Sorry for the lack of posts, my schedule suddenly got chaotic. My husband and his co-workers found four three-week-old kittens at his work with no mama in sight. 🙁 Between them, my research, and my new position as outreach officer in our Biochemistry Graduate Association, my week has been filled up.
Anywho, on to the science!!!!
When a rat is resting, it dreams of journeys that will lead to a desired future, such as that big block of cheese. In a recent study, scientist studied the brain activity in the hippocampus of rats as they observed a treat they were unable to reach, while they were resting, and then when they were allowed to reach the treat. During rest, the data suggests that the rats stimulating walking to the treat. This study could help explain why some people with damage to the hippocampus are unable to imagine the future.
A recent study tested the memory and thinking skills of participants every three years for 18 years. Of the participants studied, those who scored lower overall on the memory and thinking tests had an increased risk of developing the Alzheimer’s disease. During the first year of the study, people with lower test scores were about 10 times more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease than people with higher scores, with the odds increasing by 10 for every standard deviation that the score was lower than the average. “A general current concept is that in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, certain physical and biologic changes precede memory and thinking impairment. If this is so, then these underlying processes may have a very long duration. Efforts to successfully prevent the disease may well require a better understanding of these processes near middle age,” study author Kumar B. Rajan, Ph.D., with Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
A team of scientists from The University of Texas at Austin, the Australian Institute of Marine Science and Oregon State University has found that some coral populations already have genetic variants necessary to tolerate warm ocean waters, and humans can help to spread these genes. “Coral larvae can move across oceans naturally, but humans could also contribute, relocating adult corals to jump-start the process,” said Mikhail Matz, an associate professor of integrative biology at The University of Texas at Austin. Reef-building corals from species in the northern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea are similar to those used in the study. These reefs may benefit from conservation and restoration efforts that protect the most heat-tolerant corals and prioritize them for any restoration initiatives involving artificial propagation.
It has been five years since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Many of the delicate marshes along the Gulf’s coast were in dire need of cleaning up, and soil microbes stepped up to the plate. Populations of oil-degrading microbes have boomed in some of Louisiana’s most heavily oiled marsh soils. These invisible-to-the-eye janitors are breaking down the goopy brown oil faster than expected, scientists report, hinting at a relatively speedy ecological recovery.
Last year’s flu vaccine was a dud, and now scientists know why.The vaccine targeted a flu strain that didn’t look like most of the strains traveling around the Northern Hemisphere during the 2014-2015 flu season, researchers report. Much like wearing a hat and glasses or a fake mustache, tiny changes to the strains’ appearance let the virus disguise itself from the immune systems of vaccinated people. The finding explains the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s lackluster estimate of the vaccine’s efficiency: It was only about 20 percent effective at preventing flu-related trips to the doctor. These findings will help researchers formulate better vaccines for future flu seasons.
A new test can rapidly and accurately diagnose Ebola virus within minutes.
Google is testing out a self-driving car in California. Check out the video here.
The first commercial jetpack is set to be available next year.