Just in case you are still not eating your breakfast, here is yet another study to tell you that you absolutely must.

A recent study published in the journal Circulation showed that people who skipped breakfast were 27% more likely to have heart problems than those who started the day with a meal.

People should eat breakfast to keep their hearts in good condition, according to the researchers.

Read the study here.

09 February 2015

Making and Mending

This striking picture shows the delicate blood vessels and lining of a mouse’s heart as the animal grows in the womb. It’s a complex process requiring cells to organise themselves into arteries, veins and finer tubes called capillaries that supply blood and energy to the heart itself, as well as the four muscular chambers forming the pump that pushes blood round the body. Researchers have discovered that some animals, including mice and zebrafish, have the potential to repair their own hearts if they get damaged or diseased, using similar processes that happen when the heart first grows. By understanding how this happens, and seeing if the same repair mechanisms can be triggered in humans, we might be able to repair our broken hearts one day.

Written by Kat Arney

Image by Sarah Ivins
University College London
Copyright held by original author
Runner Up in the British Heart Foundation’s Reflections of Research Image Competition

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Friendly Floatees

There are no firm numbers about how often it happens, but it is believed that every year, thousands or even ten thousand containers are lost from large ships traversing the ocean. The contents of these spills end up contributing to large areas of the sea that are replete with tiny, broken up particles of discarded plastic.

One notable case occurred in 1992. Far to the northwest of Hawaii, a cargo ship lost a container carrying 28,000 Friendly Floatee rubber ducks. Thanks to some ingenuity on the part of Seattle oceanographers Curtis Ebbesmeyer and James Ingraham, these ducks gave an interesting set of insights into our oceans.

Those scientists realized that the ducks would keep floating for years and, since they knew roughly where the spill occurred, they could be used to track how waters circulate through the oceans. 

The ducks turned up on beaches throughout the Pacific, and during the mid-2000s even made it to the Atlantic Coasts of North America and the UK. The ducks are still mostly in good shape when they’re found, although the color has often been bleached by the sun (some frogs in the same spill have held their color better). 

Dr. Ebbesmeyer set up a website to allow people to report finds that might have been from that batch and says he can recognize them from regular photos, so if you ever find a rubber duck on the beach, feel free to check in.

This spill illustrated both how waters from the Pacific circle in a large gyre, turning slowly in a clockwise direction, and how occasionally some of the water escapes and enters another ocean. On the downside though, it also shows how once plastic trash gets into an ocean, it can still be out there decades later, waiting for the wrong passing fish to eat it.


Image credit: Alexander Kaiser,

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