Nice environmentalist. UFO; Vitamins are good for your brain

Nice environmentalist.  UFO;  Vitamins are good for your brain

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Close-up of a sea otter taken in Morro Bay, California, in 2016. Credit: Marshal Hedin from San Diego, CC BY-SA 2.0

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Close-up of a sea otter taken in Morro Bay, California, in 2016. Credit: Marshal Hedin from San Diego, CC BY-SA 2.0

There are areas of scientific research that do not involve vast cosmic phenomena nor very cute animals, but these are topics of great importance in Saturday quotes, and this week is no exception. We should probably play the odds and say that next week won’t be the case.

Something strange

Astronomers using the MeerKAT radio telescope have identified a strange object orbiting a pulsar here in the Milky Way, describing it as lighter than the lightest black hole and heavier than the heaviest neutron star, and residing directly in the black hole’s mass gap.

This could be the first discovery of a black hole/pulsar binary, which would enable previously impossible tests of general relativity; On the other hand, if it is a neutron star, astronomers could learn more about high-density nuclear physics, according to Professor Ben Stubbers of the University of Manchester, a team leader in the UK.

Nice conservationists

When they’re not busy swimming on their backs in pairs while clutching their paws, sea otters also provide benefits to healthy ocean ecosystems. Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium report a link between sea otters and the health of kelp forests.

Specifically, growth in sea otter populations has improved the resilience of kelp forests. Kelp forests benefit the ocean environment, serving as fish nurseries and reducing coastal erosion. But kelp forests off the coast of California are in widespread decline, declining by more than 95%; The remaining kelp grows in isolated patches.

These declines, caused by rising ocean temperatures, were sudden and occurred between 2014 and 2021, and environmentalists say they will be difficult to reverse. However, areas with a high density of kelp forests are associated with higher sea otter populations.

“In fact, we found that sea otter population density is the strongest predictor of change in kelp canopy coverage over this 100-year period,” says lead author Terry Nicholson, senior research biologist with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Sea Otter Program. The researchers used historical surveys of century-old kelp forests and modern aerial surveys. They suggest that reintroducing otters to the California coast could improve the prospects for kelp forests.

Enhance cognition

Everyone knows that vitamins are a waste of money and end up being flushed down the toilet. But what this study assumes is that they may not be. Just take Centrum Silver, say researchers at Mass General Brigham, who report positive effects on cognition from taking a daily multivitamin.

Within a large study called COSMOS, in which a subset of 573 participants were given cognitive tests, two previous studies tested vitamin supplements using telephone and Internet cognitive assessments. The team reported a modest benefit for global cognition over two years, including a statistically significant benefit for change in episodic memory but no benefit for executive function and attention.

Underscoring the importance of their findings for the growing population of older adults, “These findings will be of interest to many older adults who, understandably, are very interested in ways to preserve the brain,” says Olivia Okereke, MD, the paper’s senior author. Health, because it provides evidence of the role of daily vitamins in better supporting cognitive aging.

Sugar is desirable

Researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center report a new connection between the gut and the brain that drives cravings for sugar and fat. Nutritionists have wondered why cravings for these nutrients are so strong, and theories include tapping into the brain’s pleasure center and the neurochemistry associated with it.

But the answer turns out to be the gut-brain axis. The vagus nerve is a long, ugly cranial nerve associated with parasympathetic control of the heart, lungs, and digestive system. One of its functions is to send sensory information about the nutritional density of food from the intestines to the brain.

The researchers stimulated the enteric vagal nerves in the genetically engineered mice with light, prompting the mice to seek out food stimuli, specifically food that engaged specific circuits. They found separate pathways for cravings for fat and sugar, and reported that combining these pathways – that is, by taking Toblerone – increases the desire to eat more food.

“It’s a one-two punch to the brain’s reward system,” Guillaume says. “Even if the total calories consumed in sugar and fat remain the same, the combination of fat and sugar results in significantly more dopamine being released and, ultimately, overeating in people.” “Mice.” De Lartigue, PhD, lead author of the study.

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