In a study believed to have implications for children and adults suffering from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, rat pups given alcohol during a period of rapid brain development demonstrated significant changes in circadian or 24-hour rhythms as adults. The alcohol dosage was the equivalent of several nights of binge drinking on the part of a pregnant woman, and it was given at a time during rat brain development (shortly after birth) equivalent to the third trimester of human fetal development.
Dr. David J. Earnest, Texas A&M University Health Sciences Center, presented the findings Sunday, April 3, at an American Association of Anatomists session on dissecting the biological clock during Experimental Biology 2005 in San Diego.
Dr. Earnest says the findings are significant for three reasons:
Fetal Alcohol syndrome (FAS) can occur in the offspring of mothers who abuse alcohol during pregnancy. Some of the deleterious effects of maternal alcohol use on the developing fetus include craniofacial alterations (e.g. a thin upper lip and a small nose) and defects in brain development. Animal studies examining the spectrum of alcohol-induced brain injuries have revealed that affected offspring are most vulnerable to the damaging effects of alcohol during the brain growth spurt period, which is the human equivalent of the third trimester and that these defects in brain development often persist into adulthood.
Sarah Goodwin | EurekAlert!
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Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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