Also testing alligator hearing using ketamine and headphones, and uncovering the migratory senses in humans

Spaceflight is activating herpes in astronauts

(Ashley Strickland, CNN, 3/18/2019)

NASA researchers determined that spaceflight may cause viruses like herpes, chickenpox, and shingles to activate. Over 100 short and long-term space mission astronauts were tested, and over half were shown to shed viruses after their missions. This was not only an increase over their viral levels before their flights, but also above average for the general population. Stress is the likely cause of virus activation in astronauts.

People can sense Earth’s magnetic field, brain waves suggest

(Maria Temming, Science News, 3/18/19)

It is well known that some animals, particularly migrating birds, can somehow sense the magnetic field of the Earth. Scientists from the California Institute of Technology tested 26 subjects by exposing them to artificially generated magnetic fields at the same strength as the Earth’s natural field. The artificial fields were manipulated to change direction while the subjects’ alpha waves were recorded with an EEG cap. According to the researchers, the alpha waves changed with the direction of the magnetic field.

Alligators given ketamine and headphones by scientists for study

(Harry Cockburn, The Independent, 3/20/19)

In order to model how dinosaurs perceived sounds, scientists sedated alligators with ketamine and played sounds to them through fitted headphones. The order crocodilia, which includes alligators and crocodiles, are the closest living relative to dinosaurs. Birds and crocodilia both descend from the common ancestor clade archosauria, and according to this study, both show similar hearing strategies that likely came from their common ancestor.