Published: Monday 28 February 2005

an apple a day: Consumption of fruits and vegetables reduces the incidence of cardiovascular disease and cancer, according to a study by researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The researchers estimate that 2.6 million people die per year due to inadequate fruit and vegetable intake. Consuming around 600 grams of fruits and vegetables everyday can reduce the incidence of heart disease by 31 per cent, heart strokes and stomach cancer by 19 per cent, and lung cancer by 20 per cent.

silky stitch: The ability of spider's silk to maintain its unusual strength and elasticity even at extreme temperatures has made it a good candidate for surgical applications. A team of scientists at the University of Oxford has found that silk produced by orb-weaving spider Nephila edulis can survive a temperature range of -- (minus) 60 to 150 degrees Celsius without affecting its physical properties. This makes it possible for the spider silk to be heat-sterilised before being used for stitching wounds, nerve regeneration and tendon repair.

rattling discovery: They may not be noted for their linguistic skills, but rats can be trained to tell one language from another. Researchers at Spain's University of Barcelona trained rats to press a lever when they heard Japanese, produced by a speech synthesiser. Others were rewarded for responding to Dutch. The rats instructed to recognise Japanese did not respond to Dutch, and vice versa.

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.