This week’s Ontarion featured a Scientifically Inclined article entitled “Your Brain on Hunger”. In this piece, I write about two recently published studies on ways your body, and more importantly your brain, experiences hunger.
The first study I mention explored previous reports that sleep deprivation increases hunger.
In order to do so, scientists conducted fMRIs on sleep-deprived participants while showing them pictures of food. They found that the sleep-deprived participants experienced significantly more brain activation in the right anterior cingulate cortex, a region of the brain linked to food representations and reward, than in the rested participants.
The second study looked at a gene variant of the CD36 gene found in 20% of the population. This variant causes one to produce less CD36 protein, which in turn makes you less likely to be repulsed by foods with a high fat content.
Interesting stuff indeed! And now, some more interesting science articles to satisfy your weekly cravings…
Top 3 Science Links
Have you ever wondered just how sword-swallowers manage to swallow such long, sharp objects without hurting themselves? What kind of injuries are they likely to sustain?
A study that was conducted on 46 sword-swallowers (there are only about 100 professional sword-swallors worldwide), found that the most common injury sustained by the professional dare-devils is a sore throat. Lower chest pains was also a common side-effect. Surprisingly, only 16 out of the 46 had suffered from intestinal bleeding.
Becoming a sword-swallower takes years of training, but the physical secret to this incredible feat lies in being able to relax one’s throat. Click on the link to read more.
If, like me, you are still furious about the PB oil spill fiasco in the Gulf of Mexico, you will probably want to read this article. Scientists have designed a way to clean up oil spills using soap that contains dissolved iron particles, and magnetic fields. Not only was it effective against oil but it would be easy to clean up were it to be used in a real disaster.
This is a thoughtful look at lead poisoning studies conducted on the skeletal remains of Romans. Many have ventured, without much supporting evidence, that lead caused the downfall of the Roman Empire.
The blogger’s conclusion is that lead poisoning, although present in the Roman population, was probably not widespread enough to have the devastating effect that some suggest. I especially liked this post because of the background information that is given on lead and its effects on the human body.
Science Video of the Week
This week, the “science” video I’ve posted takes a slightly different direction than you are probably used to seeing on Salamander Hours. First, I’ve chosen two videos instead of one because I feel that they compliment each other very nicely. Second, these videos aren’t really science videos. Rather, they highlight the wide range of people one can encounter using the word “science” on a daily basis.
The first video features what many skeptics would call “pseudoscience”. The man in this video attempts to convince us that water molecules have memories. He suggests that water molecules take a particular shape depending on the type of substance they touch. These molecules will then replicate this shape everytime they touch said substance.
Here’s a link to the blog post where I picked up this video. The science blogger, Orac, wrote a great piece about this particular “science” experiment.
This next video follows the “shit [insert stereotyped group here] say” meme, with skeptics as its main target. Take a look:
Have a good weekend!