Tuesday February 25, 2020
Home Science & Technology Study says br...

Study says brain size of animals does matter

0
//

New York: Animal brain size estimates its problem-solving ability, says a study.

Species with large brains were more successful than species with relatively small brains, the study revealed.

“The results of this study provides important support for the claim that brain size reflects an animal’s problem-solving abilities and enhances our understanding of why larger brains evolved in some species,” said Sarah-Benson-Amram, assistant professor at the University of Wyoming in the US.

Species that are more social or live in big social groups are not necessarily better problem-solvers than those that live alone, highlighted the study.

The study represented a step forward in understanding the evolution of problem-solving in mammalian carnivores, researchers revealed in the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers tested 140 zoo animals from 39 mammalian carnivore species with a problem-solving task.

Animals such as river otters, wolves, bears, African wild dogs and cheetahs tried to open steel mesh “puzzle boxes” baited with food and adjusted to their body size.

The animals opened the puzzle box using a lever, and if they were successful, they received a food reward in the box.

Overall, 35 percent of animals successfully solved the puzzle, with bears as the most triumphant at completing the task 70 percent of the time. Meerkats and mongooses were the least successful.

Although these species also differed in body size, it was their brain size relative to how big they were that primarily influenced whether they solved the puzzle.

Variables such as the social group size for animals, their manual dexterity or work effort failed to predict success at opening the boxes, the study showed.(IANS)

Next Story

Here’s Why You Should Follow a Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean diet can reduce frailty in old age

0
Meditarranean diet
Eating a Mediterranean diet for a year could help keep the mind sharp and reduce frailty in old age. Pixabay

Researchers have found that eating a Mediterranean diet for a year could help keep the mind sharp and reduce frailty in old age. This is the latest health advice.

The study, published in the journal ‘Gut’, showed that following a Mediterranean diet boosts the types of gut bacteria linked to ‘healthy’ ageing, while reducing those associated with harmful inflammation in older people.

As ageing is associated with deteriorating bodily functions and increasing inflammation, both of which herald the onset of frailty, this diet might act on gut bacteria in such a way as to help curb the advance of physical frailty and cognitive decline in older age, the researchers suggested.

Mediterranean diet
Mediterranean diet boosts the types of gut bacteria linked to ‘healthy’ ageing. Pixabay

“Older people may have dental problems and/or difficulty swallowing, so it may be impractical for them to eat a Mediterranean diet,” they added. But the beneficial bacteria implicated in healthy ageing found in this study might yet prove useful therapeutic agents to ward off frailty, said the study researchers led by University College Cork in Ireland.

For the study, the research team involved 612 people aged between 65 to 79 years, before and after 12 months of either eating their usual diet or a Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, olive oil and fish and low in red meat and saturated fats, and specially tailored to older people.

The participants, who were either frail, on the verge of frailty, or not frail at the beginning of the study, lived in five different countries: France, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, and the UK.

Previous research suggests that a poor/restrictive diet, which is common among older people, reduces the range and types of bacteria (microbiome) found in the gut and helps to speed up the onset of frailty.

According to the researchers, sticking to the Mediterranean diet for 12 months was associated with beneficial changes to the gut microbiome.

Mediterranean diet
Mediterranean diet includes fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes. Pixabay

It was associated with stemming the loss of bacterial diversity; an increase in the types of bacteria previously associated with several indicators of reduced frailty, such as walking speed and hand grip strength, and improved brain function, such as memory; and with reduced production of potentially harmful inflammatory chemicals.

More detailed analysis revealed that the microbiome changes were associated with an increase in bacteria known to produce beneficial short-chain fatty acids and a decrease in bacteria involved in producing particular bile acids, overproduction of which are linked to a heightened risk of bowel cancer, insulin resistance, fatty liver and cell damage.

According to the study, the bacteria that proliferated in response to the Mediterranean diet acted as ‘keystone’ species, meaning they were critical for a stable ‘gut ecosystem,’ pushing out those microbes associated with indicators of frailty.

Also Read- Australian Economy Could be Hit Hard by the Coronavirus

The changes were largely driven by an increase in dietary fibre and associated vitamins and minerals–specifically, C, B6, B9, copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and magnesium, the study said. (IANS)