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The Biological Reason why it’s so Hard for Teenagers to Wake up Early for School

In societies the world over, teenagers are blamed for staying up late, then struggling to wake up in the morning. While it’s true that plenty of teenagers (like many adults) do have bad bedtime habits, researchers have long since proven that this global problem has a biological cause. In 2004, researchers at the University of [...]

By |2018-09-24T12:07:50+10:00September 24th, 2018|Categories: Mental Health & Wellbeing, Sleep|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Ancient Viral Invaders In Our DNA Help Fight Today’s Infections

ktsimage/iStockphoto About eight percent of our DNA is viral in origin: remnants of ancient battles between infectious viruses and our ancestors. These so-called endogenous viruses are often perceived as a mere oddity with no clear biological significance. But a new study by scientists at the University of Utah School of Medicine shows that [...]

By |2016-03-10T23:02:31+11:00March 7th, 2016|Categories: Science & Research|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

There’s a Biology to Lasting Happiness, and There May Be a Way to Train Yourself

Gotta good feeling. (Reuters/Guillermo Granja) That uplifting feeling you get when something good happens to you? Researchers now think they know the part of the brain responsible for it—and they suggest we may be able to train ourselves to make those positive emotions last longer. Their conclusions are based on a study (paywall) conducted by [...]

Horizontal Transfer of Mitochondria in Sickness and in Health

Mitochondria. Credit: Wikipedia commons Two of the most enticing ideas in cells biology have recently converged to create a paradigm shift of epic proportions. The first is that not only is it possible for mitochondria to emigrate from their host cell, they are in fact exchanged among cells much more regularly than has [...]

By |2015-08-31T09:04:24+10:00August 31st, 2015|Categories: Science & Research|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

Explainer: What is Epigenetics?

Epigenetics is about turning genes on or off. It’s also about doing this stably; a leopard doesn’t change its spots even if it sheds its fur each year. So epigenetics is about stable cellular memory that persists after cell division and, in some cases, even through sexual reproduction. Epigenetics, then, concerns the mechanisms that make [...]

Human friendships based on genetic similarities

The tendency of people to forge friendships with people of a similar appearance has been noted since the time of Plato. But now there is research suggesting that, to a striking degree, we tend to pick friends who are genetically similar to us in ways that go beyond superficial features. For example, you and your [...]

Genetics may be Key to a Nation’s Level of Happiness

Countries are gradually giving up the goal of high GDP and trying to find a better measure of human well-being. Science will help us to do that. I reckon that over the next few decades we will see biomarker measures come to be used in a systematic way, and genetic markers are in that spirit." [...]

There’s No ‘Rushing Women’s Syndrome’ But Hormones Affect Mental Health

Political controversies often use the suffix “gate“ to embellish their significance. In pop psychology, the equivalent is the made-up “syndrome”, which involves a combination of symptoms and circumstances to explain behaviours and reactions. The latest is “rushing women’s syndrome”, which former swimmer Lisa Curry used to explain her hormonal shifts leading to her divorce. But [...]

Fearful Memories Passed Down to Mouse Descendants

Certain fears can be inherited through the generations, a provocative study of mice reports. The authors suggest that a similar phenomenon could influence anxiety and addiction in humans. But some researchers are sceptical of the findings because a biological mechanism that explains the phenomenon has not been identified. Yet some studies have hinted that environmental [...]

By |2013-12-15T12:06:00+11:00December 15th, 2013|Categories: Science & Research|Tags: , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Schadenfreude: Rejoicing In Rivals’ Misfortune May Be Biological

Why is it that misfortune that befalls certain people can make us feel empathetic and wanting to help, while misfortune that befalls others can actually make us feel happy? A new study shows that Schadenfreude might actually be biological, and that who the misfortune befalls is a critical factor in how we react. via Schadenfreude: [...]

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