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My picks from ScienceDaily


Molecule Helps Sleep-deprived Rebound Mentally:

Sleep experts know that the mental clarity lost because of a few sleepless nights can often be restored with a good night’s rest. Now, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have identified a key molecular mechanism that regulates the brain’s ability to mentally compensate for sleep deprivation. Working with mice, they found that a molecule called an adenosine receptor is necessary for sleep-restricted animals to attain adequate levels of slow-wave activity in the brain once normal sleep resumes. It is this increase in slow-wave activity, or SWA, during rebound sleep that helps restore normal working memory and attention skills to the sleep-deprived, the scientists report in the Feb. 4 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

Peer Victimization In Middle And High School Predicts Sexual Behavior Among Adolescents:

Peer victimization during middle and high school may be an important indicator of an individual’s sexual behavior later in life. These are the findings of Binghamton University researchers Andrew C. Gallup, Daniel T. O’Brien and David Sloan Wilson, and University at Albany researcher Daniel D. White.

Sexual Lyrics In Popular Songs Linked To Early Sexual Experiences:

With sexual activity among adolescents in the United States resulting in over 750,000 teenage pregnancies each year and reports of up to 25 percent of all female adolescents in the US having sexually transmitted infections, researchers and public health officials are looking for those factors that might increase sexual activity in teens. In an article published in the April 2009 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers found that teenagers who preferred popular songs with degrading sexual references were more likely to engage in intercourse or in pre-coital activities.

New Theory On How Animals Smell: Brain Encodes Complex Plumes Of Odors With A Simple Code:

In the real world, odors don’t happen one puff at a time. Animals move through, and subsequently distort, plumes of odor molecules that constantly drift, changing direction as the wind disperses them. Now, by exploring how animals smell odors under naturalistic conditions, Rockefeller University scientist Maria Neimark Geffen and her colleagues reveal that the brain encodes these swirling, and complex patterns of molecules using surprisingly little neural machinery.

When Texting, Eligible Women Express Themselves Better:

The book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus and its gender stereotypes on how the sexes communicate remains fodder for debate, but two Indiana University researchers have confirmed one thing: When men and women talk through technology, it’s the women who are more expressive. Indiana researchers have found that when men and women text message each other in a public, interactive dating market, it is the women who use more non-standard, expressive language techniques.

Synthetic Biology Yields Clues To Evolution And Origin Of Life:

Researchers in the field of synthetic biology are still a long way from being able to assemble living cells from scratch in the laboratory. But according to biochemist David Deamer of the University of California, Santa Cruz, their efforts are yielding clues to the mystery of how life began on Earth.

Anthropologist’s Studies Of Childbirth Bring New Focus On Women In Evolution:

Contrary to the TV sitcom where the wife experiencing strong labor pains screams at her husband to stay away from her, women rarely give birth alone. There are typically doctors, nurses and husbands in hospital delivery rooms, and sometimes even other relatives and friends. Midwives often are called on to help with births at home.

What Biology And Evolution Can Teach Us About Our Safety: Tribute To Darwin:

When it comes to our own security, says UCLA behavioral ecologist Daniel T. Blumstein, there is much we can learn from biology and evolution. Speaking Feb. 13 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago, at a symposium paying tribute to Charles Darwin a day after the 200th anniversary of his birth, Blumstein shared lessons and insights from Darwin that can be applied to our own safety — from using ATMs in unsafe neighborhoods to dealing with terrorist threats.

Fossilized Pregnant Fish One Of First Animals To Have Sex:

A pregnant fossil fish at the Natural History Museum in London has shed light on the possible origin of sex, according to a study published today in the journal Nature by an international team including Museum scientists. The fossil is an adult placoderm, an extinct group of armoured fish, and it contains a 5cm-long embryo.