Short Science, March 8, 2015

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 March, 2015, 8:16am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 March, 2015, 8:16am

LSD imaging study turns to crowdfunding

British scientists are turning to crowdfunding to complete the first scientific study ever to image the brain of someone "tripping" on the psychedelic drug LSD. The study, part of a psychedelic research project the scientists say could revolutionise understanding of the human brain, is led by neuroscientists at Imperial College London who need about £25,000 (HK$294,300) to finish their work. Reuters


Tomb sheds light on Europe's Iron Age trade

A tomb from the fifth century BC, likely that of a Celtic prince, has been unearthed in a French town, shedding light on Iron Age European trade, researchers said. The "exceptional" grave, crammed with Greek and possibly Etruscan artefacts, was discovered on the outskirts of Lavau in France's Champagne region, said the National Archaeological Research Institute, Inrap. A team has been excavating the site since October and have dated it to the end of the First Iron Age. The burial mound, 40 metres across, has at its heart an as-yet unopened 14-square-metre burial chamber, of an ancient VIP, probably a local Celtic prince. Inrap president Dominique Garcia said most exciting find was a large bronze-decorated cauldron that was used to store watered-down wine. It appears to have been made by Etruscan craftsmen from an area that is today in Italy, adding to evidence of trade across Europe. AFP


Lower Alzheimer's risk linked to gout: study

People who suffer from gout can take comfort in one thing: they may be less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, researchers said. The same uric acid that can crystallise to cause gout, a form of arthritis, may protect against Alzheimer's, they wrote in the online journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. Testing a theory that antioxidant properties in uric acid may protect the brain, experts compared data from the United States and Canada on people over the age of 40 with gout, and those without, who developed Alzheimer's disease in a follow-up period of about five years. The researchers identified 309 new cases of Alzheimer's among 59,224 gout sufferers with an average age of 65, and 1,942 cases among 238,805 non-sufferers. This amounted to a 24 per cent lower risk of Alzheimer's disease for people with a history of gout, after factoring in differences in age, gender, bodyweight, lifestyle and health. AFP