Your Brain on LSD

The whole concept behind recreational drugs is the search of an altered but pleasant reality, but LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) or ‘acid’, takes this one step further as it creates very powerful hallucinations, producing a distortion of one’s reality, including images and sounds that do not really exist. It is traditionally classed as a hallucinogen along […]

Social Learning – a Real Chimp off the Old Block!

Concern for the well-being of others is arguably one of the most fundamental and inherent human characteristics. Prosocial behaviours which benefit others are widespread (although displaying cultural variation) amongst humans and demonstrate extreme levels of selflessness. By contrast, previous influential work in this field which has studied our closest relative, chimpanzees, has failed to establish a […]

X-ray imaging technique reveals text in old Vesuvius scrolls

Nearly 2000 years ago, the town of Pompeii was going down in flames in what became one of the most famous volcanic eruptions in history. Yet Pompeii was not the only city to be affected by this tragedy. Herculaneum was also buried under the ashes of the Vesuvius in 79 AD; and with it, its […]

Specialist Neurons Detect Different Tastes

Have you ever wondered how you are able to distinguish between two different flavours? Or how your brain can detect that one single taste that you dislike in a bowl full of food that you do like? Well a group of researchers from Columbia University in New York, USA, has the answers. For years it was […]

How to have your cake and eat it too

Disregard what some of the less-reputable bits of the media are trying to tell you – climate change is real and it is caused by humans. The problem of global warming is only going to get worse as the BRIC countries (Brazil, India and China) continue their ascendency, elevating more people than ever to the resource-hungry middle classes. […]

Halloween Science: Why do we fear spiders in the UK?

If, like me, you cannot function with a money spider in the room and feel the urge to burn down any shed with a dark, unexplored corner, you will understand the fear that arachnid and cobweb themed decorations bring at Halloween. Recent stories about ‘invasions’ of ‘aggressive’, ‘monster’ spiders in Britain only add to these […]

Halloween Science: Glow-in-the-Dark Ghouls

Are you afraid of the dark? If you venture outside on Halloween night you’re bound to run into all sorts of ghouls and skeletons glowing out of the darkness. Thankfully, as you get closer, you’ll be able to see that these creepy spirits are just kids (or inebriated adults) dressed up for their annual trick-or-treating. […]

Wolves on the Prowl in Paris

Despite being hunted to extinction in France in the 1920s, a small population has grown in the country after they crept back from Italy a decade ago and two wolves were recently spotted just 40 miles outside of Paris.[1] Recent data estimates around 300 wolves currently reside in France, spread into 25 packs across the French Alps. […]

The Ebola Epidemic and the UK’s Response

The current World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Ebola Virus Disease epidemic is the largest the world has seen. While regular, documented outbreaks have historically been contained within central Africa, the current epidemic is the first of its kind in western Africa. [1] A total of 8997 “…confirmed, probable and suspected cases…”[2] and 4494 deaths in […]

A Road to Recovery from Paralysis?

According to a study by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, approximately 1 in 50 people in the USA are living with paralysis. That’s around 6 million people in the US alone. [1] ‘Paralysis’ is the term given when muscular function is completely lost. This loss can either affect a small, localized area of the […]

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