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Squid Brains Comparable to Dog Brains, says Scientists

Image credit: Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland Put down that plate of calamari! For the first time, Dr Wen-Sung Chung and Professor Justin Marshall, from the University of Queensland’s Queensland Brain Institute have created a map of a reef squid’s brain. Based on the number and variety of connections, it seems that squids have brains roughly analogous to that of a dog. This news may be surprising to those who tend to view invertebrates as inherently simple creatures, but cephalopods, a family that includes octopodes, cuttlefish, and squid, are here to disprove that idea. The remarkable intelligence of the octopus is a well-known fact in the science world, but as far

A Fetching Discovery

They are quite possibly the first animal we ever domesticated, at least 15,000 years ago. Before the Pyramids of Giza, before Stonehenge, before the Megalithic Temples of Malta, humankind somehow found a way to turn wolves into dogs into allies. This meant not only creating a strain of canines disinclined to, for instance, eat our young, but also one that could respond to human-given cues, which doesn’t seem like a trait that a wild wolf would be born with. Thus, conventional wisdom has held that behaviors like responding to a human’s distal pointing (indicating a far object by extending the pointer finger, as opposed to indicating an object by tapping it), or retrieving a thrown object and

The Bright Side: Healing Brain Trauma with Light

Blue light, or light that exists at wavelengths between 380 and 500 nanometers, has a complicated reputation. The sun gives off blue light. So do TV screens and smartphones, as well as energy-efficient lighting. Discussions about blue light are often framed around how using our personal devices at night disrupts our sleep patterns, fooling the eye and thus the brain into believing the sun is still out. The result is less, worse sleep. Some studies have linked the use of blue light at night to, among other things, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. However, there's another dimension to harnessing blue light; a bright side, if you will. New research from the University of Arizona suggests th

A Surprising Way to Lower Suicide Rates

It’s a sobering problem: in 2017, the US alone saw over 47,000 preventable suicide deaths. That same year, suicide was the cause of death for 19% of people between 18 and 24. And between 1999 and 2017, half of US states experienced a 30% increase in their suicide rate. When we think of policies that could prevent some of those deaths, we tend to think in terms of access to counseling, destigmatizing mental health issues, and suicide help lines. While those are all valid causes, the authors of a 26-year study in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health have new findings as well. It’s been established that financial stress increases suicide risk, but the researchers wanted to better unde