Discovered: A medical procedure that turns your face into your heart, why overeating causes depression and depression causes overeating, the fall of the Mayan empire explained, and men's mistakes count more.
- This medical procedure turns face cells into heart ones. This is the type of research that makes it really feel like we're living in the future. Doctors have reprogrammed part of a patient's face to work like heart muscle. "In this study we have shown for the first time that it's possible to establish hiPSCs from heart failure patients -- who represent the target patient population for future cell therapy strategies using these cells -- and coax them to differentiate into heart muscle cells that can integrate with host cardiac tissue," explains researcher Lior Gepstein. hiPSCs stands for human-induced pluripotent stem cells, which means using cells from that very patient, so that the body won't reject the implant. And, at least this very preliminary trial, worked! [European Society of Cardiology]
- Why we eat because we're unhappy and we're unhappy because we eat. Yes, science has explained that famed Fat Bastard quote from Austin Powers. (Scientists are still nerds.) "We are demonstrating for the first time that the chronic consumption of palatable, high-fat diets has pro-depressive effects," explains researcher Dr. Stephanie Fulton. There's a medical-science reason obesity and depression correlate, the research finds. "In addition to causing obesity, rich foods can actually cause chemical reactions in the brain in a similar way to illicit drugs, ultimately leading to depression as the 'come-downs' take their toll," continues Fulton. Eating delicious food is like doing drugs. And once that medication wears off, it just feels bad again. [International Journal of Obesity]
- The fall of the Mayan empire explained. Or at least a piece of it. Science has an idea about what caused "Maya Collapse," which refers to fall of inland Maya centers in Mesoamerica approximately 1,000 years ago -- a very mysterious occurrence, as one can imagine. "Our research strongly suggests that changing patterns of trade were instrumental in prompting the 'Maya collapse,'" explains researcher Gary Feinman. Studying obsidian collected at Mayan sites, researchers noticed trading patterns changing, moving from these inland cities to the coast. "The implication is that other valuable goods important to these inland centers were also slowly being cut off," adds researcher Mark Golitko. Kind of reminds us of the fall of cities that thrived in canal and steamship days. Like that, right? [Antiquity]
- Men's mistakes matter more. At least when those men are bosses. "Our results suggest that leader errors matter; errors damage perceptions of a leader's competence and follower's desire to work for them," explain the researchers. The researchers had almost 300 undergrads read about evil bosses. Bosses who made mistakes were viewed as less competent and less effective. But, this was especially true for male bosses. "Male leaders were evaluated more negatively than female leaders for errors made in masculinized work domains," explains the research write-up. The authors suspect this has something to do with them being held to higher standards and getting more respect than their female counterparts. [Penn State]
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