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Reanimating pig brains, plastic bag bans, and the psychology of break ups!

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Chantelle, Tim and Nick had a chat about activity after “death” in pigs’ brains, the UK’s ban on plastic bags and questioned; is love the same as cocaine?

Saving swine

Tim started off with some ground-breaking research about apparently dead pigs’ brains showing signs of cellular life after being bathed in artificial fluid. 32 of the 300 pigs’ brains, collected from the slaughterhouse four hours after their demise, were put in the BrainEx system. The brains amazingly showed metabolic activity and some nerve cells used for complex thinking still appeared healthy. The brains not in the BrainEx system deteriorated.

This research could be the start of approaches that restore function to human brains. However, it comes with some very interesting ethical questions… If the brain tissue is still showing activity should it be considered dead or alive?

DEAD OR ALIVE Ten hours after death, cells in a pig brain normally deteriorate (left). But a new system called BrainEx kept nerve cells (green) and support cells called astrocytes (red) healthy (right)

From brains to bags; Nick talks about how the UK has made a start at tackling the plastic problem and how Australia is following suit…

Poor poor plastic

In October 2015 the UK introduced a charge for single use plastic bags. The response from the public was incredible. Results from a survey showed that average frequency of plastic bag use fell from “sometimes” to “very rarely”. This marked a decrease from 48% to 17% of shoppers using plastic bags in less than a year!

In Australia Coles and Woolies have followed UK lead, introducing a small fee for plastic bags. All states have implemented a successful ban on plastic bags bar our very own NSW!

Cocaine, Coffee and Cuddles

Slightly changing the tone, Chantelle gives us a whirlwind explanation into how love for someone could have the same addictive effects as substances such as caffeine and cocaine. A study used  magnetic resonance imaging of volunteers who have recently been rejected by a partner but are still intensely in love with them. There was shown to be activation of areas involved in cocaine addiction which might help explain someone’s apparently crazy and erratic behaviour after a break up.

So, if anyone ever tells you you’re being a psycho after a breakup tell them science made you do it. Not your fault!

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