Drug potency and the risk of psychosis

A study, published in The Lancet, suggests that frequent use of skunk – high-potency cannabis – significantly raises risks of developing psychotic disorders. Regular users of cannabis in the form of hashish, however, did not appear any more likely to become psychotic than the rest of the population. If this interpretation is correct, cannabis potency may be more important … Continue reading Drug potency and the risk of psychosis

Lego to help handle delicate insects

Some scientists have all the fun. A small team of entomologists have conjured up some new contraptions – devices made entirely of Lego building blocks. Their concepts, they say, will help scientists handle delicate insects. The device is called the pinned insect manipulator, or IMp. “It references the attendant imp of folklore that is usually cast as … Continue reading Lego to help handle delicate insects

The awesome octopus

Bang! Oxford University students’ wonderful science magazine, has a great list of 10 reasons octopuses are awesome. Much more sophisticated and intelligent than most of us think, the animals have more going for them than just their amazing camouflage abilities, as seen above, and their brute strength, below. More on the awesome octopus: An octopus leaps … Continue reading The awesome octopus

How the kidney develops

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have captured incredible time-lapse images of mouse kidneys growing in a lab. The time-lapse follows the development of the kidney from a group of cells into a complex organ. The research team identified an important molecule called beta-catenin that instructs cells to form specialised structures within the kidney. These structures, called nephrons, are … Continue reading How the kidney develops

Sound mind, sound body – connection

A protein known to strengthen certain functions of the brain has now been shown to help strengthen the heart. The protein is known as BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor). Scientists were already aware of some of its many properties – the protein acts as a natural antidepressant, bolsters learning and memory, nourishes blood vessels and helps keep … Continue reading Sound mind, sound body – connection

‘Reset’ button for the body clock discovered

Researchers from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, USA used optical fiber and lasers to reset the circadian clocks in mice. The study’s findings, published in Nature Neuroscience, demonstrated that stimulating and suppressing particular neurons in mice – in a way that emulates their day and night activity levels – can act as a reset button for … Continue reading ‘Reset’ button for the body clock discovered

Coffee decrease risk of melanoma

A recent study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, has found that people who drink more than four cups of coffee a day have a lower risk of developing malignant melanoma than non-coffee drinkers. The team of researchers, headed by Erikka Loftfield of the National Cancer Institute in the US, followed 447,357 participants for about 10½ years. They found that when … Continue reading Coffee decrease risk of melanoma