Discovered: Researchers investigate service members' sleep habits; brain-imaging for zebrafish; why pigeons get lost in the "Bermuda Triangle"; cancer death rates are down.
Sleep deprivation in the U.S. military. Readers of last year's best-selling Navy SEAL memoir No Easy Day got some insight into the sleeping habits of soldiers stationed abroad. The book made many references to Ambien, the sleep-aid that SEAL Team 6 took whenever they had time for some precious shut-eye. Now, thanks to a new study conducted at Madigan Army Medical Center and published in Sleep, we have hard numbers on the military's sleep deprivation problem. By reviewing charts from all the Center's admissions for sleep-related complaints, researchers were able to determine that two-thirds of soldiers with sleep problems get less than six hours of sleep per night. Forty-two percent got less than five. "It's really the first study to take a good epidemiological look at sleep in military personnel," comments University of Texas Health Science Center psychologist Alan Peterson. [Science News]
Look at this video of a zebrafish's brain. Have you ever wondered what the thoughts of a zebrafish look like? Probably not, unless you're a neuroscientist, in which case you know that studying this species can reveal much about how neural pathways work. Now, scientists have developed a new method of using green fluorescent proteins (GFPs) to reveal real-time activation of zebrafish neurons. Koichi Kawakami of Japan's National Institute of Genetics and his colleagues have demonstrated the usefulness of GFPs in young zebrafish, which remain transparent before maturing into adults. "The sensitivity resolution of this new green fluorescent protein is amazing," comments Martha Constantine-Paton of MIT. Take a look at the method in action below. [New Scientist]