Today in Research: How to Prevent Back Pain; Memory Loss in Combat

Discovered: Where a lost Da Vinci painting may have once lived, how to prevent low back pain, it takes just 60 seconds of combat to impair memory, and the unhealthy food that's killing semen.

  • How to prevent low back pain. People with desk jobs beg, please let us in on the secret! It has something to do with a molecule called NF-kB that science has found causes back pain. High concentrations of NF-kB cause degeneration of our back's discs, apparently, so science has developed a drug to stop that molecule from getting out of hand. "In our study, we developed a specific drug, called NBD peptide, able to specifically inhibit the deleterious action of NF-kB," explained Dr. Enrico Pola. It's already being used for great things, he said: "NBD has been already successfully tested by a U.S. team in Pittsburgh to slow the course of muscular dystrophy in an animal model (NF-kB is also involved in this disease). This peptide will be soon tested in a clinical trial (phase I) to study its therapeutic effects on Duchenne muscular dystrophy." [Catholic University of the Sacred Heart]
  • It takes just 60 seconds of combat to impair memory. That's a single minute. Or, in other words, a very short amount of time. Think of all the many minutes soldiers or police officers spend using "physical exertion in a threatening situation," as the study defines combat. Now think of all the lost memories. Looking at a group of police officers, researchers determined the effects of these situations on their brains. "As exhaustion takes over, cognitive resources tend to diminish. The ability to fully shift attention is inhibited, so even potentially relevant information might not be attended to. Ultimately, memory is determined by what we can process and attend to," explained Dr. Lorraine Hope. The finding proves especially important for witness memory recall, she continued. "The legal system puts a great deal of emphasis on witness accounts, particularly those of professional witnesses like police officers. Investigators and courts need to understand that an officer who cannot provide details about an encounter where physical exertion has played a role is not necessarily being deceptive or uncooperative" she noted. [Psychological Science]

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