To tool or not to tool?

To tool or not to tool?

As animal tool use events are extremely rare, is often quickly rated as intelligent. Nevertheless, some types of tool use can be controlled by much simpler processes that are a part of the respective animal's inborn behavioural repertoire. Intelligent tool use requires the ability to flexibly adapt a behaviour to changing environmental situations. The Indonesian Goffin's cockatoo has even the rare capacity to use two different types of tools (sticks for probing and raking food into reach as well dropping stones/balls into tubes to knock out a reward inside).

How yeast cells regulate their fat balance

How yeast cells regulate their fat balance

FRANKFURT. Not only humans but also each of their body cells must watch their fat balance. Fats perform highly specialised functions, especially in the cell membrane. A research group at the Buchmann Institute for Molecular Life Sciences (BMLS) of Goethe University in Frankfurt, together with colleagues at the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, has now discovered how yeast cells measure the availability of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids in foodstuffs and adapt their production of membrane lipids to it.

Russian physicists create a high-precision 'quantum ruler'

Russian physicists create a high-precision 'quantum ruler'

Physicists from the Russian Quantum Center (RQC), MIPT, the Lebedev Physical Institute, and L'Institut d'Optique (Palaiseau, France) have devised a method for creating a special quantum entangled state. This state enables producing a high-precision ruler capable of measuring large distances to an accuracy of billionths of a metre. The results of the study have been published in Nature Communications.

Scientists learn more about how star-shaped brain cells help us learn

Scientists learn more about how star-shaped brain cells help us learn

AUGUSTA, Ga. (June 22, 2016) - A molecule that enables strong communication between our brain and muscles appears to also aid essential communication between our neurons, scientists report.

State laws aimed at curbing opioid abuse may not be working for one group with high rates of use

State laws aimed at curbing opioid abuse may not be working for one group with high rates of use

Lebanon, NH -- A new study by researchers from The Dartmouth Institute of Health Policy and Clinical Practice and UCLA School of Law found state laws aimed at curbing prescription opioid abuse have had no measurable effect on opioid use by a vulnerable population with high rates of use.

New research uncovers why an increase in probability feels riskier than a decrease

New research uncovers why an increase in probability feels riskier than a decrease

Probability estimates are constantly changing. A 20 per cent chance of rain suddenly goes to 30 per cent and we start thinking about packing an umbrella.

But how differently do we react when a forecast goes from a 40 per cent chance of rain down to 30? According to a new U of T study, the probability of something happening can feel more or less likely to happen depending on an upward or downward change in an estimate.

Could wearable biosensors become part of drug rehab programs?

There is merit in looking at the use of wearable biosensors to detect whether opioid users stay focused on their rehabilitation programs. This follows a preliminary study in Springer's Journal of Medical Toxicology led by Stephanie Carreiro of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in the US. Her team tested the use of wristband sensors worn by a group of patients in an emergency room who were receiving opioids for severe pain relief.

Sea star death triggers ecological domino effect

A new study by Simon Fraser University marine ecologists Jessica Schultz, Ryan Cloutier and Isabelle Côté has discovered that a mass mortality of sea stars resulted in a domino effect on B.C.'s West Coast Howe Sound marine ecology.

Chemists join forces to develop cheap, complementary method for classic reaction

A team of researchers at Princeton University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Merck & Co. has developed a cost-effective and complementary approach to a fundamental chemical reaction known as a C-N bond coupling, which is a staple of modern drug development.

Published today in the journal Science, the reaction provides a direct route to compounds called anilines, an extremely common structure in medicinal and industrially relevant agents, without the expense of ligands on transition metal catalysts required by traditional methods.

CU Anschutz program increases number of grants won by researchers

AURORA, Colo. (June 23, 2016) - While the lure of academic medicine careers often lies in the promise of finding life-saving cures and new medical treatments, many young faculty leave the field in frustration after failing to win grants to fund their research. As a result, the best and brightest recruits are often lost to academic medicine.

But a new study at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus demonstrates that a program pairing junior faculty members with seasoned mentors can result in significantly more grants.