Whether you're a chai chugger, rooibos reveller or have an everyday earl grey, tea drinkers around the world may find themselves a little more creative after that cuppa.

In a new study, Chinese researchers gave 50 people either black tea or water before two experiment to test their creativity.

The first required participants to design a block design for a toy factory; the second was a creativity measurement task, where participants were asked to think of as many names as possible for a new ramen noodle shop.

In both experiments, the results showed that those who had drunk tea beforehand saw a significant and positive effect on being able to think outside the box.

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The upshot of the study, just published in the journal Food Quality and Preference, was that drinking tea could improve creative performance with divergent thinking - a thought process we use to help us generate as many creative ideas as possible by exploring numerous solutions.

Dolly's legacy: monkey clones

using the same method that created Dolly the sheep, more than 20 years ago.

Chinese researchers used a process called somatic cell nuclear transfer to create two genetically identical long-tailed macaques.

The recent birth of Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua now makes it possible for scientists to make their own customisable populations of genetically uniform monkeys.

"There are a lot of questions about primate biology that can be studied by having this additional model," said Qiang Sun, the director of the Nonhuman Primate Research Facility at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Neuroscience.

Zhong Zhong (left) and Hua Hua (right) are the first two monkeys created by somatic cell nuclear transfer. Photo / Qiang Sun and Mu-ming Poo, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Zhong Zhong (left) and Hua Hua (right) are the first two monkeys created by somatic cell nuclear transfer. Photo / Qiang Sun and Mu-ming Poo, Chinese Academy of Sciences

"You can produce cloned monkeys with the same genetic background except the gene you manipulated.

"This will generate real models not just for genetically based brain diseases, but also cancer, immune, or metabolic disorders and allow us to test the efficacy of the drugs for these conditions before clinical use."

While an incredible feat, Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua aren't the first primate clones: that title goes to Tetra, a rhesus monkey born in 1999 through a simpler method called embryo splitting.

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The approach used in the latest case was similar to how twins arose naturally - but could only generate up to four offspring at a time.

Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua were the product of somatic cell nuclear transfer, the technique used to create Dolly, in which researchers remove the nucleus from an egg cell and replace it with another nucleus from differentiated body cells.

This reconstructed egg then develops into a clone of whatever donated the replacement nucleus.

Cowa-bug-a, dude

Regular surfers and bodyboarders are three times more likely to have antibiotic resistant E. coli in their guts than non-surfers. Photo / 123RF
Regular surfers and bodyboarders are three times more likely to have antibiotic resistant E. coli in their guts than non-surfers. Photo / 123RF

Surfing is good for the soul - but not good for the gut.

That's according to a new UK study finding how regular surfers and bodyboarders are three times more likely to have antibiotic resistant E. coli in their guts than non-surfers.

The University of Exeter's "Beach Bums" study asked 300 people, half of whom regularly surfed the UK's coastline, to take rectal swabs.

Surfers swallowed 10 times more sea water than sea swimmers, and scientists wanted to find out if that made them more vulnerable to bacteria that pollute seawater, and whether those bacteria are resistant to an antibiotic.

Scientists compared faecal samples from surfers and non-surfers to assess whether the surfers' guts contained E. coli bacteria that were able to grow in the presence of cefotaxime, a commonly used and clinically important antibiotic.

Cefotaxime has previously been prescribed to kill off these bacteria, but some have acquired genes that enable them to survive this treatment.

The study found that 13 of 143, or 9 per cent, of surfers were colonised by these resistant bacteria, compared to just four of 130 of non-surfers swabbed.

That meant that the bacteria would continue to grow even if treated with cefotaxime.

Researchers also found that regular surfers were four times as likely to harbour bacteria that contain mobile genes that make bacteria resistant to the antibiotic.

This was important because the genes could be passed between bacteria - potentially spreading the ability to resist antibiotic treatment between bacteria.

Recently, the UN Environment Assembly recognised the spread of antibiotic resistance in the environment as one of the world's greatest emerging environmental concerns.

Book a cruise, be happier

"Doing nothing" during holidays on a ship forces people to be more introspective and meditative. Photo / 123RF

Less surprising were findings just published in the International Journal of Tourism Research, showing that cruise holidays weren't just good for getting a tan, but also gaining inner happiness and well-being.

The Chinese study investigated how hopping aboard a cruise ship could affect our emotions, thinking, and ability to relate to others.

It found that "doing nothing" during holidays on a ship forces people to be more introspective and meditative, and encourages social interaction with family, friends, staff and other holiday-makers, allowing cruisers to broaden their horizons and engage in other cultures.