Lab Report

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 May, 2013, 10:45am

Great leap forward

Traditional theory goes that our early ancestors took to two feet because they were forced out of trees when climate change reduced tree cover. Archaeologists from the University of York, in a new study published in the journal Antiquity, sugest hominins were attracted to the rocky outcrops and gorges of East and South Africa because it offered shelter and opportunities to trap prey. This required a more upright scrambling and climbing gait.



Hot and bothered

Don't doubt it when a woman bothered by hot flashes says she can't remember things. Using objective tests of attention and recall, researchers from the University of Illinois and Northwestern University in Chicago have confirmed that these women are speaking the truth. The study, published online in Menopause, involved 68 women aged 44 to 62 who had at least 35 hot flashes a week. Women who had more trouble with hot flashes, or reported more negative emotions, did worse on the tests. Those with more hot flashes struggled longer with memory problems.

A spice to remember

Cinnamon may hold the key to delaying the onset of - or even warding off - the effects of Alzheimer's disease, say scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, characterised by filamentous "tangles" found in brain cells. In the study published online in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, two cinnamon compounds were found to stop these tangles from developing. One is cinnamaldehyde, an oil that gives the spice its smell, and the other is epicatechin, a powerful antioxidant also present in blueberries, chocolate and red wine.