[Science] Beer goggles for your brain


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[Science] Beer goggles for your brain

  1. 1. www.sciencemag.org SCIENCE VOL 340 21 JUNE 2013 1385NEWSCREDITS(TOPTOBOTTOM):VIKRAMCHIB;ASAHIGLASSFOUNDATION(2);MICHAELMORRISANDSHUZHANG;IMAGEOFPISTACHIONUT©DMITRYRUKHLENKO/ISTOCKPHOTO.COMTransport Studies, Earth ModelingEarn Blue Planet PrizesThe Blue Planet Prize, which recognizesresearch addressing environmental prob-lems, will go this year to climatologistTaroh Matsuno, now at the Japan Agencyfor Marine-Earth Science and Technology,for leading the devel-opment of the EarthSimulator, a supercom-puter tailored for workon climate change; andto engineer DanielSperling, of the Uni-versity of California,Davis, for openingnew fields of studyinto more efficientand environmentallyfriendly transportationsystems. Each manwill receive $527,000at an October cere-mony in Tokyo.FINDINGSBeer Goggles for Your BrainHot? Or not? The lightning-quick sparkthat triggers desire when you see an attrac-tive face is kindled within the ventral mid-brain, associated with processing reward.Now, researchers have discovered a wayto stoke that fire … with 2 milliampsof electrical current.The research teams asked 19 volun-teers to rate the attractiveness of two sets ofcomputer-generated male and female faceswith neutral expressions (examples above)before and after the activity in their ventralmidbrains was ramped up using a techniquecalled transcranial direct current stimula-tion (tDCS), which passes current throughthe brain between two electrodes on thescalp. A control group did the same, whilereceiving “sham” electrical stimulation thatproduced a tingling sensation but no realcurrent. Compared with the control group,the volunteers who received tDCS rated thesecond set of faces as significantly >>NEWSMAKERSMatsunoSperlingMemories of Home Delay Learning New LanguageReminders of home can hinder an immigrant’s ability to speak a newlanguage, suggests a new study by Columbia Business School psychol-ogist Michael Morris and colleagues. The findings could help explainwhy cultural immersion is the best way to learn a foreign tongue andwhy immigrants who settle in ethnic enclaves acculturate more slowly.To determine how cultural icons affect language, the research-ers recruited Chinese students who had lived in the United States forless than a year. They sat opposite a computer displaying the face of“Michael Lee,” either a Chinese or Caucasian male. Lee spoke English.The team compared the fluency of the volunteers’ English whentalking to a Chinese versus a Caucasian face. Participants reporteda more positive experience chatting with the Chinese Michael, butwere significantly less fluent, producing 11% fewer words per min-ute on average, the authors report online on 17 June in the Proceed-ings of the National Academy of Sciences. And when asked to tell astory while viewing an image of the Great Wall, they were 85% morelikely to use literal translations from Chinese for an object rather thanthe English term—for example, “happy nuts” instead of pistachio.http://scim.ag/langremindreceive tuition funding and its alumni scien-tists haven’t been big contributors. “It’s not asustainable business model anymore,” saysJoan Ruderman, MBL’s president and direc-tor. Scientists at both organizations also seeopportunities for collaboration in areas suchas neuroscience, evolutionary and develop-mental biology, cell biology, and ecosystemsscience. http://scim.ag/MBLChicagoBaltimore, Maryland 5More Eyes for ‘Invisible’ TrialsPublish your data, or we will—that’s thewarning to drug companies from Peter Doshi,a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins Uni-versity in Baltimore, Maryland, and his col-leagues.They want to convince researchersand journals to print unpublished data that isessentially privately held—but has becomepublicly available, such as through litiga-tion or Freedom of InformationAct requests.For example, Doshi’s group at Hopkins has178,000 pages of data on various drugs,many obtained from litigation against drugcompanies.An effort by the European Medi-cinesAgency to share clinical trials data uponrequest led to the release of 1.9 million pages(since curtailed by lawsuits).Doshi’s team calls its proposal RIAT,for Restoring Invisible and Abandoned Tri-als. It was published on 13 June in BMJ andendorsed by PLOS Medicine. The authorspropose several steps: Those interested inpublishing the data should first notify thedrug company behind the research. If thecompany declines, those holding the docu-ments should contact a RIAT-friendly jour-nal about publishing the work themselves.While some may consider this “equivalent tointellectual property theft,” the authors write,“you cannot steal what is already in the pub-lic domain.” http://scim.ag/RIATpropPublished by AAASonJune22,2013www.sciencemag.orgDownloadedfrom
  2. 2. 1386 21 JUNE 2013 VOL 340 SCIENCE www.sciencemag.orgNEWS OF THE WEEKCREDITS(TOPTOBOTTOM):ARCHIVEOFTHEBASTAJOINTARCHEOLOGICALPROJECT;SIGN-PROJECT,J.KRANZBÜHLER;WWW.CHLOEMCCARDEL.COMONE, comes from a rare genetic anomalyin which both incisors are missing from theupper jaw. The incidence ranges from 0.5%to 3.0% in today’s human populations, but itwas 35.7% in 28 buried skeletons with pre-served upper jaws. Even in groups knownfrom their genealogy to have engaged inintensive inbreeding, this proportion neverexceeds 20%, the team notes.Many artifacts found at the site, includ-ing stone tools and jewelry, came from otherfarming sites in the Near East, a sign thatthe inhabitants traded widely. That meansinbreeding was a deliberate social choicerather than the result of geographic isolation,the team concludes. Despite hints of inbreed-ing at other sites, the researchers say that it’stoo early to tell if this social system helpedcreate the ties that bound other farming vil-lages together. http://scim.ag/BastaInbreedRandom SampleOcean Models Help SwimmerNavigate Florida StraitsMany endurance swimmers have an eye on the treacherous, tan-talizing waters between Cuba and Florida. Australian swimmerChloe McCardel’s 12 June attempt to cross the Florida Straitswas not the first—but she had a secret weapon: oceanography.In 2012, University of Miami meteorologist Villy Kourafalouheard about a previous swimmer’s unsuccessful attempt to bethe first woman to swim the 170-kilometer distance unaided.Penny Palfrey’s problem was clear, Kourafalou says: She wasthwarted by shifting swirls, called eddies, spawned by the Flor-ida current as it flows through the straits. Success, Kourafalourealized, may be all in the timing: Depending on ocean con-ditions on a given day, the eddies can either give a swimmer a boostor push her back. And that, Kourafalou adds, is how modeling couldhelp McCardel. “We wanted her to know the circulation she’s going toencounter,” she says.The Florida-based forecasting service ROFFS, which guides research-ers, fishing expeditions, and commercial vessels through the straits, wasalso interested. “The current dominates the course rather than the swim-mer,” says founder Mitchell Roffer. “It’s like a snake trapped betweenmore attractive than the first set, the scien-tists reported online last week in Transla-tional Psychiatry.Similar techniques, the researchers say,could be used to treat disorders associatedwith faulty ventral midbrain circuitry, suchas Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia—without drugs or invasive surgery.Did Inbreeding Bind EarlyFarmers Together?About 10,000 years ago, roving hunter-gatherers in the Near East began settlingdown to form farming villages. What werethe social ties that bound them into com-munities?A German team working at the9500-year-old early farming site of Bastain Jordan has one answer:The inhabitantsapparently engaged in inbreeding, althoughnot necessarily incest.The evidence for this startling conclu-sion, reported online last week in PLOSJoin us on Thursday, 27 June, at 3 p.m. EDTfor a live chat with experts on a hot topic inscience. http://scim.ag/science-livetwo walls, constantly wiggling and changing its shape.” ROFFS providedMcCardel’s team with high-resolution current models and streamingsatellite data of surface ocean conditions, including infrared and watercolor imaging that show the density of plankton.Using the models, the team selected a 12 June departure date,and McCardel set out. But her swim was cut short just 11 hours later—through no fault of physical oceanography, but after “debilitating”stings from jellyfish.>>FINDINGSTell-tale teeth. A high percentage of early farmersfrom Basta are missing two of their upper incisors(inset) due to inbreeding.Published by AAASonJune22,2013www.sciencemag.orgDownloadedfrom