Friday September 21, 2018

Decoded: Why Mosquitoes Bite You

For the study, published in the journal Current Biology, the team placed mosquitoes in an insect flight simulator and exposing the mosquitoes to various smells, including human body odors, and observed how the insects, trained or not, reacted

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The study dopamine -- a brain chemical involved in reward learning -- is a key mediator of aversive learning in mosquitoes. Pixabay
The study dopamine -- a brain chemical involved in reward learning -- is a key mediator of aversive learning in mosquitoes. Pixabay
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  • People who swat at mosquitoes or perform other defensive behavior may be abandoned, no matter how sweet
  • The team placed mosquitoes in an insect flight simulator and exposing the mosquitoes to various smells for the study
  • The study was published in the journal Current Biology

Wonder why you receive more bug bites than others around you? It is because, mosquitoes can rapidly learn and remember the smells, researchers have found.

The study dopamine — a brain chemical involved in reward learning — is a key mediator of aversive learning in mosquitoes.

However, people who swat at mosquitoes or perform other defensive behavior may be abandoned, no matter how sweet.

Dopamine modulates the neural activity in the brain region where the information on smell in such a way that odors were easier to discriminate, and potentially learn, by the mosquitoes, the researchers said. Pixabay
Dopamine modulates the neural activity in the brain region where the information on smell in such a way that odors were easier to discriminate, and potentially learn, by the mosquitoes, the researchers said. Pixabay

ALSO READ: $18 Million Donation to Target Mosquito-borne Diseases like Zika in Colombia and Brazil

Mosquitoes exhibit a trait known as aversive learning by training female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to associate odors (including human body odors) with unpleasant shocks and vibrations, said Clement Vinauger, Assistant Professor in Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University or Virginia Tech.

For the study, published in the journal Current Biology, the team placed mosquitoes in an insect flight simulator and exposing the mosquitoes to various smells, including human body odors, and observed how the insects, trained or not, reacted.

“Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing exactly what attracts a mosquito to a particular human — individuals are made up of unique molecular cocktails that include combinations of more than 400 chemicals,” said Chloe Lahondere, Assistant Professor at the varsity.

“However, we now know that mosquitoes are able to learn odors emitted by their host and avoid those that were more defensive,” Lahondere added.

ALSO READ: Dengue stings Delhi as govt sleeps under an opaque mosquito net

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are vectors for Zika fever, dengue fever, chikungunya, and yellow fever viruses, and can be found in tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world. Pixabay
Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are vectors for Zika fever, dengue fever, chikungunya, and yellow fever viruses, and can be found in tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world. Pixabay

 

“Understanding these mechanisms of mosquito learning and preferences may provide new tools for mosquito control,” Vinauger said.

“For example, we could target mosquitoes’ ability to learn and either impair it or exploit it to our advantage,” he noted. (IANS)

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Type 2 Diabetes May Flare Up Due To Ketogenic Diet :Study

"Diabetes is one of the biggest health issues we face. Although ketogenic diets are known to be healthy, findings indicate that there may be an increased risk of insulin resistance with this type of diet that may lead to Type-2 diabetes."

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The researchers assessed the intake of nutrients for four days. Flickr

Consuming a ketogenic diet — high in fat but low in protein and carbohydrates — may increase the risk of developing Type-2 diabetes while helping in weight loss, a new study has claimed, raising questions whether the diet is healthy.

The study conducted on mice showed that animals fed on ketogenic diets appear metabolically healthy in the fasted state after 3 days of dietary challenge, whereas obesogenic high-fat diet fed animals showed elevated insulin levels.

It is because in ketogenic diets, the process for controlling blood sugar levels did not work properly and there was insulin resistance in the liver.

Insulin is released in the blood and used to control blood sugar levels including signalling the liver to stop producing sugar.

keto diet
Ketogenic Diet increases risk of diabetes, while helping in weight loss. Flickr

If this system is impaired and the body does not use insulin properly, which is called insulin resistance, individuals are likely to develop high blood sugar levels, leading to an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, the researchers explained.

“Diabetes is one of the biggest health issues we face. Although ketogenic diets are known to be healthy, our findings indicate that there may be an increased risk of insulin resistance with this type of diet that may lead to Type-2 diabetes, said Christian Wolfrum, Associate Professor at the ETH Zurich in Switzerland.

Also Read: Preventing Type 2 Diabetes With the Help of Weight Loss

For the study, published in the Journal of Physiology, the team involved two mice groups: one fed with a ketogenic diet and other a high fat diet.

The team was able to determine the effects of internal sugar production from the animal (mostly the liver), and sugar uptake into tissues (mostly the muscle), during insulin action.(IANS)