Headlines from Around the World: 11/02/14

Nurse Kaci Hickox, who recently returned to the US after treating Ebola patients, went on a bike ride while being followed by a police cruiser and a group of journalists watching her every move. Maine Governor Paul LePage said that he would “exercise the full extent of his authority allowable by law to keep her away from public places.” The governor has not set a court order for a quarantine, which is causing some people living in her neighborhood to panic. However, Hickox insisted that she was healthy. The government has yet to announce actions to be taken.

On the other side of the world, Kim Jong Un has come out from public hiding after six weeks. Kim reappeared October 14, holding a cane in his left hand. South Korean lawmakers announced that Kim Jong Un had surgery done to remove a cyst from his right ankle. Kim is believed to be recovering and South Korean lawmakers said the cyst could recur due to his obesity and heavy schedule.

Researchers at Columbia University have found that increasing dietary cocoa flavors can improve brain function in the region related to memory function. A small study over the course of 3 months had participants drink a specially-formulated, high-flavor beverage with 900 mg of flavors per day, while the other group consumed a low-flavor 10 mg drink each day. Adam Brickman, author of Nature Neuroscience, says, “When we imaged our research subjects’ brains, we found noticeable improvements in the function of the dentate gyrus in those who consumed the high-cocoa-flavor drink.” Principal investigator Scott Small added, “If a participant had the memory of a typical 60-year-old at the beginning of the study, after three months that person on average had the memory of a typical 30- or 40-year-old.” The team’s next step is to relate this experiment with a larger group of test subjects to understand more about the hippocampus and how cocoa affects the memory. However, do note that the chocolate found in the average candy bar only has 5-7% of the cocoa flavor (Columbia University).

In the Idaho reservoirs, paleontologists have discovered the skeleton of a mammoth. They have found its skull, a tusk, and are still digging below for more that could be buried. From the rings in the tusk, the researchers estimated that the mammoth was 16 years old — a fully grown adult — when it died. It was buried 72,000 years ago. In the upcoming months, the team will bring ground-penetrating radar tools to see what actually lies below.

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