Most people feel full about 10 minutes after they begin eating, but for those who are obese, it may take almost twice as long for their brains to get the message, according to researchers at the University of Florida’s Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute. Through innovative use of neuroimaging, UF scientists successfully pinpointed when the brain responds to changing hormone levels in the body that signal satiety. The finding raises the possibility that a delayed feeling of fullness or the inability to feel satisfied while eating could perpetuate obesity, making treatment difficult, they report in the February issue of Psychiatry Annals.
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The horse, a classic model of grace and speed on land, is now an unlikely source of inspiration for more efficient flight. So says a group of University of Florida engineers who have recreated part of a unique bone in the horse’s leg with an eye toward lighter, stronger materials for planes and spacecraft.
The third metacarpus bone in the horse’s leg supports much of the force conveyed as the animal moves. One side of the cucumber-sized bone has a pea-sized hole where blood vessels enter the bone. Holes naturally weaken structures, causing them to break more easily than solid structures when pressure is applied. Yet while the third metacarpus does fracture, particularly in racehorses, it doesn’t break near the hole – not even when the bone is subjected to laboratory stress tests. UF engineering researchers think they’ve figured out why – and they’ve built and are testing a plate that mimics the bone’s uncanny strength in a form potentially useful for airplanes and spacecraft.
The longer patients on dialysis wait for a kidney transplant once they develop end-stage renal disease, the worse they fare, researchers have confirmed. The findings reinforce the benefit of transplantation over dialysis for these patients and highlight the importance of placing them on the transplant list as early in the course of their disease as possible, researchers say.
Scientists have discovered superconductivity in a most unlikely place: the highly radioactive element used to make nuclear weapons. In an article set to appear Thursday in the journal Nature, a group of researchers, including a University of Florida physicist, report discovering a plutonium-based electrical superconductor. The finding is significant because plutonium, the active ingredient in atomic bombs, has physical properties that should prevent it from behaving as a superconductor – suggesting current theories about this phenomenon may not apply to this element.
The hunt to find a gene that causes a disease typically costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and requires years of research – and it still may fail to turn up the sought-after culprit, driving the research back to square one. The result is that while the genes involved in a few inherited diseases such as cystic fibrosis have been identified, many have not. Now, two scientists say they may have found a way to make the search more economical and speed it up. In an article to appear online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences next week, scientists from the University of Florida and Purdue University report merging two established genetic-screening techniques to create one that’s better. The new technique narrows the pool of “candidate” genes in a study from thousands of possibilities to fewer than 100 – perhaps as few as 20.
Fifty pounds of romaine lettuce makes enough Caesar salad for a hundred people, but it?s just a one-day food supply for a manatee in captivity. To feed the endangered aquatic mammals more economically while they recover from injuries or medical treatment, a University of Florida veterinarian has developed a new manatee chow that costs one-tenth the price of lettuce. The discovery comes at a time when manatee injuries and subsequent deaths have reached record rates. In 1986, 122 manatees died in Florida. Fifteen years later, that number climbed to 325.