Emotional response to city design could guide urban planning

Neurologists, architects, artists, and epidemiologists are collaborating to design cities that could be used to improve well-being among older people. Image credit - Senior Guidance, licensed under CCby2.0

by Fintan Burke Virtual reality and scenario-testing models are being built to help urban planners and architects get real-time feedback about the impact of their designs on mental health, particularly for older people.   Europe’s cities are getting greyer. The EU’s 2018 ageing report claims that by 2070, more than half of Europeans will be over … Read more

Coming to a farm near you: The humble microbe boosting Europe’s food industry

Analysing chicken genetics could help identify which strains are more responsive to a particular microbe. Image credit - Pexels, licensed under the pexels licence

By: Alex Whiting Farmers who want to produce bigger chickens, fewer greenhouse gas-filled cow burps or healthier animals are increasingly able to turn to one tiny source: microbes. The microbes – which include a plethora of bacteria, viruses and fungi – have existed for billions of years and live everywhere including in people’s and animals’ … Read more

Link between music and speech rhythm in brain could provide language insight

When a piece of music is played at the wrong tempo it is difficult to recognise because our brain uses rhythm to help make sense of sounds. Image credit - flickr/ Brian Richardson, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Neuroscientist Dr Domenica Bueti often plays an altered version of the classic aria La donna è mobile when she gives talks about the importance of time perception. Her friend’s piano rendition of Giuseppe Verdi’s composition uses the same notes but is played at different speeds. Rarely does anyone ever identify the tune. ‘When I play it with … Read more

‘Browning’ white fat cells opens new avenue to obesity prevention

by: Vittoria D’Alessio Scientists are getting closer to understanding how to turn the body’s energy-storing white fat cells into energy-burning beige fat cells, opening up hopes that fat deposits could one day be deliberately manipulated to prevent obesity and related health conditions. Professor Mirko Trajkovski from the Laboratory of Metabolic Health at Geneva University, Switzerland, … Read more