10 Science News Roundup #10

Here are 10 science news that I find interesting and important to take note.

Daydreaming is good: It means you’re smart – A new study from the Georgia Institute of Technology suggests that daydreaming during meetings isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It might be a sign that you’re really smart and creative. Science Daily

Transparent solar technology represents ‘wave of the future’ – See-through solar materials that can be applied to windows represent a massive source of untapped energy and could harvest as much power as bigger, bulkier rooftop solar units, scientists report in Nature Energy. Science Daily

Arsenic can cause cancer decades after exposure ends – A new paper published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute shows that arsenic in drinking water may have one of the longest dormancy periods of any carcinogen. By tracking the mortality rates of people exposed to arsenic-contaminated drinking water in a region in Chile, the researchers provide evidence of increases in lung, bladder, and kidney cancer even 40 years after high arsenic exposures ended. Science Daily

What detecting gravitational waves means for the expansion of the universe – Ripples in spacetime travel at the speed of light. That fact, confirmed by the recent detection of a pair of colliding stellar corpses, kills a whole category of theories that mess with the laws of gravity to explain why the universe is expanding as fast as it is. Science News

Nicaragua Joins Paris Agreement Leaving America And Syria Isolated – The world reeled when President Trump announced that America would withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement earlier this year. Despite all the political, environmental, societal, and economic costs of doing so, the White House declared that it would stop all efforts to combat climate change at a federal level. IFLScience

12 Global Cities Unite In Bold Declaration To Make Streets Fossil Fuel-Free By 2030 – The mayors of London, Los Angeles, Paris, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Quito, Vancouver, Mexico City, Milan, Seattle, Auckland, and Cape Town have just committed to a bold plan to clean up their cities’ air and calm the wider threat of climate change. IFLScience

Scientists Have Concluded That The Universe Shouldn’t Really Exist – Scientists just confirmed the problem at the centre of the Universe: it shouldn’t really exist at all. Science Alert

Why haven’t we had alien contact? Blame icy ocean worlds – Might ET be buried under too much ice to phone Earth? That’s what planetary scientist Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, has concluded may be delaying our contact with alien civilizations. Most extraterrestrial creatures are likely deep inside their home planets, in subsurface oceans crusted over in frozen water ice, according to a new proposal at this year’s American Astronomy Society Division for Planetary Sciences meeting in Provo, Utah. The hypothesis could explain the lack of signals from other technologically advanced civilizations, a conundrum known as the Fermi paradox. Science

Sun’s light touch explains asteroids flying in formation behind Mars – The power of sunlight appears to be simultaneously creating and destroying families of asteroids, according to a new study of Mars’s Trojans, asteroids that accompany the planet like planes flying in formation. The result, reported yesterday at the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences meeting in Provo, Utah, solves a minor mystery and could explain the creation of asteroid families in other parts of the solar system. Science

Mating with Neandertals reintroduced ‘lost’ DNA into modern humans – Interbreeding with Neandertals restored some genetic heirlooms that modern humans left behind in the ancient exodus from Africa, new research suggests. Science News

10 Science News Roundup #9

Here are 10 science news that I find interesting and important to take note.

What training exercise boosts brain power best? New research finds out – One of the two brain-training methods most scientists use in research is significantly better in improving memory and attention, Johns Hopkins University researchers found. It also results in more significant changes in brain activity. Science Daily

Brain waves reflect different types of learning – Figuring out how to pedal a bike and memorizing the rules of chess require two different types of learning, and now for the first time, researchers have been able to distinguish each type of learning by the brain-wave patterns it produces. Science Daily

A universal flu shot may be nearing reality – One of the planet’s deadliest viruses makes an annual pass through the United States with little fanfare. It rarely generates flashy headlines or news footage of health workers in hazmat suits. There’s no sudden panic when a sick person shows up coughing and feverish in an emergency room. Yet before next spring, this season’s lethal germ will probably have infected millions of Americans, killing tens of thousands. Still, it’s often referred to as just the flu. Science News

Your eyes make waste. Without it, you could go blind – One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, even at the level of the cell. That’s where—according to new research—a waste product of the retina fuels part of the eye that powers the rods and cones that help us sense light. Without this waste, that part of the eye “steals” glucose from the retina, leading to the death of retinal cells and likely vision loss. The finding could help explain why eyesight degenerates with age—and in diseases such as macular degeneration and diabetes. Science

Was this ancient person from China the offspring of modern humans and Neandertals? – When scientists excavated a 40,000-year-old skeleton in China in 2003, they thought they had discovered the offspring of a Neandertal and a modern human. But ancient DNA now reveals that the “Tianyuan Man” has only traces of Neandertal DNA and none detectable from another type of extinct human known as a Denisovan. Instead, he was a full-fledged member of our species, Homo sapiens, and a distant relative of people who today live in East Asia and South America. The work could help scientists retrace some of the earliest steps of human migration. Science

Blood Transfusions From Some Women Can Be More Dangerous For Men, Says Study – Providing a detailed medical history when donating blood could be more important than we know – and not just when it comes to screening for disease. Science Alert

An Alzheimer’s Drug Has Been Found to Help Teeth Repair Themselves in Just 6 Weeks – Dental fillings may soon be left in the ash heap of history, thanks to a recent discovery about a drug called Tideglusib. Developed for and trialled to treat Alzheimer’s disease, the drug also happens to promote the natural tooth regrowth mechanism in mice, allowing the tooth to repair cavities. Science Alert

In many places around the world, obesity in kids is on the rise – Over the last 40 years, the number of kids and teens with obesity has skyrocketed worldwide. In 1975, an estimated 5 million girls and 6 million boys were obese. By 2016, those numbers had risen to an estimated 50 million girls and 74 million boys, according to a report published online October 10 in the Lancet. While the increase in childhood obesity has slowed or leveled off in many high-income countries, it continues to grow in other parts of the world, especially in Asia. Science News

Having A High IQ Puts You More At Risk Of Mental Illness, Study Finds – If you look at television shows featuring a genius you very quickly see a pattern emerge. Hugh Laurie’s TV-doctor, House, is a medical genius but struggles with severe depression as well as a messiah complex. Sherlock Holmes can solve any case, but has many addictions and may just be a sociopath. Countless TV shows, films, and books all peddle the idea that highly intelligent people are prone to mental illness. IFLScience

Nine Year Study Finally Explains The Relationship Between Sugar And Cancer – Scientists have discovered the exact relationship between sugar and cancer by revealing that the way in which cancer cells break down sugar is linked to the stimulation of tumor growth. Cancer cells tend to produce energy differently from normal cells – they use a process that involves fermentation of glucose into lactate, rather than ordinary respiration. IFLScience

10 Science News Roundup #8

Here are 10 science news that I find interesting and important to take note.

How fever in early pregnancy causes heart, facial birth defects – Duke researchers now have evidence indicating that the fever itself, not its root source, is what interferes with the development of the heart and jaw during the first three to eight weeks of pregnancy. Science Daily

When the brain’s wiring breaks – Among all the bad things that can happen to the brain when it is severely jolted — in a car accident, for example — one of the most common and worrisome is axon damage. Axons are the long stalks that grow out of the bodies of neurons and carry signals to other neurons. They are part of the brain’s “wiring,” and they sometimes grow to amazing lengths — from the brain all the way down to the spinal cord. But axons are thin and fragile. When the brain receives a strong blow, axons are often stressed past their structural limits. They either break or swiftly degenerate. Science Daily

Superbugs may meet their match in these nanoparticles – Antibiotics may have a new teammate in the fight against drug-resistant infections. Researchers have engineered nanoparticles to produce chemicals that render bacteria more vulnerable to antibiotics. These quantum dots, described online October 4 in Science Advances, could help combat pathogens that have developed resistance to antibiotics (SN: 10/15/16, p. 11).

Secret Supereruption That Once Changed The World Found In North America – Yellowstone’s supervolcano gets all the attention these days, but it’s not the only vessel of apocalyptic eruptions. Today, there are several spots around the world that could bring about a game-changing eruption, and volcanologists are always on the hunt for ancient ones that until now have slipped beneath the radar.

Turns Out The Great Barrier Reef Can Actually Heal Itself, But We Have to Help It – he Great Barrier Reef is suffering from recent unprecedented coral bleaching events. But the answer to part of its recovery could lie in the reef itself, with a little help. In our recent article published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, we argue that at least two potential interventions show promise as means to boost climate resilience and tolerance in the reef’s corals: assisted gene flow and assisted evolution.

Bright light therapy at midday helped patients with bipolar depression – Daily exposure to bright white light at midday significantly decreased symptoms of depression and increased functioning in people with bipolar disorder, a recent Northwestern Medicine study found. Science Daily

NASA Is Running Out of The Most Precious Ingredient Needed For Future Space Missions – Classroom models lie – our Solar System isn’t a bunch of bright, closely nestled orbs. Instead, other planets are separated from Earth by unfathomable distances – and are often too cold, dim, and remote for any spacecraft to explore on solar power alone. Science Alert

EPA Says “The War on Coal Is Over” in Major Reversal of Obama’s Clean Power Plan – The Trump administration has formally announced its plan to repeal the Clean Power Plan – President Obama’s key policy to cut greenhouse gas emissions produced by power plants. Science Alert

This Is How Online Dating Has Changed The Very Fabric of Society – Digital match-making services have done more than just change how we find our perfect squeeze; they’re changing the fundamental nature of our social networks. According to a pair of researchers investigating online dating, the way we’re looking for love (and lust) is connecting communities in completely novel ways, breaking down boundaries and possibly even making for stronger long-term relationships. Science Alert

How to make the cosmic web give up the matter it’s hiding – Evidence is piling up that much of the universe’s missing matter is lurking along the strands of a vast cosmic web. A pair of papers report some of the best signs yet of hot gas in the spaces between galaxy clusters, possibly enough to represent the half of all ordinary matter previously unaccounted for. Previous studies have hinted at this missing matter, but a new search technique is helping to fill in the gaps in the cosmic census where other efforts fell short. The papers were published online at arXiv.org on September 15 and September 29. Science News

Latest Science Tidbits #2

Bacteria have baggage and that may be a key to fighting superbugs

Dated: 8 August 2017

Read More: Even bacteria have baggage, and understanding that is key to fighting superbugs

Reference Material (if any):

  1. History of antibiotic adaptation influences microbial evolutionary dynamics during subsequent treatment
Summary:

Bacteria are able to adapt, survive and grow in the presence of antibiotics. This is well understood and many studies have looked into how bacteria evolve to single drug. But new research showed that how different adaptation history to antibiotic resistance lead to unique evolutionary dynamics of multi-drug resistance.

Researchers Yen and Papin demonstrated using populations of the human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa where adaptation to one drug, followed by adaptation to a different drug, lead different final resistance level compared to the reverse order.

The experiments were done in the test tube-like setting, and further work and clinical studies will be needed to test the clinical applicability of these history-decedent effects.

In this era where new antibiotics are rare, exploiting the bacteria’s past may be a major breakthrough.

Author’s Take:

I myself is pretty concern with the rise of antibiotic resistance and tend to get pretty upset when I see people abuse antibiotics. I see it as because of their irresponsibility, the rest of humanity suffers, myself included.

Brains of adult mice restored with youthful plasticity

Dated: 8 August 2017

Read More: Youthful plasticity restored to brains of adult mice

Reference Material (if any):

  1. Arc restores juvenile plasticity in adult mouse visual cortex
Summary:

The brain ages like the rest of the organs in the body, impacting its ability to learn, remember, and adapt.

Scientists from University of Utah Health reported that they are able to rejuvenate the plasticity of visual cortex of the mouse brain, increasing its ability to change in response to experience by augmenting the expression of neuronal protein, Arc.

However, further research are needed to understand precisely how manipulating Arc books plasticity. More tests will also be needed to see if Arc is involved in regulating the plasticity of other neurological functions mediated by other brain structures such as learning, memory, or repair.

Author’s Take:

I am personally is interested in this research as I myself is getting older with each passing day and I still want to maintain my mental sharpness and cognitive capabilities.

Single touch heals organs with breakthrough device

Dated: 7 August 2017

Read More: Breakthrough device heals organs with a single touch

Original Source (if any): Researchers Develop Regenerative Medicine Breakthrough

Reference Material:

  1. Topical tissue nano-transfection mediates non-viral stroma reprogramming and rescue
Summary:

Researchers from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Ohio State’s College of Engineering have developed a new technology called Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT). This technology allows the generation of any cell type for use in treatment of injured tissue, or restore function of aging tissues.

The technology relies on two major components. The first is a nanotechnology-based chip designed to deliver cargo to the cells. The second is the design of specific biological cargo for the cell conversation.

Mice and pigs were used in these experiments where the researchers were able to reprogram skin cells to become vascular cells in badly injured legs that lacked blood flow. Active blood vessels appeared in the injured leg within a week and the leg was saved by the second week.

According to Dr. Chandan Sen, who is the director of Ohio State’s Center for Regenerative Medicine & Cell Based Therapies and also the executive director of Ohio State’s Comprehensive Wound Center, “This is difficult to imagine, but it is achievable, successfully working about 98 percent of the time. With this technology, we can convert skin cells into elements of any organ with just one touch. This process only takes less than a second and is non-invasive, and then you’re off. The chip does not stay with you, and the reprogramming of the cell starts. Our technology keeps the cells in the body under immune surveillance, so immune suppression is not necessary.”

As TNT does not need any laboratory-based procedures, may be implemented at the point of care, and is non-invasive, clinical trials are planned to start next year to test the technology in humans.

Author’s Take:

This is definitely very exciting. However, like all sudden new breakthrough, more research is needed. I think I am concern about the potential for mistakes during the treatment. Here is a video from OSU Wexner Medical Center: Breakthrough Device Heals Organs with a Single Touch

Latest News in Brain Science

New Substance improves brain function of Alzheimer’s disease

Dated: 28 July 2017

Read More: Dementia: new substance improves brain function

Summary:

Alzheimer’s disease is at this moment an incurable disease and affects 50 million people worldwide. Amyloid beta, which are chunks of organic compounds, that is responsible for Alzheimers. These organic compounds, simply put, are leftovers from when the Amyloid precursor protein is broken down by two enzymes known as Beta-secretase 1 (BACE) and Gamma Secretase.

Recently, scientists from the Technical University of Munich discovered that a substance which inhibit the enzyme, BACE, improves the memory performance and restore normal function of nerve cells in animal models, and that the substance must be given as early as possible. A clinical trial is being planned with 1000 participant and the scientists are hoping that the discoveries found in animal models is also applicable in humans.

New drug found to provide longer relief for Parkinson’s disease sufferers

Dated: 31 July 2017

Read More: New drug may treat and limit progression of Parkinson’s disease

Summary:

Like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease is also an incurable disease. The only difference is that it comes on slowly over time and is manageable through drugs and surgery until the patients develop dementia. As of 2015, it affects 6.2 million people and caused 117,400 deaths globally 1.

Currently, the drugs given to Parkinson’s sufferers are intended to help manage the condition rather than cure. Sufferers need to take multiple medication, multiple times a day.

Researchers at Binghamton University developed a new drug called D-512, which is currently in pre-clinical phase. The new drug has fewer side effects than current drugs such as ropinirole, and last longer when providing relief. The drug itself is also an antioxidant which is important since oxidative stress is a major cause of Parkinson’s disease.

Autistic people are less likely to be surprised by the unexpected

Dated: 31 July 2017

Read More: People with autism are less surprised by the unexpected

Summary:

Normal people tends to get surprised by the unexpected due to their expectations. However, researchers found that autistic people, especially those with more pronounced symptoms, were less surprised when dealing with sudden changes.

Paraphrasing Dr. Lawson, “When we are uncertain about our own beliefs, we are driven more by our senses rather than prior expectations. People with autism may be expecting more volatility and thus it may be the reason why they tend to suffer from sensory overload, and their enhanced perceptual functioning and context insensitivity.”

The study also found that the ability to form expectations was related to the severity of communication problem in autistic people.