Research Report: Bird ‘dancing’ to music may be a first

VIDEO

A YouTube video of a “dancing” bird caught the attention of researchers at The Neurosciences Institute and has led to a remarkable discovery. Dancing, or synchronized rhythmic movement in time with a musical beat, was thought until now to be a uniquely human trait.

To test whether a sulphur-crested cockatoo named Snowball was truly responding to music, the team prepared versions of a song by the Backstreet Boys with a wide range of beat speeds.

Analysis of videos showed that Snowball changed his dancing speed to match the altered beats. Cockatoos are well known for their ability to imitate complex sounds. Scientists believe the evolution of auditory and motor systems that allow vocal learning by cockatoos also convey an ability to dance.

These findings raise new questions about the biological bases of music and suggest new ways to expand our knowledge of how the brain works.

Synthesis simplified
Terpenes are an important chemical class of hydrocarbons found in numerous biological and commercial products, from vitamin A to the cancer drug Taxol. But, synthesizing sufficient quantities of terpenes required for commercial or research purposes has proven difficult.

A Scripps Research Institute team has devised a new terpene-production method.
Instead of starting with a chemical end product and working backwards along a linear path of simpler and simpler compounds (a process known as retrosynthesis), the team create a “retrosynthesis pyramid” that places the highest oxidized target at the top.

Not unlike a chess puzzle, multiple molecules are considered at every descending level of oxidation until arriving at the most logical starting material for ease of synthesis.

The Scripps Research team describes the new technique, and its application in synthesizing five terpenes, in the online issue of Nature.

Disease in families
Family members of children diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) should be considered at high risk for the disease and tested for it as part of a routine medical examination, even if they don’t show symptoms, according to a recent study by researchers at the UCSD School of Medicine.

The research team studied 44 children with and without NAFLD and 152 family members of these children. They found that whether or not a person had NAFLD was highly heritable.

In family members of children with NAFLD, it was present in 59 percent of siblings and 78 percent of parents. In most cases the person did not know that they had the disease. In a few cases the disease was already very advanced even in the absence of symptoms.

The results appear in the May edition of the journal Gastroenterology and are considered an important step in building the case that NAFLD is a genetic disease.

Related posts:

  1. Research Report: Team links protein to cartilage degeneration
  2. Research Report: Salk Institute receives grant for aging research
  3. Research Report: Insight into protein behind chemo resistance
  4. Lecture explores ideas on music, evolution
  5. Research Roundup: Basic research gets financial boost from major grants

Short URL: http://www.delmartimes.net/?p=6116

Posted by marylajolla on May 15, 2009. Filed under Archives. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

Archives

Facebook

Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

LA JOLLA NEWS

RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

RSS RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

  • RSF Association Board Biz: It’s fire season: Be prepared
    The Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District (RSFFPD) was officially formed in 1946, in the aftermath of a devastating fire that took place in 1943 and destroyed brush, farmland and homes from Rancho Bernardo through Rancho Santa Fe, all the way to Solana Beach and Del Mar. Today the Fire District spans 38 square miles and protects nearly 30,000 residents. W […]
  • Rancho Santa Fe couple lead way in helping those with thyroid disorders
    Few people may know that Graves’ disease is one of the most common autoimmune diseases afflicting Americans today. Fewer still may know that the only national non-profit dedicated to its patients is headquartered in Rancho Santa Fe. The Graves’ Disease and Thyroid Foundation, co-chaired by Rancho Santa Fe residents Kathleen Bell Flynn and Steve Flynn, has be […]
  • Candidates seek election to three Rancho Santa Fe special district boards
    Seats on the boards of directors of three special districts that provide such services as water, fire protection, sewage treatment and landscape maintenance are on the ballot in the Nov. 4 election. The three special districts are the Santa Fe Irrigation District, the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District and the Rancho Santa Fe Community Services Distric […]