Here’s what we are reading today:
“Drug addiction does not discriminate between the sexes, with both men and women showing comparable rates of addiction across a range of legal and illicit drugs. However, there is evidence that the ramping up of addiction from initial use to a clinical diagnosis occurs more rapidly in women for several different drugs of abuse, including cocaine. The female sex steroid hormone, estradiol, was identified early on as one factor driving this sex difference. How estradiol might be acting specifically in the brains of females, but not males, to drive this sex difference remains an unanswered question.”
“”To discover this, we used transgenic mice that had specific types of inhibitory interneurons labelled with fluorescent molecules. These fluorescent cells were studied during early development, just before the birth of the mouse and a few days after. Using a technique called fluorescence activated cell sorting, labelled neurons were isolated from the cerebral cortex and the genetic code of each of these neurons was analysed using single-cell transcriptomics,” explains Alexandre Dayer.
“A clinical trial in France that led to the death of one person last year and hospitalization of five others has drawn intense scrutiny into how the drug’s toxicity could have been anticipated, the researchers note. Yet ethical review boards—bodies at research institutions and universities that are set up to protect patients in clinical trials—seldom recognize that they have a duty to evaluate whether an experimental treatment is promising enough to warrant human testing.”
“Want to learn something and then quickly make that mastery stick? A new Brown University study in which people learned visual perception tasks suggests that you should keep practicing for a little while even after you think you can’t get any better. Such “overlearning” locked in performance gains, according to the Nature Neuroscience paper that describes the effect and its underlying neurophysiology.”
“Thanks to a tiny goggle-wearing parrot named after Obi-Wan Kenobi, scientists have shown just how much we still don’t know about animal flight. The researchers set out to illustrate a problem that’s been warned of in their field of study, but never tested: The three most popular methods used to calculate lift, or how much force winged animals use to keep their bodies soaring, are frequently inconsistent and inaccurate.”
“Jet lag can put anyone off their game, even Major League Baseball (MLB) players. Long-distance travel can affect specific—and at times, crucial—baseball skills such as pitching and base running, a new study finds. In fact, jetlag’s effects can even cancel out the home field advantage for some teams returning from away games.”