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Modern brains are younger than originally thought, possibly developing as recently as 1.5 million years ago, according to a study published Thursday. By that time, the earliest humans had already begun walking on two feet and had started fanning out from Africa.
Our first ancestors from the genus Homo emerged on the continent about 2.5 million years ago with primitive, apelike brains about half the size of those seen in today’s humans.
Scientists have been trying to solve a mystery for as long as our origin story has been known: Exactly when and where did the brain evolve into something that made us human?
Follow NewsGram on Quora Space to get answers to all your questions.
“People had thought that these humanlike brains evolved actually at the very beginning of the genus Homo, so about 2.5 million years ago,” paleoanthropologist Christoph Zollikofer, a co-author of the study published in the journal Science, told AFP.
Zollikofer and lead study author Marcia Ponce de Leon examined skull fossils from Africa, Georgia, and the Indonesian island of Java and discovered the evolution took place much later, between 1.7 million and 1.5 million years ago.
Since brains themselves do not fossilize, the only way to observe their evolution is to study the marks they leave inside the skull.
The scientists created virtual images, known as endocasts, of what had filled the skulls long ago.
In humans, the Broca area, part of the frontal lobe linked to speech production, is much bigger than the corresponding zone in other great apes, said Zollikofer of the University of Zurich.
The expansion of an area results in the shifting of everything behind it.
“This backward shift can be seen on the fossil endocasts when we track imprints of the brain fissures,” Zollikofer said.
By studying skulls from Africa, the researchers were able to determine that the oldest ones, dating back more than 1.7 million years, had a frontal lobe characteristic of great apes.
“This first result was a big surprise,” Zollikofer said.
It signified that the genus Homo “started with bipedalism,” or walking on two legs and that the evolution of the brain had nothing to do with being bipedal.
“Now we know that in our long evolutionary history … the first representatives of our genus Homo were just terrestrial bipeds, with ape-like brains,” the paleoanthropologist said.
However, the youngest African fossils, dating back 1.5 million years, showed characteristics of modern human brains.
This signified that the evolution of the brain took place between the two dates, in Africa, according to the study.
The conclusion is backed up by the appearance of more complex tools during this same period, called Acheulean tools, which have two symmetrical faces.
“This is not a random coincidence,” Zollikofer said, “because we know those brain areas that get expanded in this time period are those that are used for complex manipulative tasks like tool-making.”
Two migrations from Africa
The second surprising result of the study comes from observations of five skull fossils found in present-day Georgia, dating between 1.8 and 1.7 million years ago.
The particularly well-preserved specimens proved to be primitive brains.
“People thought you need a big modern brain to disperse out of Africa,” Zollikofer said. “We can show these brains are not big, and they are not modern, and still people have been able to leave Africa.”
Meanwhile, fossils from Java, the youngest specimens in the study, showed modern brain characteristics. The researchers, therefore, believe that there was a second migration out of Africa.
“So, you have a spray first of primitive-brained people, then things evolve to a modern brain in Africa, and these people sprayed again,” Zollikofer said.
“It’s not a new hypothesis … but there was no clear evidence. And now for the first time, we have real fossil evidence.” (VOA/KB)
Have you ever faced eye redness? Or have witnessed blurry or foggy vision? Or experiencing halos around lights? Or nausea and vomiting are very common for you. You may well be suffering from Glaucoma which needs immediate attention.
Glaucoma is the second most common causes of blindness worldwide, according to a report by World Health Organisation (WHO). Typically, it occurs in people with over the age of 60 however it can occur at any age. It is also estimated that globally 79.6 million people are affected with glaucoma, half of them being Asian population. While in India, around 11.9 million people suffer vision impairment and out of which 1.2 million cases are due to Glaucoma. It is a growing concern for the population in India. Even after these high numbers, the enormous majority remains undiagnosed, and untreated. More than 90 percent of cases of Glaucoma remain undiagnosed.
Glaucoma is the second most common causes of blindness worldwide, according to a report by World Health Organisation (WHO). | Wikimedia Commons
Glaucoma is a condition that damages the nerve of the eye. The increased pressure in the eye, which is known as intraocular pressure, can damage the optic nerve which is responsible for sending images to the brain. If the damage worsens, glaucoma can cause permanent vision loss or even total blindness within a few years. According to WHO, there are different kinds of glaucoma, though, the two most common are, primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), having a slow and slow and asymptomatic onset, and angle-closure glaucoma (ACG), which is less common, yet more acute. Hence, it is important for everybody over the age of 40 years to have a regular eye check-up.
The eye disorder may be treated with the help of eye drops prescribed by Ophthalmologist. There are various options available to lower intraocular pressure to the desired level. Depending upon the need of the patient, doctor may recommend combinations of eye drops, but it is of utmost importance to use the drops on a regular basis. However, consulting a specialist should be the first priority if diagnosed with glaucoma, but most of the population will first opt for home remedies then will consult chemists' shops for medicines and if the issue is still not resolved then will they think of a specialist. There is a need to modify the mindset of the people and when it comes to sensory organs zero negligence rule should be followed.
The eye disorder may be treated with the help of eye drops prescribed by Ophthalmologist. | Photo by CDC on Unsplash
Awareness is the key to managing Glaucoma better. The need of the hour is to include eye care as part of the health check-up. Timely detection of Glaucoma will lead to proper medication and diagnosis by an Ophthalmologist. Talking about prevention, early detection will help in managing glaucoma before significant damage occurs. Glaucoma can be because of genetics as well hence knowing the family's eye history is important. Regular and moderate exercise may help prevent glaucoma by reducing eye pressure also eye drops can significantly reduce the risk that high pressure will progress to glaucoma.
Also, there are few home remedies that anyone can follow to avoid glaucoma. Consuming healthy food, using eyewear, avoiding head-down position, keeping oral hygienic, and protecting eyes from sunlight are a few of such remedies. One should be mindful of the fact that Glaucoma is irreversible blindness and awareness can help us in fighting it. Depending on the condition an Ophthalmologist may prescribe an oral medication or may suggest therapies. In severe conditions, doctors can also recommend surgeries like Laser therapy, Filtering surgery, Drainage tubes, minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS). (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: eye disorder, eye, India, World Health Organisation, blindness , foggy vision, eye redness, Glaucoma, Ophthalmologist
By Sakshi BakshiThe wedding season is in its full bloom, and almost every one of us has plans. In the spirit of celebration, it feels wrong to turn down our favourite appetizers, meals, and desserts! Our workout schedule and physical activities take a back seat. When it comes to maintaining your weight during wedding season, it can be challenging at times, but with the right amount of food intake and smart choices, it can all be kept in place. Sharing her personal insights on keeping our weight in place during the winter wedding season, Sakshi Bakshi, Founder of Nucros, has a few tips for all those health freaks out there!
- Keep your diet in check: Always make sure keep it light in the day before a heavy night out. This means incorporating as many complex carbohydrates as possible, to keep the hunger in check for a long time while still being low in calories. Fruit and vegetables in the form of salads, soups, smoothies, etc. should be the priority. Stay away from high-fat soups consisting of thick cream and instead indulging in soups with a lot of vegetable content in them.
Incorporate as many complex carbohydrates as possible, to keep the hunger in check for a long time while still being low in calories. | Photo by Myriam Zilles on Unsplash
- Choose lean proteins: While eating out, one should try to consume as much warm and heated food as possible in the winter season. An intake of lean protein, e.g., paneer, soya, dal, etc., for vegetarians and fish, chicken, etc., for non-vegetarians is advised.
- Balance calories: Stick to an easy breakfast and lunch which includes lots of fruit and vegetables. So even if dinner is heavy, the calorie intake for the whole day is maintained because breakfast and lunch balance it out. Eat a small meal before going out so that you don't binge.
- Eat in small quantities: At parties or if you are having a buffet, use a small quarter plate, which allows you to control the quantity better. So, even if you make 2-3 trips to the buffet, it helps in controlling the portions you consume.
- Stay Hydrated: One very important tip she shares is to stay during the dry winter season. Often one does not realise their thirst level in this dry season, which can negatively affect our health and cause problems such as headaches, gut issues, skin issues, etc. Drink at least one glass of water per hour -- around 12 to 16 glasses of water a day. If you are going out and consuming alcohol, she recommends drinking one glass of water alternately with a drink and having only 2-3 drinks of clear spirits with water to keep calories in check. (IANS/ MBI)
An intake of lean protein, e.g., paneer, soya, dal, etc., for vegetarians and fish, chicken, etc., for non-vegetarians is advised. | Photo by Sam Moqadam on Unsplash
Stick to an easy breakfast and lunch which includes lots of fruit and vegetables. | Photo by Tangerine Newt on Unsplash
At parties or if you are having a buffet, use a small quarter plate, which allows you to control the quantity better. | Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash
Drink at least one glass of water per hour -- around 12 to 16 glasses of water a day. | Photo by Pratik Gupta on Unsplash
Keywords: eat, smart, wedding, season, hydrated, small quantities, calories, lean proteins, diet
Every year on December 1st, the world observes World AIDS Day. The purpose of the day, as the name implies, is to show support for HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) infected People and those who have died as a result of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). HIV continues to be a serious health concern that affects millions of individuals throughout the world. Despite the fact that the world has progressed significantly in recent decades, critical global objectives for 2020 have not been fulfilled.
“End inequalities. End AIDS” is the theme of World AIDS Day 2021. WHO and its partners are emphasizing the rising imbalances in access to essential HIV care, with a specific focus on those who have been left behind. The first World AIDS Day was observed in 1988, and it was also the first international day dedicated to global health. Every year on this day, organizations and individuals worldwide raise awareness about HIV, work to promote HIV information and awareness, speak out against HIV stigma, and push for a more aggressive attitude in the fight to end HIV.
AIDS is a protracted illness caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The immune system of the individual suffering from the condition is harmed, and the body’s ability to fight infections is reduced.
AIDS is a protracted illness caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). | Wikimedia Commons
Various reasons through which a person can get infected with AIDS:
- AIDS can be transmitted by blood, sperm, pre-seminal fluid, vaginal and rectal fluids, and infected women’s breast milk.
- Unprotected intercourse with an infected individual can potentially spread the disease to another person.
- Sharing syringes, blades, and knives with an infected individual can lead to disease transmission.
- Consuming food that has been pre-chewed by an HIV-positive individual. When infectious blood from a caregiver's lips combines with the food during chewing, contamination develops. Infants are the only ones who have been affected with this type of contamination so far.
Sharing syringes, blades, and knives with an infected individual can lead to disease transmission. | Wikimedia Commons
Is AIDS curable?
Although the condition is not totally curable, several preventative steps may be taken in everyday life to avoid contracting it. To lower the risk of transmission, Anti-Retroviral therapy (ART) and HIV medications are used. Using protection during sexual intercourse, avoiding sharing needles, blades, and other items with other individuals, and maintaining body immunity are some prevention strategies against HIV/AIDS.
What can I do to observe World AIDS Day?
- Buy a red ribbon: World AIDS Day provides an opportunity to express solidarity with the millions of HIV-positive people across the globe; the majority of individuals do this by wearing a red HIV awareness ribbon on that particular day.
World AIDS Day provides a chance to express solidarity with the millions of HIV-positive people throughout the world. | Flickr
- Fundraise: Seek financial support for the cause either online or by organizing offline campaigns. HIV AIDS patients are often mistreated or bullied by people; a little help from anyone can change their life around. Many NGOs are battling HIV and assisting those living with the disease; you may contact one of these organizations and assist them in various ways.
Many NGOs are battling HIV and assisting those living with the disease; you may contact one of these organizations and assist them in various ways. | Pixabay
We can work together to end HIV by empowering communities, partners, and healthcare professionals to encourage HIV testing, prevention, and treatment and eradicate HIV stigma.
(Keywords: HIV/AIDS, World AIDS Day, December 1, HIV, Stigma, Awareness)