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Multiflagellated protozoans from digestive tract of a termite (400x)
Providence, Rhode Island, USA
Technique: Transmitted Light
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As a cheese lover, I cannot begin to express my happiness over this research!
It’s well known that dairy products contain calcium and minerals good for bones, but new research has shown that dairy consumption may also have beneficial effects on metabolic health and can reduce risk of metabolic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Curious about these impacts, researchers from CHU de Québec Research Center and Laval University studied the dairy-eating habits of healthy French-Canadians’ and monitored how dairy consumption may have an effect on their overall metabolic health. They published their findings today in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.
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A dozen volunteers watched Alfred Hitchcock for science while lying motionless in a magnetic-resonance scanner. Another participant, a man who has lived in a vegetative state for 16 years, showed brain activity remarkably similar to that of the healthy volunteers — suggesting that plot structure had an impact on him. The study is published in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences1.
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Corn stem cross section (24x)
McCrone Research Institute, Chicago, Illinois, USA
You’ve seen his art before on tumblr, in google search gif sets (where I found some of these images) and facebook, but you likely don’t know the author of the art because people fail to give artists credit. Tsiaras’ work pops up on my dash constantly and has never been sourced as far as I’ve seen it. So here you go, tumblr. Meet the artist. Learn more in the links provided below.
"Alexander Tsiaras, Founder, Editor-in-Chief and CEO of TheVisualMD, has been called a "Digital Age Leonardo da Vinci". He is a technology innovator, whose roots are based in his art and science photojournalism background. Tsiaras has developed cutting edge scientific imaging software that enables him to scan and record the human body at every stage; from a single cell at the moment of conception, through the biological development of man and woman and he tells compelling stories of wellness and prevention with them. His images simply and compellingly explain health and illness in terms that anyone can understand. Most importantly, they give you a visual map to plan your own optimal Health!"
(Source: Alexander Tsiaras)
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A sleep-promoting circuit located deep in the primitive brainstem has revealed how we fall into deep sleep. Discovered by researchers at Harvard School of Medicine and the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, this is only the second “sleep node” identified in the mammalian brain whose activity appears to be both necessary and sufficient to produce deep sleep.
Published online in August in Nature Neuroscience, the study demonstrates that fully half of all of the brain’s sleep-promoting activity originates from the parafacial zone (PZ) in the brainstem. The brainstem is a primordial part of the brain that regulates basic functions necessary for survival, such as breathing, blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature.
"The close association of a sleep center with other regions that are critical for life highlights the evolutionary importance of sleep in the brain," says Caroline E. Bass, assistant professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and a co-author on the paper.
In the dark of the ocean, some animals have evolved to use bioluminescence as a defense. In the animation above, an ostracod, one of the tiny crustaceans seen flitting near the top of the tank, has just been swallowed by a cardinal fish. When threatened, the ostracod ejects two chemicals, luciferin and luciferase, which, when combined, emit light. Because the glow would draw undesirable attention to the cardinal fish, it spits out the ostracod and the glowing liquid and flees. Check out the full video clip over at BBC News. Other crustaceans, including several species of shrimp, also spit out bioluminescent fluids defensively. (Image credit: BBC, source video; via @amyleerobinson)
This is beyond cool!
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Language of Life: Levy Walk
David Sims from the UK’s Marine Biological Association found that many large marine predators use a search strategy called a ‘Levy walk’. The strategy is formally described by a mathematical equation, but in simple terms, it means that an animal makes several short moves in its search for food, interspersed with a few long ones. The longer the ‘step’, the more infrequent they are.
In practice, using a Levy walk means that searching a smaller area thoroughly before making a long journey to a completely new one, rather than gradually combing across the ocean. It’s similar to someone looking for their keys by focusing on specific corners of a room at a time.
Sims believes that the predators use this strategy because it’s tailored to the distribution of their prey, such as krill, which tends to be highly concentrated in specific areas and scarce over long distances. With patterns like these, a Levy walk gives a hunter a greater chance of blindly stumbling across some prey than a purely random search.
References: Sims, D.W., Southall, E.J., Humphries, N.E., Hays, G.C., Bradshaw, C.J., Pitchford, J.W., James, A., Ahmed, M.Z., Brierley, A.S., Hindell, M.A., Morritt, D., Musyl, M.K., Righton, D., Shepard, E.L., Wearmouth, V.J., Wilson, R.P., Witt, M.J., Metcalfe, J.D. (2008). Scaling laws of marine predator search behaviour. Nature, 451(7182), 1098-1102. DOI: 10.1038/nature06518
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