Orchard Pests Can Be Effectively Controlled With Sweet Alyssum Flowers, Research Finds

May 16, 2013 in Gardening, Research and Science

A simple and effective way to control aphids — often one of the most significant pests in fruit orchards — has been developed by researchers at Washington State University. All it takes to control the aphid population…. are flowers.

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The researchers at WSU discovered that simply by planting sweet alyssum flowers that fruit growers can effectively control the aphid population — via increased numbers of aphid predators attracted by the flowers. The researchers think that the discovery is a boon not only for organic growers but conventional too, because of how effective it is, especially with regards to costs.
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Dementia Affecting More And More People, Earlier And Earlier In Life, Research Finds

May 14, 2013 in Research and Science

Dementia and other neurological diseases are affecting more and more people, earlier and earlier in their life, according to new research. The rapid rise cannot be attributed to longer lifespans, and is almost definitely as a result of environmental changes/pollution and societal/lifestyle changes, according to the researchers.

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The new research has found “that the sharp rise of dementia and other neurological deaths in people under 74 cannot be put down to the fact that we are living longer. The rise is because a higher proportion of old people are being affected by such conditions — and what is really alarming, it is starting earlier and affecting people under 55 years.”

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Earthworms Very Effectively Protect Garden Plants From Invasive Slugs, Research Finds

May 13, 2013 in Gardening, Research and Science

The presence of a healthy population of earthworms in a garden’s soil works very effectively to protect plant leaves from being eaten by slugs, new research from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna has found.

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Even though the earthworms don’t have direct contact with the slugs or the plant growth above, they seem to very effectively protect the plants via increased nitrogen content in the plants, as a result of the earthworms being present. The researchers also found that with increased plant diversity the amount of damage that the slugs did to individual plants was greatly lessened.
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Grapes Work To Reduce Heart Failure Via An Increased Activation Of Antioxidant Producing Genes

May 12, 2013 in Research and Science

Grapes work to reduce the heart failure that is often associated with chronic high blood pressure via an increased activation of several genes that are responsible for antioxidant defense in heart tissue, new research has found.

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It has been known for some time that grapes are a significant natural source of antioxidants and polyphenols, which are theorized to be the compounds behind many of the beneficial health effects that are observed when grapes are added to a diet.

And now, the new research, done at the University of Michigan Health System, has “uncovered a novel way that grapes exert beneficial effects in the heart: influencing gene activities and metabolic pathways that improve the levels of glutathione, the most abundant cellular antioxidant in the heart.”
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Berries Help To Clear Toxic Accumulations From The Brain And Improve Cognitive Function, Research Finds

May 2, 2013 in Research and Science

Previous research has found that the addition of berries to a diet offers some protection against excess inflammation in humans, and improves cognitive function/behavior in stressed lab rats, but the exact mechanisms behind these effects have remained somewhat unclear, until now. New research from Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University and University of Maryland Baltimore County has found that berries greatly improve the ability of the brain to clear away toxic accumulation.

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The research was done by feeding some laboratory rats a berry diet for a period of 2 months and monitoring their brains after exposing some of the them to irradiation. “All of the rats were fed berries 2 months prior to radiation and then divided into two groups- one was evaluated after 36 hours of radiation and the other after 30 days.

“After 30 days on the same berry diet, the rats experienced significant protection against radiation compared to control,” stated researcher Shibu Poulose, PhD. “We saw significant benefits to diets with both of the berries, and speculate it is due to the phytonutrients present.”
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