Thirst is a vital primordial emotion that motivates fluid intake to compensate for incessant water loss incurred as a result of breathing, sweating, and urine production. Indeed, the maintenance of adequate hydration is a prerequisite for life and, accordingly, the desire to drink emerges as soon as the body's water content declines by 1 to 2%, and this feeling intensifies progressively with further depletion ( 1 – 3 ). Although regions in the brain that are critical for water intake have been known for more than 60 years, the identification and functional analysis of thirst-related neurons only became possible with the recent advent of genetically targeted photoactivation and photometry, methods that respectively allow manipulation and monitoring of electrical activity in vivo, using fiber-optic microprobes ( 4 – 7 ). On page 1149 of this issue, Allen et al. ( 8 ) reveal the existence of neurons that specifically encode the intensity and aversive quality of thirst within the median preoptic nucleus (MnPO) of the hypothalamus.
On 10 July, researchers in Chile will unveil an online public random number service. Later in July, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will launch its Randomness Beacon as a permanent service, upgrading a pilot program that began in 2013. Brazil, too, is planning ... more
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) commits its 196 nation parties to conserve biological diversity, use its components sustainably, and share fairly and equitably the benefits from the utilization of genetic resources. The last of these objectives was further codified in the Conve ... more
Solar windows turn some of the light shining through into electricity. They've been on the market for years. But many of these windows absorb some visible light, leaving them with a reddish or brownish hue, a trait frowned on by architects. Now, new versions are on the way that absorb invis ... more
Researchers have developed a compound that can transform near-infrared light into broadband white-light, offering a cheap, efficient means to produce visible light. The emitted light is also exceedingly directional, a desirable quality for devices like microscopes that require high spatial ... more