Origin of Intelligence and Mental Illness Linked to Ancient Genetic Accident

Researchers have identified the moment in history when the genes that enabled us to think and reason evolved.

This point 500 million years ago provided our ability to learn complex skills, analyze situations and have flexibility in the way in which we think.

Professor Seth Grant, of the University of Edinburgh, who led the research, said: "One of the greatest scientific problems is to explain how intelligence and complex behaviors arose during evolution."

The research, which is detailed in two papers in Nature Neuroscience, also shows a direct link between the evolution of behaviour and the origins of brain diseases.

Scientists believe that the same genes that improved our mental capacity are also responsible for a number of brain disorders.

"This ground breaking work has implications for how we understand the emergence of psychiatric disorders and will offer new avenues for the development of new treatments," said John Williams, Head of Neuroscience and Mental Health at the Wellcome Trust, one of the study funders.

The study shows that intelligence in humans developed as the result of an increase in the number of brain genes in our evolutionary ancestors.

The researchers suggest that a simple invertebrate animal living in the sea 500 million years ago experienced a 'genetic accident', which resulted in extra copies of these genes being made.

This animal's descendants benefited from these extra genes, leading to behaviorally sophisticated vertebrates -- including humans.

The research team studied the mental abilities of mice and humans, using comparative tasks that involved identifying objects on touch-screen computers.

Researchers then combined results of these behavioral tests with information from the genetic codes of various species to work out when different behaviours evolved.

They found that higher mental functions in humans and mice were controlled by the same genes.

The study also showed that when these genes were mutated or damaged, they impaired higher mental functions.

"Our work shows that the price of higher intelligence and more complex behaviours is more mental illness," said Professor Grant.

The researchers had previously shown that more than 100 childhood and adult brain diseases are caused by gene mutations.

"We can now apply genetics and behavioural testing to help patients with these diseases," said Dr Tim Bussey from Cambridge University, which was also involved in the study.


Science Daily

Olive Oil's Benefits On Skin Health

Olive oil is one of the most sought after natural oils for skin care. In fact, olive oil has been used as an ancient remedy for skin care during the Egyptian civilization and it is still widely used today. Everything from, stretch mark therapy, acne therapy and anti-aging therapy have been used for a long time. The general population will most likely use olive oil as a food condiment .

The most expensive olive oil product is usually labeled as “extra virgin” or “cold pressed”. This is because extra virgin olive oil is extracted from the first pressing of olives. It is not processed and it is the purest of olive oil extract. So if you are buying any bottle of extra virgin olive oil for cooking, you’ll be pleased to know that it is the healthiest type of oil for cooking. Even skin products labeled as “extra virgin” are more expensive, have more nutritional compounds for skin health and are far better at helping to improve the appearance of your skin.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

There are a variety of antioxidants in olive oil including Vitamin A and E but the most potent compound is hydroxytyrosol. Hydroxytyrosol is a very rare but potent antioxidant found in olive oil that prevents free radical damage on skin cells. This compound also absorbs deeply into the skin and is suitable for all skin types. For this reason, olive oil has very potent anti-inflammatory properties and used in a variety of products

Moisturizing Properties

As explained earlier, olive oil is abundant in antioxidants. These antioxidants work really well as moisturizers. One of the main reasons why olive oil works really well as a moisturizer is the hydrophilic properties of these antioxidants which allow it to form a protective barrier trapping moisture on your skin. Lots of skin products used various synthetic chemical that do moisturizer but they clog your pores and are carcinogenic in some cases. For this reason, olive oil can be applied on your face. In addition to that, its deep penetrating properties not only moisturize your skin but also help brighten your skin.

To use olive oil on your face, just follow these simple steps:

  • Wash your face with water thoroughly.
  • Apply a layer of olive oil moisturizer on your face just before you go to sleep.

Alternatively, you can create a moisturizing face mask with olive oil, honey and egg. Leave it on your face for 15 minutes daily. You will begin to see results even after a few days of application. If you are not sure how to make face mask, there are plenty of methods to make your face mask

Skin Exfoliator

Olive oil helps remove clogged pores and dead skin cells. But why use olive oil? One of the main reasons is because it does not clog pores. The other reason is because it smoothens your skin texture and softens your skin due to its intrinsic antioxidant properties. all

Just mix a little bit of olive oil and sea salt on your palm. Use extra virgin olive oil for best results. Rub it evenly and then apply it over dry skin to remove dead skin cell layers. If you don’t want to use sea salt you can opt to use sugar as well in the mixture. It is best to use salt and olive oil mixture on your face. Sugar and olive oil mixture is best used on the body.

This will allow healthier and younger skin to grow upwards and replace dead skin. Do this every week and you will be on your way to healthier and younger looking skin.

This method is best done at night before bed. If your skin feels dry after cleansing, use a drop of oil mix and massage into dry areas.


Compiled by

N. HAJ Khidr

Marriage to Close Relatives Harmful

 A scientific study has revealed that marriage between partners who are closely related could lead to mental retardation, though sometimes the signs may not so be obvious.

The study was conducted by a lecturer in human genetics at the National Research Center in Cairo, who said that he conducted the study on 100 disabled subjects, and discovered that 76 of the disabilities could be traced to marriage between close relatives, self-pollination.

 Dr. Ashur attributed other reasons for such disabilities, such as the age at which a couple gets marriage, and also the use of over-the-counter drugs by a pregnant woman, without proper medical supervision.

 He said the only cure for such hereditary disabilities is through the mapping of the genes and isolating the disability causing ones, but added that the diagnosis has to be made well before the disease develops.


Best Foods To Lose Weight

Super foods build bones, prevent chronic diseases, improve your eyesight, and even keep your mind sharp. But did you know new evidence suggests these foods can also help you get - and stay - slim?

Slimming super foods

The So-called superfoods are nutritional powerhouses that help build bones, prevent chronic diseases, improve your eyesight, and even keep your mind sharp. But did you know new evidence suggests these foods can also help you getand stayslim?

Read on for the top superfoods for weight loss, and how to pack them into your daily diet!

Black beans

A cup of black beans packs a whopping 15 grams of satisfying protein and doesn't contain any of the saturated fat found in other protein sources, like red meat.


There's no reason to be afraid of eating fats—as long as they're the right fats.

Oleic acid, a compound in avocados' healthy monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), may trigger your body to actually quiet hunger. Stick to a quarter or a half of an avocado and watch that belly fat melt away. The creamy fruit is also packed with fiber and protein.


Lean sources of protein help you feel full without adding fat. However, 50% of women ages 18 to 50 don't know if they get enough of this essential nutrient.

Up your intake with salmon; it's a leaner choice than red meat and is chock-full of MUFAs to boot. A 2001 study found that dieters eating a MUFA-rich diet lost an average of 9 pounds, while their low-fat diet counterparts gained, on average, 6.


Best known for their anti-aging effects, blueberries, while tiny, are a powerful figure-friendly eat: 1-cup serving sets you back only 80 calories, and helps you feel full with 4 grams of fiber.


Cooked or raw, this cruciferous veggie is well-known for its cancer-preventing powers, but with a punch of filling fiber in less than 30 calories a serving, it's bound to prevent weight problems too.

Brown rice

Brown rice is a heartier, fiber-packed alternative to less-than-super white rice. A half-cup serving contains 1.7 grams of Resistant Starch, a healthy carb that boosts metabolism and burns fat.

Plus, brown rice is a low-energy-density food, meaning it's heavy and filling but low in calories. One study found that women who ate a higher-energy-density diet gained three times as much weight over six years than women eating a low-energy-density diet.


Oats are rich in fiber, so a serving can help you feel full throughout the day. Just a half cup packs 4.6 grams of Resistant Starch, a healthy carb that boosts metabolism and burns fat.


Just one pear packs 15% of your daily recommended amount of fiber. One study found that women who ate three pears a day consumed fewer calories and lost more weight than those who didn't. Ditch the peeler though; the skin is where all that filling fiber is hiding!


Even if you changed nothing else about your diet, eating half a grapefruit before each meal may help you lose up to a pound a week!

A compound in the tangy fruit can lower insulin, a fat-storage hormone, and that can lead to weight loss. It's also a good source of protein, and because it's at least 90% water, it can fill you up so you eat less.


Nuts are another superfood rich in healthy fats that help you slim down.

Almonds in particular can help you shed pounds: In one study, people who added a daily helping of the nuts to a low-cal diet lost more weight than people who followed the same diet but swapped almonds for a carb-heavy snack like crackers.

Green tea

This steamy sip hydrates like water, which can help fill you up and shed pounds. Plus, the antioxidants in green tea will up your fat burn and calorie burn. One study found that five cups a day could help you lose twice as much weight, most of it around your middle.


Lentils are a great source of satiating protein and fiber. A half-cup serving delivers 3.4 grams of Resistant Starch, a healthy carb that boosts metabolism and burns fat.


Bananas are a slimming superfood at the heart of Health's CarbLovers Diet. A slightly green, medium-size banana will fill you up and boost your metabolism with its 12.5 grams of Resistant Starch. Even a ripe banana still ranks high on the list of foods containing RS, with almost 5 grams.


Eggs get a bad rap when it comes to weight loss. But the breakfast staple is loaded with protein that will curb your appetite. One study found that overweight women who ate egg breakfasts lost twice as much weight as women who started their days with bagels.

And don't worry about cholesterol: The study found that egg eaters don't have higher bad cholesterol or lower good cholesterol than bagel eaters.


Raghda Sawas

Act early to prevent AIDS

AIDS is a deadly disease caused by an infectious HIV virus that has killed millions of people all over the globe.
HIV and AIDS strikes people from all backgrounds, gender and age. The only way to stay away from AIDS is to prevent it by adopting proper precautions, as there is no cure available. To help prevent the spread of HIV, Dr. Rina from Jaslok Hospital, Mumbai, shares easy measures that can be easily incorporated in your life to prevent HIV and AIDS.
Avoid multi sexual partners
If you favour one night stands or you have multi sex partners, the chances of contracting HIV is high. Staying away from sexual activity involving contact with anyone's vaginal fluid or pre-seminal fluid is the best and most effective technique to avoid getting AIDS - says Dr. Rina.
Educate yourself
Some people feel HIV spreads through sharing food with HIV+ people. Get your facts about AIDS right - says Dr, Rina. HIV only spreads through transmission of certain bodily fluids carried by an infected person.
Go deep and find out which bodily fluids could result in acquiring HIV. Lastly, understand its diagnosis. Though there is no cure available in the market, there are numerous modern medicines which help to slow down the development of AIDS and help the person live a comfortable life.
Prevent HIV during pregnancy
There are huge chances of transmitting the HIV virus from an HIV affected mother to the infant during delivery or breastfeeding. Hence, in order to keep your baby safe, get an HIV test done when you are pregnant.
If tested positive, your doctor will prescribe anti-HIV drugs during pregnancy and delivery, which can reduce the risk of passing the virus to your baby. After delivery, choose formula milk or breast milk from an uninfected woman, advises Dr. Rina.
Use a condom every time you have sex
Dr Rina suggests that you use a new condom every time you have anal or vaginal sex. Women can prefer female condoms to be on the safer side. If you are opting for oral sex, use a condom, dental dam or plastic wrap to prevent the infection from being transmitted.
Check yourself regularly
Get yourself tested regularly to check your AIDS status. This will help you prevent passing the infection to others and timely treatment can help you lead a healthy lifestyle. Hence, get yourself tested, whenever you have sex with a new partner. The test is easy and the reports will be available in a few days or as soon as 20 minutes.
Avoid oily lubricants
Dr Rina says - using an oil based lubricant will weaken the condom and increase the chances of transmitting the fluid. Hence use water based lubricants instead of oil based lubricants to stay safe.
Avoid sharing needles
Do not share needles with anyone, which includes illegal drug use or any prescribed drug use at home. Sharing needles will lead to coming in contact with someone else's blood, putting you at risk of the HIV infection.
Health care practitioners should be cautious
A healthcare facility is at a huge risk of receiving AIDS. Hence, be careful while dealing with needles and sharp instruments. Make sure to wear gloves, mask and other protective gear to avoid contact with the blood of anyone who is infected with HIV.
Your personal items are only for you
Avoid sharing any of your personal items like razors or toothbrushes with anyone. Your personal items can have traces of blood and sharing these items with any new person can lead to transmission of blood and putting you at risk of catching the infection,according to the Times of India.