SHORT SCIENCE

Can't control that urge to eat? Take a moment to think of your health

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 December, 2014, 7:46am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 December, 2014, 10:43am

Slow down before you eat, say researchers

Do you lack self-control when it comes to food? If so, maybe you need to slow down a bit. At least that's the suggestion of researchers at the California Institute of Technology who showed 28 hungry students a series of computer images of food and asked them to mouse click on the items they preferred. They found it takes longer for people to mentally process the health value of food than it does for them to process its anticipated taste. The findings suggest "that slowing down decisions, even if only by adding a waiting period before choice, might increase the relative influence of abstract attributes such as health", the researchers said. TNS

 

Medical breakthrough with staying power

Scientists at the University of Tokyo have developed a sticky sheet of tiny sensors that can be put directly on moving joints, beating hearts or other living tissues. The invention, using an adhesive gel that prevents the sensors from slipping, opens up the possibility of implanting almost unnoticeable sensors inside the body, letting doctors keep a close eye on a dodgy heart, for example. AFP

 

Wild idea to boost agricultural output

Scientists should "re-wild" food crops by inserting lost genetic properties of ancient, edible plants to boost agricultural output for a growing population, a new study says. Important properties of wild plants, including varieties of wheat and rice, have been unintentionally lost during thousands of years of breeding. When humans first domesticated wheat around 7500 BC, farmers chose to use seeds based on a few selected traits, particularly their yields. But such decisions could have weakened the resilience of crops in the face of new challenges such as global warming. "We estimate that all crops would benefit from re-wilding," said Michael Broberg Palmgren, a scientist at the University of Copenhagen, and one of the study's authors. Reuters

 

China and US closer to talks on biotech crops

The United States and China are making progress in talks over Beijing's acceptance of new biotechnology for crops, US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. The countries were "moving toward an understanding of how we might be able to establish a strategic dialogue on biotechnology," Vilsack told Vice-Premier Wang Yang at a bilateral meeting in Chicago. Biotech crops are a key trade issue between the countries. Reuters