12. SCIENCE NEWS Issue 668 5 – 11 April 2019 FirstNews TEAM SPORT BRAIN GROWN IN This report is from our friends at the Science Museum, part of the Science Museum Group. HEALTH BOOST DISH GAME BOY THIRTY years ago, the playing field for handheld videogame consoles was changed forever. Although handheld consoles already existed, it was Nintendo’s Game Boy (below), designed by engineer Gunpei Yokoi, that had huge success. During a chance visit to the factory in which Yokoi worked, Nintendo’s president was impressed by a toy Yokoi had made in his spare time. Yokoi was asked to make the toy for Nintendo and he later became one of their leading designers, creating the Game Boy in 1989. Unlike the colours and highdefinition screens used in smartphones today, the Game Boy featured a monochrome display and simple technology designed to extend its battery life. You can play handheld consoles, retro classics and the latest VR games at Power UP 2019 at the Science Museum from 6-22 April. Find out more at SCIENTISTS at a university in the USA say that taking part in team sports reduces depression in boys aged 9-11. The study found that regularly taking part in sports such as football or hockey increases the size of the hippocampus, a part of the brain that plays a big role in memory and responses to stress. Previous studies have shown that shrinkage of the hippocampus is linked to depression. The new research by Washington University found that taking part in a team sport increases the volume of the hippocampus in boys and girls, but only reduces depression rates in boys. More than 4,000 children aged 9-11 were involved in the study. Brain scans provided data on the hippocampus. One possible explanation is that team sports provide social interaction and structure, which helps reduce the risk of mental illness. But scientists behind the study admit that there’s a chance that children who are more depressed are less likely to engage in sports in the first place. Many previous studies have shown that regular exercise can help reduce depression and boost a person’s mood. by Eddie de Oliveira SCIENTISTS in Cambridge have grown a tiny human brain in a dish. It may sound like something out of a science fiction story, or even a horror movie, but it’s absolutely true. The research took place at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. The organoid, which is a miniature grey blob the size of a lentil, was seen suddenly connecting with a mouse’s spinal cord and muscle tissue that were also in the dish. Those muscles then twitched and contracted (tightened) under the control of the tiny brain. The remarkable research will help scientists better understand disorders of the body’s brain and nervous system (the brain, spine and nerves) such as motor neurone disease. This is an incurable condition in which nerves in the brain and spinal cord no longer send messages to the muscles telling them what to do. As a result, muscles stop working and eventually it leads to death. The scientists at Cambridge created a brain that is similar to a human brain at around 12-16 weeks into a pregnancy. But they stressed that the brain was far too small to have any feelings, thoughts or to be conscious in any way. A fully developed human brain has around 80 billion neurons (cells that transmit nerve impulses), whereas the “dish brain” had only a couple of million. That’s a little more than a cockroach. sciencemuseum. org.uk/powerup. DIG DINO INNOVATORS THE Natural History Museum in London is going on an overseas dig to search for new dinosaurs. Invention: Inventor: Apgar Score Dr Virginia Apgar Year: 1953 It will be the first time the museum has taken part in a major dig abroad since the 1980s. Known as Mission Jurassic, the dig this summer will excavate a square mile of land in Wyoming, USA. Scientists have already uncovered the bones of a and during initial fieldwork on the site. A team from the Natural History Museum will work alongside scientists from the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and a museum in the Netherlands to hunt for dino bones from the Jurassic era, which was 200-150 million years ago. The Apgar score is a medical rating system used to work out how healthy a newborn baby is. It identifies those that may need urgent, life-saving medical care. Five signs are studied and each is given a number rating. The tests are known as “Apgar”: and The higher the score, the healthier the newborn is. Virginia Apgar, a trailblazing American doctor and researcher who was born in 1909, invented the system. It quickly became a standard procedure throughout the United States and several other countries. appearance, pulse, grimace, activity respiration. Brachiosaurus Diplodocus
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