Discovered: Where a lost Da Vinci painting may have once lived, how to prevent low back pain, it takes just 60 seconds of combat to impair memory, and the unhealthy food that's killing semen.
- This is where a lost Leonardo Da Vinci painting used to live. Science didn't locate the work in question, "The Battle of Anghiari" (pictured above), but using an endoscopic probe -- the same thing doctors use to look at our insides -- researchers believe they know where it once was. Baby steps! Sticking a camera onto the end of the scope, researchers think they have gathered enough data to prove it used to sit behind Giorgio Vasari's mural "The Battle of Marciano" in Florence's Palazzo Vecchio. "These data are very encouraging," said researcher Maurizio Seracini. "Although we are still in the preliminary stages of the research and there is still a lot of work to be done to solve this mystery, the evidence does suggest that we are searching in the right place," he said. Talk about preliminary stages, this is just where the painting may at one time have been. [UC San Diego]
- How to prevent low back pain. People with desk jobs beg, please let us in on the secret! It has something to do with a molecule called NF-kB that science has found causes back pain. High concentrations of NF-kB cause degeneration of our back's discs, apparently, so science has developed a drug to stop that molecule from getting out of hand. "In our study, we developed a specific drug, called NBD peptide, able to specifically inhibit the deleterious action of NF-kB, " explains Dr. Enrico Pola. It's already being used for great things, he says: "NBD has been already successfully tested by a US team in Pittsburgh to slow the course of muscular dystrophy in an animal model (NF-kB is also involved in this disease). This peptide will be soon tested in a clinical trial (phase I) to study its therapeutic effects on Duchenne muscular dystrophy." [Catholic University of the Sacred Heart]
- It takes just 60 seconds of combat to impair memory. That's a single minute. Or, in other words, a very short amount of time. Think of all the many minutes soldiers or police officers spend using "physical exertion in a threatening situation," as the study defines combat. Now think of all the lost memories. Looking at a group of police officers, researchers determined the effects of these situations on their brains. "As exhaustion takes over, cognitive resources tend to diminish. The ability to fully shift attention is inhibited, so even potentially relevant information might not be attended to. Ultimately, memory is determined by what we can process and attend to," explains Dr. Lorraine Hope. The finding proves especially important for witness memory recall, she continues. "The legal system puts a great deal of emphasis on witness accounts, particularly those of professional witnesses like police officers. Investigators and courts need to understand that an officer who cannot provide details about an encounter where physical exertion has played a role is not necessarily being deceptive or uncooperative" she notes. [Psychological Science]
- What's hurting semen quality. Men wondering why their semen isn't up to snuff should look to their eating habits. Diets high in fatty food, specifically, saturated fats, hurt sperm count. The men consuming the most fatty food had a 35 percent lower sperm count. "The magnitude of the association is quite dramatic and provides further support for the health efforts to limit consumption of saturated fat given their relation with other health outcomes such as cardiovascular disease," says Professor Jill Attaman. This isn't just about heart attacks, men, is a cheeseburger worth risking your legacy? Think about it. [Human Reproduction]