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Researchers Create a Hangover-Free, Rehydrating Beer

Source: Wikipedia.
Wed 21 Aug 05:03

Researchers have crafted a new breed of beer, containing electrolytes like those found in sport drinks, decreasing the risk of dehydration (and hangover) of this popular drink.

Beer, much like any other alcoholic drink, is a natural diuretic, not a good choice to quench your thirst on the summer months or following strenuous exercise. But now, Dr. Ben Desbrow from the Centre for Health Practice Innovation, in Queensland, Australia, is about to change the rules. His research is looking for ways to make beer a healthy choice, by adding electrolytes and reducing alcohol content.

"From our perspective it's about exploring harm minimization...

Scientists Explain Why Snails Have A Twisted Shell

Snails, as some other gastropods, have coiled shells, Dpp protein seems to be the clue
Fri 13 Sep 02:05
Molecules called morphogens control the shapes of organisms. One morphogen, Dpp, makes most snail shells coil to the right as described in a recent report in the journal EvoDevo. Snails belong to the taxonomic class Gastropoda, the most diverse group of molluscs, originating during the Cambrian period about 500 million years ago. Some gastropods, like snails, have coiled shells while others, like limpets, do not. The uneven distribution of the morphogenic (or shape-determining) protein Dpp is the explanation.
Dpp, the gene carrying the info for making the Dpp protein, (christened...

Chaos, Not Order, Spark Creativity

Wed 14 Aug 02:27
Being neat and tidy has always been associated with order, tradition and general good sense. But being a slob may have a worse reputation than it deserves, according to a new study suggestig that a disorderly environment can spark creativity.

The study, led by University of Minnesota management professor Dr. Kathleen Vohs and published in Psychological Science on August 1st, found that an orderly environment encourages such "orderly" behavior as healthful eating, charitable giving, and a sense of tradition, while a disorderly environment can trigger creative behavior. In addition,...

Even in the Brain, Practice Makes Perfect

Extensively practicing a given motor skill reduces metabolic activity in the cerebral cortex responsible for managing that skill
Sat 03 Aug 16:25
As any athlete or musician can attest, practicing makes a difficult task easier. In fact, repeating an activity can take us to a point where we a no longer conscious of what we're doing; we've perfected the task so we no longer think actively about it. This kind of efficiency also happens in brain cells, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, have found, and this efficiency can led to some surprising brain activity.

Neurobiologist Peter Strick and his colleagues reported in Nature Neuroscience that extensively practicing a given motor skill reduces metabolic activity in...

Celestial Music, at your fingertips

Crab Nebula, Wikipedia.
Fri 19 Jul 10:31
In the renaissance an scholar was considered educated only after mastering the so-called "quadrivium", which consisted of four subjects: arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music. Now, a group of astrophysicists has updated the classical quadrivium, by deriving music from astronomical data.

Researchers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, USA, led by Dr Gerhard Sonnert, have developed a website that produces music made from star-generated sounds. These "star sounds" consist of recordings of X-ray and other signals captured by radiotelescopes that are turned into sound thanks...

Social networking makes lemurs smarter

Ringed-tail lemurs
Thu 27 Jun 16:59
Human evolution has been marked by two major milestones: an increase in brain size and the development of social groups. Many scientists have assumed that to solve sophisticated social cognitive problems, brain size and social skills need to go hand in hand.

New research led by anthropologist Dr Evan MacLean from Duke University now shows that, among lemurs, the size of an individual's social networks is the best predictor of how well it can perform cognitive tasks, rather than its brain size. The new study, published in the June issue of PLoS ONE, suggests that cognition can evolve without...

The Mind Can Fly a Helicopter

Our mind can control an external device
Tue 18 Jun 21:39
A helicopter is a rather complicated craft to fly--it doesn't really glide, and moves by controlling the pitch and power of its rotor blades. Imagine what it would take for a helicopter to fly by mind control.

But it's the brain's motor cortex, and not necessarily centers for imagination, that were proven to navigate an unmanned model helicopter. Bin He, a biomedical engineer at the University of Minnesota, reported in the Journal of Neural Engineering that by hooking up electrodes to a volunteer's head, the signals from the volunteer's brain could fly a helicopter (at least a small one).


Science Explains Why You Forgot To Take Out The Trash

A familiar voice is usually recognized between other voices, but as we age, maybe we can select not to hear them
Thu 12 Sep 19:01
It's often nice to hear a familiar voice, but sometimes we're also guilty of tuning out wives, husbands, parents and even some friends. It turns out that our brains help us tune out spouses more effectively as we age.

Ingrid Johnsrude, a psychologist at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and her colleagues found that a familiar voice helps us organize the voices we hear in a crowd, so we can focus on the familiar voice--or ignore it. As we grow older and/or harder of hearing, we can also use these audio cues as a guide to sorting out voices in a crowd. Another sign of aging,...

Our Alien Gold

Source: Wikipedia.
Mon 05 Aug 23:25
    All the gold on earth is alien. Every atom of the precious metal probably came to us from violent collisions of dying stars, according to a team from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

The research team, led by astrophysicist Dr. Edo Berger, was studying the origins of short gamma ray bursts, two-tenths of a second-long blasts of radiation produced after the collision of two dying stars. Using the Magellan Telescopes at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, data from NASA's Swift satellite, and observations from the Hubble Space Telescope,...

An Unlikely New Home For Insects

Credit:  Robert Tropek
Fri 02 Aug 20:48
Fly ash deposits, by-products of coal combustion produced around energy power stations, have been found to serve as an alternative home for many insect species, new research shows. Fly ash refers to the fine silica material that rises with the gases produced during combustion. In the past, this material was simply released into the atmosphere. However, this practice raised many environmental and health concerns and prompted laws aimed at reducing such emissions. With stricter pollution control, fly ash needs to be captured and large deposits now accumulate outside every power plant scattered...

A single gene for claustrophobia?

Source: Wikipedia.
Tue 16 Jul 11:32
Do you panic when you are in a small space? Do you sweat, or shake; does your heart pound? A study in the March issue of Translational Psychiatry reports a genetic defect as the cause of claustrophobia in mice. This is the first time that a single gene has been shown to regulate claustrophobia, moving researchers one step closer to understanding this serious anxiety disorder. The new research, led by Dr Hannelore Ehrenreich at the Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine in Göttingen, Germany, identified a defect in the Gpm6a gene associated with claustrophobia-like behavior in mice and...

Snail reveals ancient human migration routes

Credit: Wikipedia Commons
Thu 20 Jun 19:49
The genetic similarity between one variety of common garden snails found in Ireland and the Pyrenees, in Southern Europe, may be explained by human migrations over 8,000 years ago, says a new study published in PLoS ONE.  This is not the only animal to hitchhike on humans on their way to Ireland, as "other species may show a similar pattern, including the strawberry tree, the Kerry slug, and the Pyrenean glass snail", explains Dr Angus Davison, an evolutionary geneticist from Nottingham University, UK, and leading author in the study. This migratory phenomenon may in fact be so widespread it...

Why do some animals turn cannibalistic?

Young fruit fly larvae attacking an old dead larvae. (Credit Dr Roshan Vijendravarma/University of Lausanne)
Thu 06 Jun 10:17
Under the right circumstances, fruit flies can evolve cannibalistic behavior, a new study says. 

While cannibalism was considered uncommon and of little evolutionary importance in the past, it is now recognized that it can serve several functions, including nutrition, minimizing competition and regulating population density. Cannibalism has been identified in over 1300 species. "The most likely function of cannibalism in non-carnivorous species is nutrition, however it may as well serve other functions such as eliminating competitors for resources and mates", said Dr Roshan Vijendravarma, an...

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