Thursday, April 12, 2012

Some recent items via ScienceDaily's (free) newsletter:
Growing older and being overweight are not necessarily associated with a decrease in mental well-being, according to a cross-cultural study looking at quality of life and health status in the US and the UK. . . .

The researchers found that people reported better mental quality of life as they age, despite a decrease in physical quality of life.

-----

A new study in
Science suggests that thrill-seeking is not limited to humans and other vertebrates. Some honey bees, too, are more likely than others to seek adventure. The brains of these novelty-seeking bees exhibit distinct patterns of gene activity in molecular pathways known to be associated with thrill-seeking in humans. . . .

The findings offer a new window on the inner life of the honey bee hive, which once was viewed as a highly regimented colony of seemingly interchangeable workers taking on a few specific roles (nurse or forager, for example) to serve their queen. Now it appears that individual honey bees actually differ in their desire or willingness to perform particular tasks.

-----

Printing three-dimensional objects with incredibly fine details is now possible. . . . With this technology, tiny structures on a nanometer scale can be fabricated. Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Vienna) have now made a major breakthrough in speeding up this printing technique. . . . This opens up completely new areas of application, such as in medicine.

-----

After being deprived of sex, male fruit flies, known as
Drosophila melanogaster, may turn to alcohol to fulfill a physiological demand for a reward. . . . [U]nderstanding why rejected male flies find solace in ethanol could help treat human addictions. . . .

In the study, male fruit flies that had mated repeatedly for several days showed no preference for alcohol-spiked food. On the other hand, spurned males and those denied access to females strongly preferred food mixed with 15 percent alcohol.

-----

In tests on drug-resistant cancer cells, . . . researchers found that delivering chemotherapy drugs with nanobubbles was up to 30 times more deadly to cancer cells than traditional drug treatment and required less than one-tenth the clinical dose.

-----

New scientific research raises the possibility that advanced versions of
T. rex and other dinosaurs -- monstrous creatures with the intelligence and cunning of humans -- may be the life forms that evolved on other planets in the universe. . . .

". . . Such life forms could well be advanced versions of dinosaurs, if mammals did not have the good fortune to have the dinosaurs wiped out by an asteroidal collision, as on Earth. We would be better off not meeting them."