Archives for the month of: February, 2013

Perhaps your mother was right – not enough time playing outside could make you shortsighted. Shortsightedness (nearsightedness or myopia) is increasing in the US, Europe and Asia, with around a third of US adults and almost 95% of young men in Seoul and college students in Shanghai now shortsighted. Researchers believe that this could be a lack of bright light. Read more in ScienceNews.

A sea slug newly discovered in the Pacific Ocean has a disposable penis – it can detach it and regrow it within 24 hours. The penis is also spiny, and the spines may help to remove a competitor’s sperm (ouch).

The sea slug, called Chromodoris reticulata, is both male and female (hermaphrodite) and can use both sets of sexual organs at the same time. Speechless!

Read the original paper in Biology Letters.

People looking at photographs of students thought that those with brown eyes were more trustworthy. However, when the researchers changed the eye colours, it turned out that it wasn’t the eye colour alone that caused the stronger feeling of trustworthiness, but rather the facial features associated with brown eyes. Tell that to Ol’ Blue Eyes… and thanks to Ella Palmer for this guest post.

Read the original paper in PLoS One.

People with Hirschsprung disease have no nerves in parts of their bowels. Researchers have transplanted nerve stem cells into mice and found that they rewired the nervous system and connected with muscles.

Read the original paper in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Athletes are better at interpreting moving scenes and at ignoring distractions than the rest of us.

Read the original research in Nature.

Researchers have found the nerves in mice that send feel-good messages to the brain during stroking – and similar nerves in humans may explain why we like massages.

Read the original research in Nature.

Domestic cats in the US kill between 1.4 billion and 3.7 billion birds a year, and between 6.9 billion and 20.7 billion mammals a year, though most of these are feral cats.

Read the original paper in Nature Communications.

People who have a variant of the gene IFITM3 means that they get flu symptoms more severely, and this form of the gene is more common in China.

Read the original paper in Nature Communications.

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