the interactions of fifteen chimpanzees over a five-month period.
Based on friendly interactions among chimp pairs, including grooming and eating
together, the researchers identified each chimpanzees closest friend and a non-friend.
The researchers then made the chimps to play a modified version of what is
known as the human trust
game, both with their friend
and with their non-friend.
In the game, chimps had a
choice between pulling a notrust rope and a trust rope.
When the no-trust rope was
pulled, the first chimp got
immediate access to a food it
did not like especially well.


Based on friendly interactions among chimp pairs, the researchers

identified each chimpanzees closest friend and a non-friend

When the trust rope was

pulled instead, the other
chimp got immediate access
to a much more tempting food
item and the option to send a
treat back to the first chimp
(or not). The trust rope offered
the potential for a win-win,
but only if the first chimp
trusted the other enough to
send something back.
Each chimp played the
game twelve times with its
friend and another twelve times with its non-friend. The
results of those experimental
interactions showed much

greater trust between friends

than non-friends.
Chimpanzees were significantly more likely to voluntarily place resources at the
disposal of a partner, and thus
to choose a risky but potentially high-payoff option, when
they interacted with a friend
as compared to a non-friend,
said researchers. The findings suggest that human friendship is not so unique.
...chimpanzees, form close,
long-term emotional bonds
with select individuals, said
Jan Engelmann of MPG. PTI