Wetenschap - 7 april 2016

Depression

Rats bred for depressive tendencies perk up considerably when they are put in a more cheerful environment. More precisely: in a more spacious cage with lots of hiding places and toys to clamber over. This was discovered by researchers at North Western University. They think it is good news for people prone to depression. Depressive? Try a bigger house with plenty of hiding places and paly equipment you can clamber over.

Smart

City birds are smarter than country birds, say researchers from McGill University in Montreal. They looked at how different goldfinches performed in ‘IQ tests’ such as opening pots of food. The city finches are better at it. The question is of course whether that makes them more intelligent. Why would you struggle to open a pot if there is food for the taking on the streets? 

Sperm

Suntan lotion is bad for sperm, claim Danish researchers at the University of Copenhagen. The UV filters in the lotion disturb the hormone balance of sperm cells. According to the researchers, this many explain declining male fertility. The suspect chemicals are often present in makeup and skincare products too. Beauty comes at a price.

The pill

The contraceptive pill may have disastrous effects on fauna in our ditches. Male frogs cannot cope with the female hormones that end up in the environment via the pill. Polish and Danish researchers have proven that frog populations are becoming feminized. Genetic males are becoming females in appearance and behaviour. With extinction as an inevitable consequence.


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