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Melting glaciers in the Himalayas release pollutants trapped for decades

A new study highlights how the melting of the Himalayan glaciers can be serious for the environment because the water that melts and that arrives contributes to release into the environment the pollutants accumulated over decades.

This is the result of research published in the Journal of Geophysical Research which analyzes various types of pollutants, such as herbicides and pesticides, which, according to researchers, have been accumulating in the Himalayan glaciers for decades. The latter, dissolving due to global warming in progress, release these pollutants in nature, negatively affecting the environment and even more particularly on aquatic life, accumulating also in the body of fish that can then end up on the tables of local populations.

Himalayan glaciers contain more pollutants trapped in ice than glaciers in other parts of the world because they are very close to the densely populated centers and regions of South Asia that are notoriously among the most polluted regions in the world, as Xiaoping Wang recalls, geochemist of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and author of the study.

The phenomenon of pollutants that remain “trapped” in the ice is a feature well known to scientists; for example, the Arctic ice caps of the Antarctic also suffer from this problem since pollutants can travel even for thousands of kilometers before arriving in the icy areas where they are literally incorporated into the ice. However, it seems that for the Himalayan glaciers this phenomenon is much more alarming.

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Children born to older parents tend to have fewer behavior problems

According to a study conducted by researchers from various Dutch institutes, children who are born to those parents who are older than average are more likely to have no particular behavior problems.

The study, which appeared in Child Development, describes the results that the researchers achieved by analyzing data on 32,892 Dutch children aged 10 to 12 years. The problematic behavior was evaluated based on the statements of the father, mother, teachers and children themselves through a series of standard tool questionnaires. Children belonged to various social strata and to families of various socio-economic levels.

The results showed that the children of older parents showed less externalizing behavior problems and that the age of the parents did not seem particularly related to the problems of behavior of internalization of the children.

Dorret Boomsma, professor of biological psychology and behavioral genetics and one of the authors of the study explains the results: “It is possible that some of the reasons why older parents have children with minor problems such as aggression is that older parents have more resources and higher levels of education. But it is important to note that the higher average education level of older parents does not completely explain the reduced levels of outsourcing problems in their children.”

According to the researchers, therefore, parents should not worry too much about any harmful effects on having a child at an advanced age. The research was carried out by researchers from the University of Utrecht, the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam, the Erasmus Medical Center and the University Medical Center Groningen.

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Resveratrol in red wine could be used to treat depression and anxiety

Resveratrol, a plant compound found in red wine because present in grape skin, shows anti-stress and other positives effects, as demonstrated by several studies. A new study, this time conducted by the University of Buffalo, shows that this compound can have strong anti-stress effects because it blocks a particular stress-related enzyme in the human brain.

This means that resveratrol can be an effective enough alternative to treat patients suffering from anxiety disorders or depression, as Ying Xu, the lead author of the study as well as a professor at the Pharmacy School of Health, also says.

Resveratrol is present in the skin but also in the seeds of grapes and various other berries. Already in the past research had verified its antidepressant effect but this research has identified the reaction, previously unknown, which leads to this effect: it involves the enzyme phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4), an enzyme that is influenced by the stress hormone, the corticosterone.

Excessive amounts of corticosterone in the brain can, in fact, lead to too high levels of stress and if this condition continues over time, depression and other mental disorders can develop. Antidepressant drugs sometimes do not work precisely because they focus almost always only on serotonin or noradrenaline in the brain.

However, several studies have shown that PDE4 causes almost the same depressive and anxiety-causing effects by lowering cyclic adenosine monophosphate, a messenger molecule, leading to physical alterations in the brain. Resveratrol, in turn, shows protective effects against corticosterone by precisely inhibiting PDE4 expression.