Archives for September, 2012

African rodent species resist scarring

You might be familiar with tissue regeneration in amphibians and reptiles where limbs can be fully regenerated following an injury. Until now, tissue regeneration following a wound was thought to be limited in mammals (ex: deer shed and regrow their antlers annually; some mice can regrow the tips of their fingers). Researchers discovered that African…

A study published in the European Journal of Personality suggests that humans infected with toxoplasmosis gondii are more extroverted compared to non-infected individuals. According to the CDC, roughly 22.5% of Americans over 12 are infected. The effects of the parasite are attributed to increased levels of dopamine in the brains of infected individuals. People can…

Strength in Nature

This is a must-see special from NOVA highlighting nature’s secret to creating very strong things: like the beak of a toucan, an abalone shell and a spider’s web. It aired last night on PBS (premiered Jan 2011) and I found myself glued to the TV. Scientists are working hard to try to re-create some of…

One step closer to restoring hearing

Damage to the auditory nerve connecting the inner ear and brain causes hearing loss in some individuals. Researchers Dr. Marcelo Rivolta from the University of Sheffield and colleagues have shown that human embryonic stem cells that were differentiated into auditory nerve cells can improve overall by ~45% hearing in gerbils that were treated with ouabain to damage the…

Adult male lesula monkey discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Image: M. Emetshu. PLOS One, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044271.g007.   Dr. John Hart, Scientific Director of the Lukuru Wildlife Research Foundation in Kinshasa, discovered the colorful lesula monkey while sifting through photos brought back from a 2007 field expedition to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Shown in the photo was…

You may recall a prior post in which I talked about how intelligent crows are. In fact, there was a special on PBS demonstrating their ability to solve problems and even recognize human faces (HIGHLY recommended if you haven’t yet had a chance to see it): Watch A Murder of Crows on PBS. See more from Nature. In a…

The uniqueness of humans

I just watched this neat presentation given a few years back by Dr. Robert Sapolsky from Stanford University on the differences and similarities between humans and animals:

Although slimmer, calorie restricted rhesus monkeys (left) do not live longer than their age-matched counterparts (right). (Housing shown was for photo purposes only; Image: National Institutes of Aging; Austad SN, Nature 2012). Despite promising results in mice and rats that calorie restriction prolongs lifespan, results from the US National Institute on Aging (NIA) in Bethesda, MD were…