Prairie voles have long been heralded as models of monogamy. Now, a study suggests that the “love hormone” once thought essential for their bonding — oxytocin — might not be so necessary after all.
Interest in the romantic lives of prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) was first sparked more than 40 years ago, says Devanand Manoli, a biologist at the University of California, San Francisco. Biologists trying to capture voles to study would frequently catch two at a time, because “what they were finding were these male-female pairs,” he says. Unlike many other rodents with their myriad partners, prairie voles, it turned out, mate for life.
Pair-bonded prairie voles prefer each other’s company over a stranger’s and like to huddle together both in the wild and the lab. Because other vole species don’t have social behaviors as complex as prairie voles do, they have been a popular animal system for studying how social behavior evolves.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the mercurial nature of the coronavirus has been on display. Some people get mild, cold-like illnesses or even have no symptoms when infected, while other people become severely ill and may die from COVID-19.
What determines that fate is complicated and somewhat mysterious. Researchers are looking at a wide variety of factors that may play a role — everything from demographics to preexisting conditions to vaccination status and even genetic clues.

Lack of sleep has been linked to heart disease, poor mood and loneliness. Being tired could also make us less generous, researchers report August 23 in PLOS Biology.
The hour of sleep lost in the switch over to Daylight Savings Time every spring appears to reduce people’s tendency to help others, the researchers found in one of three experiments testing the link between sleep loss and generosity. Specifically, they showed that average donations to one U.S.-based nonprofit organization dropped by around 10 percent in the workweek after the time switch compared with four weeks before and after the change. In Arizona and Hawaii, states that do not observe Daylight Savings Time, donations remained unchanged. 

As the days shorten and people trade their tank tops and shorts for sweaters and tights, the turn of autumn signals another new beginning: the start of flu and cold season, and Covid winter No. 3. According to Dr. Helen Chu, an epidemiologist and infectious-disease physician at the University of Washington School of Public Health, it's a myth that simply being cold will make you more likely to get sick . But viruses do tend to transmit most efficiently in drier, colder conditions, leading to spikes in winter months. So now is the time to get serious about immune health. Here are four things health experts say you can do to prepare ahead of fall and winter surges.

The amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has shot past a key milestone—more than 50% higher than pre-industrial times—and is at levels not seen since millions of years ago when Earth was a hothouse ocean-inundated planet, federal scientists announced Friday.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said its long-time monitoring station at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, averaged 421 parts per million of carbon dioxide for the month of May, which is when the crucial greenhouse gas hits its yearly high. Before the industrial revolution in the late 19th century carbon dioxide levels were at 280 parts per million, scientists said, so humans have significantly changed the atmosphere. Some activists and scientists want a level of 350 parts per million. Industrial carbon dioxide emissions come from the burning of coal, oil and gas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

        

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