Did you know we need wasps in our figs?

I don’t really like to confirm this, but I have to… We really need wasps in our figs. In fact, figs need wasps as wasps need figs, this intrinsic relationship between this two organisms is known as mutualism and it’s a result of millions of years of evolution (more precisely 90 or 70 million years ago).  [1] This short video depicts this obnoxious truth.

 

Just clarifying the miserable life of male fig wasp, he spends his blindness life (literally) digging tunnels for females leave the fig and go deposit their eggs in a female fig. [2] By the way, producers take measures for having just a certain amount of fig wasps (see why in reference 2).

Well, you are probably wishing you have never read this… However, don’t blame me, I just shared what I learnt with HowStuffWorks or should I say HowGettingScaredWorks…


References and further reading.

[1] – Fig wasp – Wiki

[2] – Are figs really full of baby wasps? – HowStuffWorks

 

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Why Do Leaves Change Color and Fall?

This is a question I had never asked and yet I can see it everyday. In this video, you’ll find the answer for this (or at least the one with more logic). The SciShow is an amazing project that tries in a humourous way to share with you scientific facts and some close to becoming facts. I found this intriguing and you, what have you found? :p

Nobel Prize in Chemistry – Achieving “nanoscopy”

Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell and William E. Moerner won the nobel prize for their inside to the nanodimensions. In this short video you will learn how they manage to accomplish a microscope that gives the opportunity to see nano resolution, passing through the theoretical limitation of 0.2 micrometres (500 times smaller than the width of a human hair). Now, scientists have the opportunity to see how molecules create synapses between nerve cells in the brain or track proteins involved in Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s diseases. [1]

I hope you liked it and don’t forget to check the link below (in “References and further reading.”), it has amazing curiosities and important information! 😀


References and further reading.

[1] – Microscope pioneers win Nobel Prize in chemistry: Research into capturing images at the nanoscale awarded top science accolade – Daily Mail

Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine: An “inner GPS”

Today I was reading the news and suddenly my interest was taken by the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine award. Three neuroscientists had won this magnificent award love neuroscience so for me it was a pleasant news to see that the research in this area is growing in adepts. So what did this neuroscientists did for receiving such an award?

I saw the rest of the article and got immense enthusiasm to find more about it. What was said in this quick article was that a British professor and a Norwegian couple had discovered an “inner GPS” i.e. cells that are specialized in finding patterns of the surroundings thus giving the brain a positioning system. This is what makes us being able to remember the places where we’ve been and being able to recognize familiarity in places with similar aspect. [1]

Person’s award and their work

John O’Keefe 2014 – Per Henning/NTNU

These remarkable person’s are John O’Keefe, Edvard Moser and May-Britt Moser. John

O’Keefe is a professor of cognitive science at the University of London. He discovered in 1971 the place cells in the hippocampus by studying in rats how different cells reacted to changes in the environment and how they spiked. This led him and a student (Jonathan Dostrovsky) who was collaborating with him to identify the specialized cells that were triggered with new surroundings. [2] 34 years later, Edvard Moser and May-Britt Moser make another breakthrough in this field by discovering  the grid cells. This cells discovered recurring to rats gives the brain the spacial position of the individual. [3]

Edvard and May-Britt Moser are neuroscientists at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

May-Britt and Edvard Moser - forskning.no
May-Britt and Edvard Moser – forskning.no

Further implications

The continuous research can prevent some brain diseases that involve the spatial memory loss, as the Alzheimer’s disease. Even though that it may never occur, now that we have the neurobiological knowledge we can start aiming how this cells work.

I hope you liked and don’t forget to see the other winners of this enormous accolade! 😀

Postscript: See the winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics and check the announcement dates


References and further reading.

[1] – Nobel prize for medicine awarded to British professor and Norwegian scientists behind the brain’s ‘inner GPS’ – Daily Mail

[2] – Place Cell – Wiki

[3] – Grid cell – Wiki

Workout and the Brain

EarlyBarbell - unknown
EarlyBarbell – unknown

Memory loss, Stress and Rodent

We often think that working out is wearing and leads to just a great body without any gain regarding the brain. This conception is proven to be wrong in several studies on rodents. What happens is that when working out the brain reorganizing it in manner of its response to stress diminish and anxiety too. Joining this is the development of brain cells (i.e. the growth of brain cells aka neurogenesis) in the hippocampus (the part of the brain that is responsible for the long-term memory). So as we normally hear, the stress is linked with our memory. [1]

Memory loss sparked by stress has been deeply studied and if you bear to read more about it you can look at references. [2]

Also important is to take account of the long-term effects it holds in the brain. It’s believed that working out strengths the mechanisms that prevent brain cells who response to stress and anxiety (I remember reading about this, its called Hebbian Theory, you might like to read it as well the main idea is “cells that fire together, wire together”). [3]

The importance of reflecting

If we think about, most of our decisions made under stress underlay instincts for survival. With the sparkle of our instinctive actions it difficult us to ponder in order for taking the best actions. This sometimes can even make us regretting our lives for not being able to prevent something.

Imagine a situation where someone you love is going to be physically attacked by somebody and you can prevent it if you punch that somebody that is going to attack your beloved. However you stay petrified because you have never been in this circumstance (or you are not used to violent behaviour) and so you see he/she being brutally assaulted. It will make you feel very ashamed and agonized.

Now you can understand the importance of being able to have a relaxed reaction to a stressful event.

Human Experiment

A recent experiment done in humans aimed to understand how the exercise effected the brain. Although it is a rough experience it predicts that, as we’ve seen in rodents, humans can also boost their memory through working out.

In this experiment two groups were formed and both sat viewing 90 photos. After this, one group worked out lifting weights (extending and contracting each leg at their personal maximum effort 50 times) while the others just stayed on the weightlifting machine and allowed the machine and the experimenter to move their legs. To conclude they were brought all together and had to view the same photos again mixed with another 90. The objective was to see how right each group recalled the first photos (that were now mixed).

The results for the group that didn’t work out were of 50% and the group that did work out were 60%. [4]

Conclusions

So we can inference that, even though the experiment is very basic, it shows that resilient workout can possibly boost the memory. Hence boosting our results in stressful moments (because with work out we recall more and our brain doesn’t react so much to stressing stimulus).

As always I hope you got the motivation to go to the gym and that you have learnt something new. Last note, don’t forget…Mind the body! 😀

If you liked this, you may as well like knowing how your body expression affect the brain (Amy Cuddy – “Your body language shapes who you are”)


References and further reading.

[1] – Exercise reorganizes the brain to be more resilient to stress – Princeton University

[2] – Effects of stress on memory – Wiki

[3] – Hebbian Theory – Wiki

The Other Side of Otters

Sea Otter - Suzy Eszterhas
Sea Otter – Suzy Eszterhas

I was reading a piece of news about the Sea Otters and I said to myself that I had to tell my followers the real nature of this amazing animal.[1]

This is an old article about otters, that I decided to share in case you haven’t heard yet about the cruel otters! If you now think that otters are nice you will be speechless when you read this article from Discovery News. Attention, the account of otters gait might shock you. So just don’t read the narrative if you are high susceptible!

The Other Side of Otters

Moral of the story, “don’t judge a book by its cover”! Sorry if I terrified someone… 😦


References and further reading.

[1] – Sneak a Peek at 9 pictures of Sea Otters at Home – National Geographic News

Why Do We Have More Boys Than Girls?

This is an interesting question that I’ve found with my life experience. I always felt that there were more boys in my kindergarten than girls. In my basic education I learnt that there were 50% of chances to the baby born man or woman. In high school I found out that there were more women in the world than men. Two days-ago I saw this video and I learnt a lot! So I decided to share with you this great compact video…

I hope you like it and as always that you learn something new! 🙂

TED moments!

We love TED, it shares new ideas based on the activity of renown scientists, economists, artists, etc… It makes knowledge more accessible so we are proud to everyday share with you a TED video. Hope you enjoy it!

11/09/2014

The kids are the future or maybe the present… In this talk you’ll find another amazing teenager who dare to face all the obstacles and made his idea become true. Faced rejection several times but never quitted. Hard work and study were the key recipes for his result…

Quoting corner!

A place for quotes from renown people. Quotes for meditation and acquiring different perspectives. Everyday quotes!

09/09/2014

“There is no such thing as a disembodied mind. The mind is implanted in the brain, and the brain is implanted in the body.” – António Damásio

"António Damásio" - Luiz Carvalho
“António Damásio” – Luiz Carvalho

Documentaries “The Sun”

Sun contains 99.86% of the mass in the Solar System

Isn’t that amazing. Who would tell that 99.86%, everything else (rocks, planets, dust) are just tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny parts of the Solar System.[1] Find this and other interesting stuff in the documentaries below…

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Further reading and References:

[1]  http://www.universetoday.com/17982/10-interesting-facts-about-the-sun/