The main source of vitamin D is exposure to ultra-violet radiation in sunlight, which produces vitamin D in the skin. A small amount of vitamin D can also be obtained from the diet.
“Traditionally the lack of Vitamin D was thought to be a problem for institutionalised elderly people who did not get exposure to sunlight, but more and more we are realising that it is a problem for the whole population.”
She said that the use of sun creams and moisturisers with a sun protection factor also reduces UV absorption and so vitamin D production. “While we only need five or 10 minutes a day exposure of sun on our face and arms during the summer time to obtain the required daily amount of Vitamin D, the risk of skin cancer has meant that people are rightly cautious about sun exposure. Also our lifestyles have changed, we spend more time in front of the TV or computer; traditionally we may have spent more time outdoors”.
The three year project, which will also establish if there are differences in vitamin D levels between people living in Northern Ireland and those living in the sunnier southern climes of Cork. To date the research team at UU has recruited over 120 adults aged 20-40 years who will be provided with vitamin D supplements from October to March to calculate how much vitamin D is needed from the diet to maintain our summer time levels. Next year the study will move on to the 65-plus age group. The research is being funded by the Food Standards Agency.
Dr Wallace added: “While in the current study we are focusing on these two groups, we believe vitamin D research is also required in other groups including children, adolescents and pregnant women. Unfortunately, there are very few foods that are good sources of vitamin D, and those that are, such as oily fish, are not widely consumed so it is actually quite difficult to get vitamin D from food alone. For groups at risk of low vitamin D status it may be that supplements are needed.”
David Young | alfa
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Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.
Graphene is up to the job
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
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