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The Lead

Junk Food Makes Rats Lose Taste for Balanced Diet

August 28, 2014 | by Frontiers | News | Comments

A diet of junk food not only makes rats fat, but also reduces their appetite for novel foods, a preference that normally drives them to seek a balanced diet, reports a study. The study helps explain how excessive consumption of junk food can change behavior, weaken self-control and lead to overeating and obesity.

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Lab Daily

Gamblers are Birdbrained

August 28, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Warwick | News | Comments

Gamblers are greedy and birdbrained, new research has found. Gamblers show the same tendencies as pigeons when they make risky decisions. Tests have found that both human gamblers and pigeons were 35 percent more likely to gamble for high-value than low-value rewards.

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Pebble-sized Particles May Jump-start Planet Formation

August 28, 2014 7:00 am | by National Radio Astronomy Observatory | News | Comments

Astronomers have discovered that filaments of star-forming gas near the Orion Nebula may be brimming with pebble-size particles— planetary building blocks 100 to 1,000 times larger than the dust grains typically found around protostars. If confirmed, these dense ribbons of rocky material may well represent a new, mid-size class of interstellar particles that could help jump-start planet formation.

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Scientists: Stop Non-essential Use of Fluorochemicals

August 28, 2014 7:00 am | by Technical Univ. of Denmark | News | Comments

A number of leading international researchers have recommended that fluorochemicals are only used where they are absolutely essential, until better methods exist to measure the chemicals and more is known about their potentially harmful effects.

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Lethal Spears Indicate Early Cognitive, Social Skills

August 28, 2014 7:00 am | by Arizona State Univ. | News | Comments

Attaching a stone tip to a wooden spear shaft was a significant innovation for early modern humans living around 500,000 years ago. However, it was also a costly behavior in terms of time and effort to collect, prepare and assemble the spear. The skill was likely to have been passed from generation to generation through social or group learning.

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Brain is Hyper-connected in Depressed Young Adults

August 28, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Illinois at Chicago | News | Comments

Depression may be better predicted and understood now that researchers have discovered that young adults who previously experienced the mental illness have hyper-connected emotional and cognitive networks in the brain.

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Scientist of the Week: Therese O'Sullivan

August 28, 2014 7:00 am | by Lily Barback, Associate Editor | News | Comments

Therese O'Sullivan and a team from Edith Cowan Univ. found that eating higher amounts of cheese, milk, yogurt or butter does not make a person more likely to die from cardiovascular disease, cancer or any other cause.

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Walking Fish Reveal How Land Animals Evolved

August 28, 2014 7:00 am | by McGill Univ. | News | Comments

About 400 million years ago a group of fish began exploring land and evolved into tetrapods– today's amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Now, researchers have turned to a living fish, called Polypterus, to help show what might have happened when fish first attempted to walk out of the water.

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Sprinters Punch Ground for Speed

August 28, 2014 7:00 am | by Southern Methodist Univ. | Videos | Comments

The world’s fastest sprinters have unique gait features that account for their ability to achieve fast speeds, according to two new studies. The new findings indicate that the secret to elite sprinting speeds lies in the distinct limb dynamics sprinters use to elevate ground forces upon foot-ground impact.

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Potential Ebola Treatment May Help Contain Future Outbreaks

August 27, 2014 2:00 pm | by ACS | News | Comments

Ebola is a rare, but deadly disease that exists as five strains, none of which have approved therapies. One of the most lethal strains is the Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV). Now, researchers are reporting a possible therapy that could someday help treat patients infected with SUDV.

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Study Questions Long-held Depression Belief

August 27, 2014 2:00 pm | by ACS | News | Comments

New evidence puts into doubt the long-standing belief that a deficiency in serotonin— a chemical messenger in the brain— plays a central role in depression. Scientists are reporting that mice lacking the ability to make serotonin in their brains did not show depression-like symptoms.

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Old Specimens, Modern Cities Shed Light on Pest's Future

August 27, 2014 2:00 pm | by North Carolina State Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers have found that century-old museum specimens hold clues to how global climate change will affect a common insect pest that can weaken and kill trees– and the news is not good.

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Expedition Reveals Effects of Altitude on Blood Pressure

August 27, 2014 2:00 pm | by European Society of Cardiology | News | Comments

An expedition to Mount Everest by Italian researchers has shown for the first time that blood pressure monitored over a 24-hour period rises progressively as people climb to higher altitudes. The researchers also found that a drug used for lowering blood pressure, called telmisartan, was effective in counteracting the effects of altitude up to 3,400 meters.

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Fossil May Be Earliest Evidence of Muscle

August 27, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Cambridge | News | Comments

An unusual new fossil discovery of one of the earliest animals on Earth may also provide the oldest evidence of muscle tissue– the bundles of cells that make movement in animals possible.

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Study IDs Why Learning Tasks Can Be Difficult

August 27, 2014 2:00 pm | by Carnegie Mellon Univ. | News | Comments

Learning a new skill is easier when it is related to an ability we already have. Scientists have discovered a fundamental constraint in the brain that may explain why this happens. They found, for the first time, that there are limitations on how adaptable the brain is during learning and that these restrictions are a key determinant for whether a new skill will be easy or difficult to learn.

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Scientists Change Memories’ Emotional Association

August 27, 2014 2:00 pm | by MIT, Anne Trafton | News | Comments

A new study from neuroscientists reveals the brain circuit that controls how memories become linked with positive or negative emotions. Furthermore, the researchers found that they could reverse the emotional association of specific memories by manipulating brain cells with optogenetics— a technique that uses light to control neuron activity.

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