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Kyoto, Japan -- Termites not only raid people's homes, but also the humble abodes of other happy termite couples.

In new research, Kyoto University scientists have found that male Japanese termites form homosexual couples when no females are around -- and when the chance arises, they take over a heterosexual couple's nest and kill the male so that one of them can mate with the now spouseless female. The research team's observations support a theory that homosexual couplings in invertebrates have evolutionary advantages.


The term "healthy obesity" has gained traction over the past 15 years, but scientists have recently questioned its very existence. A study published August 18 in Cell Reports provides further evidence against the notion of a healthy obese state, revealing that white fat tissue samples from obese individuals classified as either metabolically healthy or unhealthy actually show nearly identical, abnormal changes in gene expression in response to insulin stimulation.


Concerns over the Zika virus have focused on pregnant women due to mounting evidence that it causes brain abnormalities in developing fetuses. However, new research in mice from scientists at The Rockefeller University and La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology suggests that certain adult brain cells may be vulnerable to infection as well. Among these are populations of cells that serve to replace lost or damaged neurons throughout adulthood, and are also thought to be critical to learning and memory.


People who gained health coverage following the implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act's coverage expansion sharply increased their use of prescription drugs, while their out-of-pocket spending for medications dropped significantly, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Studying the experiences of nearly 7 million prescription drug users nationally, researchers found that among those who gained private insurance there was a 28 percent increase in prescriptions filled and a 29 percent reduction in out-of-pocket spending per prescription compared to the previous year when they were uninsured.


The cell's internal skeleton undergoes constant restructuring. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich physicists now show that its associated proteins can be efficiently transported to their sites of action by diffusion - provided they can be arrested when they get there.


Investigators at the Stanford University School of Medicine and their collaborators at three other institutions have identified a novel compound that appears to exhibit painkilling power comparable to morphine but lacks that drug's most lethal property: respiratory suppression, which results in some 30,000 drug overdose deaths annually in the United States.

"This promising drug candidate was identified through an intensively cross-disciplinary, cross-continental combination of computer-based drug screening, medicinal chemistry, intuition and extensive preclinical testing," said Brian Kobilka, MD, professor of molecular and cellular physiology, and one of the senior investigators involved in the research.