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  • News

    Immune system defects seem to contribute to obesity in mice

    Subtle defects in the immune system may lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes, a study of mice suggests.

    Mice gained weight and developed health problems when they carried a genetic defect that dampens some immune functions, researchers report in the July 26 Science. The immune problems were linked to shifts in the gut microbiome — the collection of friendly bacteria and other microbes...

    07/25/2019 - 14:00 Microbiology, Immune Science, Physiology
  • News

    Both fish and humans have REM-like sleep

    No one should have to sleep with the fishes, but new research on zebrafish suggests that we sleep like them.

    Sleeping zebrafish have brain activity similar to both deep slow-wave sleep and rapid eye movement, or REM, sleep that’s found in mammals, researchers report July 10 in Nature. And the team may have tracked down the cells that kick off REM sleep.

    The findings suggest that...

    07/10/2019 - 13:38 Neuroscience, Physiology, Animals
  • News

    Deep-sea fishes’ eye chemistry might let them see colors in near darkness

    Some fishes in the deep, dark sea may see their world in more than just shades of gray.

    A survey of 101 fish species reveals that four from the deep sea had a surprising number of genes for light-sensitive eye proteins called rod opsins, researchers report in the May 10 Science. Depending on how the animals use those light catchers, the discovery might challenge the widespread idea that...

    05/10/2019 - 15:02 Animals, Evolution, Physiology
  • News

    Pandas’ share of protein calories from bamboo rivals wolves’ from meat

    Giant pandas eat bamboo like a wolf in vegan clothing.

    In the wild, pandas devour massive amounts of bamboo and digest it so efficiently that protein from the plants probably supplies at least half of the animals’ calories, a study finds. That’s about on par with measurements of how many calories from protein make up the carnivorous diets of wolves and feral cats, conservation biologist...

    05/02/2019 - 15:22 Animals, Physiology, Conservation
  • News

    NASA’s Twins Study reveals effects of space on Scott Kelly’s health

    For nearly a year, U.S. astronauts and identical twins Scott and Mark Kelly lived lives that were as separate as Earth and space — literally. While Mark enjoyed retirement in Tucson, his brother floated in microgravity aboard the International Space Station orbiting about 400 kilometers above the planet.

    Ten science teams studied the twins’ physiology, memory abilities and genes before,...

    04/11/2019 - 15:23 Health, Physiology
  • News

    Bears that eat ‘junk food’ may hibernate less and age faster

    Mama bears may need to raise their snouts and join the chorus protesting junk food.

    The more sugary, highly processed foods that 30 female black bears scrounged from humans, the less time the bears were likely to spend hibernating, researchers found. In turn, bears that hibernated less tended to score worse on a test for aging at the cellular level, wildlife ecologist Rebecca Kirby and...

    03/04/2019 - 06:00 Animals, Physiology, Cells
  • News

    Genes might explain why dogs can’t sniff out some people under stress

    BALTIMORE — Some police dogs may smell fear, and that could be bad news for finding missing people whose genetic makeup leaves them more prone to stress.

    Trained police dogs couldn’t recognize stressed-out people with a particular version of a gene that’s involved in stress management, geneticist Francesco Sessa reported February 22 at the annual meeting of the American Academy of...

    02/27/2019 - 14:45 Genetics, Physiology, Science & Society
  • News

    This bacteria-fighting protein also induces sleep

    “Feed a cold, starve a fever,” or so the adage goes. But fruit fly experiments suggest that sleep may be a better remedy.

    A microbe-fighting protein helps control how much and how deeply fruit flies sleep, researchers report in the Feb. 1 Science. That’s evidence that sleep speeds recovery from illness, they conclude.

    “We finally have a very clear link between being sleepy and...

    01/31/2019 - 14:03 Genetics, Physiology, Immune Science
  • News

    Counting the breaths of wild porpoises reveals their revved-up metabolism

    By counting harbor porpoise breaths, researchers have come up with a new way to judge the animals’ hard-to-measure metabolism. The trick shows that the animals can burn energy more than twice as fast as humans.

    Researchers analyzed the several thousand puff-huff respiratory sounds recorded per day from each of 13 harbor porpoises swimming freely in Danish waters. Including just everyday...

    12/14/2018 - 06:00 Animals, Physiology, Conservation