The best from the science journals: Story of sleep and sea stars

Here are some of the most interesting research to have appeared in top science journals last week

Rock-a-bye baby

Published in Current Biology

Have trouble sleeping? Buy a rocking bed. Two studies published last week have found out that continuous rocking helps in falling asleep faster and sleeping more soundly. In the first study, 18 adults underwent a sleep monitoring programme in a lab and the researchers noted that the group that slept on a gentle rocking bed had more non-REM deep sleep. The second study carried on mice was able to point out that the rocking promoted sleep through a rhythmic stimulation of the vestibular system(the region in the inner ear that maintains balance).

Expanding jelly tablet

Credit: MIT

Credit: MIT

Credit: MITPublished in Nature Communications

Similar to the growing water jelly balls you have at home, MIT engineers have designed a soft tablet that can grow in your stomach and stay there for about a month. But why? The researchers say that this hydrogel device can be used to closely study the digestive system. It can even help monitor medication-taking patterns, track cancers or ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract

 

King-sized in Kuiper

Published in Nature Astronomy

The Kuiper Belt, the doughnut-shaped ring of icy objects beyond Neptune, has always fascinated astronomers. Believed to be leftovers of the early Solar System, objects floating in this belt help to understand the formation and evolution of our Solar System. Now astronomers have discovered a Kuiper belt object with a radius of about 1.3 km, the largest discovered so far. They hope to decipher more about the growth phase of objects and planets in the outer Solar System.

‘GO dough’ graphene

Credit: Northwestern University

Credit: Northwestern University

 

Credit: Northwestern UniversityPublished in Nature Communications

What happens when scientists awaken the child in them? They create play dough with a twist. A group of researchers from Northwestern University, USA has turned graphene oxide(GO) into a soft dough that can be shaped into 3D structures. The GO dough makes storage and transport of graphene oxide easier. It also has enhanced the mechanical properties of graphene and can be used to make electrocatalysts.

See you, sea stars

The sea star: A side-by-side comparison of two photographs taken near Croker Island in British Columbia. At left, thousands of sunflower sea stars swarm Croker Rock on Oct. 9, 2013. At right, the same site, three weeks later, with the sea stars vanished.

The sea star: A side-by-side comparison of two photographs taken near Croker Island in British Columbia. At left, thousands of sunflower sea stars swarm Croker Rock on Oct. 9, 2013. At right, the same site, three weeks later, with the sea stars vanished.   | Photo Credit: UC Davis

Published in Science Advances

After affecting corals and crustaceans, warming oceans have now led to a massive decline in sea star population. Researchers have pointed out that infectious viral disease and increasing sea surface temperatures are the

main reasons. Divers noted that between 2013 and 2017, the population collapsed and they were unable to find the sea stars in areas where they once reported an abundance of the species.

 

 

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