A Conserved Role for Serotonergic Neurotransmission in Mediating Social Behavior in Octopus

Human and octopus lineages are separated by over 500 million years of evolution [1
, 2
] and show divergent anatomical patterns of brain organization [3
, 4
]. Despite these differences, growing evidence suggests that ancient neurotransmitter systems are shared across vertebrate and invertebrate species and in many cases enable overlapping functions [5
]. Sociality is widespread across the animal kingdom, with numerous examples in both invertebrate (e.g., bees, ants, termites, and shrimps) and vertebrate (e.g., fishes, birds, rodents, and primates) lineages [6
]. Serotonin is an evolutionarily ancient molecule [7
] that has been implicated in regulating both invertebrate [8
] and vertebrate [9
] social behaviors, raising the possibility that this neurotransmitter’s prosocial functions may be conserved across evolution. Members of the order Octopoda are predominantly asocial and solitary [10
]. Although at this time it is unknown whether serotonergic signaling systems are functionally conserved in octopuses, ethological studies indicate that agonistic behaviors are suspended during mating [11
, 12
, 13
], suggesting that neural mechanisms subserving social behaviors exist in octopuses but are suppressed outside the reproductive period. Here we provide evidence that, as in humans, the phenethylamine (+/−)-3,4-methylendioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) enhances acute prosocial behaviors in Octopus bimaculoides. This finding is paralleled by the evolutionary conservation of the serotonin transporter (SERT, encoded by the Slc6A4 gene) binding site of MDMA in the O. bimaculoides genome. Taken together, these data provide evidence that the neural mechanisms subserving social behaviors exist in O. bimaculoides and indicate that the role of serotonergic neurotransmission in regulating social behaviors is evolutionarily conserved.

The 2016 global and national burden of diabetes mellitus attributable to PM2·5 air pollution

PM
2·5
air pollution is associated with increased risk of diabetes; however, a knowledge gap exists to
further define and quantify the burden of diabetes attributable to PM
2·5
air pollution. Therefore, we aimed to define
the relationship between PM
2·5
and diabetes. We also aimed to characterise an integrated exposure response function
and to provide a quantitative estimate of the global and national burden of diabetes attributable to PM

DMT Models the Near-Death Experience

Near-death experiences (NDEs) are complex subjective experiences, which have been previously associated with the psychedelic experience and more specifically with the experience induced by the potent serotonergic, N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT). Potential similarities between both subjective states have been noted previously, including the subjective feeling of transcending one’s body and entering an alternative realm, perceiving and communicating with sentient ‘entities’ and themes related to death and dying. In this within-subjects placebo-controled study we aimed to test the similarities between the DMT state and NDEs, by administering DMT and placebo to 13 healthy participants, who then completed a validated and widely used measure of NDEs. Results revealed significant increases in phenomenological features associated with the NDE, following DMT administration compared to placebo. Also, we found significant relationships between the NDE scores and DMT-induced ego-dissolution and mystical-type experiences, as well as a significant association between NDE scores and baseline trait ‘absorption’ and delusional ideation measured at baseline. Furthermore, we found a significant overlap in nearly all of the NDE phenomenological features when comparing DMT-induced NDEs with a matched group of ‘actual’ NDE experiencers. These results reveal a striking similarity between these states that warrants further investigation.

The China Study

The health of many westerners has steadily worsened despite big advancements in medicine and healthcare. The rate of diabetes among 30–39 year-olds rose by 70% between 1990 and 1998 and since 1970 cancer rates have risen.

Even modern medicine with all its advancements hasn’t come up with a “magic pill.” Overconfidence in medicine to help us remain healthy doesn’t always seem reliable too because the medication can have severe side-effects.

A way better focus would be to prevent disease instead of waiting for it and then try to solve it. The biggest long-term health factor turns out to be nutrition.

Maintaining a healthy diet has shown to prevent and even reverse early stages of heart diseases.

Comparative efficacy and acceptability of 21 antidepressant drugs for the acute treatment of adults with major depressive disorder: a systematic review and network meta-analysis

Summary
Background Major depressive disorder is one of the most common, burdensome, and costly psychiatric disorders
worldwide in adults. Pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments are available; however, because of
inadequate resources, antidepressants are used more frequently than psychological interventions. Prescription of
these agents should be informed by the best available evidence. Therefore, we aimed to update and expand our previous
work to compare and rank antidepressants for the acute treatment of adults with unipolar major depressive disorder.

Atomic and molecular physics

Atomic and molecular physics it the study of the properties, dynamics and interactions of the basic (but not fundamental) building blocks of matter. A crucial component of this is understanding the behaviour of the electrons that surround the atomic nucleus; these dynamics dominate the way atoms and molecules interact with their environment.

Ultracold atoms serve as ideal systems for precise studies of light-matter interaction. The authors report on absolute strong-field ionization probabilities of rubidium atoms exposed to femtosecond laser pulses and show that Ab-initio theory is in perfect agreement with the data at Keldysh parameters near unity.