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Ghrelin is a peptide, produced mainly in the stomach but also found in the brain, that is known to affect food intake by increasing feelings of hunger and the urge to eat. A new study has examined ghrelin's role in other addictive behaviors and findings indicate that variations in the genes producing ghrelin and its receptor are more common in individuals considered heavy drinkers.

"Previous research had shown that ghrelin levels in blood plasma are altered in addictive behaviours such as alcohol dependence and compulsive overeating," said Jörgen Engel, professor of pharmacology at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg. "It may be that common mechanisms in the brain underlie different forms of addictive behaviours, including compulsive overeating, pathological gambling and drug dependence."


Froghoppers, also known as spittlebugs, are the champion insect jumpers, capable of reaching heights of 700 mm - more than 100 times their own body length. Research published today in BMC Biology reveals that they achieve their prowess by flexing bow-like structures between their hind legs and wings and releasing the energy in one giant leap in a catapult-like action.

Images of the insects flexing and jumping are described in the research carried out by Malcolm Burrows from the University of Cambridge and his colleagues. Burrows' research focused on determining how the energy generated by the insects' muscles is stored before powering a jump.

He said, "A froghopper stores energy by bending a paired bow-shaped part of its internal skeleton called a 'pleural arch' which is a composite structure made of layers of hard cuticle and a rubbery protein called resilin. When the froghopper contracts its muscles to jump, these arches flex like a composite archery bow, and then on recoil catapult it forwards with a force that can be over 400 times its body mass."


Observations from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft have been used to build, for the first time, a 3-D picture of the sources of intense radio emissions in Saturn’s magnetic field, known as the Saturn Kilometric Radiation (SKR).

Saturn Kilometric Radiation is the most intense component of radio emissions from Saturn. It was discovered by NASA’s Voyager spacecraft in 1980. The radio emissions have frequencies between about 10 kilohertz and 1.2 megahertz. This corresponds to the Long Wave and Medium Wave broadcasting bands.

The results were presented by Dr Baptist Cecconi, of LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, at the European Planetary Science Congress on Tuesday 23rd September.

The SKR radio emissions are generated by high-energy electrons spiralling around magnetic field lines threaded through Saturn’s auroras. Previous Cassini observations have shown that the SKR is closely correlated with the intensity of Saturn’s UV aurora and the pressure of the solar wind.


Two terrestrial planets in orbit around a sun-like star, BD +20 307, recently suffered a violent collision, astronomers at University of California Los Angeles, Tennessee State University, and California Institute of Technology will report in a December issue of the Astrophysical Journal, the premier journal of astronomy and astrophysics.

“It’s as if Earth and Venus collided with each other,” said Benjamin Zuckerman, UCLA professor of physics and astronomy and a co-author on the paper. “Astronomers have never seen anything like this before; apparently major, catastrophic, collisions can take place in a fully mature planetary system.”


After several years of detective work, philologists at the University of Stavanger in Norway have collected a unique collection of texts online and they're about to start the most comprehensive analysis of middle English ever.

During the last few years, associate professor Merja Stenroos and post doctor Martti Mäkinen at the University of Stavanger have travelled around Britain and read original handwritten leather manuscripts from the 1300s–1500s.

"It is as natural for us in Stavanger to research Middle English as it is for English researchers. None of us have this language as our mother tongue anyway, says Merja Stenroos, who is managing the project titled MEG - Middle English Grammar.




 Merja Stenroos Martti Mäkinen  15th century Book of Hours Folio

Whether young people get drunk as a purposeful behavior or as an unintended consequence depends on what country they live in, according to new research on young people in seven countries. The research finds that young people's views on alcohol and drunkenness were influenced more by culture than by factors such as age and sex.

The research, sponsored by the International Center for Alcohol Policies (ICAP), also finds striking similarities about drinking among young people in different parts of the world including: