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Where pubs are bucking the trend of decline

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionWhat’s keeping Highland pubs going? Pubs in the Highlands appeared to be bucking a UK-wide trend of pub and bar closures. Since 2008, almost a quarter of pubs in the UK have shut according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) analysis. But the study shows that in the Highlands there are 14% more pubs than there were 10 years ago. Paul Waterson, of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said a major factor behind the growth was that the pubs had done well…

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Puzzle solving ‘won’t stop mental decline’

Image copyright Getty Images Doing crossword puzzles and Sudoku does not protect against mental decline, according to a new study. The idea of “use it or lose it” when it comes to our brains in later life has previously been widely accepted. But a new Scottish study suggests it has no effect on mental decline. Instead, results indicate that regularly doing intellectual activities throughout life boosts mental ability and provides a “higher cognitive point” from which to decline. This study published in the BMJ was undertaken by Roger Staff at…

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Can listening to bees tell us why they are in decline?

Image copyright World Bee Project Image caption There are 20,000 species of bee, but many are under threat around the world Can artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning help save the world’s bees? That’s the hope of scientists who are scrambling to reverse the dramatic declines in bee populations. Bees are in trouble, but we’re not quite sure why. It could be the overuse of insecticides; air pollution; warming temperatures; the varroa destructor mite; or even interference from electromagnetic radiation. Or it could be a combination of all these factors.…

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Dementia risk: Five-minute scan ‘can predict cognitive decline’

Image copyright Getty Images A five-minute scan could be used to spot people at risk of dementia before symptoms appear, researchers claim. Scientists used ultrasound scanners to look at blood vessels in the necks of more than 3,000 people and monitored them over the next 15 years. They found those with the most intense pulses went on to experience greater cognitive decline over the next decade than the other study participants. Researchers hope it may offer a new way to predict cognitive decline. Eye test ‘could spot early dementia signs’…

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‘Remarkable’ decline in fertility rates

Image copyright Getty Images There has been a remarkable global decline in the number of children women are having, say researchers. Their report found fertility rate falls meant nearly half of countries were now facing a “baby bust” – meaning there are insufficient children to maintain their population size. The researchers said the findings were a “huge surprise”. And there would be profound consequences for societies with “more grandparents than grandchildren”. How big has the fall been? The study, published in the Lancet, followed trends in every country from 1950…

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Tawny owl decline: Public urged to record ‘twit-twoos’

Image copyright PA Image caption The Tawny owl is recognised by its classic twit-twoo call Bird lovers are being urged to give up 20 minutes every week to listen out for the “twit-twoo” call of the Tawny owl, amid concerns over its numbers. The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is asking people to listen for the distinctive hoot from their garden, a local park or woodland, once every week for the next six months. “You can even do it from the comfort of your bed,” said BTO’s Claire Boothby. Light…

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Study suggests drastic decline in mountain hares

The number of mountain hares on moorland in the eastern Highlands is at less than 1% of their levels in the 1950s, according to new research. The study draws on data from one of Scotland’s most renowned ecologists, Dr Adam Watson. Conservation groups have called for an end to the “indiscriminate and ruthless” mountain hare culls. Moorland managers say they find the report’s conclusions “staggering” and at odds with their own experience. Source link

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Dementia exercise programmes ‘don’t slow brain decline’

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption People with mild to moderate dementia took part in strength exercises Exercise programmes for people with mild to moderate dementia “don’t work”, according to researchers writing in the British Medical Journal. They found no improvements in thinking skills or behaviour in more than 300 people in their 70s who did aerobic and strength exercises over four months. On the plus side, their physical fitness did improve, the study said. The Oxford researchers said future trials should explore other forms of exercise. Gentle, regular exercise…

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