Biology News

Study analyzes content of nightmares and bad dreams Tuesday, January 28, 2014 - 09:19

According to a new study by researchers at the University of Montreal, nightmares have greater emotional impact than bad dreams do, and fear is not always a factor. In fact, it is mostly absent in bad dreams and in a third of nightmares. What is felt, instead, is sadness, confusion, guilt, disgust, etc. For their analysis of 253 nightmares and 431 bad dreams, researchers obtained the narratives of nearly 10,000 dreams. “Physical aggression is the most frequently reported theme in nightmares. Moreover, nightmares become so intense they will wake you up. Bad dreams, on the other hand, are especially haunted by interpersonal conflicts,” write Geneviève Robert and Antonio Zadra, psychology researchers at the Université de Montréal, in the last issue of Sleep.

 

Fungus "micropredators" protect amphibians from deadly disease Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - 12:59

Waterborne microorganisms could help to save frogs and toads from a skin-eating fungus that threatens amphibians around the world. Scientists have discovered that certain aquatic microbes, including single-celled protozoans and tiny animals called rotifers, can consume large quantities of the fungal spores that spread disease.

 

A new class of antibiotics - Acyldepsipeptides Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - 10:00

A new class of molecules called acyldepsipeptides — ADEPs — may provide a new way to attack bacteria that have developed resistance to antibiotics. Researchers at Brown and MIT have discovered a way to increase the potency of ADEPs by up to 1,200 times. Their findings appear in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

 

Ants protect acacia plants against pathogens Friday, January 17, 2014 - 11:25

The biological term “symbiosis” refers to what economists and politicians usually call a win-win situation: a relationship between two partners which is beneficial to both. The mutualistic association between acacia plants and the ants that live on them is an excellent example: The plants provide food and accommodation in the form of food bodies and nectar as well as hollow thorns which can be used as nests. The ants return this favour by protecting the plants against herbivores. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, have now found that ants also keep harmful leaf pathogens in check.

 

ANDRILL team discovers ice-loving sea anemones in Antarctica Thursday, January 16, 2014 - 13:35

Using a camera-equipped robot to explore beneath the Ross Ice Shelf off Antarctica, scientists and engineers with the Antarctic Geological Drilling (ANDRILL) Program made an astonishing discovery. Thousands upon thousands of small sea anemones were burrowed into the underside of the ice shelf, their tentacles protruding into frigid water like flowers on a ceiling.

 

The way to a chimpanzee's heart is through its stomach Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 10:12

The ability to form long-term cooperative relationships between unrelated individuals is one of the main reasons for human’s extraordinary biological success, yet little is known about its evolution and mechanisms. The hormone oxytocin, however, plays a role in it. Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, measured the urinary oxytocin levels in wild chimpanzees after food sharing and found them to be elevated in both donor and receiver compared to social feeding events without sharing.

 

Nature Study Discovers Chromosome Therapy to Correct a Severe Chromosome Defect Tuesday, January 14, 2014 - 11:27

Geneticists from Ohio, California and Japan joined forces in a quest to correct a faulty chromosome through cellular reprogramming. Their study, published online January 12, 2014 in Nature, used stem cells to correct a defective “ring chromosome” with a normal chromosome. Such therapy has the promise to correct chromosome abnormalities that give rise to birth defects, mental disabilities and growth limitations.

 

Online Cognitive behaviour therapy effective treatment for depression Monday, January 13, 2014 - 10:07

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) over the internet has been proven to be an effective treatment for depression in a large clinical study conducted at Karolinska Institutet. The study, which is published in the scientific journal Journal of Affective Disorders, is one of the first to look at the treatment when it is given in a conventional care context.