Latest from Nature Communications 18 October 2011: telling time apart and treating drug addiction

This press release contains:

--- Summaries of newsworthy papers:

> Telling quantum and relativistic time apart

> Forgetting memories

--- Mention of papers to be published at the same time with the same embargo

--- Geographical listing of authors

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[1] Telling quantum and relativistic time apart
DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1498

A test for distinguishing between the quantum and relativistic interpretations of time is proposed in Nature Communications this week. This could pave the way to measuring how quantum effects alter the general relativistic notion of time.

According to general relativity, time flows at different rates depending on the geometry of space-time. While this has been precisely verified by experiments, it has never been tested when quantum effects are relevant. Magdalena Zych and colleagues devise such a test for a particle with an evolving internal degree of freedom– in effect a quantum clock – and predict that its behaviour in a gravitational potential can only be explained using the general relativistic notion of time.

Because quantum mechanics and general relativity are based on different premises, this proposal could have far-reaching implications for physicists’ understanding of their interplay.


Magdalena Zych (University of Vienna, Austria)
Tel: +43 1 4277 72583; E-mail: [email protected]


[2] Forgetting memories
DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1515

Rewarding memories, related to food addiction, can be erased in rats through training suggests research published this week in Nature Communications. These findings may in future have important implications for the treatment of drug addiction.

Memory reconsolidation, or the reactivation of a memory followed by extinction is known to erase fear memories. Jonathan Lee and colleagues show that this procedure can also erase food memories in rats. Rats were trained to poke their noses into a feeder to receive food; this was associated with a light stimulus. To reactivate the memory, for 10 minutes the rats still received the light stimulus but did not receive the food,. The team found that when this procedure was carried out over a 60-70 minute period the memory was extinguished.

With further research, these findings may be translatable to a clinical setting.


Jonathan Lee (University of Birmingham, UK)
Tel: +44 121 414 2607; E-mail: [email protected]


[3] Proliferating versus differentiating stem and cancer cells exhibit distinct midbody-release behaviour
DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1511

[4] Superconductivity at 5 K in alkali-metal-doped phenanthrene
DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1513

[5] Field-effect reconfigurable nanofluidic ionic diodes
DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1514

[6] Engineering modular and orthogonal genetic logic gates for robust digital-like synthetic biology
DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1516



The following list of places refers to the whereabouts of authors on the papers numbered in this release. For example, London: 4 - this means that on paper number four, there will be at least one author affiliated to an institute or company in London. The listing may be for an author's main affiliation, or for a place where they are working temporarily. Please see the PDF of the paper for full details.

Vienna: 1

Anhui: 4

Paris: 6

Dresden: 3

Birmingham: 2
London: 6

New Haven: 5


From North America and Canada
Neda Afsarmanesh, Nature New York
Tel: +1 212 726 9231; E-mail: [email protected]

From Japan, Korea, China, Singapore and Taiwan
Mika Nakano, Nature Tokyo
Tel: +81 3 3267 8751; E-mail: [email protected]

From the UK
Rachel Twinn, Nature, London
Tel: +44 20 7843 4658; E-mail: [email protected]

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Published: 19 Oct 2011

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