According to a study published in the medical journal eLife, researchers found that specific combinations of gut bacteria produce substances that affect myelin content and cause social avoidance behaviors in mice.
Researchers transferred fecal bacteria from the gut of depressed mice to genetically distinct mice exhibiting non-depressed behavior. The study showed that the transfer of microbiota was sufficient to induce social withdrawal behaviors and change the expression of myelin genes and myelin content in the brains of the recipient mice.
In an effort to define the mechanism of gut-brain communication, researchers identified bacterial communities associated with increased levels of cresol, a substance that has the ability to pass the bloo [ ... ]
After two years of work, Martin Molin of the Swedish band Wintergatan debuted a fully custom-made machine that plays music using 2,000 marbles. The marble machine features multiple instruments including a bass guitar, cymbals, and a vibraphone all played by falling marbles. Apart from the 11 mm steel ball bearing marbles, he made all the gears powering the machine by hand.
For the first time, scientists have discovered a link between heavy marijuana use and reduced dopamine production. Just so you know, dopamine is the hormone/neurotransmitter that is released during any kind of satisfaction - it's the same hormone that is released in your brain when you eat chocolate. In a recent study, lower dopamine release was found in the striatum - a region of the brain that is involved in working memory, impulsive behavior, and attention, in addition to subregions involved in associative and sensorimotor learning, and in the globus pallidus. Previous studies have shown that addiction to other drugs of abuse, such as cocaine and heroin, have similar effects on dopamine release, but such evidence for cannabis was mis [ ... ]
After a broken neck left him quadriplegic, Ian Burkhart was told he would never be able to use his hands. Now he can grasp a bottle and pick up a credit card by using a computer plugged directly into his brain. Special software is able to decode his thoughts and convert them into electrical signals in his hand, bypassing the damaged nerves in his spine. Now Ian has regained an amazing degree of control over his hand, each movement stimulated by his own thoughts.
Gnathiids are a family of isopod crustaceans whose larvae feed on the blood of fish. During the day, infected parrotfish seek out cleaner fish to consume the parasites; however, at night they are relatively vulnerable to attack. Parrotfish overcome this vulnerability by secreting a mucus cocoon before sleeping which envelopes their bodies with a protective biopolymer that functions similar to a mosquito net. The mucus is secreted from large glands in the gill cavity and is composed of small glycoproteins which are extensively cross-linked through pyrosulfate bonds. This exopolymer net allows small molecules to permeate but prevents the parasitic gnathiids from entering. The process is thought to involve a combination of blocking odorants [ ... ]
The rare Iranian spider-tailed viper (Pseudocerastes urarachnoides) waggles a fake "spider" - actually a fleshy lure with leg-like scales at the tip of its tail - to tempt birds within striking distance. Until 2001, the viper was known only from a single misidentified specimen collected during a U.S. expedition to Iran in 1968. The weird structure on its tail was so unlike anything documented in other snakes that it was written off as a birth defect or an abnormal growth. While scientists had suspected its unique tail was used for luring prey, new observations of the dramatic bird captures now confirm this. The new study also revealed the viper starts growing its tail lure after birth, and that it isn’t complete until adulthood.
The darker bird pictured above belongs to a family of trickster birds known as the cuckoo. The common cuckoo is notorious for creeping into other birds' nests and laying their eggs, leaving the hosts to raise the chick as their own. This mechanism is known as brood parasitism, and it is quite common in the animal kingdom. However, not all cuckoos are dead-beat parents, many do raise their own young. The cuckoo birds that do use this mechanism are obligate brood parasites, meaning that they only reproduce in this fashion.
The best-known example is the European common cuckoo (shown above). The shells of the eggs of brood-parasites are usually thick. They have two distinct layers with an outer chalky layer that is believed to provide resistan [ ... ]