Archive for the ‘awareness’ Category

Can You Name World’s Most Spoken Language Or Nations That Make Great Britain?

November 20, 2008

Most people do not know how many countries make up Britain or which is the world’s most spoken language, a national survey has found.

Telegraph (UK)
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More than half wrongly believe that English is the most common language, while just over a third (37%) correctly identified it as Mandarin Chinese.

And less than a quarter correctly identified England, Wales and Scotland as being the countries that make up Great Britain.

The poll of 2,000 adults was commissioned by geographic technology company ESRI UK to mark Geography Awareness Week.

It found that a quarter of people would like to be an explorer – although many have trouble identifying where cities such as Leeds and Sheffield are in England.

When asked to rank a list of UK cities, Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield, Birmingham and Luton, in the order they are located, from north to south, eight in 10 correctly placed Newcastle and Luton.

But only half could only identify Leeds as the second most northerly, while a similar number put Sheffield correctly in third place.

The poll found that just under a quarter of people have visited a local attraction or museum in the last month.

Dr Rita Gardner, director of the Royal Geographical Society, said: “The poll raises some questions about how engaged people are with the many geographical issues in the wider world and about geographical factual knowledge.”

She added: “Good geographical knowledge and skills are vital for all of us, as responsible citizens, if we are to fully understand the nature of change in the world’s people, places and environments.”

Angela Baker, community programmes manager for ESRI (UK), said: “Geography helps us make sense of both our local surroundings but also the world’s bigger challenges like climate change, war, energy and poverty. It’s remarkable that so many people don’t know some simple facts like how many countries make up Great Britain.

“What is encouraging is that explorer came top in people’s preferred careers and that map-reading and compass skills beat being able to use a sat-nav.”

REFILE - CORRECTING FULL NAME OF APEC Chinese President Hu Jintao ...
There are 1.3 billion people in China and Chinese people live world-wide.  Here Chinese President Hu Jintao greets members of the Chinese community in Peru upon his arrival at Lima’s airport November 19, 2008. REUTERS/Handout/Andina Agency

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat
/3486403/Three-quarters-of-Brits-unable-to-name-Great
-Britains-three-countries.html

Does drinking alcohol shrink your brain? Yup!

October 15, 2008

By Theresa Tamkins
CNN

What’s good for the heart may hurt the brain, according to a new study of the effects of alcohol.
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People who drink alcohol — even the moderate amounts that help prevent heart disease — have a smaller brain volume than those who do not, according to a study in the Archives of Neurology.

While a certain amount of brain shrinkage is normal with age, greater amounts in some parts of the brain have been linked to dementia.

“Decline in brain volume — estimated at 2 percent per decade — is a natural part of aging,” says Carol Ann Paul, who conducted the study when she was at the Boston University School of Public Health. She had hoped to find that alcohol might protect against such brain shrinkage.
Some typical alcoholic beverages. 

“However, we did not find the protective effect,” says Paul, who is now an instructor in the neuroscience program at Wellesley College. “In fact, any level of alcohol consumption resulted in a decline in brain volume.”

In the study, Paul and colleagues looked at 1,839 healthy people with an average age of about 61. The patients underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain and reported how much they tippled.

Overall, the more alcohol consumed, the smaller the brain volume, with abstainers having a higher brain volume than former drinkers, light drinkers (one to seven drinks per week), moderate drinkers (eight to 14 drinks per week), and heavy drinkers (14 or more drinks per week).

Men were more likely to be heavy drinkers than women. But the link between brain volume and alcohol wasn’t as strong in men. For men, only those who were heavy drinkers had a smaller brain volume than those who consumed little or no alcohol.

In women, even moderate drinkers had a smaller brain volume than abstainers or former drinkers.

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/diet.fitness/10/14/
healthmag.alcohol.brain.shrinkage/index.html