Research briefs

Cholesterol link to hearing

Levels of cholesterol in the membranes of hair cells in the inner ear can affect hearing, US research suggests. Depleting levels of cholesterol resulted in hearing loss but adding cholesterol increased hearing. For the study, the researchers manipulated cholesterol levels in outer hair cells of mice (Journal of Biological Chemistry Online 2007).

Generosity 'in the genes'
Some people may be genetically destined to be generous, according to Israeli research. For the study, gene tests revealed that the AVPR1a gene plays a key role in allowing the social bonding hormone vasopressin to act (Genes, Brain and Behaviour Online 2007).

Brain power boosters identified
Researchers from the University of Central Lancashire found that oxytocin, released during sexual intercourse, can improve brain function, as can magnesium from chocolate and protein from cold cuts.

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