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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Science Scene

High consumption of fish in Japanese diet may prevent clogged arteries

Traditional seafood-rich Japanese diets may be the key to reducing risk of heart disease, according to Dr. Akira Sekikawa, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh, and his team of researchers.

In an international study to be published Aug. 5 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the researchers found that high counts of omega-3 fatty acids, found heavily in oily fish, protect Japanese men from cardiovascular disease even with the occurrence of other risks associated with the disease, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

The study showed that Japanese men living in Japan had twice the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood than their Japanese-American or Caucasian-American counterparts.

As such, in Japanese men born in Japan, the higher the amount of omega-3 fatty acids found, the lower the rates were of intimal-medial thickness – a test known to link patients with risk factors involved with atherosclerosis.

No such inverse relationships were found in the Japanese-American or Caucasian-American subjects, which leads researchers to believe that low rate of heart disease in Japan is not genetic. (sciencedaily.com)

Low sperm count linked to soy consumption?

Harvard researchers report that eating half a serving of soy per day can lower sperm concentrations and may play a role in male infertility, particularly with obese men.

It is unclear why soy reduces sperm count, but the researchers speculate that soy increases estrogen activity which may negatively influence production and interfere with hormonal signals.

In the study, researchers gathered data of 99 men who were evaluated at fertility clinics. The men were asked how many soy products they consumed in the past three months.

The researchers found that those who ate the most soy had 41 million fewer sperm per milliliter of semen compared with men who did not eat soy.

The findings are preliminary, the researchers noted, and it’s too soon to say if individuals should alter their diets. (healthday.com)

The northern lights revealed

NASA recently released findings indicating that the colorful shapes and movements of the northern lights, also known as Aurora Borealis, are caused by explosions approximately one-third of the way to the moon.

This was brought to light by the NASA-funded THEMIS (Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms) mission, which is designed to record substorms in the Earth’s magnetic fields.

The beginning of a storm was observed in February, which coincided with the brightening of the northern lights.

UCLA scientist Vassilis Angelopoulos and his team of researchers noted that the storm was triggered by magnetic reconnection – where solar energy stretches Earth’s magnetic fields, which are then snapped and thrown back to Earth and reconnected, creating the effect of a short circuit.

This stored up energy powers the northern and southern lights, according to the researchers. (latimes.com and sciam.com)

ANNA OPALKA compiles Science Scene and can be reached at features@californiaaggie.com.

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