THINGS WE LEARNED THIS MONTH

Focus-Science and Technology - - Discoveries -

MARS IS COV­ERED WITH TOXIC COM­POUNDS

The sur­face of the Red Planet is teem­ing with chem­i­cals that could wipe out liv­ing or­gan­isms, say re­searchers from Ed­in­burgh Univer­sity. This find­ing greatly re­duces the chances of find­ing life on Mars.

OUR BRAINS BEN­E­FIT FROM PHYS­I­CAL EX­ER­CISE

Work­ing out can be just as ben­e­fi­cial for our brains as our bod­ies. A team at the Univer­sity of Ari­zona has found that tak­ing ex­er­cise leads to im­prove­ments in brain struc­ture and func­tion – an ef­fect thought to be linked to our evo­lu­tion from seden­tary apes to ac­tive hunter-gath­er­ers.

CHIL­DREN WHO SLEEP LESS COULD AGE FASTER

Telom­eres are struc­tures at the end of our chro­mo­somes that shorten with age. In nine-year-old chil­dren who miss out on sleep, they are sig­nif­i­cantly shorter than in kids who sleep more, a study at Prince­ton Univer­sity has found.

EARTH IS ON THE BRINK OF MASS EX­TINC­TION

Over the last cen­tury, Earth has un­der­gone a de­cline in mam­mal pop­u­la­tions akin to ‘bi­o­log­i­cal an­ni­hi­la­tion’, ac­cord­ing to Mex­i­can re­searchers. This is due to hu­man over­con­sump­tion and over­pop­u­la­tion, they say.

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