Discovered: Large Hadron Collider produces the hottest matter ever; female ADHD sufferers are more prone to self-harm; a snake affliction identified; hide beetles get turned on by death.
Hot stuff coming through the Large Hadron Collider. The team at CERN smashes lead particles together in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in order to study the evolution of physics's basic laws. The atoms we observe now, with tightly clustered protons and neutrons, formed some time after the Big Bang. Initially, just after the Big Bang, the universe consisted of free-flowing quarks in a very hot plasma. The researchers behind the LHC have been trying to recreate that state, and in doing so, they're creating substances with extremely high temperatures. New Scientist reports, "At the Quark Matter 2012 conference in Washington DC on 13 August, they reported that their quark-gluon plasma had reached over 5 trillion °C, the hottest temperature ever created in an experiment." [New Scientist]
ADHD can lead girls to self-harm. ADHD doesn't just make sufferers fidgety in elementary school. It may also lead to self-harming behavior such as cutting and suicide attempts. UC Berkeley psychology professor Stephen Hinshaw has found that girls with ADHD are more prone to self-harm as they grow older. "Like boys with ADHD, girls continue to have problems with academic achievement and relationships, and need special services as they enter early adulthood," he says. This study concludes 10-years of research on the largest sample of girls diagnosed with ADHD in childhood. [UC Berkeley]
New virus may be responsible for snake deaths. For a while now, pet snakes have been mysteriously dying over an unidentified disease. But now, researchers from the University of California, San Francisco have identified a virus they believe is responsible for the deaths. The arenavirus they've singled out leads to a form of "inclusion body disease," which affects captive animals. It creates clustered proteins within snakes, leading to bacterial infections, neurological issues, anorexia and eventually, death. "It’s a devastating disease when it gets into a collection, zoo or aquarium because it’s essentially fatal every time," says senior researcher Joe DeRisi, who focused intensely on the cases of three captive snakes from the Bay Area—Larry, Balthazar and Juliet. Here's a brief documentary on the research:
Pheromones and decomposition: the scent of seduction. When it comes to mating, female hide beetles respond most strongly to a mix of male hide beetle pheromones and the scent of death, researchers have found. Ulm University's Christian von Hoermann led a team of German researchers to investigate why young female hide beetles were attracted to fresh corpses. They learned that not only do hide beetles feed on dead flesh, they also use "graveyard" sites as breeding and egg-laying grounds. Von Hoermann noted that corpse odor is enough to attract male hide beetles, who don't need to detect pheromones for arousal the way female beetles do. "Although cadaver odor alone is not sufficient to attract 2 to 3 week-old virgin female hide beetles, it is enough to attract newly emerged males," he Hoermann says. [CBS News]