The fuzzy pale mold that lines the glass tubes in Dr. Yi Liu's lab doesn't look much like a clock. But this fungus has an internal, cell-based timekeeper nearly as sophisticated as a human's, allowing UT Southwestern Medical Center physiologists to study easily the biochemistry and genetics of body clocks, or circadian rhythms. In a new study appearing online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Liu and his co-workers have found that this mold, which uses a protein called FRQ as the main gear of its clock, marks time by a sequence of changes in the protein's chemical structure.
Although we are still far from knowing exactly where and how the pineal suppressive role is exerted, the fact that the gland exerts an inhibitory function on the reproductive axis is widely accepted. In fact, the pineal seems to exert its hormonal effect at different levels of the reproductive axis, both at the hypothalamic-pituitary level and at the gonadal level, where melatonin receptors have also been found.
The genes that regulate human circadian rhythm, or 'the body clock', are significantly disturbed in individuals with arthritis, according to the results of a new study presented today at EULAR 2009, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Copenhagen, Denmark. Notably, a specific genetic pathway has been identified as responsible for interactions between the genes that regulate the body clock and those that may worsen symptoms of arthritis.
According to a research abstract that will be presented on June 9, at Sleep 2009, the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, adolescent obesity is associated with having less sleep. Reduction in sleep could be related to a higher caffeine intake, more hours of technology use and increased symptoms of sleep disorders (such as snoring).
Internet use continues to increase, this is especially true regarding social media. Older people in particular have increased the use of internet since 2007. However, television continues to have the large coverage in all groups with one exception, 15 to 24 year olds used the Internet more than they watched television an average day in 2008, according to a national survey of 4,500 persons, conducted by Nordicom at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. "We can also see how news consumption is changing. This suggests a new role for journalists, and viewers who are have more knowledge about, and are critical of, the media." says Professor Ulla Carlsson, who directs the survey at Nordicom, the University of Gothenburg.
Emory University researchers have identified a surprising mechanism in the brains of mother mice that focuses their awareness on the calls of baby mice. Their study, published June 11 in Neuron, found that the high-frequency sounds of mice pups stand out in a mother's auditory cortex by inhibiting the activity of neurons more attuned to lower frequency sounds.
Studying the ecology and distribution of plants does not take place solely in the forest. A new way of searching in scientific databases has enabled researchers from the University of Gothenburg to discover kinship between fungi from Sweden and Thailand - and has revealed some species with incorrect generic names into the bargain.
What colours make a garden beautiful? What colours match and what colours clash? How can a flowerbed be planned based on scientific colour theory? Researcher Nina Nilsson at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, is finding the answers to these questions. She is the first person in the world to earn a doctorate in the colour composition of flowerbeds. The colours of plants have fascinated mankind for thousands of years. The colour of a plant not only tells what kind of plant it is, colours are also linked to emotions and memories. Plant colours can therefore be thought of in a biological, a cultural and an esthetical perspective.