Improving heart health could prevent frailty in old age gas pain in chest

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New research has shown that older people with very low heart disease risks also have very little frailty, raising the possibility that frailty could be prevented. The largest study of its kind, led by the University of Exeter, found that even small reductions in risk factors helped to reduce frailty, as well as dementia, chronic pain, and other disabling conditions of old age.

Young mongooses learn lifelong habits from role models rather than inheriting them from genetic parents, new research shows. Banded mongooses live in social groups where pups are consistently cared for one-to-one by a single adult known as an "escort" – not their mother or father. They develop "niche" diets and, by studying these, University of Exeter researchers showed pups inherit the behaviour of their escort, rather than parents.

Critically endangered South American forests thought to be the result of climate change were actually spread by ancient communities, archaeologists have found. Huge swathes of land in Chile, Brazil and Argentina are covered with millions of Araucaria, or monkey puzzle trees, thanks to people planting or cultivating them more than a thousand years ago, a new study shows. Recent logging means the landscape is now one of the world’s most at-risk environments.

Many of the European mammals whose habitat is being destroyed by climate change are not able to find new places to live elsewhere. 30 of the 62 mammal species in the University of Exeter study will have their habitat substantially affected by climate change, but don’t have the traits that could allow them to colonise a new habitat somewhere else in Europe.

Jackdaws recognise each other’s voices and respond in greater numbers to warnings from familiar birds than strangers, new research shows. The birds produce a harsh "scolding call" when they spot a predator, calling fellow jackdaws to mob the intruder and drive it away. University of Exeter researchers have discovered that each bird has a unique call, and the size of the mob depends on which bird calls the warning.

Beavers could help clean up polluted rivers and stem the loss of valuable soils from farms, new research shows. The study, undertaken by scientists at the University of Exeter using a captive beaver trial run by the Devon Wildlife Trust, has demonstrated the significant impact the animals have had on reducing the flow of tonnes of soil and nutrients from nearby fields into a local river system.

Temperature fluctuations that are amplified by climate change will hit the world’s poorest countries hardest, new research suggests. For every degree of global warming, the study suggests temperature variability will increase by up to 15% in southern Africa and Amazonia, and up to 10% in the Sahel, India and South East Asia.

Astronomers have detected helium in the atmosphere of a planet that orbits a star far beyond our solar system for the very first time. An international team of researchers, led by Jessica Spake from the University of Exeter, discovered evidence of the inert gas on ‘super-Neptune’ exoplanet WASP-107b, found 200 light years from Earth and in the constellation of Virgo.

Degraded coral reefs are far quieter than five years ago, and no longer sound like a suitable habitat to young fish searching for a place to live and breed, according to research published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.