Weekly News Bites: Screentime brains, constipation relief, and a detachable rear end

Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are screentime changing children’s brains, a bacterium that can help reduce toilet time, and a reproductive strategy that is definitely not the butt of the joke.

We know that a lot of screentime can affect children’s behaviors. The Education University of Hong Kong and Shanghai Normal University have now also shown that digital activities actually alter parts of their brains. The team studied 23 years of neuroimaging research and over 33 studies to find alterations in the prefrontal cortex and temporal lobes. Aspects that were changed included impulse control, attention, and cognitive functions; however some studies found that these might actually be enhanced when used to play video games.

Kindai University has announced successful aquaculture of endangered Japanese eels over their full life cycle. The number of these eels has been declining and aquaculture has been difficult to achieve. Though some agencies have claimed successful aquaculture, this is possibly a world-first by an academic institution.

Constipation is a common and uncomfortable condition that can be brought on by many factors. To relieve it, laxatives are often used but they can flush the gut of good bacteria. Scientists from Jiangnan University, the University of Hong Kong, and Hainan University have identified a bacterium with genes that can help with constipation, without upsetting the balance of the gut microbiome.

Lanzhou University researchers have developed a wireless power system for small implants like biosensors and drug delivery implants. The unit can both store and provide energy as it has a storage module and can be connected to the desired device. The power system is also flexible, being able to bend with the body.

The Japanese green syllid worm can perform an amazing trick: detaching its rear end to go off and find a mate. University of Tokyo scientists have mapped the gene expression of this worm to try and find out more about this reproductive strategy. The worm develops a detachable butt filled with eggs or sperm. This little section also has eyes and antennae, enabling it to search for a mate while the rest of the worm can stay safely in hiding.