Weekend Links: How Pets Help Our Brains, A Stomach Virus’ Secret Weapon, and More

Welcome to Weekend Links, a look some of our favorite science stories from across the web!

Love at First Swipe: Thanks to dating apps, we’re now making split-second love-life decisions based on a few photos and a brief bio. But what is going on in our brain when we’re swiping left or right?

Babies Learn About Eye Contact Early in Life – As infants, we absorb any information our surroundings have to offer, including learning how our families communicate and socialize. A new study shows that socializing is an important human behavior for brain development, even for infants.

Ba-Boom! There Goes Your Hearing – Among both American troops and civilians, noise-induced hearing loss has become a common ailment. Now a major step has been taken toward understanding the precise mechanisms of injury from loud blasts. Along with that discovery comes an intriguing opportunity to intervene and preserve hearing.

Scientists Discover The Secret Weapon Of Stomach Viruses – Researchers have discovered why some stomach bugs hit us so hard — and spread so fast. New research found that stomach infections, like norovirus and rotavirus, are more contagious and more potent when the virus particles cluster together. These findings may help treat — and even prevent — these viruses more effectively.

What’s Really Going On When You Die? –  Canadian doctors at the University of Western Ontario have observed that brain activity can carry on long after life support systems are turned off. The chilling new research finds that our brains can work for as long as 10 minutes after we pass and, during that time, exhibit the same waves — known as delta waves — living people experience during dreams and deep sleep.

How Pets Help Our Brains –  More than 180 million companion animals, as they’re called in scientific research, live with us in U.S. households. It seems obvious that the furry friends we’ve chosen to bring into our lives would make us happy, but the science shows that it goes deeper — and the connection comes straight from our brains.

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