Fear & Lunar Formation | SciByte 104

Fear & Lunar Formation | SciByte 104

We take a look at sleeping away fear, lunar formation, neonatal hypoglycemia, sending messages to interstellar space, viewer feedback, Curiosity news, and as always take a peek back into history and up in the sky this week.

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— Show Notes —

Sleep and Fear

  • A fear memory was reduced in people by exposing them to the memory over and over again while they slept
  • The Study
  • Scientists have shown that sleep is very important for strengthening new memories
  • Previous projects have shown that spatial learning and motor sequence learning can be enhanced during sleep
  • If the results of this new study continue to show promising results it will be the first time that emotional memory have been manipulated in humans during sleep
  • What it Could Mean
  • It offers the potential of a new way to enhance typical daytime treatments of phobias, through exposure therapy by adding a nighttime component
  • If it can be extended to pre-existing fear, the bigger picture is that, perhaps, the treatment of phobias can be enhanced during sleep.\”
  • The Test
  • 15 healthy human subjects received mild electric shocks while seeing two different faces
  • Subjects also received different odorants to smell with each face such as woody, clove, new sneaker, lemon or mint
  • This caused the brain to associate the faces and corresponding smells with fear
  • During the slow wave sleep state, when memory consolidation is thought to occur, a smell was represented without the corresponding face and shock
  • When a given smell was reintroduced during sleep, it was activating the memory of that face over and over again
  • The Results
  • When the subjects woke up they saw the face linked to the smell they had been exposed to during sleep
  • Their fear reactions were lower than their fear reactions to the other face
  • Fear was measured in two ways, through small amounts of sweat in the skin, similar to a lie detector test and through neuroimaging with fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging).
  • The fMRI results showed changes in regions associated with memory and changes in patterns of brain activity in regions associated with emotion
  • These brain changes reflected a decrease in reactivity that was specific to the targeted face image associated with the odorant presented during sleep
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • First evidence that fear memories can be reduced during sleep | MedicalXpress.com


Lunar Formation and Age

  • New research suggests that the moon is younger than scientists had previously believed
  • Current Leading Lunar Formation Theory
  • Suggest that the Moon was created when a mysterious planet, one the size of Mars or larger, slammed into the Earth about 4.56 billion years ago, just after the solar system came together
  • New analyses of lunar rocks suggest that the moon, is actually between 4.4 billion and 4.45 billion years old
    +This analysis would mean the moon would 100 million years younger than previously thought and would reshape scientists\’ understanding of the early Earth
  • Opens New Questions
  • Giving the Earth another 100 million years of development before a giant impact could have provided enough time for a primordial atmosphere to develop
  • If that did have time to occur, could an impact have been able to \’blown off\’ that atmosphere
  • Age of Smaller Solar System Bodies
  • Scientists are very sure that the solar system\’s age is 4.568 billion years
  • They can pin down the formation times of relatively small bodies such as asteroids precisely
  • By noting when these objects underwent extensive melting, from the heat generated by the collision and fusion of these objects\’ building-block \”planetesimals.\”
  • Analysis of meteorites that came from the asteroid Vesta and eventually rained down on Earth reveals that the 330-mile-wide (530 kilometers) space rock is 4.565 billion years old
  • Vesta cooled relatively quickly and is too small to have retained enough internal heat to drive further melting or volcanism
  • Age of Larger Solar System Bodies
  • The age of larger solar-system bodies is harder to narrow down
  • Earth likely took longer to grow to full size compared to a small asteroid like Vesta
  • Every step in its growth tends to erase, or at least cloud, earlier events
  • Lunar formation Impact Event
  • Currently the \’lunar formation impact event\’ puts the age of the Moon at around 4.56 billion years ago
  • As scientists refine techniques and technology improves, estimates are pushing the moon\’s formation date farther forward in time
  • The moon is thought to have harbored a global ocean of molten rock shortly after its formation
  • Currently, the most precisely determined age for the lunar rocks that arose from that ocean is 4.360 billion years
  • Here on Earth, scientists have found signs in several locations of a major melting event that occurred around 4.45 billion years ago
  • Evidence is building that the catastrophic collision that formed the moon and reshaped Earth occurred around that time, rather than 100 million years or so before
  • Multimedia
  • YouTube | Where Did The Moon Come From? – Do We Really Need the Moon? – Preview – BBC Two | BBC
  • YouTube | The formation of the Moon | piesforyou
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • The Moon Is 100 Million Years Younger Than Thought | Space.com


Infant Blood Sugar

  • Newborns with low blood sugar sometimes have to go to the intensive care unit for intravenous infusions of glucose
  • A new study has found that rubbing a sweet gel onto the insides of babies’ cheeks can also help with low blood sugar
  • Neonatal Hypoglycemia
  • Low blood sugar in newborns, or neonatal hypoglycemia, occurs when the tiny body needs more glucose to meet energy needs than is available in the bloodstream
  • Prolonged hypoglycemia risks neurological injury.
  • Prevalence
  • Low blood glucose shows up in 5 to 15 percent of otherwise healthy newborns as measured by blood tests
  • Of note, doctors typically don’t run the analysis on every newborn
  • Doctors often only call for blood sugar blood tests if they see symptoms, such as poor color, seizures, irritability, lethargy, jittery behavior and a lack of interest in feeding
  • Although many infants with low blood glucose don’t have such symptoms
  • One report designates at-risk infants as those who are born preterm, have diabetic mothers, or are either large or small for their gestational age
  • The Study
  • In the new study, researchers identified 237 apparently healthy newborns who had one of those risk factors or who were feeding poorly
  • Half of the babies were randomly assigned to get a gel made of dextrose, a form of glucose, rubbed on the inner cheeks up to six times over 48 hours; the rest received a placebo gel
  • Results in the Following Week
  • Placebo gel group | 30 babies, 25%, were placed in intensive care for hypoglycemia
  • Dextrose gel group | 16 babies, 13%, were placed in intensive care for hypoglycemia
  • Previous Usage
  • Dextrose had been tried in the 1990s as an oral rub for infants but wasn’t fully tested or put into widespread use
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Dextrose rub helps newborns with low blood sugar | Body & Brain | Science News

New Horizons Message Initiative

  • SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) have created a petition called the New Horizons Message Initiative
  • This petition is asking NASA officials to upload a yet-to-be-determined crowdsourced message from humanity onto the New Horizons craft after its encounter with the Pluto system
  • \”This website is an opportunity for anyone who is interested to sign a petition that asks NASA to approve the future use of the spacecraft\”
  • Were There Plans About This from NASA?
  • Before New Horizons launched, NASA officials discussed including an onboard message, but decided against it due to a small team on a tight budget
  • The team didn\’t want to get distracted from the project
  • New Horizons Message Initiative
  • The group would need formal permission from the agency and sub-support to make this happen
  • NASA funds will not be used for the project, but initiative officials are asking for support from private individuals.
  • The idea is to use some of the spacecraft\’s memory to store messages from earthlings beamed up to the probe, when New Horizons completes its mission
  • They say that it might be possible to reprogram about 100 megabytes of its memory and upload a new sights and sounds of Earth
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Want to Phone Aliens? Help Get Your Messages On NASA\’s Pluto-Bound Spacecraft | Space.com
  • New Horizons Message Initiative
  • Twitter | New Horizons Message @NewHorizonsMsg


Lightsaber Tech?!?!?!

  • Viewer Feedback : Check This Out
  • Nikki, Summer SciByte co-host, current STOked radio co-host
  • What’s Going On?
  • Researchers have found a way to bind photons together much like molecules
  • This discovery goes against what scientists previously understood of photons: that elementary light particles are massless loners that do not interact with each other.
  • Most of the properties of light we know about originate from the fact that photons are massless, and that they do not interact with each other
  • The Test
  • Researchers fired a couple of photons into a cloud of rubidium – a chemical element belonging to the metal group – in a vacuum chamber cooled to just a few degrees above absolute zero.
  • When the photons exited the other side of the cloud of atoms the researchers were surprised to see the pair emerge as a single molecule.
  • The cloud they passed through is a special type of medium in which photons interact with each other strongly that they begin to act as though they have mass, and they bind together to form molecules
  • Rydberg Blockade
  • Rydberg blockade states that when an atom has energy imparted to it, nearby atoms cannot be excited to the same degree
  • The pair of photons moved through the cloud of atoms, the first photon excited atoms, but had to move forward before the second photon could do the same.
  • The pair of photons pushed and pulled each other through the cloud like atomic interaction, which made these two photons behave like a molecule
  • The Future
  • The team is hoping to use their newly discovered state of matter in the advancement of quantum computing
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Researchers at Harvard University and MIT discover previously unobserved state of matter by binding photons together into molecules, creating real-life \’lightsaber\’ | CTVNews

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Looking back

  • Oct 04, 1958 : 55 years ago : Sputnik : The Space Age began as the Soviet Union, to the dismay of the United States, launched Sputnik, the first manmade satellite, into orbit around the earth. The craft circled the earth every 95 minutes at almost 20,000 miles per hour 500 miles above the Earth. The Sputnik (meaning \”companion\” or \”fellow traveller\”) was launched from Kazakhstan. It stayed in orbit for about three months. Sputnik fell from the sky on 4 Jan 1958. The 184-lb satellite had transmitted a radio signal picked up around the world, and instrumentation for temperature measurement
  • Wikipedia Sputnik

Looking up this week

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