Science Reporting

Cranberry juice helps to lower blood pressure

A further study on the positive qualities of blueberry juice confirms its positive action also with regard to the contrast to high blood pressure. According to the researchers, consuming cranberry juice in the long term can in fact help to lower high blood pressure and can also help with the various functionalities of blood vessels.

High blood pressure is a fairly common disorder and many people suffer from it, especially after a certain age. Too high a blood pressure can in turn lead to hypertension and various functional disorders of the blood vessels, naturally at various levels of severity.

Nutrition still plays a key role in the fight against blood pressure. The latest studies have increasingly shown that it is those foods rich in polyphenols that can help combat high blood pressure, and this study, on the other hand, is no less so.

Researcher Anne Kivimäki has in fact analysed the effects of cranberry juice on rats. Specifically, she made three different groups of rats drink cold-pressed cranberry juice, cranberry juice and blackcurrant juice. The experiment lasted 8-10 weeks and all rats were genetically hypertensive.

The results showed that cold-pressed cranberry juice significantly lowered the level of hypertension. The cranberry juice itself seemed to prevent the action of genes associated with low-grade inflammation in the aorta, an effect that was less marked for other juices.

“These experimental results need to demonstrate from comparative clinical studies on healthy individuals with slightly elevated blood pressure that they received nutritional and lifestyle indications instead of drug therapy at this point. Cranberry juice is not a substitute for medication, but it is a good supplement diet,” reports Kivimäki.

Science Reporting

New small feathered dinosaur that lived 120 million years ago discovered in China

The study that announced the discovery of a new species of a small feathered dinosaur, which lived about 120 million years ago, was published in the Anatomical Record. It was carried out through the analysis of a fossil that provided several important details regarding bones and feathers. Fossils of feathered dinosaurs have always been among the most important to understand the evolutionary transition phase that took place between the dinosaurs themselves and the advent of birds.

This is also the case of this study, as Ashley Poust, a researcher at the Museum of Natural History in San Diego who has been studying these finds for several years. The study of the feathers and the body of this new small dinosaur could be very useful, among other things, to understand how flight developed in the distant past of the first birds.

The new species of feathered dinosaur has been named Wulong bohaiensis: the first term is a Chinese word for “dancing dragon.” The fossil, in the form of an imprinted trace, was found more than 10 years ago by a Chinese farmer in the province of Jehol, an area known for its fossil findings.

The dinosaur was slightly larger than a modern-day crow and had a characteristic bony tail that more than doubled in length. The mouth was full of sharp teeth and the bones were quite thin and relatively small. It was a feathered animal and had two long plumes right at the end of its tail.

According to the researchers, it was one of the first ancestors of the Velociraptor, the well-known teropod dinosaur that lived 75 million years ago. However, the closest relative of the Wulong is the Microraptor, a kind of four-winged bird that lived in about the same era as the Wulong. Researchers have used the technique of bone histology, a technique that is increasingly used by paleontologists to analyze fossils of this kind but which requires the removal and a much more direct study of the findings, something that museums and those responsible for the fossils themselves do not always allow.

The researchers have discovered that it was a young specimen, something which has partly surprised researchers as this specimen showed a remarkable amount of feathers, even of the showy ones, something unusual, at least for what the young birds of today are concerned, where the showiest feathers grow up only in old age, when the animal is ready for the mating.

Science Reporting

The kookaburras are conquering Tasmania and decimating native species

The kookaburra, medium sized birds of the genus Dacelo, are allegedly conquering Tasmania according to new reports. As the researchers note, probably the drier conditions, longer periods of drought and reduced rainfall are contributing to an abnormal spread of this bird that was once considered very rare in this area.

These birds with their characteristic, and for many of them annoying, squeaky noise resembling to a human laughter, were in fact introduced in Tasmania from the mainland by the beginning of the twentieth century, after they had relatively spread in Australia. According to what Australian ABC researcher Sally Bryant of the Tasmania Land Conservancy explains on the Australian ABC website, the proliferation of kookaburras is raising concerns about their potential impact on other native Tasmanian species.

The fact is that this bird seems not to be afraid of anything and is proving to be more and more of a formidable predator. They form very close-knit colonies occupying any natural cavity and this means that there is less and less chance of nesting for other bird species. They prove to be very adaptable, even in semi-urban landscapes, and do not seem to achieve much damage even when forest fires or serious disturbances of nature occur. Very often they are the first species to return to an area that has been deforested by fire.

At present, very little research has determined the exact rate of increase and spread of this species of bird in Tasmania, but researchers already seem to be sure that it has had a strong impact on their main prey, frogs, lizards, small rodents and small snakes. They don’t disdain, however, eating chicks from other species of birds that literally kidnap from their nests. And they are not afraid of human beings either, since they are used to steal food, such as raw or cooked meat, left in the open air.