A New Cause For Mental Disease

Astrocytes, the cells that make the background of the brain and support neurons, might be behind...

R.I.P Portuguese Science

Portuguese government shuts down half of the research units in the countryThe Portuguese funding...

Schistosomiasis- New Urine Test Could Help Millions

Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease that infects 243million people worldwide, and kills about...

When Bad News Is Good News For Neurodegenerative Diseases

Some genetic diseases caused by an abnormal repeat in the DNA are known to become more severe...

User picture.
picture for Helen Barrattpicture for Steve Davispicture for flower 5picture for Johannes Koelmanpicture for Michael Whitepicture for T. Ryan Gregory
Catarina AmorimRSS Feed of this column.

After many years as a scientist (immunology) at Oxford University I moved into scientific journalism and public understanding of science. I am still at Oxford Uni but now I write about any bio... Read More »

Adverse childhood experiences, such as being raised in poverty, can be detrimental for cognitive development often leaving children struggling in school and trapped forever in a cycle of hardship. But a study is now suggesting a innovative (and easy) way to help.

Researchers have discovered that females with multiple sexual partners can be more fertile than those that are monogamous, and this because of an “overproduction” of sons.  The study,  published as a provisional article but already one of the most accessed in BCM Evolutionary Biology, helps to explain a puzzle haunting evolutionary biologist for decades: why so many females chase multiple sexual partners in a mating season, when this is costly and dangerous, and one is enough to fertilize all her eggs.

The recent discoveries that α-Synuclein(α-Syn), a central player in Parkinson´s disease (PD) brain destruction, can not only pass from one neuron to another but also exist outside neuronal cells, has led to a rethink of the disease. A study investigating α-Syn effects out of the cell has found that the protein can interfere with the normal functioning of the hippocampus, the brain area for memory and learning, what might start explaining the cognitive and memory problems seen in so many PD patients. 

A team of Portuguese researchers have developed amathematical tool that can classify any region in the world according to itspattern of development into one of 5 types - each with specific characteristicsand predictable behaviours - that call for different interventions and policymeasures. The discovery, just out  inNature’s Scientific Reports,  representsa major step towards a new type of city planning - objective and, mostimportantly,  independent of the personalvisions, interests and ever changing politics .