General Health

Daily Dose: 11/27/12

Better Flu Vaccines: German scientists discovered a faster way to treat the flu. A new vaccine originating from a molecule similar to DNA protects animals from influenza and can offer a quick way to create new shots for humans. More tests are needed, but the new approach could allow commercial flu vaccines to be produced in weeks instead of months. Quickly producing vaccines is key to fighting the flu, especially in a time where doctors and drugmakers are competing against mutating strains of the virus. Lothar Sitz of Fredrich-Loeffler-Institut developed the vaccine made only of messenger RNA (mRNA)-a single-stranded molecule with information telling cells which proteins to make. Mice, ferrets, and pigs were vaccinated with the mRNA vaccine and their immune response was similar or better than regular vaccines. The research showed that the new vaccine is highly effective in very young and very old animals. More research is required for a human vaccine due to the need for extensive clinical trials.

Benefits of Outside Exercise: Researchers suggest exercising outside is better than hitting the gym. A new study on “green exercise” shows that the color green may contribute to the feel-good benefits of outdoor workouts. Researchers at the University of Essex in England supervised 14 college-aged men on indoor stationary bikes for five minutes watching a video simulating cycling through a natural environment. The filter on the video screen was switched from green to black and white for five minutes, and then to red. The researchers analyzed mood immediately after each five-minute cycling session.According to the results, the men felt less fatigued and experienced fewer mood disturbances during the green video than either the black, red, or white videos. They felt more angry when watching the red video. The researchers found that being exposed to shorter-wavelength colors like blue and green evoked feelings of calmness, whereas red and yellow are more stimulating. The study adds to evidence that the environment can influence attitude towards exercise.