Category: Home Remedies

1 Nov

Persistence Is Learned from Fathers, Study Suggests

When the going gets tough, the tough ought to thank their fathers. New research from Brigham Young University shows that dads are in a unique position to help their adolescent children develop persistence. BYU professors Laura Padilla-Walker and Randal Day arrived at these findings after following 325 families over several years. And over time, the persistence gained through fathers lead to higher engagement in school and lower rates of delinquency. "In our research we ask 'Can your child stick with a task? Can they finish a project? Can they make a goal and complete it?'" Day said. "Learning to stick with it sets a foundation for kids to flourish and to cope with the stress and pressures of life." The scholars from BYU's School of Family Life report their findings June 15 in the Journal of Early Adolescence. "There are relatively few studies that highlight the unique role of fathers," Padilla-Walker said. "This research also helps to establish that traits such as persistence -- which can be taught -- are key to a child's life success." The key is for dads to practice what's called "authoritative" parenting -- not to be confused with authoritarian. Here are the three basic ingredients: * Children feel warmth and love from their father * Accountability and the reasons behind rules are emphasized * Children are granted an appropriate level of autonomy About 52 percent of the dads in the study exhibited above-average levels of authoritative parenting. Over time, their kids were significantly more likely to develop persistence, which lead to better outcomes in school and lower levels of delinquency. This particular study examined 11-14 year olds residing in two-parent homes. Yet the study authors suggest that single parents still may play a role in teaching the benefits of persistence, which is an avenue of future research. "Fathers should continue to try and be involved in their children's lives and engage in high quality interactions, even if the quantity of those interactions might be lower than is desirable," Padilla-Walker said. Additional co-authors on this project included Professor Justin Dyer and Brent Black, a BYU grad student in marriage and family therapy.
1 Nov

Pitcher Plant Uses Rain Drops to Capture Prey

During heavy rain, the lid of Nepenthes gracilis pitchers acts like a springboard, catapulting insects that seek shelter on its underside directly into the fluid-filled pitcher, new research has found. The findings were published June 13, in the journal PLoS ONE. Pitcher plants (Nepenthes) rely on insects as a source of nutrients, enabling them to colonise nutrient-poor habitats where other plants struggle to grow. Prey is captured in specialised pitcher-shaped leaves with slippery surfaces on the upper rim and inner wall, and drowns in the digestive fluid at the bottom. Under humid conditions, the wettable pitcher rim is covered by a very thin, continuous film of water. If an insect tries to walk on the wet surface, its adhesive pads (the 'soles' of its feet) are prevented from making contact with the surface and instead slip on the water layer, similar to the 'aquaplaning' effect of a car tire on a wet road. However, researchers have now discovered a new, unique method of capturing insects by the pitcher plant Nepenthes gracilis. The lead author of the paper, Dr Ulrike Bauer from the University of Cambridge's Department of Plant Sciences, said: "It all started with the observation of a beetle seeking shelter under a N. gracilis lid during a tropical rainstorm. Instead of finding a safe -- and dry -- place to rest, the beetle ended up in the pitcher fluid, captured by the plant. We had observed ants crawling under the lid without difficulty many times before, so we assumed that the rain played a role, maybe causing the lid to vibrate and 'catapulting' the beetle into the trap, similar to the springboard at a swimming pool." To test their hypothesis, the scientists simulated 'rain' with a hospital drip and recorded its effect on a captive colony of ants that was foraging on the nectar under the lid. They counted the number of ants that fell from the lid in relation to the total number of visitors. They found that ants were safe before and directly after the 'rain', but when the drip was switched on about 40% of the ants got trapped. Further research revealed that the lower lid surface of the N. gracilis pitcher is covered with highly specialised wax crystals. This structure seems to provide just the right level of slipperiness to enable insects to walk on the surface under 'calm' conditions but lose their footing when the lid is disturbed (in most cases, by rain drops). The scientists also found that the lid of N. gracilis secretes larger amounts of attractive nectar than that of other pitcher plants, presumably to take advantage of this unique mechanism. Dr Bauer added: "Scientists have tried to unravel the mysteries of these plants since the days of Charles Darwin. The fact that we keep discovering new trapping mechanisms in the 21st century makes me curious what other surprises these amazing plants might still have in store!"
1 Nov

Climate Change to Alter Global Fire Risk

Climate change is widely expected to disrupt future fire patterns around the world, with some regions, such as the western United States, seeing more frequent fires within the next 30 years, according to a new analysis led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, in collaboration with an international team of scientists. By the end of the century, almost all of North America and most of Europe is projected to see a jump in the frequency of wildfires, primarily because of increasing temperature trends. At the same time, fire activity could actually decrease around equatorial regions, particularly among the tropical rainforests, because of increased rainfall. The study, published June 12 in Ecosphere, an open-access, peer-reviewed journal of the Ecological Society of America, used 16 different climate change models to generate what the researchers said is one of the most comprehensive projections to date of how climate change might affect global fire patterns. "In the long run, we found what most fear -- increasing fire activity across large parts of the planet," said study lead author Max Moritz, fire specialist in UC Cooperative Extension. "But the speed and extent to which some of these changes may happen is surprising." "These abrupt changes in fire patterns not only affect people's livelihoods," Moritz added, "but they add stress to native plants and animals that are already struggling to adapt to habitat loss." The projections emphasize how important it is for experts in conservation and urban development to include fire in long-term planning and risk analysis, added Moritz, who is based at UC Berkeley's College of Natural Resources. UC Berkeley researchers worked with an atmospheric scientist from Texas Tech University to combine over a decade of satellite-based fire records with historical climate observations and model simulations of future change. The authors documented gradients between fire-prone and fire-free areas of Earth, and quantified the environmental factors responsible for these patterns. They then used these relationships to simulate how future climate change would drive future fire activity through the coming century as projected by a range of global climate models. "Most of the previous wildfire projection studies focused on specific regions of the world, or relied upon only a handful of climate models," said study co-author Katharine Hayhoe, associate professor and director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University. "Our study is unique in that we build a forecast for fire based upon consistent projections across 16 different climate models combined with satellite data, which gives a global perspective on recent fire patterns and their relationship to climate." The fire models in this study are based on climate averages that include mean annual precipitation and mean temperature of the warmest month. These variables tend to control long-term biomass productivity and how flammable that fuel can get during the fire season, the researchers said. Variables that reflect more ephemeral fluctuations in climate, such as annual rainfall shifts due to El Niño cycles, were not included because they vary over shorter periods of time, and future climate projections are only considered representative for averages over time periods of 20-30 years or longer, the authors said. The study found that the greatest disagreements among models occur for the next few decades, with uncertainty across more than half the planet about whether fire activity will increase or decrease. However, some areas of the world, such as the western United States, show a high level of agreement in climate models both near-term and long-term, resulting in a stronger conclusion that those regions should brace themselves for more fire. "When many different models paint the same picture, that gives us confidence that the results of our study reflect a robust fire frequency projection for that region," said Hayhoe. "What is clear is that the choices we are making as a society right now and in the next few decades will determine what Earth's climate will look like over this century and beyond." "We need to learn how to coexist with fire," said Moritz. Study co-author David Ganz, who was director of forest carbon science at The Nature Conservancy at the time of the study, noted the significance of the findings for populations that rely upon fire-sensitive ecosystems. "In Southeast Asia alone, there are millions of people that depend on forested ecosystems for their livelihoods," he said. "Knowing how climate and fire interact are important factors that one needs to consider when managing landscapes to maintain these ecosystem goods and services." The researchers noted that the models they developed focused on fire frequencies, and that linking these to other models of fire intensity and vegetation change are important next steps. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Science Foundation and The Nature Conservancy helped support this study.
1 Nov

Highest-Energy Light from a Solar Flare Ever Detected

A solar flare is an explosive blast of light and charged particles. The powerful March 7 flare, which earned a classification of X5.4 based on the peak intensity of its X-rays, is the strongest eruption so far observed by Fermi's Large Area Telescope (LAT). The flare produced such an outpouring of gamma rays -- a form of light with even greater energy than X-rays -- that the sun briefly became the brightest object in the gamma-ray sky. "For most of Fermi's four years in orbit, its LAT saw the sun as a faint, steady gamma-ray source thanks to the impacts of high-speed particles called cosmic rays," said Nicola Omodei, an astrophysicist at Stanford University in California. "Now we're beginning to see what the sun itself can do." Omodei described Fermi's solar studies at the 220th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Anchorage, Alaska. At the flare's peak, the LAT detected gamma rays with two billion times the energy of visible light, or about four billion electron volts (GeV), easily setting a record for the highest-energy light ever detected during or immediately after a solar flare. The flux of high-energy gamma rays, defined as those with energies beyond 100 million electron volts (MeV), was 1,000 times greater than the sun's steady output. The March flare also is notable for the persistence of its gamma-ray emission. Fermi's LAT detected high-energy gamma rays for about 20 hours, two and a half times longer than any event on record. Additionally, the event marks the first time a greater-than-100-MeV gamma-ray source has been localized to the sun's disk, thanks to the LAT's keen angular resolution. Flares and other eruptive solar events produce gamma rays by accelerating charged particles, which then collide with matter in the sun's atmosphere and visible surface. For instance, interactions among protons result in short-lived subatomic particles called pions, which produce high-energy gamma rays when they decay. Nuclei excited by collisions with lower-energy ions give off characteristic gamma rays as they settle down. Accelerated electrons emit gamma rays as they collide with protons and atomic nuclei. Fermi's LAT scans the entire sky every 3 hours, looking for gamma rays with energies ranging from 20 MeV to more than 300 GeV. Its high sensitivity and wide field of view make the LAT an excellent tool for solar monitoring. Another Fermi instrument, the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM), observes the entire sky not blocked by Earth at any given moment. Designed to detect light at energies from 8,000 eV to 40 MeV, the GBM's complementary capabilities give scientists access to a lower, but overlapping energy range where solar phenomena produce interesting features. Both instruments observed a strong, but less powerful solar flare on June 12, 2010. "Seeing the rise and fall of this brief flare in both instruments allowed us to determine that some of these particles were accelerated to two-thirds of the speed of light in as little as 3 seconds," said Michael Briggs, a member of GBM team at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Solar eruptions are on the rise as the sun progresses toward the peak of its roughly 11-year-long activity cycle, now expected in mid-2013. "Merged with available theoretical models, Fermi observations will give us the ability to reconstruct the energies and types of particles that interact with the sun during flares, an understanding that will open up whole new avenues in solar research," said Gerald Share, an astrophysicist at the University of Maryland in College Park.
1 Nov

Wing Bling: For Female Butterflies, Flashier Is Better

If female butterflies are programmed to identify males of their species by the patterns of spots on their wings, how can new wing patterns evolve in males? The answer is that while females are predisposed to prefer a specific pattern, they learn to like flashier ones more, according to a new Yale University study. The study published online the week of June 11 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences gives a partial explanation of an evolutionary mystery. Biologists used to think that preference for certain traits such as wing spots are hardwired into insects. But that left scientists wondering how butterflies managed to evolve such great diversity in their wing coloration. The Yale team studied the butterfly species Bicyclus anynana, which in the wild has two spots on its forewings (the tops of the wings). The researchers found that female butterflies of the species learn to prefer males with four spots on their forewings over those with two spots. "What surprised us was that females learn this preference after being in the presence of males for just a very short period of time," said Erica L. Westerman of Yale's Department of Evolutionary Biology and Ecology (EEB) and lead author "The male did not have to court them or engage in flashy behavior." While other studies have found that invertebrates can learn new preferences, the Yale researchers were surprised to find that an insect species like the butterfly actually can learn to favor some wing patterns more than others. When exposed to butterflies with four brilliant ultraviolet-reflecting spots for only three hours, females no longer show preference for the type of males found in the wild. But females initially exposed to drabber males with one or zero spots did not change their original preferences. "There is a bias in what females learn, and they learn extra ornamentation is better," said Antónia Monteiro, EEB professor and senior author of the paper. The findings that social environment can change mating preference of female butterflies helps explain how novel wing patterns evolve, say the researchers Now Westerman wants to discover how female butterflies learn to make these choices. "What we have found is a previously unexplored mechanism for biasing the evolution of morphological diversity," Westerman said. "We are now investigating what other cues are being evaluated during the learning period and what prevents females from mating with members of other species." Study was funded by the National Science Foundation and Yale. Yale's Andrea Hodgins-Davis and April Dinwiddie were co-authors of the paper.
1 Nov

Stealth Behavior Allows Cockroaches to Seemingly Vanish

New cockroach behavior discovered by University of California, Berkeley, biologists secures the insect's reputation as one of nature's top escape artists, able to skitter away and disappear from sight before any human can swat it. In addition to its lightning speed, quick maneuvers and ability to squeeze through the tiniest cracks, the cockroach also can flip under a ledge and disappear in the blink of an eye, the researchers found. It does this by grabbing the edge with grappling hook-like claws on its back legs and swinging like a pendulum 180 degrees to land firmly underneath, upside down. Always eager to mimic animal behaviors in robots, the researchers teamed up with UC Berkeley robotics experts to recreate the behavior in a six-legged robot by adding Velcro strips. The UC Berkeley team published the results of the study on June 6, in the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE. Graduate student Jean-Michel Mongeau of UC Berkeley's biophysics group said he and his colleagues first noticed the roaches' newly-identified behavior while studying how they use their antennae to sense and cross gaps. "As we made the gap wider, they would end up on the underside of the ramp," Mongeau said. "To the naked eye, it wasn't clear what was happening, but when we filmed them with a high-speed camera and slowed it down, we were amazed to see that it was the cockroach's hind legs grabbing the surface that allowed it to swing around under the ledge." "Cockroaches continue to surprise us," said Robert Full, a professor of integrative biology who 15 years ago discovered that when cockroaches run rapidly, they rear up on their two hind legs like bipedal humans. "They have fast relay systems that allow them to dart away quickly in response to light or motion at speeds up to 50 body lengths per second, which is equivalent to a couple hundred miles per hour, if you scale up to the size of humans. This makes them incredibly good at escaping predators." Surprisingly, the researchers discovered a similar behavior in lizards, animals that have hook-like toenails, and also documented geckos using this escape technique in the jungle at the Wildlife Reserves near Singapore. "This behavior is probably pretty widespread, because it is an effective way to quickly move out of sight for small animals," Full said. Full's group then teamed up with the robotics group led by Ron Fearing, UC Berkeley professor of electrical engineering and computer science. In Fearing' s lab, graduate student researchers Paul Birkmeyer and Aaron Hoover attached Velcro to the rear legs of a small, cockroach-inspired, six-legged robot called DASH (Dynamic Autonomous Sprawled Hexapod). It was able to reproduce the same behavior as seen in roaches and geckos. "This work is a great example of the amazing maneuverability of animals, and how understanding the physical principles used by nature can inspire design of agile robots," Fearing said. Mongeau and Brian McRae, an undergraduate bioengineering major, analyzed the mechanics of the ninja-like maneuver and discovered that the cockroach, an American cockroach (Periplaneta americana), wasn't merely falling over the ledge. It actually ran at full speed toward the ledge, dove off, then grabbed the edge with its claws -- sometimes using only one leg -- and swung like a pendulum under the ledge, retaining 75 percent of its running energy. This pendulum swing subjects the animal to 3-5 times the force of gravity (3-5 gs), similar to what humans feel at the bottom of a bungee jump, Mongeau said. Full looked at trapeze artists as well as other animals to find a comparable behavior, and found only one well-studied similarity: the tree-swinging behavior of gibbons. These studies of cockroach and lizard behavior are a hallmark of Full's biomechanics teaching laboratory, where undergraduate and graduate students put animals through their paces to determine how they walk, run, leap and maneuver. Recently, Full and his students discovered that geckos use their tails to remain upright in midair, stabilize their body during leaping and even steer during gliding. Now, they are focusing on other body parts -- abdomens and appendages such as antennae and legs. "All this must be put together into a complete package to understand what goes into these animals' extraordinary maneuverability," Full said. Aside from helping scientists understand animal locomotion, these findings will go into making better robots. "Today, some robots are good at running, some at climbing, but very few are good at both or transitioning from one behavior to the other," he said. "That's really the challenge now in robotics, to produce robots that can transition on complex surfaces and get into dangerous areas that first responders can't get into." In addition to Full, Mongeau, McRae, Birkmeyer, Hoover and Fearing, the UC Berkeley coauthors include graduate student Ardian Jusufi from the Department of Integrative Biology. Hoover is now a professor at Olin College. The work was funded by the National Science Foundation, including the NSF's Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program, a Swiss NSF Grant for Prospective Researchers, and the Micro Autonomous Systems Technologies (MAST) consortium, a large group of researchers funded in part by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory that is focused on creating autonomous sensing robots.
28 Sep

Few Best Home Remedies to Get Rid of Chest Congestion

Mike Souheil Home Remedies Tips for Chest Congestion

Chest congestion is common to the extent that all of us go through it at least once in life. It is such a condition which if not treated on time can cause further complications. Those complications can even be deadly. In this article we have discussed few home remedies to get rid of chest congestion without chemical intake in the form of medicines. Remedy 1 for Chest Congestion: Apple Cider Vinegar: Chest congestion is treatable and in this regard apple cider vinegar has helped many individuals. It not only makes mucus thin but also helps in breathing once it is out of the system. Immunity is another aspect which is dealt with the help of apple cider vinegar. Instructions for the home remedy:
  • Take a cup of warm water.
  • Mix two teaspoons of unfiltered and raw apple cider vinegar in warm water.
  • Now take a teaspoon of organic honey and add it in the water. Mix it well.
  • Sip it away while the water is warm.
  • Repeat the procedure thrice in a day till you feel mucus has flushed out of nose by blowing it.
Remedy 2 for Chest Congestion: Use of Ginger: Ginger is another home remedy which you can implement in order to get rid of chest congestion. It has the potential to reduce inflammation and increase immunity in a body. In addition to it, ginger also has polyphenols which helps in secreting mucus. Instructions for the home remedy:
  • Take a cup of lukewarm water and add one tablespoon of finely chopped ginger.
  • Let it sit in the water for five to six minutes.
  • Add honey as to your taste preference. Make sure it is raw and organic.
  • Drink ginger tea thrice in a day for 5 days.
Remedy 3 for Chest Congestion: Use of Onion Onion is a vital source of providing help in reducing chest congestion. This veggie holds quercetin which looks after dissolving factor of mucus. It also assists in warding off the production of mucus. Raw honey Instructions for home remedy:
  • Squeeze onion and take out juice in a cup.
  • Now add fairly same amount of lime juice in it.
  • Also include raw honey and some water in it.
  • Warm it on the stove or in microwave till it is warm enough to give warm effect on the throat.
  • Drink this tea twice a day every day for five to six days.
Remedy 4 for Chest Congestion: Lemon Usage: Lemon is another natural item which has the capability to ensure reduction in chest congestion. Vitamin C is the real agent in lemons which actually help in building immunity.
  • Take a glass of lukewarm water.
  • Add one tablespoon of lemon juice. Add in water.
  • Also include one and a half teaspoon of honey in it.
  • Drink this liquid thrice a day every day for five days.