Science Sunday: Spend an Hour; Gain some Science.

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Today is the day that we Spring Forward into our very first installment of Science Sunday!

Whether you lose an hour of sleep or an hour on Pinterest, today’s schedule is going to run along a bit faster for everyone. In the spirit of short-and-sweet, I thought I’d give you a recap of my favorite finds from science this week on Science Sunday.

Synesthesia and Fischer Price as Early Environmental Influencer: One of my favorite studies to date shows that a large amount of synesthesia cases can be linked to a 1970s-1980s Fischer Price magnetic alphabet set. The study write-up can be found here from Baylor College of Medicine. I have to give a plug on Dr. David Eagleman, and his lab team at Baylor, as well because I’ve been a long-time fan of his accessible talks. If you are interested in brain science and human behavior, he’s one of the best neuroscience speakers to search on Youtube. He makes complex concepts very easy to understand.  Spoiler: I watch a lot of his stuff and will, at some point, make a Top Ten list of my favorite Eagleman talks.

Low Levels of Vitamin B6 and Iron Present in Group with Panic Attacks: A study of 20 participants finds an interesting comparison between study participants ranking lower in iron and in vitamin B6 concentration (both of which are necessary for serotonin production) and the presence of panic attacks/hyperventilation attacks compared to the control group. Levels of vitamin B12 and B2, also tested, remained similar between the group of HVA/PA present folks and the control group. Read more on the study here. Keep in mind, the pool of participants is small, and more research is needed on this subject, but I think its an interesting start.

Biological Father’s Gene Mutations Expressed More Than Mother’s: Another study making its way across my newsfeed this week comes from a team at UNC Healthcare. They found that, although genetic mutations are equally inherited from both parents, genetic mutations from the biological father are more likely to be expressed, including genes that influence disease. Great writeup on the study found here.

Neuropeptide Identified as Link Between Exercise and Stress Reduction: Galanin. Remember this little guy. A study from a University of Georgia team published in Neuropharmacology found that the neuropeptide galanin preserves synaptic plasticity that can be damaged by stress. Principal investigator, Phillip Holmes, notes, “The hypothesis was that maybe what galanin is doing, and what exercise is doing, is maintaining neuroplasticity in the prefrontal cortex.” The prefrontal cortex is associated with decision making, controlling social behaviors and individual personality trait expression. As more research comes out in this area, it will be even-more compelling as an argument for exercise as a necessary part of maintaining brain health. To read more on the study, follow the link here.

And there you have it.

Happy reading!

Have you come across any compelling articles or studies this week that you’d like to share? Send me a link in the comments below and it might show up in next week’s Science Sunday.

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