We're a little crazy, about science!

Archive for May 10, 2014

Using Genes to Boost Brain Power: Live Longer, Think Better


Does your family have a history of living to a ripe old age? That may bode well for you! Not only does a gene linked to longevity seem to help you live longer, it also makes you smarter. The study I am referring to was partly funded by the National Institutes of Health and offers a new way to boost brain power.

So what genes are we talking about– well right now it seems that people with the gene KLOTHO have improved brain skills such as thinking, learning and memory regardless of their age, sex, or whether they have a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Here is where it gets even more interesting though, increasing KLOTHO gene levels in mice made them smarter, possibly by increasing the strength of connections between nerve cells in the brain.


Colony Collapse Disorder and Pesticides, Or Save the Bees!

Die hard, the bee version.

Bees, who needs them? They are scary, they sting and they seem to find magical ways into your securely locked home. I’m not bias, even though I run screaming like a little girl when I see one… okay maybe a little. But as it turns out we need the bees!! Who knew, right? After the colony collapse that came out of nowhere and could not be explained [at the time] everything from global warming to government conspiracy was being blamed. But now a new study helps strengthen the cause of the collapse.

Two widely used insecticides– in the class called neonicotinoids [for those of you who think you will be tested on this at the end]– appear to do significant damage to honey bee colonies over the winter, particularly in bad winters [hello global warming, I’m looking at you].