Lab Report

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 February, 2014, 10:29am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 February, 2014, 10:29am

On the right wavelength?

Nodding off at work at midday? Exposure to short wavelengths, or blue light, could boost your alertness.

A study published in journal Sleep, by researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, found exposure to blue light made participants less sleepy and improved their reaction times.

Researchers compared exposure of blue light to green light in 16 participants for 6½ hours per day.

Why cancer risk rises with age

Scientists have shed light on why the risk of cancer increases with age. Researchers at the US National Institutes of Health found that a process, which controls genes, changes with old age. Methylation involves the binding of methyl groups onto DNA. These groups can activate or silence genes.

Analysis of 1,000 blood samples from women whose sisters have had breast cancer found that sites that become increasingly methylated with advancing age were also disproportionately methylated in a variety of human cancers.

"Think of methylation as dust settling on an unused switch, which then prevents the cell from turning on certain genes," says co-lead researcher Dr Jack Taylor. He said this could make such cells more vulnerable to cancer.

Protein helps cells divide

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have pinpointed the key role played by a protein in ensuring that cells divide correctly, allowing the body to grow and stay healthy. The protein, shugoshin, recruits other parts of a cell for chromosome separation and enables an in-built error correction system to monitor cells as they divide.