Switching off insatiable hunger

In a new study researchers from the Institute for Experimental Pediatric Endocrinology of the Charité — Universitätsmedizin Berlin have successfully treat patients whose obesity is caused by a genetic defect. Aside from its beneficial effects on the patients, the researchers also provided insights into the fundamental signaling pathways regulating satiety of the new drug. The results of this research have been published in Nature Medicine.

Read More

Could seismology equipment help to protect elephants from poachers?

Using tools developed to monitor earthquakes, an interdisciplinary team of researchers reporting in Current Biology on May 7 have found that it’s possible to eavesdrop on elephants by listening in to vibrations through the ground as they move about and vocalize. The findings lend support to theories suggesting that elephants could use ground vibrations for long-distance communication among themselves, the researchers say. They might also lead to development of a new kind of alarm system for detecting elephant behaviors, such as panic running, as a means to catch and deter poachers.

Read More

Improving 3-D printing of plastic parts

Robots that can build homes, marathoners’ running shoes and NASA’s upcoming spacecraft all have one thing in common: 3-D printed parts. But as enthusiasm for 3-D printing continues to grow and expand across markets, the objects printed by the process can have weaknesses. Now, one group reports in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces that using a simple modification to the manufacture of the starting materials improves the toughness of these printable plastics.

Read More

‘League of Legends’ to gain insights into mental models

Psychology researchers have used the game League of Legends to advance our understanding of how people build “mental models” — the mental tools that allow people to make use of complex systems. The researchers found that mental models are developed in three distinct stages — findings that have the potential to inform everything from workplace training to video-game development.

Read More