Animal Research

A protein in the brain links body weight, metabolism and activity

For many obese people gaining weight is a vicious cycle. Scientists at the MDC have now uncovered a contributing factor: genetic variants linked to obesity cause the brain to produce too much of a protein called Cadm1. The result is a disruption in the regulation of body weight and changes in behavior and metabolism, as reported by Matthew Poy and his colleagues in Nature Neuroscience.

How mice babies ensure mother’s protection

The calls of new-born mice draw the attention of their mother. A group of neuronal cells in the brain stem, which coordinate exhalation and tension of muscles in the larynx is essential for this process. Without these cells, the mice are mute. These are the results of a study by a research team at the Max Delbrück Center in Berlin, which appears in the journal PNAS. The cries of human babies may well depend on similar connections, which could also be impaired in speech disorders.

Mission Control for the body’s salt and water supplies

We’ve all heard it: eating salty foods makes you thirstier. But what sounds like good nutritional advice turns out to be an old-wives’ tale. In a study carried out during a simulated mission to Mars, an international group of scientists has found exactly the opposite to be true. “Cosmonauts” who ate more salt retained more water, weren’t as thirsty, and needed more energy.