Sizzling Papers of the Week – Nov 29


The Scizzle Team


Choices, Choices…

The decisions we make are influenced not only by the objective pros and cons of each option, but also by subjective evaluations that lead us to prefer one choice over another.  Research published Monday suggested that the home of such subjective preferences in the brain may be the lateral habenula, a region previous thought to be more generally involved in aversion.  Interfering with the lateral habenula’s functioning left rats unable to use subjective preferences, such as favoring large rewards that require more work or small, more easily obtained rewards – to guide their choices, instead reverting to choosing at random.

What’s better for me? Fundamental role for lateral habenula in promoting subjective decision biases , Stopper, Colin M and Floresco, Stan B., Nature Neuroscience, advance online publication November 24 2013


Cholesterol and Breast Cancer Tag Team

High cholesterol and breast cancer are both leading health threats – and now investigators have discovered how the two can work together.  A metabolite of cholesterol, 27HC, increases certain forms of tumor growth and metastasis, an effect that depends on conversion by the cytochrome oxidase CYP27A1.  It turns out that CYP27A1 levels correlate to tumor grade, and inhibiting CYP27A1 reduces the influence of high cholesterol on breast cancer.

27-Hydroxycholesterol Links Hypercholesterolemia and Breast Cancer Pathophysiology, Nelson, Erik R., et a.l, Science, November 29 2013


It’s All in Your Gut (but we’re not talking bacteria this time)

Love can we blind but your visceral isn’t! A 4-year study found that the visceral attitudes, that are not necessary all sweet, can predict if the couple is indeed the “happily ever after” kind of marriage or not. So before you decide to get married – check you gut feeling.

Though They May Be Unaware, Newlyweds Implicitly Know Whether Their Marriage Will Be Satisfying. McNulty JK et al., Science. 2013.


Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Psychoneuroimmu…what? psychoneuroimmunology (PNI). This week Nature took a closer look at the field of PNI which aims to understnad how the nervous and the immune systems interact with each other, or in other words – how one’s mental state can affect the whole body and his/ her health. See how one biologist is trying to tackle this question by sound science.

Immunology: The Pursuit of Happiness. Marchant J. Nature. 2013.