Walking below minimum recommended levels linked to lower mortality risk

A new study concludes that walking has the potential to significantly improve the public's health. It finds regular walking, even if not meeting the minimum recommended levels, is associated with lower mortality compared to inactivity.

Public health guidelines recommend adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week. But surveys show only half of adults meet this recommendation. Older adults are even less likely to meet minimum recommendations (42% ages 65-74 years and 28% ages 75 years and older).

Walking is the most common type of physical activity, and has been associated with lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and breast and colon cancers. While several studies have linked overall moderate-vigorous physical activity to a reduced risk of death, according to Science daily.

Drug therapy 'restores breathing' after spinal injury

A drug-based therapy appears to restore breathing in rats paralysed from the neck down by a spinal injury, according to scientists.

They hope their "exciting but early" findings could ultimately help free patients from ventilators, according to BBC.

The pioneering work, in Cell Reports, suggests the brain may not be needed for respiration if a nerve pathway in the spine can be awakened.

Magic mushrooms can 'reset' depressed brain

A hallucinogen found in magic mushrooms can "reset" the brains of people with untreatable depression, raising hopes of a future treatment, scans suggest.

The small study gave 19 patients a single dose of the psychedelic ingredient psilocybin, according to BBC.

Half of patients ceased to be depressed and experienced changes in their brain activity that lasted about five weeks.

However, the team at Imperial College London says people should not self-medicate.

Handful of nuts a day could prevent type 2 diabetes

A handful of nuts a day could prevent type 2 diabetes, new research suggests.

Omega-6 rich foods, such as nuts and sunflower oil, lower a person's risk of developing the condition by up to 35 per cent, a study review found.

Previous research reveals omega-6 gets converted into linoleic acid in the body, which may prevent type 2 diabetes by improving fat metabolism and insulin sensitivity according to Daily mail.

Lead author Dr Jason Wu, said: 'Our findings suggest that a simple change in diet might protect people from developing type 2 diabetes which has reached alarming levels around the world.'

How fever in early pregnancy causes heart, facial birth defects

Researchers have known for decades that fevers in the first trimester of pregnancy increase risk for some heart defects and facial deformities such as cleft lip or palate. Exactly how this happens is unclear. Scientists have debated whether a virus or other infection source causes the defects, or if fever alone is the underlying problem.

Researchers now have evidence indicating that the fever itself, not its root source, is what interferes with the development of the heart and jaw during the first three to eight weeks of pregnancy according to Science daily.