The Psychology Behind Yogurt

Though it might seem odd that a cup of yogurt can influence behavior, scientists are learning that eating probiotics can reduce stress levels—further proof of a strong mind-body connection. 

What's the Latest Development?


Experiments at University College Cork in Ireland have shed light onto the mind-body connection through yogurt, specifically the probiotic bacteria it contains. When researchers fed yogurt to mice and measured their behavior changes, they found that "when probiotic-fed animals were put in stressful conditions, such as being dropped into a pool of water, they were less anxious and released less stress hormone." The probiotics in the yogurt activated GABA, a neurotransmitter that reduces the activity of neurons. 

What's the Big Idea?

The yogurt experiments show that the brain is intimately connected with the body and that neither act independently of the other. But it is not just our digestion track which influences our mind. In experiments where neurological patients are unable to detect changes in their own bodies, like an increased heart rate or sweaty palms, they are also unable to make effective decisions. "When given a simple gambling task, they behave erratically and lose vast sums of money. Because they can’t experience the fleshy symptoms of fear, they never learn from their mistakes."

Unraveling the mystery behind dogs' floppy ears

Dogs' floppy ears may be part of why they and other domesticated animals love humans so much.

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash
Surprising Science
  • Nearly all domestic animals share several key traits in addition to friendliness to humans, traits such as floppy ears, a spotted coat, a shorter snout, and so on.
  • Researchers have been puzzled as to why these traits keep showing up in disparate species, even when they aren't being bred for those qualities. This is known as "domestication syndrome."
  • Now, researchers are pointing to a group of a cells called neural crest cells as the key to understanding domestication syndrome.
Keep reading Show less

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

(VL.ru)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
Keep reading Show less

A dark matter hurricane is crashing into Earth

Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."

Surprising Science
  • A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
  • It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
  • Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Keep reading Show less