Brain & Behavior

Spend a Day With Some of the Nation’s Most Exciting Innovators at X-STEM!

As Dean Kamen, inventor of such amazing technologies as the the Segway human transporter and one of the world’s most advanced robotic arm prostheses, often says: “Our nation is enamored with sports and entertainment, but how can we groom kids to become as passionate about innovation?” At the Festival’s fascinating all-day X-STEM Symposium, presented by MedImmune…

Can you hear me now?

New research shows that pearlfish (Onuxodon fowleri) not only reside in black-lip pearl oyster shells, they also use the shells to amplify sounds created by vibrating their swimbladders. According to lead study author Dr. Loic Kéver, “amplification probably improves the efficiency of communication by increasing the propagation distance of the sounds.” Following high resolution CT scans,…

Will bees save us from baldness?

  Propolis is a resin-like compound honeybees collect to coat their hives. New research suggests that this compound may increase hair growth as observed in studies of mice. Although the researchers did not test propolis on balding mice, they did find faster hair growth in mice that had been shaved or waxed, which is somewhat…

Feeling tired? You’re not alone. A new study finds that many U.S. workers aren’t getting enough sleep, which is essential to optimal health, and that people who work multiple jobs are at heightened risk of getting less than the recommended hours of nightly rest.

New research from Vanderbilt University shows that hummingbirds and insects have a lot in common…when it comes to flying at least. The researchers placed nontoxic paint on the wing of a ruby-throated hummingbird at 9 different spots then videotaped the animal flying at 1,000 frames per second with 4 cameras simultaneously. Using 3D simulations of…

Not everyone gets their research written about by this week’s Nobel Prize winners: All mammals face the challenge of navigating in complex, three-dimensional (3D) environments, whether they are swinging from branch-to-branch in forests or burrowing underground tunnels. How does the brain maintain a sense of place and direction in 3D? In a beautiful study published…

In ongoing public health efforts to curb the obesity epidemic, better menu and nutrition labeling is often tapped as a low-cost way to help make the healthy choice, the easy choice. And while the evidence on the effectiveness of such interventions is still emerging, a recent study found that educating young people on the calories in sugar-sweetened beverages did make a positive difference.

The physics of dogs drinking water

I have to be honest. I have always wondered whether my dog actually got any water in his mouth. It always seemed to me that the majority of water ends up on my floor. High speed video collected and analyzed by a team of researchers from Virginia Tech (Sean Gart, Jake Socha and Sunghwan Jung)…

Granted this is not comparative physiology, I thought this study was really interesting. Research has shown that exposure of developing embryos to caffeine in utero can alter the expression of genes in the heart leading to changes in how the heart develops and functions in adult animals. New research from the University of Florida published in…

Creating Healthier Turkeys

Did you know that the typical Thanksgiving day broad-breasted white turkey develops in as little as 136 days (on average)? This remarkably quick development is a result of years of selective breeding. The average turkey in 1929 was only about 13 pounds, whereas modern turkeys average around 30 pounds with much of the weight centered in…