August 19, 2018

    Connection between depressive symptoms and poor sleep quality explained by new research

    Mind and Brain | Aug 19, 2018 | Alexandru Ciobanu

    Depressive symptoms and poor sleep are associated with increased brain activity in areas associated with short-term memory, the self, and negative emotions
    Connection between depressive symptoms and poor sleep quality explained by new research - short science news

    New research has identified functional connectivities in the brain that mediate the association between depressive symptoms and poor sleep quality. The researchers examined data from 1,017 participants. They found that both poor sleep quality and depressive symptoms were associated with increased neural connections involving several brain regions: the lateral orbitofrontal cortex, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the cingulate cortex, and the precuneus. This may suggest that “people with poor sleep or depression may focus too much on the negative things and dwell on bad thoughts, which leads to a poor quality of sleep,” said author Jianfeng Feng.

    Read the full story: PsyPost
    Scientific publication: JAMA Psychiatry


    Children are susceptible to peer pressure by robots

    Technology | Aug 19, 2018 | Alexandru Ciobanu

    Robots induced peer pressure in children, while adults resisted. Credit: Pixabay
    Children are susceptible to peer pressure by robots - science news

    Peer pressure is a common psychological phenomenon, but now a new study shows that it doesn’t necessarily take a human to induce it. As the research shows, robots can induce peer pressure too. In an experiment, humanoid robots influenced children to make bad decisions. However, adults remained immune to the peer pressure from the robots but were influenced by human peers. According to the paper, this reinforces the idea of humans treating computers and robots as social beings, “attributing human-like qualities to technology.”

    Read the full story: Popular Mechanics
    Scientific publication: Science Robotics


    Why salamanders can regrow organs and lizards cannot

    Life | Aug 18, 2018 | Erwin van den Burg

    Lizards can regrow their tail, but the regrown tails are much simpler than the original one
    Why salamanders can regrow organs and lizards cannot - life science news

    Researchers have found that neural stem cells in the spinal cord ensure that salamanders can regrow proper tails. When transplanting these cells into lizards, that can also regenerate the tail to some extent, these animals were also able to regrow a proper tail. It appeared that the neural stem cells in the lizard can only differentiate into glial cells (cells with a supporting function), but not into neurons that should steer the whole regneration process. As lizards are the closest relatives to mammals that can regrow a part of the body, they may serve as an intermediate to study the molecular mechanisms underlying regeneration.

    Read the full story: University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
    Scientific publication: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA


    A clay-based platform to promote blood vessel growth

    Technology | Aug 18, 2018 | Erwin van den Burg

    A new platform to promote blood vessel growth. Image: Texas A&M University
    A clay-based platform to promote blood vessel growth - health technology news

    Scientists have developed a clay-based platform for the delivery of growth factors into the body to stimulate the growth of blood vessels. It makes use of a two-dimensional clay (nanosilicates) that slowly release growth factors, so that the secretion of these proteins is prolonged. This method prevents problems such as abnormal, abrupt tissue formation, and eliminates a major hurdle for efficient wound repair and tissue implants.

    Read the full story: Texas A&M University
    Scientific publication: Advanced Biosystems


    Cosmic steam jets observed in newly-forming stars

    Space | Aug 18, 2018 | Erwin van den Burg

    Composite ALMA image of NGC 6334I, with a heavy water jet in blue, and organic molecules-rich region in orange. Image: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO): NRAO/AUI/NSF, B. Saxton
    Cosmic steam jets observed in newly-forming stars - space science news

    The ALMA telescope in Chile detected high frequencies bands in the Cat’s Paw Nebula (or NGC 6334I) that indicated jets of warm water vapor streaming away from a newly forming star. This observation was only possible because of the extreme precision and sensitivity of ALMA, and the low concentrations of water vapor in the arid Chilean desert. Also, astronomers observed glycoaldehyde, the simplest sugar-related molecule. These observations are at the limit what ground-based astronomy can reveal, and fundamentally changes our understanding of the universe.

    Read the full story: National Radio Astronomy Observatory
    Scientific publication: The Astrophysical Journal Letters


    Immune cells decide whether to display male or female sexual behavior

    Mind and Brain | Aug 15, 2018 | Erwin van den Burg

    Inflammation of the brain during pregnancy could influence sexual behavior in the offspring
    Immune cells decide whether to display male or female sexual behavior - neuroscience news

    A surprising outcome of a recent study reveals that a certain type of immune cells, known as mast cells, play an important role in determining whether an animal will display male or female sexual behavior. When mast cells are silenced in young male rats, female sexual behavior was observed when these rats were adults. When these cells were activated in young female rats, the animals displayed male sexual behavior in adulthood. Mast cells in male rats appeared to be activated by estrogen, a hormone that drives the development of male traits. This study shows that immune cells steer the development of sexual behavior, so that it is possible that allergic reactions, injury or inflammation during pregnancy could influence sexual behavior in the offspring, probably also in humans.

    Read the full story: Ohio State University
    Scientific publication: Journal of Neuroscience


    Melting of the West-Antarctic ice sheet depends on deep ocean temperature

    Earth | Aug 13, 2018 | Erwin van den Burg

    Melting of the West-Antarctic ice sheet is related to the deep ocean's temperature cycle
    Melting of the West-Antarctic ice sheet depends on deep ocean temperature - Earth science news

    Scientists have found that the temperature in the deep ocean is much more variable than previously thought, and shows a cycle of warming and cooling over the 16 years observation period. This cycle was found in the Amundsen Sea in West Antarctica, and appears to accelerate the melting of the West-Antarctic ice sheet during the warmer phase, while steadying it or even decreasing it during the cooler phases. The temperature cycle could be linked to El Nino in the tropical Pacific Ocean, and should be incorporated in the mathematical models that estimate how much ice will melt, and how much the sea water level will rise now that the Earth is warming up.

    Read the full story: British Antarctic Survey
    Scientific publication: Nature Geoscience


    Disrupted nitrogen metabolism plays a role in cancer

    Health | Aug 13, 2018 | Erwin van den Burg

    Soon, blood urea measurements might predict which cancer patients will benefit from immunotherapy
    Disrupted nitrogen metabolism plays a role in cancer - health science news

    Nitrogen is a building block of proteins, RNA and DNA, and is therefore in high demand by cancer cells. Scientists have now found that disrupted nitrogen metabolism in the liver reduces the concentration of a nitrogenous waste product, urea, in certain cancers, and increases the availability of nitrogen for cancer cells. This makes the cancer cells on the one hand more aggressive, but on the other hand also more vulnerable to immunotherapy, in patients and experimental animals. It should now become possible to design a blood test to monitor urea levels in cancer patients, and predict in which of these patients immunotherapy will likely have beneficial effects, i.e. in those patients with low blood urea.

    Read the full story: Weizmann Institute
    Scientific publication: Cell


    Men take care of their spouses just as much as women do

    Life | Aug 13, 2018 | Alexandru Ciobanu

    Men increased their care hours as much as women did, resulting in similar levels of care when their partner became ill. Credit: pexels.com
    Men take care of their spouses just as much as women do - science news

    A new study suggests that men respond to their spouse’s illness just as much as women do and as a result are better caregivers in later life than previous research suggests, according to a new Oxford University collaboration. This is good news for an increasingly stretched adult care services, which have become more reliant on patients’ family and spouses for support. The research sits in contrast to previous studies on spousal caregiving, which found that female caregivers tend to be more responsive. However, the new results reveal that men are just as responsive to a partner’s illness, as women.

    Read the full story: Oxford University
    Scientific publication: Journals of Gerontology, Series B


    When rude to your co-workers their children suffer

    Life | Aug 13, 2018 | Alexandru Ciobanu

    Incivility in the workplace associated with more negative parenting behaviors at home, study says
    When rude to your co-workers their children suffer - science news

    According to a group of scientists, when people are rude to their co-workers or treat them badly, they don’t realize the unintended could be the coworkers’ children. Women who experience incivility in the workplace are more likely to engage in stricter, more authoritarian parenting practices that can have a negative impact on their children. Workplace incivility is any behavior that is rude, disrespectful, impolite, etc. “This research tells us much about the nature and scope of workplace incivility, specifically its detrimental impact on mothering well-being and specific negative parenting behavior”, said researcher Angela Dionisi.

    Read the full story: American Psychological Association
    Scientific publication: Annual convention of the American Psychological Association


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