Weekly News Bites: Ancient palaces, wandering minds, and healing frog skin

Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are the discovery of an ancient palace that could be connected to Genghis Khan, the joy of letting your mind wander, and a wound dressing made from frog skin that promotes healing.

Taking a lot of naps during the day can be an indicator of poor sleep at night which your body is trying to make up for. Bad sleep over the long term could lead to a higher risk for stroke and high blood pressure, says a study by Xiangya Hospital Central South University.

Archeologists from the Mongolian Academy of Sciences and Izmir Katip Çelebi University have unearthed an ancient palace in Turkey that might be connected to Genghis Khan’s grandson. The few remaining roof tiles feature a symbol which may be one of the power symbols of the Khans. 

In other archeological news, National Tsing Hua University scientists have unearthed possibly the oldest shell tool site in the Pacific region. 51 graves were found which included skeletons, ceremonial coral artifacts and objects made from shells in an area which may have been a shell-processing site 4,000 years ago.

Mosquitoes are responsible for spreading disease in many areas of the world and so it is important to be able to identify which type of bloodsucker has just bitten you! Researchers from  University Malaysia Sabah and the University of Science Malaysia have been building an image library of live and splatted mosquitoes to train an AI to be able to recognise them.

Heatwaves and droughts could become more common and so water could become more difficult to come by and store. A new hydrogel that can absorb and store water from the atmosphere has been developed by Northeastern University in Shenyang China. This hydrogel could help supply drinking water to remote areas or even be used by long-distance hikers.

Sitting down with your own thoughts is more enjoyable than we expect it to be, says research by  Kochi University of Technology, Kyoto University and the University of Tübingen. Participants were asked how much they would enjoy spending time with nothing but their thoughts and rated it lower than their actual enjoyment which was rated after a “thinking period”. Letting your mind wander can have some benefits such as enhancing creativity and problem solving.

The design of various medical materials has taken inspiration from nature, either in the structure or the materials that they are made from. A new wound dressing created by Nanyang Technological Universityuses collagen from frog skin to help speed up the healing process. This biodegradable patch uses skin that would otherwise be discarded.