Catnip is for pleasure and purpose, according to a new study

The main bioactive compound in catnip seems to protect cats from mosquitoes. It might protect humans, too.

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  • For centuries, humans have observed that cats exhibit strange behaviors when exposed to catnip and silver vine.
  • A new study examined how the main bioactive compound in these plants affects cats' opioid systems and protects them against mosquito bites.
  • The findings suggest that the compound nepetalactol could be used to develop new mosquito repellents for humans.
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Photo: Alexey Protasov / Adobe Stock
  • Charles Darwin speculated that wingless insects thrived on windy islands so they wouldn't be blown off the land.
  • While the reasoning was slightly faulty, researchers have now proved Darwin's 165-year-old "wind hypothesis."
  • This finding is yet another example of how environments shape the animals that inhabit them.
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Lair of giant predator worms from 20 million years ago found

Scientists discover burrows of giant predator worms that lived on the seafloor 20 million years ago.

Credit: Rickard Zerpe / Flickr
  • Scientists in Taiwan find the lair of giant predator worms that inhabited the seafloor 20 million years ago.
  • The worm is possibly related to the modern bobbit worm (Eunice aphroditois).
  • The creatures can reach several meters in length and famously ambush their pray.
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Spinal cord injury breakthrough makes paralyzed mice walk again

Scientists regenerate damaged spinal cord nerve fibers with designer protein, helping paralyzed mice walk again.

Credit: Lehrstuhl für Zellphysiologie
  • Researchers from Germany use a designer protein to treat spinal cord damage in mice.
  • The procedure employs gene therapy to regenerate damaged nerve fibers that carry signals to and from the brain.
  • The scientists aim to eventually apply the technique to humans.
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10 things you may not know about anxiety

Cold hands and feet? Maybe it's your anxiety.

Credit: Antonioguillem / Adobe Stock
  • When we feel anxious, the brain's fight or flight instinct kicks in, and the blood flow is redirected from your extremities towards the torso and vital organs.
  • According to the CDC, 7.1% of children between the ages of 3-17 (approximately 4.4 million) have an anxiety diagnosis.
  • Anxiety disorders will impact 31% of Americans at some point in their lives.
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