Last updated January 11, 2018 at 10:42 am
The Check Up is a weekly feature highlighting some of the best, most fascinating, most important, or simply unmissable health, medical, and human stories from around the web.
Test tube brains
This one is a little bit freaky. So scientists have been able to grow teeny tiny little human brains in the lab – about the size of a lentil (you read that correctly – human brains). These little brains develop in the same way as full sized brains, electrical activity and all. Amazing for those researching brain development and disorders such as Alzheimer’s and autism. But for the first time (officially – this is dicey territory) researchers have implanted these tiny brain beans into mice, potentially allowing them to develop further than they can in the lab. Is it ethical? What can we find out from doing this? Read more here to find out.
Kissing leads to babies – sort of…
From one type of funky brain to another – this time a lot less ethically ambiguous. Did you know that you control your fertility with your brain? Scientists have known for about 40 years that the brains of both men and women send out pulses of hormones that tell the ovaries and testes what to do, about one pulse every hour. We also knew that in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome these pulses came too fast, leading to infertility. Research from New Zealand described here found that these pulses are generated by ‘kisspeptin’ neurons in the hypothalamus. Now we know the origin, perhaps we can find a solution?
Does it come with instructions?
Forget about the brain for a minute, what about the rest of the body? Moving now to our collective understanding of all human cells, some processes we know, some we are just discovering, and some are still waiting to be uncovered. Enter The Human Cell Atlas. Much like it’s cousin, The Human Genome Project, The Human Cell Atlas is a global initiative aiming to map every single cell in the human body and store it in a freely accessible database. The best news is that 14 Australian research institutes have just joined.
Don’t eat the wheat!
I am currently obsessed with food (because I am on a diet…it’s not going well), but I always count myself lucky that I don’t seem to have any major food intolerances. Research has been slowly uncovering that one of the main culprits – we are all looking at you gluten – may not be as much to blame as we thought. In fact, it may be another component of wheat altogether! Find out who to direct the blame for bloated bellies at here.
To be or not to be… a lefty?
Personally, I am right handed, along with the majority of the human race. However, new research has shown that a species other than humans shows a preference for one side or the other. The species? The bee! Check it out below to see why.