Monday, 20 April 2015

Seeing the Changes 956


Warm in Loughor and Bynea, so the Speckled woods (Parage aegeria tircis) made an appearance.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Seeing the Changes 955




Summer must be on the way with the night time visits of the Herald (Scoliopteryx libratrix), Purple thorn (Selenia tetralunaria) and a Peppered moth (Biston betularia).

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Mouse Studies Suggest Alternative Approaches for Alzheimers?


People working on the distressing condition of Alzheimer's disease may be been concentrating on the wrong feature, according to new studies (http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/apr/15/alzheimers-disease-cause-study-caveats-aside-findings-encouraging). To date, scientists have devoted much attention to trying to develop treatments to remove amyloid plaque from the brains of people with the condition (recent studies suggest, unfortunately, that, once the plaque has accumulated, it is too late). One study has recently shown, however, that blocking the uptake of the amino acid arginine by the immune cells that normally protect the brain prevents both the build up of plaque and memory loss in a mouse model. It has been suggested that the build up of pre-plaque sticky proteins destroys memory because the body switches off all neural protein production in an attempt to limit amyloid plaque deposition. If protein production is switched back on, the mice reportedly regained their memories even though their brains appeared abnormal (whether there would be complete recovery of complex memory remains to be assessed). It seems that Altzeimers may be caused by the immune cells protecting the brain going 'rogue'. If this is so, why this happens in some people and not others also needs determining.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Seeing the Changes 954





More flowerings! In Loughor, Shepherd's purse (Capsella bursica) and Common fumatory (Fumaria officinallis) were in bloom. Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum) was out in Bynea.

Monday, 13 April 2015

There's One Born


It's always nice to see ex-students make the big time. Today's 'The One Show' included a quite large section on Dr Dan Forman's studies on the importance of hoverflies as pollinators in the UK. This involved washing the flies to remove pollen from their bodies and then using DNA markers to identify which plants they had been visiting. It appears that these flies are important pollinators especially in the Spring before the bees have got their act together.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Seeing the Changes 953


Cuckoo flower (Cardamine pratensis) was flowering in Loughor.

Saturday, 11 April 2015