Every week our Research Editors highlight a few of the latest headlines in science news and explain why these pieces are interesting and applicable to our classes at UC San Diego. If you find an engaging science article, share it with us on our Facebook page and your highlight may just be featured!
A new study demonstrates that people may be able to reduce smoking behaviors through odor therapy during sleep. Subjects who were subjected to the smell of cigarette smoke followed by bad smells during deep sleep reduced their smoking by more than 30 percent compared to subjects who received the treatment during REM sleep, a stage of sleep similar to wakefulness. Those who received the treatment during waking hours did not show changes in smoking habits. Using this research, scientists can improve smoking and addictive behavior treatment.
If you are interested in sleeping patterns, consider taking Circadian Rhythms — Biological Clocks (BIMM 116).
One of the core ideas in neuroscience is that memories are stored in the synapses between neurons. However, a recent new study suggested that memories may be stored inside brain cells, with implications for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment. Currently, PTSD treatment was effective only if applied immediately after the traumatic event. Scientists are currently researching if this new idea may be true, and if it is, it may be used to also treat Alzheimer’s disease, another disorder related to memory.
If you are interested in memory formation, consider taking Cellular Basis of Learning and Memory (BIPN 148).
Colorectal cancer, commonly referred to as colon cancer, is one of the three most common cancers worldwide. Almost 95 percent of colorectal cancers are due to malignant tumors. Researchers discovered that Imatinib, an enzyme inhibitor used to treat leukemia, works by disrupting a signaling pathway related to a group of cell receptors called EphB. When used to treat mice with colon tumors, researchers found that Imatinib was able to halve the rate of metastasis.
If you’re interested in learning more, consider taking the Biology of Cancer (BIMM 134).
Consumption of high-fat dairy products has been linked to a reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to researchers from Lund University in Sweden. The aim of the study was to clarify the significance that fat in food has on the development of type 2 diabetes. Instead of focusing on the total intake of saturated fat, researchers looked at the different sources of saturated fat. Both meat and dairy products contain saturated fat, but certain saturated fatty acids are particularly common in dairy products. This difference could be one of the reasons why those who eat a lot of dairy products appear to have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
If you’re interested in learning more, consider taking Nutrition (BIBC 120).