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Science Simplified!

                       JAI VIGNAN

All about Science - to remove misconceptions and encourage scientific temper

Communicating science to the common people

'To make  them see the world differently through the beautiful lense of  science'

Members: 22
Latest Activity: 2 hours ago

         WE LOVE SCIENCE HERE BECAUSE IT IS A MANY SPLENDOURED THING

     THIS  IS A WAR ZONE WHERE SCIENCE FIGHTS WITH NONSENSE AND WINS                                               

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”             

                    "Being a scientist is a state of mind, not a profession!"

                  "Science, when it's done right, can yield amazing things".

"Knowledge is a Superpower but the irony is you cannot get enough of it with ever increasing data base unless you try to keep up with it constantly and in the right way!" The best education comes from learning from people who know what they are exactly talking about.

Science is this glorious adventure into the unknown, the opportunity to discover things that nobody knew before. And that’s just an experience that’s not to be missed. But it’s also a motivated effort to try to help humankind. And maybe that’s just by increasing human knowledge—because that’s a way to make us a nobler species.

If you are scientifically literate the world looks very different to you.

We do science and science communication not because they are easy but because they are difficult!

There are about 845 articles posted here in this group. Links to some important articles :

1. Interactive science series...

a. how-to-do-research-and-write-research-papers-part 13

b. Some Qs people asked me on science and my replies to them...

Part 6part-10part-11part-12, part 14  ,  part- 8

part- 1part-2part-4part-5part-16part-17part-18 , part-19 , part-20

part-21 , part-22part-23part-24part-25part-26part-27 , part-28

part-29part-30part-31part-32part-33part-34part-35part-36part-37,

 part-38part-40part-41part-42part-43part-44part-45part-46part-47

Part 48 part49Critical thinking -part 50 , part -51part-52part-53

part-54part-55part-57part-58part-59part-60part-61part-62part-63

part 64, part-65part-66part-67part-68part 69part-70 part-71part-73 ...

.......185

BP variations during pregnancy part-72

who is responsible for the gender of  their children - a man or a woman -part-56

c. some-questions-people-asked-me-on-science-based-on-my-art-and-poems -part-7

d. science-s-rules-are-unyielding-they-will-not-be-bent-for-anybody-part-3-

e. debate-between-scientists-and-people-who-practice-and-propagate-pseudo-science - part -9

f. why astrology is pseudo-science part 15

g. How Science is demolishing patriarchal ideas - part-39

2. in-defence-of-mangalyaan-why-even-developing-countries-like-india need space research programmes

3. Science communication series:

a. science-communication - part 1

b. how-scienitsts-should-communicate-with-laymen - part 2

c. main-challenges-of-science-communication-and-how-to-overcome-them - part 3

d. the-importance-of-science-communication-through-art- part 4

e. why-science-communication-is-geting worse - part  5

f. why-science-journalism-is-not-taken-seriously-in-this-part-of-the-world - part 6

g. blogs-the-best-bet-to-communicate-science-by-scientists- part 7

h. why-it-is-difficult-for-scientists-to-debate-controversial-issues - part 8

i. science-writers-and-communicators-where-are-you - part 9

j. shooting-the-messengers-for-a-different-reason-for-conveying-the- part 10

k. why-is-science-journalism-different-from-other-forms-of-journalism - part 11

l.  golden-rules-of-science-communication- Part 12

m. science-writers-should-develop-a-broader-view-to-put-things-in-th - part 13

n. an-informed-patient-is-the-most-cooperative-one -part 14

o. the-risks-scientists-will-have-to-face-while-communicating-science - part 15

p. the-most-difficult-part-of-science-communication - part 16

q. clarity-on-who-you-are-writing-for-is-important-before-sitting-to write a science story - part 17

r. science-communicators-get-thick-skinned-to-communicate-science-without-any-bias - part 18

s. is-post-truth-another-name-for-science-communication-failure?

t. why-is-it-difficult-for-scientists-to-have-high-eqs

u. art-and-literature-as-effective-aids-in-science-communication-and teaching

v.* some-qs-people-asked-me-on-science communication-and-my-replies-to-them

 ** qs-people-asked-me-on-science-and-my-replies-to-them-part-173

w. why-motivated-perception-influences-your-understanding-of-science

x. science-communication-in-uncertain-times

y. sci-com: why-keep-a-dog-and-bark-yourself

z. How to deal with sci com dilemmas?

 A+. sci-com-what-makes-a-story-news-worthy-in-science

 B+. is-a-perfect-language-important-in-writing-science-stories

C+. https://kkartlab.in/group/some-science/forum/topics/sci-com-how-much-entertainment-is-too-much-while-communicating-sc

4. Health related topics:

a. why-antibiotic-resistance-is-increasing-and-how-scientists-are-tr

b. what-might-happen-when-you-take-lots-of-medicines

c. know-your-cesarean-facts-ladies

d. right-facts-about-menstruation

e. answer-to-the-question-why-on-big-c

f. how-scientists-are-identifying-new-preventive-measures-and-cures-

g. what-if-little-creatures-high-jack-your-brain-and-try-to-control-

h. who-knows-better?

i. mycotoxicoses

j. immunotherapy

k. can-rust-from-old-drinking-water-pipes-cause-health-problems

l. pvc-and-cpvc-pipes-should-not-be-used-for-drinking-water-supply

m. melioidosis

n.vaccine-woes

o. desensitization-and-transplant-success-story

p. do-you-think-the-medicines-you-are-taking-are-perfectly-alright-then revisit your position!

q. swine-flu-the-difficlulties-we-still-face-while-tackling-the-outb

r. dump-this-useless-information-into-a-garbage-bin-if-you-really-care about evidence based medicine

s. don-t-ignore-these-head-injuries

t. the-detoxification-scam

u. allergic- agony-caused-by-caterpillars-and-moths

General science: 

a.why-do-water-bodies-suddenly-change-colour

b. don-t-knock-down-your-own-life-line

c. the-most-menacing-animal-in-the-world

d. how-exo-planets-are-detected

e. the-importance-of-earth-s-magnetic-field

f. saving-tigers-from-extinction-is-still-a-travail

g. the-importance-of-snakes-in-our-eco-systems

h. understanding-reverse-osmosis

i. the-importance-of-microbiomes

j. crispr-cas9-gene-editing-technique-a-boon-to-fixing-defective-gen

k. biomimicry-a-solution-to-some-of-our-problems

5. the-dilemmas-scientists-face

6. why-we-get-contradictory-reports-in-science

7. be-alert-pseudo-science-and-anti-science-are-on-prowl

8. science-will-answer-your-questions-and-solve-your-problems

9. how-science-debunks-baseless-beliefs

10. climate-science-and-its-relevance

11. the-road-to-a-healthy-life

12. relative-truth-about-gm-crops-and-foods

13. intuition-based-work-is-bad-science

14. how-science-explains-near-death-experiences

15. just-studies-are-different-from-thorough-scientific-research

16. lab-scientists-versus-internet-scientists

17. can-you-challenge-science?

18. the-myth-of-ritual-working

19.science-and-superstitions-how-rational-thinking-can-make-you-work-better

20. comets-are-not-harmful-or-bad-omens-so-enjoy-the-clestial-shows

21. explanation-of-mysterious-lights-during-earthquakes

22. science-can-tell-what-constitutes-the-beauty-of-a-rose

23. what-lessons-can-science-learn-from-tragedies-like-these

24. the-specific-traits-of-a-scientific-mind

25. science-and-the-paranormal

26. are-these-inventions-and-discoveries-really-accidental-and-intuitive like the journalists say?

27. how-the-brain-of-a-polymath-copes-with-all-the-things-it-does

28. how-to-make-scientific-research-in-india-a-success-story

29. getting-rid-of-plastic-the-natural-way

30. why-some-interesting-things-happen-in-nature

31. real-life-stories-that-proves-how-science-helps-you

32. Science and trust series:

a. how-to-trust-science-stories-a-guide-for-common-man

b. trust-in-science-what-makes-people-waver

c. standing-up-for-science-showing-reasons-why-science-should-be-trusted

You will find the entire list of discussions here: http://kkartlab.in/group/some-science/forum

( Please go through the comments section below to find reports/research results relating to science reported on a daily basis and watch videos based on science)

Get interactive...

Please contact us if you want us to add any information or scientific explanation on any topic that interests you. We will try our level best to give you the right information.

Our mail ID: kkartlabin@gmail.com

Discussion Forum

How do scientists know what early men looked like?

Started by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa. Last reply by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on Monday. 1 Reply

Q: How do scientists know what early men looked like?Krishna: Mainly through fossils and reconstruction technology!Facial reconstruction is the process of recreating the face of an individual (whose…Continue

Not all in the genes: Are we inheriting more than we think?

Started by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa. Last reply by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on Monday. 1 Reply

A fundamental discovery about a driver of healthy development in embryos could rewrite our understanding of what can be inherited from our parents and how their life experiences may shape us. The new…Continue

Why is biology as a field of science complex, more complex and harder than Rocket Science?

Started by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa. Last reply by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on Friday. 1 Reply

Q: Why do people say Biology is the easy science? Is Physics/Chem/Math harder? Biology is very technical and tricky at a higher level e.g. fields like Genetic engineering, molecular biology and…Continue

New discovery shows you may inherit more from your mum than you think

Started by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa. Last reply by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on Friday. 1 Reply

Surprise discovery shows you may inherit more from your mum than you think…Continue

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Comment by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on August 6, 2022 at 2:56pm

How the genome is packed into chromosomes that can be faithfully moved during cell division

Researchers discovered a molecular mechanism that confers special physical properties to chromosomes in dividing human cells to enable their faithful transport to the progeny. They showed how a chemical modification establishes a sharp surface boundary on chromosomes, thus allowing them to resist perforation by microtubules of the spindle apparatus. The findings are published in the journal Nature.

When cells divide, they need to transport exactly one genome copy to each of the two daughter cells. Faithful genome segregation requires the packaging of extremely long chromosomal DNA molecules into discrete bodies so that they can be efficiently moved by the mitotic spindle, a filament system composed of thousands of microtubules. The new findings shed light on how mitotic chromosomes resist the constant pushing and pulling forces generated by the microtubules. Amidst this complex system, the distinct physical properties are conferred to the chromosomes by changing the levels of histone acetylation, a chemical modification within the chromatin fiber.
Prior work had shown that, in dividing cells, the chromatin fibers are folded into loops by a large protein complex called condensin. However, the role of condensin alone could not explain why chromosomes appear as dense bodies with a sharp surface rather than a loose structure resembling a bottlebrush. Some studies had suggested a role of histone acetylation in regulating the level of compaction during cell division, but the interplay of histone acetylation with condensin and its functional relevance remained unclear. This new work is now able to conceptually disentangle the two mechanisms.
The team varied the levels of condensin and histone acetylation to study their precise effects. Removing condensin disrupted the elongated shape of chromosomes in dividing cells and lowered their resistance to pulling forces but did not affect their level of compaction. Combining condensin depletion with a treatment that increases the levels of histone acetylation caused massive chromatin decompaction in dividing cells, and perforation of chromosomes by microtubules.

The researchers hypothesized that chromatin is organized as a swollen gel throughout most of the cell cycle (when it is relatively highly acetylated) and that this gel compacts to an insoluble form during cell division when the acetylation levels globally decrease. They then developed an assay to probe the solubility of chromatin by fragmenting mitotic chromosomes into small pieces. The fragments of mitotic chromosomes formed droplets of liquid chromatin, but when the acetylation level was increased, the chromatin fragments dissolved in the cytoplasm. These observations support a model where a global reduction of chromatin acetylation during mitosis establishes an immiscible chromatin gel with a sharp phase boundary, providing a physical basis for resistance against microtubule perforation.
With further experiments involving pure chromatin that was reconstituted in vitro, and by probing chromatin access by various soluble macromolecules, the team found that immiscible chromatin forms a structure dense in negative charge that excludes negatively charged macromolecules and microtubules. This study shows how DNA looping by the condensin complex cooperates with a chromatin phase separation process to build mitotic chromosomes that resist both pulling and pushing forces exerted by the spindle. The deacetylation of histones during cell division hence confers unique physical properties to chromosomes that are required for their faithful segregation.
Daniel Gerlich, A mitotic chromatin phase transition prevents perforation by microtubules, Nature (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-05027-y. www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-05027-y

Comment by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on August 5, 2022 at 7:51am

Scientists reveal how detergents actually work

Scientists have discovered the precise way detergents break biological membranes, which could increase our understanding of how soaps work to kill viruses like COVID-19.
Detergents play a role in everyday life, from removing tough stains and cleaning messy hands to fixing sticky locks. On the nanoscale, they are extremely destructive, and only a few droplets in water can rupture and kill living organisms. This property has led to their widespread use and many soap formulations have been developed to kill disease-carrying viruses, including COVID-19.
Understanding the precise molecular-level mechanisms through which detergents work may help us better design antiviral agents that can combat disease at the earliest possible stage.

For the study, the scientists looked at the detergent Tween-20, which is a key protective ingredient in many products such as handwashes.

Detergent molecules like Tween-20 are shaped like an ice cream cone. At the top of the cone is a region that interacts strongly with water, and at the bottom a group of atoms repel water and form a pointed tail. When you wash your hands with soap, an army of detergent molecules surround the bacteria and viruses on your skin, and in an attempt to escape the surrounding water, they scurry towards and bombard them, tails first, squeezing their membrane envelopes and breaking them apart.

The chemical properties of detergents have been studied in detail, but until now the precise, molecular level details of the interaction have been difficult to assess because of a lack of tools and techniques capable of capturing the entire process.

Researchers  have now developed a series of methods to try and learn more about these important interactions. They  created a series of highly-controllable membrane balls, and they used a molecular nanoruler known as single-molecule FRET ( fluorescence resonance energy transfer), to measure how constituents of the membranes move apart during their interaction with detergents.

They discovered that after Tween-20 binds to the membranes, the balls expand significantly and pores form on their surface before they completely fragment.

To confirm their findings, the researchers used computer simulations to model how the membranes evolved.

The experimental results from different approaches matched up extremely well, and the molecular dynamics simulations allowed scientists to extract otherwise hidden physics governing the process.

Lara Dresser et al, Tween-20 Induces the Structural Remodeling of Single Lipid Vesicles, The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters (2022). DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.2c00704


Comment by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on August 5, 2022 at 7:44am

 Bioscientists use mixed-reality headset, custom software to measure vegetation in the field

Comment by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on August 5, 2022 at 7:44am

Novel Antibiotic kills bacteria via a new two-step mechanism

Scientists at Utrecht University have discovered a new mechanism antibiotics use to kill bacteria. The antibiotic teixobactin uses a dual molecular strategy: it blocks the bacterial cell wall synthesis and destructs the cell membrane, the researchers write in the scientific journal Nature. The new insights will enable the design of powerful antibiotics against which bacteria do not readily develop resistance.
Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections and are among the most widely used drugs worldwide. They are vital to combat many infections in the respiratory and intestinal tracts, and various skin conditions. However, bacteria have become increasingly resistant to antibiotics, as most antibiotic classes currently used in clinics have been in use for about half a century. In 2015, scientists  succeeded in isolating teixobactin, the first novel antibiotic discovered in about 40 years.
Teixobactin came from so-called "unculturable" bacteria that do not grow under conventional laboratory conditions and shows extraordinary efficacy against bacterial pathogens without detectable resistance. However, how teixobactin killed bacteria was not understood. Most antibiotics bind to the ribosome, and by doing so, they inhibit the protein production of the bacteria. But there are also antibiotics that hinder bacteria's production of peptidoglycan, a sort of protective envelope that surrounds the bacteria. Teixobactin also does this, it soon appeared, but not in the usual way.
Bacteria need a special lipid called lipid II to build their protective envelope around them. We show at atomic level that teixobactin targets and sequesters lipid II. Afterwards, teixobactin and lipid II together form long fibrils on bacterial cell membranes. Gradually, this creates a kind of valley in the landscape of the cell membrane, which then breaks down and damages the membrane. The  researchers turned out to have found a biomolecular mechanism that was unknown to science until now. "It is a unique killing strategy."
 Markus Weingarth, Teixobactin kills bacteria by a two-pronged attack on the cell envelope, Nature (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-05019-ywww.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-05019-y
Comment by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on August 5, 2022 at 7:43am

Salt in sea spray found to be the reason for less lightning over tropical oceans

An international team of researchers has uncovered the reason that less lightning occurs over tropical oceans than over land. In their paper published in the journal Nature Communications, the group describes their multi-year study of atmospheric conditions over the oceans bordering Africa and what it showed about salt in sea spray and its impact on lightning.
Scientists and mariners have known for a long time that lightning is less common over the ocean than it is over land—but the reason has not been clear. To find the answer, the researchers obtained atmospheric data for Africa and the oceans around it for the five-year period 2013 to 2017. The data included numbers of lightning flashes, rainfall, temperatures and cloud representations. They looked for differences in atmospheric conditions in storms that occurred over land versus those that occurred over the sea and found one main difference: the amount of salt in the air.

Lightning is produced when upwardly moving air in clouds forms ice crystals—aerosol particles then begin to bump into one another, creating an electrical charge. Lightening happens when the electrical field in one part of the cloud becomes positively charged (usually at the top of the cloud) and another negatively charged (usually at the bottom of the cloud). And clouds form, of course, when moisture evaporates from the surface of the Earth and the water drops bond with aerosols.

The researchers found that things are slightly different over the ocean. When water evaporates from the sea, it bears a load of salt. When the salt water bonds with aerosols to form water droplets, they tend to be bigger and heavier than those that form over land due to the salt—and that results in more of the water in the clouds falling as rain before it can rise up and form ice crystals. The result is far fewer lightning discharges.

Zengxin Pan et al, Coarse sea spray inhibits lightning, Nature Communications (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-31714-5

The researchers suggest their findings could be useful in improving the accuracy of both climate models and meteorological reports. It could also conceivably lead some to attempt to seed storm clouds with salt to reduce their severity.

Comment by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on August 3, 2022 at 9:47am

Researchers discover one of the largest known bacteria-to-animal gene transfers inside a fruit flyA fruit fly genome is not just made up of fruit fly DNA—at least for one fruit fly species. New research shows that one fruit fly species contains whole genomes of a kind of bacteria, making this finding the largest bacteria-to-animal transfer of genetic material ever discovered. The new research also sheds light on how this happens.
Scientists used new genetic long-read sequencing technology to show how genes from the bacteria Wolbachia incorporated themselves into the fly genome up to 8,000 years ago.The researchers say their findings show that unlike Darwin's finches or Mendel's peas, genetic variation isn't always small, incremental, and predictable.In addition to the long reads, the researchers validated junctions between integrated bacteria genes and the host fruit fly genome. To determine if the bacteria genes were functional and not just DNA fossils, the researchers sequenced the RNA from fruit flies specifically looking for copies of RNA that were created from templates of the inserted bacterial DNA. They showed the bacteria genes were encoded into RNA and were edited and rearranged into newly modified sequences indicating that the genetic material is functional.
An analysis of the unique sequences revealed that the bacteria DNA integrated into the fruit fly genome in the last 8,000 years—exclusively within chromosome 4—expanding the chromosome size by making up about 20 percent of chromosome 4. Whole bacterial genome integration supports a DNA-based rather than an RNA-based mechanism of integration.
They also found nearly a complete second genome and much more with almost 10 copies of some bacterial genome regions.
Wolbachia is an intracellular bacteria that infects numerous types of insects. Wolbachia transmits its genes maternally through female egg cells. Some research has showed that these infections are more mutualistic than parasitic, giving insects advantages, such as resistance to certain viruses.

Eric S. Tvedte et al, Accumulation of endosymbiont genomes in an insect autosome followed by endosymbiont replacement, Current Biology (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2022.05.024

Comment by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on August 3, 2022 at 9:38am

Scientists reveal how detergents actually work
Scientists have discovered the precise way detergents break biological membranes, which could increase our understanding of how soaps work to kill viruses like COVID-19.
Detergents play a role in everyday life, from removing tough stains and cleaning messy hands to fixing sticky locks. On the nanoscale, they are extremely destructive, and only a few droplets in water can rupture and kill living organisms. This property has led to their widespread use and many soap formulations have been developed to kill disease-carrying viruses, including COVID-19.
Understanding the precise molecular-level mechanisms through which detergents work may help us better design antiviral agents that can combat disease at the earliest possible stage.
For the study, the scientists looked at the detergent Tween-20, which is a key protective ingredient in many products such as handwashes.Detergent molecules like Tween-20 are shaped like an ice cream cone. At the top of the cone is a region that interacts strongly with water, and at the bottom a group of atoms repel water and form a pointed tail. When you wash your hands with soap, an army of detergent molecules surround the bacteria and viruses on your skin, and in an attempt to escape the surrounding water, they scurry towards and bombard them, tails first, squeezing their membrane envelopes and breaking them apart.The chemical properties of detergents have been studied in detail, but until now the precise, molecular level details of the interaction have been difficult to assess because of a lack of tools and techniques capable of capturing the entire process.Researchers  have now developed a series of methods to try and learn more about these important interactions. They  created a series of highly-controllable membrane balls, and they used a molecular nanoruler known as single-molecule FRET (fluorescence resonance energy transfer), to measure how constituents of the membranes move apart during their interaction with detergents.They discovered that after Tween-20 binds to the membranes, the balls expand significantly and pores form on their surface before they completely fragment.To confirm their findings, the researchers used computer simulations to model how the membranes evolved.The experimental results from different approaches matched up extremely well, and the molecular dynamics simulations allowed scientists to extract otherwise hidden physics governing the process.
Lara Dresser et al, Tween-20 Induces the Structural Remodeling of Single Lipid Vesicles, The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters (2022). DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.2c00704

Comment by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on August 3, 2022 at 7:36am

Phantom vibration syndrome

What is phantom vibration syndrome?

If you feel your phone vibrating but there's no one there, you're not alone.

Ever felt your phone buzz in your pocket, then pulled it out to find no text, no call, no notification? You might be experiencing ‘phantom vibration syndrome’– and you’re not alone. According to one study, 9 out of 10 undergraduates said they had experienced the phenomenon in the last week or month.

Scientists aren’t exactly sure why these tactile hallucinations happen to so many of us. One leading theory is that our excessive smartphone use, and our creeping sense that we should be constantly available, have conditioned our brains to overinterpret sensations such as clothing moving against our skin. On the plus side, most people don’t find the phantom signals bothersome.

https://www.sciencefocus.com/science/phantom-vibration-syndrome/?ut...

Comment by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on July 31, 2022 at 11:42am

Why people struggle to recognise the faces of people from different racial backgrounds

Cognitive psychologists think they have discovered the answer to a 60-year-old question as to why people find it more difficult to recognize faces from visually distinct racial backgrounds than they do their own.

This phenomenon named the other-race effect (ORE) was first discovered in the 1960s and has consistently been demonstrated through the face inversion effect (FIE) paradigm, where people are tested with pictures of faces presented in their usual upright orientation and inverted upside down. Such experiments have consistently shown that the FIE is larger when individuals are presented with faces from their own race as opposed to other race faces. It has prompted decades of debate as to the underlying factors, with social scientists historically taking the view that it's indicative of how people are less motivated to engage and differentiate members of other races, thus leading to a weaker memory for them. Cognitive scientists, on the other hand, propose that it is based on the comparative lack of visual experience that people have with other-race individuals, which then results in reduced perceptual expertise with other-race faces. Now, a team in the Department of Psychology at Exeter, using direct electrical current brain stimulation, has found that the ORE would appear to be caused by a lack of cognitive visual expertise and not by social bias.

Published in the journal Scientific Reports, the research was conducted at Exeter's Washington Singer Laboratories, and used a non-invasive transcraniaL direct current stimulation (tDCS) procedure, specifically formulated to impair a person's ability to recognize upright faces. This was applied to the participants' dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, via a pair of sponges attached to their scalp.

Ciro Civile et al, Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) eliminates the other-race effect (ORE) indexed by the face inversion effect for own versus other-race faces, Scientific Reports (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-17294-w

Comment by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on July 31, 2022 at 11:25am

New evidence hints at the role of gut microbiota in autistic spectrum disorder

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental condition that affects how humans communicate, learn new things and behave. Symptoms of ASD can include difficulties in interacting with others and adapting to changes in routine, repetitive behaviors, irritability and restricted or fixated interests for specific things.

While symptoms of autism can emerge at any age, the first signs generally start to show within the first two years of a child's life. People with ASD can encounter numerous challenges, which can be addressed through support services, talk therapy and sometimes medication.

To this day, neuroscientists and  have not identified the primary causes of ASD. Nonetheless, past findings suggest that it could be caused by the interaction of specific genes with environmental factors.

Interestingly, recent neuroscience studies have found that the biological makeup of the gut could contribute to some of the most characteristic symptoms of ASD. More specifically, experiments on mice suggest that the pathway between gut bacteria  and the central nervous system can affect social behaviors.

Building on previous findings, researchers at University of Rome 'Tor Vergata' and University of Calabria have recently carried out a new study on mice, investigating the effects of transplanting fecal microbiota gathered from autistic donors to mice. Their results, published in Neuroscience, provide further evidence that links gut microbiota with social behaviors typical of ASD.

Scientists examined two different groups of mice. Mice in the first group (i.e., the experimental group) received transplanted microbiota originating from the gut of children with ASD, while mice in the other (i.e., the control group) were exposed to VPA, a synthetic compound with anticonvulsant properties, while in their mothers' wounds.

Contextually, FMT accounted for elevated expression levels of the pro-inflammatory factors IL-1β, IL-6, COX-1 and TNF-α in both brain and small intestine.

observed that the mice who received the ASD microbiota exhibited unusual behaviors while completing different maze tests that are widely used in neuroscience studies. Their behaviors could be linked to those observed in children and adults with ASD.

The recent findings gathered by this team of researchers seem to confirm previous results in the field, suggesting that gut microbiota can indeed play a role in social behaviors. In the future, they could inspire new research in this area and contribute to the testing and gradual introduction of treatments for autism that also consider diet and gut health.

Modifications of behavior and inflammation in mice following transplant with fecal microbiota from children with autism. Neuroscience(2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2022.06.038.

 

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