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Eye Blinks Are Perceived as Communicative Signals in Human Face-to-face Interaction

Penelitian - Blinking may feel like an unconscious activity, but new research by Paul Hömke and colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, suggests that humans unknowingly perceive eye blinks as nonverbal cues when engaging in conversation.

Humans blink about 13,500 times a day -- much more frequently than is necessary for lubricating the eyeballs. Additionally, studies have shown that blinks often occur at natural pauses in conversation. Hömke wondered whether a movement as tiny and subliminal as blinking could act as conversational feedback, just like nodding one's head.


To test this idea, the researchers developed a new, virtual reality-based experimental set-up where humans talk with an avatar that acts as a "virtual listener." Volunteers answered questions such as "How was your weekend?" while researchers controlled the avatar's nonverbal responses, using short and long blinks that each lasted less than a second.

The experiments show…
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Full-field Interferometric Imaging of Propagating Action Potentials

Penelitian - A promising non-invasive technique for measuring electrical activity in neurons and other cells works by observing how cells deform in response to changes in their electric potential. Existing methods for analyzing cells’ electrical activity are invasive and may affect natural cell behavior.

Now, Tong Ling and co-workers from Daniel Palanker’s lab at Stanford University in the US demonstrated a method that monitors changes in cell shapes during electrical spikes – or ‘action potentials’ - using quantitative phase microscopy.


Action potential occurs when the negatively-charged cell interior depolarizes due to a stimulus, triggering a rapid voltage change across the cell membrane. Ling’s team demonstrated that cells deform in response to these relatively large (0.1 V) voltage shifts, revealing exactly when action potentials occur. Their technique may facilitate non-invasive analysis of neuronal networks and other cellular activities.



Journal : Tong Ling et al. Full-field int…

Mechanical Loading of Desmosomes Depends on the Magnitude and Orientation of External Stress

Penelitian - Cell biologists at the University of Münster have developed a new method for measuring how mechanical forces in cells are processed. The results have been published in the journal Nature Communications.

The skin is our largest organ, and, among other things, it provides protection against mechanical impacts. To ensure this protection, skin cells have to be connected to one another especially closely. Exactly how this mechanical stability is provided on the molecular level was unclear for a long time.


Researchers are now able to demonstrate how mechanical stress on specialized adhesion points, so-called desmosomes, is processed. They designed a mini-measuring device, which can determine forces along individual components of the desmosomes. They show how mechanical forces propagate along these structures.

Our skin acts as a protective shield against external influences and has to withstand very different stresses. It has to be able to stretch but must not tear when exposed …

Congeneric Variability in Lifespan Extension and Onset of Senescence Suggest Active Regulation of Aging in Response to Low Temperature

Penelitian - Why do we age? Despite more than a century of research (and a vast industry of youth-promising products), what causes our cells and organs to deteriorate with age is still unknown. One known factor is temperature: Many animal species live longer at lower temperature than they do at higher temperatures.

"There are people out there who believe, strongly, that if you take a cold shower every day it will extend your lifespan," says Kristin Gribble of the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL).


But a new study from Gribble's lab indicates that it's not just a matter of turning down the thermostat. Rather, the extent to which temperature affects lifespan depends on an individual's genes.

Gribble's study, published in Experimental Gerentology, was conducted in the rotifer, a tiny animal that has been used in aging research for more than 100 years. Gribble's team exposed 11 genetically distinct strains of rotifers (Brachionus) to low temperature, with th…

Geckos Race Across the Water’s Surface Using Multiple Mechanisms

Penelitian - Geckos are renowned for their acrobatic feats on land and in the air, but a new discovery that they can also run on water puts them in the superhero category, says a University of California (UC), Berkeley, biologist.

"They can run up a wall at a meter per second, they can glide, they can right themselves in midair with a twist of their tail and rapidly invert under a leaf running at full speed. And now they can run at a meter per second over water. Nothing else can do that; geckos are superheroes," said Robert Full of the UC Berkeley.


Full is the senior author of a paper that will appear this week in the journal Current Biology describing four separate strategies that geckos use to skitter across the surface of water. First author Jasmine Nirody, a biophysicist at the University of Oxford and Rockefeller University, conducted much of the research with Judy Jinn, both as Ph.D. students at Berkeley.

According to Full, who discovered many of the unique maneuvers a…

Soft-tissue Evidence for Homeothermy and Crypsis in a Jurassic Ichthyosaur

Penelitian - An ancient, dolphin-like marine reptile resembles its distant relative in more than appearance, according to an international team of researchers that includes scientists from North Carolina State University and Sweden's Lund University.

Molecular and microstructural analysis of a Stenopterygius ichthyosaur from the Jurassic (180 million years ago) reveals that these animals were most likely warm-blooded, had insulating blubber and used their coloration as camouflage from predators.


"Ichthyosaurs are interesting because they have many traits in common with dolphins, but are not at all closely related to those sea-dwelling mammals," says Mary Schweitzer of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and Lund University.

"We aren't exactly sure of their biology either. They have many features in common with living marine reptiles like sea turtles, but we know from the fossil record that they gave live birth, which is associated with warm-bloodedness…

Multiresponsive Polymeric Microstructures with Encoded Predetermined and Self-Regulated Deformability

Penelitian - The pads of geckos' notoriously sticky feet are covered with setae -- microscopic, hairlike structures whose chemical and physical composition and high flexibility allow the lizard to grip walls and ceilings with ease.

Scientists have tried to replicate such dynamic microstructures in the lab with a variety of materials, including liquid crystal elastomers (LCEs), which are rubbery networks with attached liquid crystalline groups that dictate the directions in which the LCEs can move and stretch.


So far, synthetic LCEs have mostly been able to deform in only one or two dimensions, limiting the structures' ability to move throughout space and take on different shapes.

Now, a group of scientists from Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) has harnessed magnetic fields to control the molecular structure of LCEs and create microscopic three-dimensional polymer shapes that…

GlaxoSmithKline Announces Purchase of Tesaro for $5 Billion

Penelitian - British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline announced Monday that it was buying Massachusetts-based Tesaro for "an aggregate cash consideration of approximately" $5.1 billion in an effort to boost its oncology drug offerings.

Tesaro is best known for the drug Zejula, a treatment for ovarian cancer, MarketWatch reported. The drug is currently cleared in the United States and Europe for the treatment of adult patients with recurrent ovarian cancer.


GSK said in a statement that Zejula's use of an oral poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitor is "transforming the treatment of ovarian cancer, notably demonstrating marked clinical benefit in patients with and without germline mutations in a BRCA gene."

The company said it will offer Tesaro shareholders a 62 percent premium for its stocks based on the share price of last Friday's close, placing the offer at $75 per share.

"The acquisition of Tesaro will strengthen our pharmaceuticals business…

UN: Climate Change Impacts Have Never Been Worse

Penelitian - With the direst environmental warnings yet still ringing in their ears, nations gathered in Poland Sunday for a UN summit aimed at heading off the "urgent threat" of runaway climate change.

The UN talks come at a crucial juncture in mankind's response to planetary warming. The smaller, poorer nations that will bare its devastating brunt are pushing for richer states to make good on the promises they made in the 2015 Paris agreement.


In Paris three years ago, countries committed to limit global temperature rises to well below two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), and to the safer cap of 1.5C if at all possible.

But with only a single degree Celsius of warming so far, the world has already seen a crescendo of deadly wildfires, heatwaves and hurricanes made more destructive by rising seas.

"Climate change impacts have never been worse. This reality is telling us that we need to do much more," Patricia Espinosa told journalists after Sunday'…

Developmental Trajectory of Movement-related Cortical Oscillations During Active Sleep in a Cross-sectional Cohort of Pre-term and Full-term Human Infants

Penelitian - The kicks a mother feels from her unborn child may allow the baby to 'map' their own body and enable them to eventually explore their surroundings, suggests new research led by University College London (UCL) in collaboration with University College London Hospitals (UCLH).

For the study, published today in Scientific Reports, researchers measured brainwaves produced when newborn babies kick their limbs during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, finding that fast brainwaves -- a brainwave pattern typically seen in neonates -- fire in the corresponding hemisphere.


For example, the movement of a baby's right hand causes brainwaves to fire immediately afterwards in the part of the left brain hemisphere that processes touch for the right hand. The size of these brainwaves is largest in premature babies, who at that age would usually still be in the womb.

The findings suggest that fetal kicks in the late stages of pregnancy -- the third trimester -- help to grow areas …