MI weekly selection #517

Photo: Tom Kleindinst / Marine Biological Laboratory

Brain changes in astronauts

Astronauts on space missions lasting six months or more have enlarged cerebral ventricles in the brain, according to a study of 30 astronauts. Researchers found that most ventricle expansion occurs during the first six months in space, but slows down after a year, and the astronauts’ brains fully recovered after three years.

Full Story: Reuters

Ancient flutes carved of bone mimicked birds of prey

Archaeologists have discovered a group of flutes carved from bird bones dating back 12,000 years at a site in Israel once habited by the hunter-gatherer group known as Natufians. The researchers created a replica flute and determined that the instruments, which produced a sound like that of Eurasian sparrowhawks and common kestrels, were likely used for hunting, music or communication with the birds.

Full Story: Live Science

Octopuses edit their brain RNA in warm or cool waters

Octopuses quickly change their brain’s genetic information to adjust to changing water temperature. Researchers discovered that over 60% of the octopuses’ RNA can be edited and changes can be made in less than a day, helping the species adapt to environmental fluctuations.

Full Story: National Public Radio

Researchers link flash droughts to climate change

Climate change is leading to more flash droughts — relatively localized events that develop in the span of weeks. Researchers found that such droughts were more common in humid parts of the globe.

Full Story: Eos

Cognitive impairment risk high among patients with cancer history

A study found a higher proportion of adult cancer survivors who develop new-onset cognitive impairment at a follow-up period of 35 years after diagnosis compared with siblings. Increased new-onset memory impairment risk was associated till now with low physical activity, educational attainment and smoking.

Full Story: Medscape

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