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Scientists Discover Cinnamon Compounds’ Potential Ability to Prevent Alzheimer’s

Two compounds found in cinnamon—cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin—are showing some promise in the effort to fight Alzheimer’s. The compounds may prevent the development of the “tangles” found in the brain cells that characterize Alzheimer’s. The use of cinnamaldehyde has proven effective in preventing the knots. Epicatechin—present in other foods like blueberries, chocolate and red wine—is a powerful antioxidant.

Scientists Find Resilience in Shelled Plants Exposed to Ocean Acidification

A group led by UC Santa Barbara Professor Debora Iglesias-Rodriguez has found a point of resilience against fossil fuel emissions in a microscopic shelled plant. The group discovered that one tiny species had bigger shells in higher carbon dioxide seawater conditions, suggesting that the future of ocean life may not be so bleak.

Planck Mission Brings Universe Into Sharp Focus

The Planck space mission has released the most accurate and detailed map ever to show the oldest light in the universe, revealing new information about its age, contents, and origins. Five UC Santa Barbara scientists are part of the Planck team. The results suggest that the universe is expanding more slowly than previously estimated. The data also show that there is less dark energy and more matter in the universe than previously known.

Study Provides a New Framework for Understanding the Energetics of Ionic Liquids

A new study by researchers at UC Santa Barbara provides clues into the understanding of the behavior of the charged molecules or particles in ionic liquids. The new framework may lead to the creation of cleaner, more sustainable, and nontoxic batteries, and other sources of chemical power. The research was published in an early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis Finds Tropical Forest Blossoms Are Sensitive to Changing Climate

The North Pole isn't the only place on Earth affected by slight increases in temperature. Until recently, scientific thinking used to posit that tropical forests, which already exist in warm climates, may not be impacted much by climate change. But a new study conducted by UC Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) shows that to be erroneous. In fact, the results indicate that tropical forests are producing more flowers in response to only slight increases in temperature. The findings were published online yesterday in the journal Nature Climate Change.

— From UC Santa Barbara Office of Public Affairs and staff reports