Little terns brave tides, dogs and falcons in Norfolk

By Tracy Brighten

The second rarest seabird in the UK, little terns face a bleak future without our help

EULife Little Tern Recovery Project

At a colony along Norfolk’s east coast where I’ve been helping as a volunteer, RSPB wardens are providing dedicated round-the-clock protection for endangered beach-nesting birds. The RSPB’s conservation work is part of the EU Life + Nature Little Tern Recovery Project involving eleven partner organisations, including the RSPB, Natural England, The National Trust, Cumbria Wildlife Trust and Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust. The recovery project has been crucial in monitoring, protecting, and increasing little tern populations across the UK. Continue reading

REM sleep essential to children’s brain development and learning

By Tracy Brighten

Researchers identify that rapid eye movement or REM sleep, usually associated with dreaming, is critical to converting daytime experiences into memories required for normal brain function

REM Sleep

Researchers say their findings help to explain how children’s learning is affected by inadequate REM sleep, and how medication commonly prescribed for hyperactivity or depression interferes with this sleep. Continue reading

Starchy carbs made our brains bigger

By Tracy Brighten

Carbohydrates have been left off the menu by dietary fads favouring protein, but a study on human brain evolution suggests a key role for starchy carbs

Ulluco tubers by Eric

Paleolithic diets are increasing in popularity in the belief that a return to our ancestor’s diet can curb the upward trend in obesity and diet related health issues.

Scientists agree there are health gains when our diet aligns with our evolutionary past because our physiology is optimised for that diet. Yet there is little agreement about what makes up a healthy diet and what comprises the Paleolithic diet of Old Stone Age man. Continue reading

6 steps to fitness for free

By Tracy Brighten

The great thing about keeping fit at home is that there’s no travelling, you don’t need to wear the latest kit, and it’s free. If you have a cross trainer, exercise bike, or weights, it helps, but it isn’t essential. You do need self-discipline though. Copping out is easier when you’re not letting down a training partner.

6 steps to keeping fit at home: Continue reading

Is sleep deprivation causing teenage depression?

By Tracy Brighten

New research reveals a strong link between sleep deprivation and depression in adolescents that could guide better prevention and treatment

Girl on phone late night

In a new study published in the journal Sleep, U.S researchers found that up to 25% of adolescents slept for 6 hours or less per night, and were classed as sleep deprived. With early school times, weekend jobs and social media, it’s no surprise that adolescents don’t get enough sleep, putting them at risk of major depression. Continue reading

Time to get off my backside and confront him

He’s been coming round a lot lately, persuading me and pretending to have my best interests at heart when really he’s a self-serving blighter.

When I’m thinking of going for a speed walk he’s telling me, “weather’s not too good today”. When I’m about to pop my kit on for a cross-trainer workout he’s at my shoulder saying, “you can’t exercise on an empty stomach”. Even when I’m thinking about some gentle stretching after a long stint of writing, he’s there with coffee and biscuits… “homemade why don’t you?” He always seems to catch me off guard.

I should never have listened. I gave in far too easily. I’m not usually such a pushover.

I’ve been thinking about where this copping out will get me and today I’m making a new start. I opened the door and threw him out. “And don’t come back,” I yelled so the neighbours could hear.

I’ve made up my mind to stand up to Mr Excuse.

 

Image credit: Pixabay

Acetaminophen pain reliever may also dull your pleasure

By Tracy Brighten

Next time you take a painkiller, your sensitivity to pain may not be the only thing reduced. You may also be reducing your sensitivity to pleasure

Science Nutshell - Tylenol capsules

Researchers in the U.S have found that the common pain reliever acetaminophen has a previously unknown side effect of reducing positive emotion.

Previous studies show that acetaminophen reduces both physical and psychological pain, but this new study, published online in the journal Psychological Science, is the first to examine the effect on positive emotions. Continue reading

Narcissism created by well-meaning parents

By Tracy Brighten

Telling our children they are better than others and giving them a skewed view of their worth may not be good for them in the long run

Science Nutshell - Doll with big headA recent study looking at the causes of narcissism reveals that parents who overvalue their children may be responsible for their increased self-centeredness and self-importance.

It is well known that narcissistic individuals are self-absorbed, consider themselves to be superior to others and tend to lack empathy. They can react with violence or aggression if they feel humiliated or don’t get the special treatment they deserve, according to past research by authors of this study. However, little is known about what causes narcissism. Continue reading

Spider venom: A breakthrough in chronic pain relief

By Tracy Brighten

Scientists have found that compounds in spider venom may provide the key to developing a new class of painkillers for chronic pain relief 

Science Nutshell tarantulaThe study, published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, reveals the potential for analgesics without the side effects that restrict the dosage and effectiveness of existing medications. 

Chronic pain affects 15% of the adult population worldwide, causing prolonged suffering and reducing quality of life. The economic cost is significant, and in the U.S. it is estimated at $600 billion a year, exceeding the combined cost of cancer, diabetes and stroke.  Continue reading

Thank you Mr Edwards

By Tracy Brighten

Shakespeare-Notes

You may not remember me now Mr Edwards, with thirty five years passing since I sat in your English class. I was always last to arrive, running late from another lesson. You might remember me as the Olympic athlete. Dr Hadley never invited me back to talk about my sporting experience – I think he was disappointed I didn’t go to university.

Despite my lack of career direction, you never gave up on me though, and I want to thank you for being an inspirational teacher. I thought of you recently when our son asked about my high school education. He was researching the link between educational outcomes and social class and it got me thinking about my experience. Continue reading

Welcome to Nature in Mind

Welcome to Nature in Mind where I write about living a caring and healthy life with nature in mind. I’d like this blog to be a place where we can exchange ideas and help each other create positive change.

I believe an informed, considered, and honest life, one that aligns with our values, is a meaningful life. By keeping nature in mind and caring more, we can enjoy a greener environment and better mental health.

I believe we naturally want to lead the good life and do the right thing. Through education and communication, we can improve conditions in society and the natural world. We can take action to enrich our own lives and those of generations to come.

Knowledge, compassion, and community are key to change. I would love you to join this community and share your experiences and enthusiasm!

Popular posts

Image credit: Muriwai Beach Australasian Gannet Colony by David Brighten

Older adults need double protein RDA to build muscle

By Tracy Brighten

New research shows that differences in protein synthesis between older and younger adults means that as we age, we must double our protein RDA to remain active

Science Nutshell protein sourcesIt is well known that we need to consume protein to enable our body to build and repair muscle. As we get older, the body becomes less efficient in this process at a time when fitness affects our quality of life and strong muscles can help protect our joints from osteoarthritis.

Research published in January in the American Journal of Physiology — Endocrinology and Metabolism suggests the amount of protein consumed by older adults affects the body’s net protein balance due to differences in the way they synthesise protein compared to younger adults. Continue reading

Sleep cleanses the brain of toxins linked to Alzheimer’s

By Tracy Brighten

Research revealing that sleep cleanses the brain of toxins has been awarded a top prize in the advancement of science 

Science Nutshell Sleep

Scientists have long sought to establish the function of sleep, proposing that there must be a more essential function than the storing and consolidation of memories, considering an animal’s vulnerability during the sleep state. Sleep is also known to have a restorative effect on the human brain, and lack of sleep impairs brain function, but how does this occur? Continue reading