Saturday, February 11, 2012

Science Saturday 2.4: The Brain and Obesity, Bootylicious Horse Fly, & Heartless Life

While many factors contribute to the onset of diabetes and obesity, a recent study has shown that a signaling pathway from the hypothalamus in the brain may affect obesity in a strain of mice.  db/db mice are genetically altered with a lack of leptin receptors, a hormone responsible for control of metabolism and appetite.  When treated with leptin-receptor neurons, the cells integrated with the hypothalamus circuitry in the brain, allowing the db/db obese mice to better control their body weight.  This can help open up new understanding of how receptors in the brain can affect diabetes and obesity management.

Discovered in 1981, this Australian horse fly species has remained un-named until now.  Marked by the golden hairs on it's fabulous "booty", the Scaptia (Plinthina) beyonceae was named for pop star Beyonce Knowles.  This rare species plays a strong role in the pollination of plants such as grevillias, tea trees, and eucalypts.

Two doctors at the Texas Heart Institute have developed a device that can replace a beating heart and sustain life without a heartbeat or pulse.  Their 'continuous flow' device provides a novel physiological approach to life support.

Heart Stop Beating | Jeremiah Zagar from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my yes, I would want my name to be associated with a fly! Hahahaha. At least it is a necessary and useful fly. =>

    The 'continuous flow' device is interesting with possible ethic's arguments. Let the argument/discussion begin!

    I am very intrigued by the liptin receptor research!

    Again, thank you for this blog thread. It is really fun and educational!