“Science Times” synthesis

The presidential race has taken off, and the intersection of healthcare and policy seems to be a topic on the mind of all involved. This week’s installment of the “Science Times” synthesis features articles that emerge from the world of research from childhood obesity to environmental concerns.

Week of April 23

Fly and human mothers share a milk enzyme: An enzyme called sphingomyelinase, important in mammalian lactation, has been found in a milk-like substance fed by mother tsetse flies to their larvae. This discovery may help researchers to study issues in human lactation, as well learn more about sleeping sickness, a parasitic disease spread by the tsetse.

The neurological roots of lingering regret: Researchers in Germany have just published a new study that demonstrates how the brain adapts to feelings of regret as we age and mature. These fascinating results may have a profound impact on the way we understand and treat adults with emotional disorders.

Study of fighters shows brain changes are seen before symptoms: For the first time, researchers have used MRI technology to detect physical changes in the brains of boxers before symptoms of cognitive decline are observed. Neurologists believe this may have implications for understanding, diagnosing, and treating a broad range of degenerative brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s.

Week of April 30

Obesity-linked diabetes in children resists treatment: A new study comparing several different treatments for diabetes that results from obesity in children has found that the disease may be more resistant to treatment than researchers had expected.

Of geese and fleece: Leading scientific organizations have announced plans to issue an annual award to honor seemingly frivolous research that has gone on to produce big dividends. The award, called the Golden Goose Award, was created in response to the Golden Fleece Award, given by William Proxmire during his tenure in the US Senate to lampoon scientific projects for supposedly wasting taxpayer dollars.