Innate and diet-induced changes in reward area may explain why some mice are prone to overeat — ScienceDaily

A combination of innate differences and diet-induced changes to the reward system may predispose some mice to overeat, according to research recently published in JNeurosci.

Food is fuel, but the rising levels of sugar and fat in modern diets make the brain treat it as a reward. One brain region called the ventral pallidum (VP) serves as a hub between reward areas and the hypothalamus, a region involved in feeding behavior. Intertwining food and reward can lead to overeating and may be a contributing factor to diet-induced obesity.

Gendelis, Inbar, et al. measured electrical activity in the VP of mice with unlimited access to high fat, high sugar food for several months. Eating the unhealthy diet changed the electrical properties of VP neurons: the membrane voltage and firing rate decreased, making it harder for neurons to send messages to each other.

The change was more pronounced in the mice

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Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what happened Nov. 13 with COVID-19 in the Chicago area

The number of new confirmed and probable cases of the coronavirus in Illinois topped 15,000 for the first time Friday, setting a record for the fourth straight day.

The 15,415 cases state public health officials reported Friday are 2,713 more than the previous record set a day earlier. Over the past week, the state is averaging 12,345 cases of COVID-19 per day.

The total number of known infections in Illinois now stands at 551,957 and the statewide death toll is 10,504 since the start of the pandemic, with 27 additional fatalities reported Friday.

The state also updated the data that it posts related to contact tracing, which involves reaching out to people diagnosed with COVID-19, urging them to isolate and asking them where they’ve been and whom they’ve seen during the two weeks prior to their positive test so those people can be asked to quarantine.

The data — covering

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Area bank donates $25,000 for technology equipment at East Grand Forks Senior High School

“I’m in an aerospace class — we’re making gliders and today we cut pieces out of these,” Zukowski explained, holding a strip of balsam wood that will be part of the model.

He demonstrated the use of the machine Thursday, Oct. 22, for visitors, including representatives of Ultima Bank Minnesota, which donated the funds to purchase the machine that can be used for a variety of projects.

The equipment, which can etch wood, plastic, acrylic, glass and metals, is operated with computer software to create and upload designs for the etching process.

Students are “pretty excited” about the machine, Jared Sanger, technology education teacher and head robotics coach.

“(The technology) will allow students to dive into the world of creative design,” Sanger said. “Literally anything they can draw or model can be etched into almost any material with this machine.”

Even students who are not in his classes but have

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New evidence for geologically recent earthquakes near Portland, Oregon metro area — ScienceDaily

A paleoseismic trench dug across the Gales Creek fault, located about 35 kilometers (roughly 22 miles) west of Portland, Oregon, documents evidence for three surface-rupturing earthquakes that took place about 8,800, 4,200 and 1,000 years ago.

The findings, published in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, suggest that earthquakes occur about every 4,000 years on the fault. If the full 73-kilometer (45 miles) fault were to rupture, the result could be a magnitude 7.1 to 7.4 earthquake that would pose significant seismic hazard to the Portland metro area, according to Alison Horst and her colleagues.

By comparison, the 1993 Scotts Mills earthquake about 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Portland was a magnitude 5.7 earthquake, and caused damages totaling about $30 million, the researchers noted.

The region is part of the seismically active Cascadia subduction zone, where the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate bends beneath the North

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Bay Area Science Festival Goes Virtual for 10th Year of the Community Event

man holds a 3d-printed human spine model

The UCSF Maker’s Lab, which gives the University the ability to create tools and use technology such as 3D printing, will be one of the virtual tours offered during the 2020 Bay Area Science Festival. Photo by Susan Merrell

The 10th annual Bay Area Science Festival, Northern California’s largest free educational event, is going virtual in 2020 with more than 125 all-ages experiences you can access from your home.

Being held from Oct. 21-15, the festival will feature current-event forums, games and contests, and active explorations to bring together scientists, families, youth and adults to experience the wonder of science.
“We had an overwhelming response to transforming the festival from in-person to virtual, resulting in a huge collection of fun, fascinating and unexpected opportunities for people of all ages to discover science together,” said Katherine Nielsen, co-founder of UC San Francisco’s Science & Health Partnership, which organizes the event in

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