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Study says brain size of animals does matter

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New York: Animal brain size estimates its problem-solving ability, says a study.

Species with large brains were more successful than species with relatively small brains, the study revealed.

“The results of this study provides important support for the claim that brain size reflects an animal’s problem-solving abilities and enhances our understanding of why larger brains evolved in some species,” said Sarah-Benson-Amram, assistant professor at the University of Wyoming in the US.

Species that are more social or live in big social groups are not necessarily better problem-solvers than those that live alone, highlighted the study.

The study represented a step forward in understanding the evolution of problem-solving in mammalian carnivores, researchers revealed in the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers tested 140 zoo animals from 39 mammalian carnivore species with a problem-solving task.

Animals such as river otters, wolves, bears, African wild dogs and cheetahs tried to open steel mesh “puzzle boxes” baited with food and adjusted to their body size.

The animals opened the puzzle box using a lever, and if they were successful, they received a food reward in the box.

Overall, 35 percent of animals successfully solved the puzzle, with bears as the most triumphant at completing the task 70 percent of the time. Meerkats and mongooses were the least successful.

Although these species also differed in body size, it was their brain size relative to how big they were that primarily influenced whether they solved the puzzle.

Variables such as the social group size for animals, their manual dexterity or work effort failed to predict success at opening the boxes, the study showed.(IANS)

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Study- Fluid Drainage System in Brain Linked to Alzheimer

The study demonstrated that meningeal lymphatic vessels in the brain play an essential role in maintaining a healthy homeostasis in ageing brains and could be a new target for the treatment

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For the study, published in the journal Nature, the team engineered a hydrogel that can swell those lymphatic vessels.
For the study, published in the journal Nature, the team engineered a hydrogel that can swell those lymphatic vessels. (IANS)

Scientists have identified a fluid drainage system in the brain that sheds light on the underlying mechanisms of brain ageing and age-related Alzheimer’s disease.

The study demonstrated that meningeal lymphatic vessels in the brain play an essential role in maintaining a healthy homeostasis in ageing brains and could be a new target for the treatment.

These vessels drain fluid from the central nervous system into the cervical lymph nodes and dysfunction of that drainage aggravates cognitive decline as well as Alzheimer’s disease pathology.

Moreover, when the healthy aged mice were treated with a molecule that increased meningeal lymphatic vessel size and fluid flow within those vessels, the mice showed improved performance on learning and memory tasks.

“As you age, the fluid movement in your brain slows, sometimes to a pace that’s half of what it was when you were younger,” said Jennifer Munson, Assistant Professor at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), in the US.

alzheimers
The study demonstrated that meningeal lymphatic vessels in the brain play an essential role in maintaining a healthy homeostasis in ageing brains. Pixabay

“We discovered that the proteins responsible for Alzheimer’s actually do get drained through these lymphatic vessels in the brain along with other cellular debris, so any decrease in flow is going to affect that protein build-up,” she added.

For the study, published in the journal Nature, the team engineered a hydrogel that can swell those lymphatic vessels.

As a result of the treatment, the bulk flow of fluid in the brain actually increased, and that seemed to have a positive effect on cognitive abilities.

Also Read: A Landmark Study Links Herpes 6 and 7 with Alzheimer’s Disease

Munson noted that older mice with normal, age-impaired cognitive abilities experienced the biggest gains in memory and learning from the treatment.

“Our results showed that someday this method could be used as a potential treatment to help alleviate the effects not only of Alzheimer’s, but also other age-related cognitive ailments,” Munson said. (IANS)

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