Pain & Pleasure : Cloning of the First Opioid Receptor

Prof. Brigitte Kieffer’s scientific research has concentrated on a group of receptor proteins - the mu, delta and kappa opioid receptors — which are found in the cell membranes of neurons in the central and peripheral nervous system and, when activated by natural peptides released under specific conditions, reduce pain, help to cope with stress and drive “pleasurable” vital behaviors including sexuality, food consumption and social interactions. These same receptors can also be activated by drugs derived from opium, including heroin and morphine, which hijack the body’s natural neuromodulatory system to bring instant relief and reward. With regular use, tolerance to these drugs develops so that higher doses are required to obtain the same effect, and adaptations occur in the brain leading to the well-known syndromes of morphine dependence and heroin addiction.

To understand the contribution of each opioid receptor, and the complex interactions between them, to pain control, addictive behaviors and mood disorders, Prof. Kieffer needed to understand how they function at the molecular level. Despite the huge technical difficulties of working with opioid receptors, her persistence and tenacity resulted in the first ever cloning and sequencing of a gene encoding an opioid receptor, the delta receptor. This feat had eluded the scientific community for two decades, despite many attempts, and opened up a whole new field of research in neurobiology.

via For Women in Science.

How Can Something Be A Plant And An Animal?

It’s very easy to tell the difference from plants and animals…right? It was announced last week that sea anemones are actually half animal, and half plant! Trace explains how something can be both plant and animal, and lists out a few other similar cases.

via DNews Channel.

The Real Reason Your Cat Is A Picky Eater

Cats only have about 500 taste buds, while humans have around 9,000. However, their sense of smell is much stronger than ours, so cats typically enjoy the smell of their food more than the actual taste.

via Animalist Network.

Sea Turtles Can Cross Entire Oceans

Sea turtles live in almost every ocean basin throughout the world, nesting on tropical and subtropical beaches.

via Discovery World Safari.

Ask Doctor Jo - Knee Bursitis Stretches & Exercises

Doctor Jo shows you some simple stretches and exercises to help with suprapatellar, prepatellar, and infrapatellar knee bursitis.

via Ask Doctor Jo.

How Bionic Plants Will Change Everything!

Robots seem to be becoming more and more popular, as they make our lives easier and more efficient. Robots surrounded by organic material have made their way into pop culture with movies like Robocop. What would happen if we made a bionic plant? Trace reports on some new research showing how these genetically engineered plants will change the world!

via DNews Channel.


Ophthalmologist Geoff Tabin has performed thousands of cataract surgeries and has created systems to facilitate many thousands more through the Himalayan Cataract Project. In this ​video, courtesy of the Himalayan Cataract Project, Dr. Tabin ​helps a young woman with a damaged cornea, and witnesses an unforgettable transformation.

via NOVA’s Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers.

Why are some animals so ugly?

We reveal why some animals are considered ugly!

via Earth Unplugged TV.

What Happens When I Have A Hangover?

If you’ve ever had a few too many beers at a party, then you’ve probably encountered the symptoms of a hangover — the pulsing headache, dry mouth, nausea and more. But what’s actually happening to you? And what is it about alcohol that can turn a wonderful Saturday night into an agonizing Sunday morning? Learn more with Ben Bowlin.

via Brain Stuff.

Sleep: Men vs. Women

Men tend to need less sleep than women, but insomnia affects more women. What gives? Cristen explores the science how biological sex interacts with sleep.

via Stuff Mom Never Told You.

X-ray movie shows how fly beats its wings

Peering inside a living blowfly during flight reveals the intricate muscle movement involved.

Full story:

via New Scientist Video.

Debunking the AIDS Denialist Movie House of Numbers - Part 6 - HIV

James from the History of Infection talks about HIV replication and the evidence we have for its existence.


via Myles Power.

A Week in Science- Chocolate Coated Science

Could chocolate be good for your health? We look at why our favourite sweet treat may be good for us, in moderation of course!

You can follow A Week in Science throughout the week on Twitter, and join the discussion, by following @RiAus

For more information visit

via RiAus.

The Milk-Industrial Complex

Readers of Aaron’s blog know of his beef with the milk industrial complex. Why does milk, of all beverages, get a pass in our efforts to reduce everyone’s caloric intake? Why is it encouraged, when all others are shunned? Is it because you need the calcium? Is it because it makes your bones stronger? Watch, and learn why the milk emperor has no clothes.

References can be found here:

via The Healthcare Triage.