PLoS ONE News and Blog Round-Up

This month in PLoS ONE:  Internet addiction, the world’s smallest vertebrate, zombie bees and more!

Chinese researchers scanned the brains of 17 young individuals with clinical internet addiction disorder (IAD) and found that these web addicts had diminished brain volume in certain areas, most notably white matter.  These brain changes are similar to those hooked on other drugs such as heroin or alcohol. ABC News, BBC News, and Forbes covered this article.

At an average body size of 7.7 mm, one team of scientists working in New Guinea believes to have discovered the world’s smallest vertebrate.  These frogs, scientifically named, Paedophryne amauensis, live in the moist leaf litter on floors of tropical wet-forests, and two of them can fit comfortably on your thumbnail or a dimeThis article was covered by FOX News, CNN, and Scientific American.

“Zombie” bees in the San Francisco bay area have been leaving their hives, walking around in circles with no apparent sense of direction, and collapsing dead to the ground.  These symptoms imitate colony collapse disorder, (CCD) where honey bees inexplicably disappear from their colony.  For several years, the US honey bee population has been declining, and researchers from San Francisco State University found that a parasitic fly, Apocephalus borealis, may be responsible for CCD in Northern California.  The fly is a known parasite in bumble bees but the scientists used genetic analysis to confirm the parasite in the honey bees and bumble bees was the same species.  This article was covered by NPR, Nature, and USA TODAY. The image above is courtesy Christopher Quock and can be found in the manuscript.

A new study finds that men and women have very different personality traits using personality measurements from more than 10,000 people, approximately half men and half women.  The researchers of the article believe that the extent of sex differences in human personality have been underestimated because most previous researchers have focused on one trait at a time and because they failed to correct for measurement error.  MSNBC, Times of India, and FOX News covered this article.

Why do dung beetles dance?  Scientists reveal that dances are elicited when the dung beetles lose control of their ball or lose contact with it altogether.  However, for the most part, the beetles manage to roll their ball in a near perfect straight line using polarized light.  This article was covered by Scientific American, National Geographic, and Live Science.

For more in-depth coverage on news and blog articles about PLoS ONE papers, please visit our Media Tracking Project.

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