MI weekly selection #144


New mathematical definition may help identify chaos

A new mathematical definition looks to describe the potential for chaos. The theory is roughly based on something akin to entropy, the degree of randomness within a system. “You could say you have chaos if you have exponential growth of uncertainty. That could happen in relatively simple systems that people haven’t been willing to call chaotic,” said Brian Hunt, the study’s co-author.


Study finds high-fat diet affects gut microbes

Scientists found a change in the gut microbes of mice fed a diet high in saturated fats that led to obesity-linked inflammation. The mice fed a diet of lard gained weight and showed signs of metabolic disease after 11 weeks while mice fed the same number of calories based in fish oil stayed healthy. Further, researchers took gut microbes from the mice that ate fish oil and put them into mice treated with antibiotics, then fed those mice lard and found that they were protected from the unhealthy lard effects.

The Scientist

Overworked neurons linked to Parkinson’s

Brain cells linked to Parkinson’s disease expend a great deal of energy, becoming overworked and dying out prematurely. Neurons in the substantia nigra in the midbrain are much larger than those in the nearby ventral tegmental area and expend much more energy, researchers say.


Antibiotic use tied to diabetes risk

People with type 2 diabetes were more likely to have had more antibiotic prescriptions, at 0.8 per year, than people without the disease, who had an average of 0.5 prescriptions per year. Researchers observed an increased use of the drugs up to 15 years before the patients were diagnosed and an increased use after diagnosis.


Brain processes sign languages, spoken languages in same area

People who cannot hear process sign language in the same area of the brain associated with spoken language. “Brains really can adapt to different forms of expression and still impose rules. … This research confirms sign language is treated by the brain as a language,” said Aaron Newman, a study co-author.

The Chronicle-Herald

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