Discovered: lots of hearing loss, the deep-voice appeal, gamers grey matter, the youthful brains of the long-living elderly, and very stressed surgeonfish.
- The surgeonfish deals with stress quite well. Unlike deathly stressed dragonflies, who simply keel over at the mere sight of a predator, surgeonfish have developed a better way to cope. They enlist cleaner wrasse fish to give them a massage, according to researchers who informed the New Scientist that these surgeonfish are the "first non-primate known to do so." As far as the impetus of the experiment, the lead author, Marta Soares, gave a reason that reminds us vaguely of a Nirvana lyric: "We know that fish experience pain ... Maybe fish have pleasure, too." [New Scientist]
- A very large amount of people aren't hearing so well right now. It's about 48 million Americans, or 1 in 5, "age 12 and older experience hearing loss severe enough to interfere with day-to-day communication," a study published by the Archives of Internal Medicine finds and ABC News relays. We'd wonder how many musicians it includes in that group, recently we noted a small case study with the counter-intuitive finding that hearing loss doesn't come as quickly for certain types of musicians. [ABC News, CNN]
- Frequent video gamers have different brain structures, more grey matter. What this means, according to Reuters report on a new brain-scanning study tracking the habits of fourteen year-old gamers, is that, "they get more out of gaming than people who tend to play less." Or, as The Los Angeles Times wrote, it suggests that "gaming may be correlated to changes in the brain much as addictions are," since the changes in the brain had occurred in the "rewards center." As far as the researchers involved, Reuters noted that they weren't sure whether "the structural difference is a change caused by the frequent game play, or whether individual differences in this system naturally dispose some people to more excessive play." [Reuters, The Los Angeles Times]
- The perfect robot president is slowly being built by researchers. And the candidate looks tall, and with a low-pitched voice. Recently Texas Tech researchers found that respondents preferred their presidential choice to be taller because of evolutionary psychology. Today, we can add deep-voiced to the cliché, according to a BBC News report that reads as if it's perplexed by the finding from Canadian researchers: they "asked subjects which version of the voice they would prefer to vote for, both in peacetime and wartime.Though the motivations were different, in all cases they preferred candidates with lower-pitched voices." [BBC News]
So, what do all those elderly folks who living longer have in common? There's a few different studies going on recently that aim to figure out why certain eighty or one hundred year-olds live longer. One of these studies, Northwestern University Super Aging Project, is underway, and early results appear to suggest these elderly people have "unusually youthful brain regions." According to a post on neuroscience forum, Action Potential, relaying the findings: "Magnetic resonance imaging scans of their brains corroborate their superior abilities: not only do super agers act the same as their younger counterparts, their brains look the same."' [Action Potential via Nature News]