Archives for May, 2011

Choose Your Bond

Two completely unrelated papers have got us thinking about chemical bonds. When we refer to chemical bonds, we generally mean covalent bonds: Atoms become “wedded,” sharing electrons, and breaking them apart takes energy. By comparison, other types of bonds are weak attractions – mere flirtations, or mild sparks between hydrogen and oxygen in passing water…

This week’s Weizmann news stories: A “steam release valve” for inflammation, a “brake” for cell division and an “amplifier” for quantum signals. The steam release valve mechanism also involves an amplifier – one that ramps up the inflammation signal in response to viral attack on a cell. When the signal reaches its peak, it trips…

Disturbing experiences don’t actually heighten our perceptions. In fact, according to new Weizmann research, in adverse conditions we’re more likely to experience slightly different sights or sounds as being the same. The scientists think that this lumping together of similar sensory stimuli may be behind post-traumatic stress syndrome. The experiments showed that volunteers learning to…

New research at the Institute sheds some light on a protein that could make it harder for overweight people to stick to a diet. That protein helps regulate the effects of leptin – a hormone that reduces appetite and increases physical activity. People missing the leptin gene are invariably obese. It turns out, however, that…