Bio · Science · Technology · Vital-Edible-Health

Researchers Identify The Key to Aging In The Hypothalamus

An exciting new study published in the prestigious journal Nature shows for the first time that manipulation of a brain chemical in a single region influences lifespan.

The researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine measured the activity of a molecule called NF-κB in the brains of mice. Specifically they looked as levels of NF-κB in an area of the brain called the hypothalamus. This region is considered a deep old brain region and is involved in circadian rhythm, sleep/wake, hunger and thirst functioning.

NF-κB itself is a protein that controls DNA transcription and is involved in stress and inflammatory responses.

They discovered that NF-κB levels became higher as the mice age, and the high levels were due to increasing age-related inflammation in the hypothalamus. When they blocked NF-κB activation, the mice lived longer. Increasing NF-κB activity reduced lifespan.

Furthermore inhibition of NF-κB produced dramatically reduced evidence of cognitive and motor decline in the animals suggesting the molecule stimulates the development of disease.

They were also able to increase the mean and maximum lifespan by 23% and 20% respectively in middle aged mice by inhibiting IKK-β, an enzyme that activates NF-κB.

It is also reported that NF-κB blocks gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH), and by giving mice GnRH aging was slowed.

This research is being hailed as a major breakthrough in aging and could quickly lead to real therapies to prolong human lifespan, which could even simply involve regular administration of GnRH.

It suggests that cumulative stress and inflammation in the body and the hypothalamus in particular signals increased production of NF-kB in the hypothalamus which then accelerates aging leading to decline and death. It also proves that a small crucial brain region may control aging in the whole body.

The authors conclude:

To summarize, our study using several mouse models demonstrates that the hypothalamus is important for systemic ageing and lifespan control. This hypothalamic role is significantly mediated by IKK-band NF-kB-directed hypothalamic innate immunity involving microglia–neuron crosstalk. The underlying basis includes integration between immunity and neuroendocrine of the hypothalamus, and immune inhibition and GnRH restoration in the hypothalamus or the brain represent two potential strategies for combating ageing-related health problems.

Full text HERE. Text and Image via Extreme Longevity

Human-ities · Photographics · Vital-Edible-Health

In Your Fridge

http://www.stephaniederouge.com/

Education · Human-ities · Performativity · Photographics · Science · Vital-Edible-Health

MEDICAL SIMULATION by Jim Johnston

Medical Simulation is Jim Johnston’s recent work shot at The Bristol Medical Simulation Centre, a training facility in West England. This center provides medical students and clinicians the opportunity to rehearse and perfect procedures on Human Patient Simulators (HPS’s)—fullscale and fully interactive human body simulators—in efforts to improve competency and reduce the 1-5% of accidental deaths that occur in hospitals due to human error.

Earthly/Geo/Astro · Human-ities · Social/Politics · Vital-Edible-Health

The Empire Pudding: A geo-economics lesson

From the BBC programme Hairy Bikers’ Best of British, food historian Ivan Day recreates the famous pudding from the 1920s.

Bio · Photographics · Vital-Edible-Health

Malformed – A Collection of Human Brains from the Texas State Mental Hospital

Two years ago Scientific American magazine sent me to the University of Texas at Austin to borrow a human brain. They needed me to photograph a normal, adult, non-dissected brain that the university had obtained by trading a syphilitic lung with another institution. The specimen was waiting for me, but before I left they asked if I’d like to see their collection.

I walked into a storage closet filled with approximately one-hundred human brains, none of them normal, taken from patients at the Texas State Mental Hospital. The brains sat in large jars of fluid, each labeled with a date of death or autopsy, a brief description in Latin, and a case number. These case numbers corresponded to micro film held by the State Hospital detailing medical histories. But somehow, regardless of how amazing and fascinating this collection was, it had been largely untouched, and unstudied for nearly three decades.

Driving back to my studio with a brain snugly belted into the passenger seat, I quickly became obsessed with the idea of photographing the collection, preserving the already decaying brains, and corresponding the images to their medical histories. I met with my friend Alex Hannaford, a features journalist, to help me find the collection’s history dating back to the 1950s.

Excerpt from a text by Adam Voorhes. Continue HERE

Bio · Vital-Edible-Health

The Marvels in Your Mouth

Dr. Van der Bilt and his colleagues have laid claim to a strange, occasionally repugnant patch of scientific ground. They study the mouth — more specifically, its role as the human food processor. Their findings have opened up new insights into quite a few things that most of us do every day but would rather not think about.

The way you chew, for example, is as unique and consistent as the way you walk or fold your shirts. There are fast chewers and slow chewers, long chewers and short chewers, right-chewing people and left-chewing people. Some of us chew straight up and down, and others chew side-to-side, like cows. Your oral processing habits are a physiological fingerprint.

Dr. Van der Bilt studies the neuromuscular elements of chewing. You often hear about the impressive power of the jaw muscles. In terms of pressure per single burst of activity, these are the strongest muscles we have. But it is not the jaw’s power to destroy that fascinates Dr. Van der Bilt; it is its nuanced ability to protect.

Excerpt from an article written by MARY ROACH at NYT. Continue HERE

Human-ities · Science · Vital-Edible-Health

Religious Trauma Syndrome: How Some Organized Religion Leads to Mental Health Problems

Dr. Marlene Winell is a human development consultant in the San Francisco Area. She is also the daughter of Pentecostal missionaries. This combination has given her work an unusual focus. For the past twenty years she has counseled men and women in recovery from various forms of fundamentalist religion including the Assemblies of God denomination in which she was raised. Winell is the author of Leaving the Fold – A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving their Religion, written during her years of private practice in psychology. Over the years, Winell has provided assistance to clients whose religious experiences were even more damaging than mine. Some of them are people whose psychological symptoms weren’t just exacerbated by their religion, but actually caused by it.

Two years ago, Winell made waves by formally labeling what she calls “Religious Trauma Syndrome” (RTS) and beginning to write and speak on the subject for professional audiences. When the British Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Psychologists published a series of articles on the topic, members of a Christian counseling association protested what they called excessive attention to a “relatively niche topic.” One commenter said, “A religion, faith or book cannot be abuse but the people interpreting can make anything abusive.”

Is toxic religion simply misinterpretation? What is religious trauma? Why does Winell believe religious trauma merits its own diagnostic label?

Excerpt from an interview with Dr. Marlene Winell by Valerie Tarico at IEET. Continue THERE

Design · Performativity · Vital-Edible-Health

Tableware as Sensorial Stimuli

Cutlery design focuses on getting food in bite-sized morsels from the plate to the mouth, but it could do so much more. The project aims to reveal just how much more, stretching the limits of what tableware can do. Focusing on ways of making eating a much richer experience, a series of dozens of different designs has been created, inspired by the phenomenon of synesthesia. This is a neurological condition where stimulus to one sense can affect one or more of the other senses.

An everyday event, ‘taste’ is created as a combination of more than five senses. Tasty formulas with the 5 elements – temperature, color, texture, volume/weight, and form – are applied to design proposal. Via exploring ‘synesthesia’ if we can stretch the borders of what tableware can do, the eating experience can be enriched in multi-cross-wiring ways. The tableware we use for eating should not just be a tool for placing food in our mouth, but it should become extensions of our body, challenging our senses even in the moment when the food is still on its way to being consumed. Each of designs have been created to stimulate or train different senses – allowing more than just our taste buds to be engaged in the act and enjoyment of eating as sensorial stimuli, therefore it would lead the way of mindful eating which guides to rediscovering a healthy and joyful relationship with food.

Text and Images via J I N H Y U N . J E O N

Human-ities · Science · Vital-Edible-Health

Oppressive beliefs and breast size preference

A recent study showed that White British heterosexual men’s preferences for larger female breasts were significantly associated with a greater tendency to be benevolently sexist, to objectify women, and to be hostile towards women (Viren Swami and Martin J. Toveé, 2013).

Based on self-reports, they selected a sample of 361 males of Britisch White descent, who didn’t indicate being gay or bisexual or didn’t disclose their preference (average age 30, ranging from 18 to 68). Those were asked to rate the attractability of photo-realistic 3D models that were rotated on the screen. I copied and pasted from the article the model with the smallest breast size out of five on the left, and the one with the largest on the right so you get a bit of an idea. In the study they were presented in colour. After having rated the models, the participants were asked to fill in questionnaires that measure sexist attitudes (Hostility Towards Women Scale HTWS, Attitudes Towards Women Scale AWS and Benevolent Sexism BS subscale of the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory ASI) and that measure objectification of women (an adaptation of the Self-Objectification Scale SOS).

What they found was that on average men found the medium breast size model most attractive, with a skewed distribution towards the larger breast size, which seems unsurprising. The men’s preference for larger breast sizes was significantly and positively correlated with hostility towards women, more sexist attitudes towards women, benevolent sexism and objectification of women. They also found that young men were more likely to rate large breasts as more attractive. Neither education nor relationship status had an effect. Benevolent sexism was the strongest predictor for breast size rating, while objectifaction of women and hostility towards women were also significant predictors.

Via Feminist Philosophers. Continue THERE

Misogynistic attitudes ‘make males more likely to prefer big breasts’

Adultery causes earthquakes? Sexual repression can cause much worse.

Science · Technology · Vital-Edible-Health

Flip of a single molecular switch makes an old brain young


The flip of a single molecular switch helps create the mature neuronal connections that allow the brain to bridge the gap between adolescent impressionability and adult stability. Now Yale School of Medicine researchers have reversed the process, recreating a youthful brain that facilitated both learning and healing in the adult mouse.

Scientists have long known that the young and old brains are very different. Adolescent brains are more malleable or plastic, which allows them to learn languages more quickly than adults and speeds recovery from brain injuries. The comparative rigidity of the adult brain results in part from the function of a single gene that slows the rapid change in synaptic connections between neurons.

Excerpt from an press release by Bill Hathaway at Yale News. Continue HERE

Photographics · Vital-Edible-Health

Pantone Pairings

Via David Schewn

Earthly/Geo/Astro · Human-ities · Social/Politics · Technology · Vital-Edible-Health

Eyes on Darfur: Mapping Political Destruction

Ishma, Darfur, before and after attacks in 2004-2005.Ishma, Darfur, before and after attacks in 2004-2005.

‘It’s been forty years since the first images of Earth from space were captured, but the sight of our planet is still inspiring. Now, Amnesty International is harnessing the power of these images and putting them to work for human rights. Thanks to high resolution satellite imagery, human rights advocates can now document abuses anywhere in the world – even in countries that are sealed off from on-the-ground researchers. All from 280 miles above the Earth’s surface. To make the Eyes on Darfur project possible, Amnesty International acquired commercially-available high resolution satellite imagery. The images were obtained in GeoTIFF format and imported into ERDAS Imagine and ArcGIS for viewing and analysis. The analysis of the images was undertaken by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to determine the extent of damage to the structures visible in each image.’

Via Eyes on Darfur

Porta Farm, Sudan, before and after attacks in 2006. Porta Farm, Sudan, before and after attacks in 2006.

Earthly/Geo/Astro · Science · Technology · Vital-Edible-Health

Green tea extract interferes with the formation of amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s disease

Researchers at the University of Michigan have found a new potential benefit of a molecule in green tea: preventing the misfolding of specific proteins in the brain. The aggregation of these proteins, called metal-associated amyloids, is associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions. A paper published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences explained how U-M Life Sciences Institute faculty member Mi Hee Lim and an interdisciplinary team of researchers used green tea extract to control the generation of metal-associated amyloid-β aggregates associated with Alzheimer’s disease in the lab.

Excerpt from an article at PhysOrg. Continue HERE

Earthly/Geo/Astro · Vital-Edible-Health

Nonshivering Thermogenesis: How to Survive a Siberian Winter

Siberia may not be everyone’s idea of a tourist destination, but it has been home to humans for tens of thousands of years. Now a new study of indigenous Siberian peoples presented here earlier this month at a meeting on human evolution reveals how natural selection helped people adapt to the frigid north. The findings also show that different living populations adapted in somewhat different ways.

Siberia occupies nearly 10% of Earth’s land mass, but today it’s home to only about 0.5% of the world’s population. This is perhaps not surprising, since January temperatures average as low as -25°C. Geneticists have sampled only a few of the region’s nearly one dozen indigenous groups; some, such as the 2000-member Teleuts, descendants of a once powerful group of horse and cattle breeders also known for their skill in making leather goods, are in danger of disappearing.

Previous research on cold adaptation included two Siberian populations and implicated a couple of related genes. For example, genes called UCP1 and UCP3 tend to be found in more active forms in populations that live in colder climes, according to work published in 2010 by University of Chicago geneticist Anna Di Rienzo and her colleagues. These genes help the body’s fat stores directly produce heat rather than producing chemical energy for muscle movements or brain functions, a process called “nonshivering thermogenesis.”

Excerpt from an article written by Michael Balter on Science NOW. Continue HERE

Education · Vital-Edible-Health

What Our Brains Can Teach Us

So it goes with the brain. We are the aliens in that landscape, and the brain is an even more complicated cipher. It is composed of 100 billion electrically active cells called neurons, each connected to many thousands of its neighbors. Each neuron relays information in the form of miniature voltage spikes, which are then converted into chemical signals that bridge the gap to other neurons. Most neurons send these signals many times per second; if each signaling event were to make a sound as loud as a pin dropping, the cacophony from a single human head would blow out all the windows. The complexity of such a system bankrupts our language; observing the brain with our current technologies, we mostly detect an enigmatic uproar.

Looking at the brain from a distance isn’t much use, nor is zooming in to a single neuron. A new kind of science is required, one that can track and analyze the activity of billions of neurons simultaneously.

Excerpt from an article written by DAVID EAGLEMAN, NYT. Continue HERE

Human-ities · Social/Politics · Vital-Edible-Health

The Eye of the Beholder: How Bad Data, Scrambles for Funding and Professional Bias Shape Human Trafficking Law and Policy

Human trafficking is not unique in having attracted multiple and conflicting points of view on everything from the extent of the problem, the definition of what the problem is precisely, and who are its victims to how to best to support them. Like “sexy” and “of the moment” human rights issues of earlier decades, such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and genocide and perhaps like morally intractable issues such as abortion, there are advantages and disadvantages to the level and diversity of attention currently focused on the issue. The advantages are evident: more attention on a still little understood phenomenon should work to bring more funding, more activism, more legal teeth and more assistance to bear in supporting persons who are victims of the problem. But multiple disadvantages exist as well, although often more subtle and harder to discern. The level of interest means that a few experts are perpetually called upon to explain the fundamentals to relative newcomers; accordingly, the level of discourse necessary to tackle this complex issue does not advance rapidly. Too, there is a sort of brain drain, in that those who do gain expertise, particularly among law enforcement and policy makers, are quickly promoted (as there is considerable funding and attention on this issue) and their successors start over again with little or no knowledge. Furthermore, with so much interest even across otherwise uncooperative political divides, high level politicians and policy makers want to be involved and so funding is diverted to “High Level Working Groups” and away from those most likely to encounter a victim “in the field.” Human trafficking then becomes a top down issue, when it needs to be bottom up – driven by the real needs recognized by victim service providers (and specifically including those victim services providers who are not soliciting federal funding, to provide objective data), and voiced by the victims themselves.

Excerpt from an article written by Dina Francesca Haynes. Continue HERE

Bio · Human-ities · Vital-Edible-Health

Our Former Faces

To put a human face on our ancestors, scientists from the Senckenberg Research Institute used sophisticated methods to form 27 model heads based on tiny bone fragments, teeth and skulls collected from across the globe. The heads are on display for the first time together at the Senckenberg Natural History Museum in Frankfurt, Germany. Continue HERE

Text and Images via Discovery.

Vital-Edible-Health

Wine-Related Jargon and the Battle of Sommeliers

Sommeliers are on the front line of customer service and profit generation in first-class restaurants where the price of a bottle of wine can easily dwarf any sum spent on food. Below is the secret language of some of New York’s finest “Somms.”

Sommeliers use a range of words and phrases to describe diners, based on their spending on, or interest in wine. For example:

WHALE · PLAYER · BALLER · DEEP OCEAN

A serious drinker who will regularly DROP more than $1,000 on a single bottle. When on a furious spending spree, a WHALE is said to be DROPPING THE HAMMER. BIG WHALES – or EXTRA BIG BALLERS (E.B.B.) – can spend more than $100,000 on wine during a meal.

Excerpt from an article written by BEN SCHOTT. Continue HERE. Image via WSJ

Book-Text-Read-Zines · Eco/Adaptable · Philosophy · Theory · Vital-Edible-Health

Plant-Thinking: A Philosophy of Vegetal Life

The margins of philosophy are populated by non-human, non-animal living beings, including plants. While contemporary philosophers tend to refrain from raising ontological and ethical concerns with vegetal life, Michael Marder puts this life at the forefront of the current deconstruction of metaphysics. He identifies the existential features of plant behavior and the vegetal heritage of human thought so as to affirm the potential of vegetation to resist the logic of totalization and to exceed the narrow confines of instrumentality. Reconstructing the life of plants “after metaphysics,” Marder focuses on their unique temporality, freedom, and material knowledge or wisdom. In his formulation, “plant-thinking” is the non-cognitive, non-ideational, and non-imagistic mode of thinking proper to plants, as much as the process of bringing human thought itself back to its roots and rendering it plantlike.

Text via Columbia
Other books by Michael Marder HERE

Animalia · Bio · Vital-Edible-Health

Anti-anxiety drug found in rivers makes fish more aggressive

Tiny amounts of a common anti-anxiety medication — which ends up in wastewater after patients pass it into their urine — significantly alters fish behaviour, according to a new study. The drug makes timid fish bold, antisocial and voracious, researchers have found.

Oxazepam belongs to the class of drugs called benzodiazepines, the most widely prescribed anxiety drugs, and is thought to be highly stable in aquatic environments. It acts by enhancing neuron signals that damp down the brain’s activity, helping patients to relax.

An article in Science this week now places the drug on a growing list of pharmaceutical products that escape wastewater treatment unscathed and may be affecting freshwater communities1. A chemical found in contraceptive pills, known as 17-β-estradiol, and the antidepressant drug fluoxetine (Prozac) have been shown to alter behaviour in the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas), and the popular anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen reduces courtship behaviour in male zebrafish (Danio rerio).

Excerpt from an article written by Heidi Ledford at Nature. Continue HERE

Eco/Adaptable · Human-ities · Vital-Edible-Health

That Daily Shower Can Be a Killer

“Life expectancy for a healthy American man of my age is about 90. (That’s not to be confused with American male life expectancy at birth, only about 78.) If I’m to achieve my statistical quota of 15 more years of life, that means about 15 times 365, or 5,475, more showers. But if I were so careless that my risk of slipping in the shower each time were as high as 1 in 1,000, I’d die or become crippled about five times before reaching my life expectancy. I have to reduce my risk of shower accidents to much, much less than 1 in 5,475.

This calculation illustrates the biggest single lesson that I’ve learned from 50 years of field work on the island of New Guinea: the importance of being attentive to hazards that carry a low risk each time but are encountered frequently.

I first became aware of the New Guineans’ attitude toward risk on a trip into a forest when I proposed pitching our tents under a tall and beautiful tree. To my surprise, my New Guinea friends absolutely refused. They explained that the tree was dead and might fall on us.”

Excerpt from an essay by Jared Diamond at NYT. Continue HERE

Science · Vital-Edible-Health

The New Science of Fasting

A new surge of interest in fasting suggests that it might indeed help people with cancer. It might also reduce the risk of developing cancer, guard against diabetes and heart disease, help control asthma and even stave off Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

“We know from animal models,” says Mark Mattson at the National Institute on Aging, “that if we start an intermittent fasting diet at what would be the equivalent of middle age in people, we can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.”

Until recently, most studies linking diet with health and longevity focused on calorie restriction. They have had some impressive results, with the life span of various lab animals lengthened by up to 50 percent after their caloric intake was cut in half. But these effects do not seem to extend to primates. A 23-year study of macaques found that although calorie restriction delayed the onset of age-related diseases, it had no impact on life span. So other factors, such as genetics, may be more important for human longevity.

Excerpt from an article written by Emma Young. Continue HERE

Earthly/Geo/Astro · Technology · Vital-Edible-Health

Astronauts Get Taller in Space

original

Astronauts in space can grow up to 3 percent taller during the time spent living in microgravity, NASA scientists say. That means that a 6-foot-tall (1.8 meters) person could gain as many as 2 inches (5 centimeters) while in orbit.

While scientists have known for some time that astronauts experience a slight height boost during a months-long stay on the International Space Station, NASA is only now starting to use ultrasound technology to see exactly what happens to astronauts’ spines in microgravity as it occurs.

“Today there is a new ultrasound device on the station that allows more precise musculoskeletal imaging required for assessment of the complex anatomy and the spine,” the study’s principal investigator Scott Dulchavsky said in a statement. “The crew will be able to perform these complex evaluations in the next year due to a newly developed Just-In-Time training guide for spinal ultrasound, combined with refinements in crew training and remote guidance procedures.”

All text via Scientific American
More Info HERE

Spinal_Elongation1

Science · Technology · Vital-Edible-Health

The Future of Medicine Is Present: A look at six medical innovations that are poised to transform the way we fight disease

In our era of instant gratification, the world of medicine seems like an outlier. The path from a promising discovery to an effective treatment often takes a decade or more.

But from that process—of fits and starts, progress and setbacks and finally more progress—grow the insights and advances that change the course of medicine.

A decade ago, the completion of the Human Genome Project sparked optimism that cures for debilitating diseases were just around the corner. Cures still generally elude us, but now the ability to map human DNA cheaply and quickly is yielding a torrent of data about the genetic drivers of disease—and a steady stream of patients who are benefiting from the knowledge. On other fronts, technology is putting more power in the hands of patients, and researchers are learning to combat disorders by harnessing the body’s own ability to heal and grow.

Excerpt from an article by Ron Winslow at the Wall Street Journal. Continue HERE

Art/Aesthetics · Events · Photographics · Shows · Vital-Edible-Health

Death: A Self-portrait

Wellcome’s winter exhibition showcases some 300 works from a unique collection devoted to the iconography of death and our complex and contradictory attitudes towards it. Assembled by Richard Harris, a former antique print dealer based in Chicago, the collection is spectacularly diverse, including art works, historical artefacts, scientific specimens and ephemera from across the world. Rare prints by Rembrandt, Dürer and Goya will be displayed alongside anatomical drawings, war art and antique metamorphic postcards; human remains will be juxtaposed with Renaissance vanitas paintings and twentieth century installations celebrating Mexico’s Day of the Dead. From a group of ancient Incan skulls, to a spectacular chandelier made of 3000 plaster-cast bones by British artist Jodie Carey, this singular collection, by turns disturbing, macabre and moving, opens a window upon our enduring desire to make peace with death.

Death: A Self-portrait
15 November 2012 – 24 February 2013

Image above: Marcos Raya, Untitled (family portrait: group), 2005

Human-ities · Vital-Edible-Health

A New Focus on the ‘Post’ in Post-Traumatic Stress

In 1980, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defined trauma as “a recognizable stressor that would evoke significant symptoms of distress in almost everyone” — universally toxic, like a poison. But it turns out that most trauma victims — even survivors of combat, torture or concentration camps — rebound to live full, normal lives. That has given rise to a more nuanced view of trauma — less a poison than an infectious agent, a challenge that most people overcome but that may defeat those weakened by past traumas, genetics or other factors. Now, a significant body of work suggests that even this view is too narrow — that the environment just after the event, particularly other people’s responses, may be just as crucial as the event itself. The idea was demonstrated vividly in two presentations this fall at the Interdisciplinary Conference on Culture, Mind and Brain at the University of California, Los Angeles. Each described reframing a classic model of traumatic experience — one in lab rats, the other in child soldiers.

Excerpt from an article written by DAVID DOBBS at NYT. Continue HERE

Digital Media · Photographics · Vital-Edible-Health

Intestinal Bacteria

05-intestinal-bacteria-670

ViA

Bio · Earthly/Geo/Astro · Eco/Adaptable · Vital-Edible-Health

Extraterrestrial Salads Soon? Plants in Space Prove Gravity Unnecessary For Normal Growth

When a seed is planted in the ground, the roots tend to grow downward in search of water and nutrients. But what happens when there is no “down” for the roots to grow? Scientists sent seeds to the International Space Station and were surprised to see what plants did without gravity to guide their roots downward.

The scientists ran their experiment on Arabidopsis plants—a go-to species for plant biologists. The control group was germinated and grown at the Kennedy Space Center (A), while the comparative group was housed on the International Space Station (B). For 15 days, researchers took pictures of the plants at six-hour intervals and compared them. Their results surprised even them: the plants in space exhibited the same growth patterns as those on Earth.

The researchers were looking for two specific patterns of root growth: waving and skewing. With waving, the root tips grow back and forth, much like waves. Skewing occurs when a plant’s roots grow at an angle, rather than straight down. Scientists don’t know exactly why these root behaviors occur, but gravity was thought to be the driving force for both.

This experiment disproved the widely accepted gravity-based theory. Although the orbiting plants grew more slowly than their terrestrial counterparts, skewing showed up equally in both groups of plants. Waving was much less pronounced in the roots of the ISS plants but still present. These results [pdf] published in BMC Plant Biology last week, demonstrate that gravity is not necessarily the key component in determining a plant’s growth pattern. In fact, gravity doesn’t even seem to be necessary for these patterns to occur at all. Scientists are now looking to other forces such as moisture, nutrients, and light avoidance to explain why roots grow the way they do.

An article written by Breanna Draxler at Discover. All text and image via Discover
Top Image via Wired

Blog-Sites · Book-Text-Read-Zines · Digital Media · Earthly/Geo/Astro · Eco/Adaptable · Vital-Edible-Health

Making the Geologic Now: Responses to Material Conditions of Contemporary Life

“Surveying a vast range of topics and practices—from humans as dominant geomorphic agents, to forces and time scales that challenge the very limits of an anthropocentric worldview—Making the Geologic Now argues for the central place of a geological imaginary in contemporary culture. From metaphor to material, the “geological turn” in art, design, architecture, and poetry, a result of the increased presence of geological realities in everyday life, is shown to be a catalyst for new considerations of how the human and non-human, the ecological and the ethical, are increasingly intertwined. The volume’s engaging selection unpacks the layers of our urgent relationship to the geologic, with its deep time and prospective futures, from our destruction of coral reefs and the storing of nuclear waste, to meteoritic dust that fall on us daily, and the hundreds of man-made satellites now in geostationary orbit around the earth.” ~ João Ribas, Curator, MIT List Visual Arts Center

Download Book HERE iNTERACTIVE WEB-BOOK HERE: GeologicNow.com

Human-ities · Science · Vital-Edible-Health

Sorry, vegans: Eating meat and cooking food is how humans got their big brains (Perhaps bigger brains are the problem)

Vegetarian, vegan and raw diets can be healthful, probably far more healthful than the typical American diet. But to call these diets “natural” for humans is a bit of a stretch in terms of evolution, according to two recent studies.

Eating meat and cooking food made us human, the studies suggest, enabling the brains of our pre-human ancestors to grow dramatically over a few million years.

Although this isn’t the first such assertion from archaeologists and evolutionary biologists, the new studies demonstrate that it would have been biologically implausible for humans to evolve such a large brain on a raw, vegan diet and that meat-eating was a crucial element of human evolution at least a million years before the dawn of humankind.

Excerpt from an article written by Christopher Wanjek in the Washington Post. Continue HERE