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Weekend Links: We Might All Have Synesthesia, How Female Parakeets Look for Intelligent Mates and More

The Right Way to Use a Public Bathroom (to Avoid Getting Sick) Melinda Wenner Moyer writing for The New York Times What, if anything, can we do to minimize our exposure to germs when we have to relieve ourselves in public? I called a handful of experts — it’s fun to ask total strangers about […]

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Scientists Find Physical Activity Could Prevent Depression

Researchers from the Psychiatric & Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit at Mass General recently published a study in JAMA Psychiatry that set out to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between exercise and depression.

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Mass General Research Roundup for April 2019

Chronic health problems for individuals in recovery from substance use disorder, 3D mammography in older women and how oxytocin acts on food receptors in the brain.

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The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) — a planet-scale array of eight ground-based radio telescopes forged through international collaboration — was designed to capture images of a black hole. In coordinated press conferences across the globe, EHT researchers revealed that they succeeded, unveiling the first direct visual evidence of the supermassive black hole in the centre of Messier 87 and its shadow. The shadow of a black hole seen here is the closest we can come to an image of the black hole itself, a completely dark object from which light cannot escape. The black hole’s boundary — the event horizon from which the EHT takes its name — is around 2.5 times smaller than the shadow it casts and measures just under 40 billion km across. While this may sound large, this ring is only about 40 microarcseconds across — equivalent to measuring the length of a credit card on the surface of the Moon. Although the telescopes making up the EHT are not physically connected, they are able to synchronize their recorded data with atomic clocks — hydrogen masers — which precisely time their observations. These observations were collected at a wavelength of 1.3 mm during a 2017 global campaign. Each telescope of the EHT produced enormous amounts of data – roughly 350 terabytes per day – which was stored on high-performance helium-filled hard drives. These data were flown to highly specialised supercomputers — known as correlators — at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy and MIT Haystack Observatory to be combined. They were then painstakingly converted into an image using novel computational tools developed by the collaboration.

Weekend Links: Our Brains Are Getting Smaller, the Secret Code of Sea Shells, the Proper Way to Nap and More

Welcome to Weekend Links, a collection of fascinating science stories from across the web, curated by your science-loving friends at the Mass General Research Institute.

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Are You an Early Bird or a Night Owl? Study Finds Early Birds Have Lower Rates of Depression

Some people wake up early like clockwork with a chipper attitude and are eager to start the day. Then there those who have a bit of a slower start, but stay up till the wee hours claiming they’re most productive at night. Sound familiar? It turns out those waking habits may be embedded in our genes, […]

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Could Bacterial Changes in the Blood Play a Role in Celiac Disease?

A recent research study from Massachusetts General Hospital points to an intriguing new way to look at celiac disease—by studying its connection to bacterial changes in the blood.

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Weekend Links: Corn Turns Wild Hamsters into Cannibals, Earth’s Weirdest Creatures, Why Anyone Can Be a Scientist and More

Welcome to Weekend Links, a collection of fascinating science stories from across the web, curated by your science-loving friends at the Mass General Research Institute.

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Five Things to Know: What Causes Night Sweats and How Do You Treat Them?

Two Mass General clinicians were recently featured in an article about the causes of night sweats and how to treat them. Here are five things to know.

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Fitness Trackers Monitor Our Physical Health, But Could They Monitor Our Mental Health Too?

Diagnosis and treatment for mental health disorders can be a time and resource-intensive process for patients and providers alike. Could data from digital fitness trackers help?

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Weekend Links: What Causes the Urge for Late-night Snacking, Hip-hop Music Makes for Tastier Cheese and More

Welcome to Weekend Links, a collection of fascinating science stories from across the web, curated by your science-loving friends at the Mass General Research Institute.

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