Bytes

 
Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

dubious pill: During recent lab experiments, aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs injected in newborn rats changed their sexual behaviour later in life. The drugs interfered with their brain's sex-specific development. "Our findings suggest the drugs may have a similar effect in humans," say researchers from the University of Maryland, USA.

Melissa Hines, an expert in the neural basis of sexual behaviour at the UK-based City University, however points out that hormonal changes associated with stress have been linked to changes in the sexual behaviour of rats' offspring, but the same changes have not been observed in humans.

changing history: After a gap of 120 years, geologists have added a new period in their calendar of Earth's history: the Ediacaran period. It begins at the end of the last ice age of the 'Snowball Earth', a term given to a series of glaciations that covered most of the planet 600 million years ago. Ediacaran is officially a part of the Neoproterozoic phase, when multi-celled lifeforms started to take hold on the Earth.

The decision to include Ediacaran was taken after a fifteen-year long period of consideration by geologists from the Norway-based International Commission on Stratigraphy.

headache: A research from the UK-based University of Warwick reveals that children with even mild head injury are at risk of long-term complications, including learning problems. More than 500 children aged 5-15, who had sustained a head injury, were studied. Parents were asked to report what changes they noticed in their child.

Even after a mild head injury, one in five children had a change in personality. Further, 43 per cent of children with mild head injury had behavioural or learning problems that led to them being described as having a "moderate disability". Among children with serious head injuries, about two-thirds had moderate disability, and about half experienced a major change in personality.

nanotubes or metals: During recent experiments, the basic electrical properties of semi-conducting carbon nanotubes changed when they were placed inside a magnetic field. "The phenomenon could cause the nanotubes to transform into metals in the presence of very strong magnetic fields," say researchers from US-based Rice University, who conducted the experiments.

Nanotubes are hollow cylinders of pure carbon that are just one atom thick. They are exceptionally strong, very light and imbued. The new findings makes nanotubes even more useful to be used for manufacturing things like 'smart' spacecraft components, power grids, biological sensors and body armour.

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