We're all told we need to eat healthier and exercise more to combat obesity, but did you know that there's also an obesity epidemic among pets, at least in the West? Between 39 percent and 59 percent of pet dogs in Europe, Australia and the US are estimated to be overweight or obese. In fact, obesity is now considered the biggest threat to the the health and well-being of our pets. Just as in humans, obesity in dogs involves many different factors. Certain breeds of dog seem to be more prone to obesity than others, and scientists have found a genetic mutation that seems to make dogs more likely to seek out food.
They say dogs are man's best friend, but it may actually be the other way around. A study from Oregon State University found that encouragement from a canine's owner can help boost the animal's ability to solve complex problems. The researchers evaluated the behavior of search and rescue dogs and pet dogs when presented with the same problem-solving task. The pups had to open a puzzle box containing a sausage within two minutes. They compared a group of 28 search and rescue dogs and a group of 31 pet dogs.
A chimpanzee has learned to walk again after an illness left him paralysed. The male, named Reo, was 24 when part of his spinal cord became inflamed, rendering him unable to move. Now, ten years later, thanks to a dedicated programme of training using a touch screen and reward training, he is able to walk again. Lead author Yoko Sakuraba of Kyoto University described the triumph in an article in Primates, the official journal of the Japan Monkey Centre. The study marks the first time a dedicated training progamme using touch screen technology to study chimpanzees' cognitive abilities has helped a chimp recover after paralysis.
We're living in an aging nation where the older population is dramatically growing at an unprecedented rate. With aging comes the need to keep our memory sharp to maintain our quality of life. Researchers at Florida State University suggest trendy brain games for adults do little to improve memory, or stave off cognitive decline and disorders. "Our findings and previous studies confirm there's very little evidence these types of games can improve your life in a meaningful way," said Wally Boot, study author and associate professor of psychology at FSU, in a statement. Cognitive training, popularly known as "brain training," has been touted for its claims of improving cognitive abilities such as working memory, reasoning and processing speed.