Latest Science and Society News

Around the world, the day dawns full of promise. But moods go downhill over the course of the day, rebounding again in the evening, according to a Cornell analysis of the public Twitter messages of 2.4 million people in 84 countries. Equanimity perks up again on weekends -- but later in the morning, suggesting mass sleeping-in.

When a species recovers enough to be removed from the federal endangered species list, the public trust doctrine – the principle that government must conserve natural resources for the public good – should guide state management of wildlife, scientists say.

Most drug therapy interventions for people with autism have targeted psychiatric problems, including aggression, anxiety and obsessive behavior. Now, University of Missouri researchers are examining the use of propranolol (a drug used to treat high blood pressure and control heart rate as well as to reduce test anxiety) to improve the primary traits associated with autism – difficulty with normal social skills, language and repetitive behaviors. MU researchers say the drug is a promising new avenue for improving language and social function.

Everyone’s a little bit racist, posits the song from the musical Avenue Q. But it may not be your fault, according to research in the latest edition of the British Journal of Social Psychology. In looking for the culprit as to why people tend to display tinges of racism, sexism or ageism, even towards members of their own group, a research team, led by the Georgia Institute of Technology, found that our culture may be partially to blame.

UCLA scientists have created a mouse model for autism that opens a window into the biological mechanisms that underlie the disease. The researchers found that autistic mice share similar symptoms and behaviors with people on the autism spectrum, suggesting that mouse brains and human brains are wired surprisingly alike. If so, the model offers a promising way to test new therapies that may one day help people with autism.

 

A single high dose of the hallucinogen psilocybin, the active ingredient in so-called “magic mushrooms,” was enough to bring about a measureable personality change lasting at least a year in nearly 60 percent of the 51 participants in a new study, according to the Johns Hopkins researchers who conducted it.