January 16, 2019

    Growing nerve cells from skin cells

    Health | Jan 16, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    Neurons developed from skin cells look exactly like brain neurons
    Growing nerve cells from skin cells - interesting science news

    Cells from skin cells of mice which were induced to turn into nerve cells have molecular signatures which match the neurons that develop naturally in the brain. This is interesting science news since this technology can be used to for research in gene therapies from patients own cells.

    The skin cells used in this technology are called the fibroblasts which are the most common cells in the connective tissue in animals and are involved in wound healing.

    Researchers plan to use this technology to understanding the age related cognitive decline in humans.

    Read the full story: Salk Institute
    Scientific publication: eLife


    Parasitic mite of honeybees does not feed on blood, but on the fat body

    Life | Jan 16, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    In this electron micrograph, a parasitic mite, Varroa destructor, is wedged between the abdominal plates of a honey bee's exoskeleton. Image: UMD/USDA/PNAS
    Parasitic mite of honeybees does not feed on blood, but on fat - life short science news

    The honeybee parasitic mite Varroa destructor does not feed on blood, as previously thought, but consumes an organ called the fat body.

    This organ not only serves many of the same vital functions carried out by our liver, but also stores food and contributes to the bees’ immune systems. As Varroa eats away the fat body, the bees lose their ability to fight pesticides and stored food.

    Now that it is understood how mites do their damage to bees, effective treatments can be developed.

    Read the full story: University of Maryland
    Scientific publication: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences oft he USA


    Fasting to improve health

    Health | Jan 16, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    Fasting affects the circadian rhythm positively
    Fasting to improve health - interesting science news

    Scientists have discovered that fasting helps in modulating the circadian clocks in the muscle and liver thereby rewiring their metabolism ultimately improving health. It also provides protection against aging related conditions.

    In a study conducted in mice, a 24 hour fasting causes a reduction in oxygen consumption and energy expenditure which gets abolished by eating later. This also primes the genes to anticipate the next food intake and drives the next cycle of gene expression.

    All this affects the cell function positively and this research could help us develop strategies to improve health in humans.

    Read the full story: University of California - Irvine
    Scientific publication: Cell Reports


    Men and dogs: old friends that may have hunted together already 11,500 years ago

    Earth | Jan 16, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    Gazelle bones from Northeast Jordan displaying evidence for having been in the digestive tract of a carnivore. Image: University of Copenhagen
    Men and dogs: old friends that may have hunted together already 11,500 years ago - human history short science news

    11,500 years old bones of animals found in Northeast Jordan suggest that dogs may have assisted humans in the hunt of small prey, like gazelles, hares and foxes. The bones show signs of having passed through the digestive system of carnivores, most likely dogs.

    The site where the bones were found appears to have been occupied year round, suggesting that the dogs were living together with humans.

    The scientists who found the bones suggest that dogs have been instrumental in changing human hunting from large to smaller prey.

    Read the full story: University of Copenhagen
    Scientific publication: Journal of Anthropological Archaeology


    Research provides strategies to combat science misinformation campaigns

    Earth | Jan 15, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    Science misinformation campaigns should be combatted on the basis of recent research to be most effective
    Research provides strategies to combat science misinformation campaigns - climate change short science news

    Recent research on large-scale misinformation campaigns to undermine the science of climate change, financed by organizations that have a lot to lose in the transition to a low-carbon economy, has led scientists to formulate four key domains in a strategy to combat science misinformation.

    These are public inoculation, legal strategies, political mechanisms, and financial transparency.

    Activities in these domains should be coordinated in order to be effective. At its very essence, these activities should ultimately go to the root of the problem, which is the huge imbalance in spending between climate change opponents and those lobbying for new solutions, scientists conclude.

    Read the full story: Yale University
    Scientific publication: Nature Climate Change


    Only 0.4% of adolescent mental health can be explained by technology use

    Health | Jan 15, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    Screen hardly affects mental health of adolescents
    Only 0.4% of adolescent mental health can be explained by technology use - health short science news

    In contrast to popular believe, screen use has been found to contribute only very modestly to adolescent mental health, only 0.4% to be exact. This is the same percentage as for instance regularly eating potatoes.

    In comparison, smoking marijuana or being bullied account for 2.7 and 4.3 times as much as screen time, whereas activities as eating breakfast and getting enough sleep are way more important.

    These results were obtained following analyses of data from three large-scale representative datasets from the US and UK, including 300,000 individuals surveyed between 2007 and 2016. These findings are important for parents and policy makers, researchers say.

    Read the full story: University of Oxford (via Eurekalert)
    Scientific publication: Nature Human Behaviour


    Antarctica losing ice at a scary pace

    Earth | Jan 15, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    An accelerated melting of ice detected due to climate change
    Antarctica losing ice at a scary pace - interesting science news

    Researchers discovered that Antarctica showed a six-fold increase in ice mass loss between 1979 and 2017. This accelerated melting raised the sea levels by more than half an inch during this time.

    Between this period Antarctica lost 40 gigatons of ice annually. However, between 1979 to 2001 the average loss was 48 gigatons per year which increased to 134 gigatons per year from 2001 to 2017.

    This research data comes from 176 basins over 18 different regions and spanning over four decades. This will continue for several years unless we take urgent action.

    Read the full story: University of California - Irvine
    Scientific publication: PNAS


    Food allergies linked to the gut microbiome

    Health | Jan 14, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    Commensal bacteria (red) reside amongst the mucus (green) and epithelial cells (blue) of a mouse small intestine. Image: University of Chicago
    Food allergies linked to the gut microbiome - health short science news

    Scientists have found that food allergy is linked to the bacteria living in the intestines.

    When they transplanted gut bacteria from healthy human infants to mice, they found that these mice were protected against allergic reactions when exposed to milk. Conversely, no such protection was observed when bacteria from children with cow milk allergy were transplanted to mice.

    These findings might help to develop therapies based on the gut microbiome to treat food allergies.

    Read the full story: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
    Scientific publication: Nature Medicine


    How black holes can grow so big

    Space | Jan 14, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    Artistic impression of a gas disk feeding a massive black hole while emitting radiation. Image: NASA
    How black holes can become gigantic - space short science news

    Black holes have been observed to swallow gas from its surroundings, which is now thought to underlie the fast pace at which black holes can keep growing for a long period of time.

    Astronomers concluded this on the basis of abnormally bright light emitted around a black hole.

    They think that they now better understand of how black holes, lying at the heart of essentially every galaxy including the Milky Way, can grow to such enormous proportions.

    Read the full story: Tel Aviv University
    Scientific publication: Nature Astronomy


    Climate change sparks deadly war between two bird species

    Life | Jan 14, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    Bird wars commenced due to climate change Credit: Maurice van Laar
    Climate change sparks deadly war between two bird species - interesting science news

    As the European winters are getting warmer, the pied flycatchers flying from Africa to Netherlands for breeding, are finding that the resident great tits are already claiming all the nesting sites of the season.

    This has resulted in a dramatic increase in flycatchers being killed in great tit nests. Another reason for this is that both bird species rely on a short available burst in food source, which are the caterpillars to raise their young birds.

    However, interestingly, there is no consequence on the both bird population since the birds mostly dying are the surplus males (males who arrive late and hence unlikely to mate). However, this doesn’t bode well for the future if the surplus male population diminishes.

    Read the full story: ScienceDaily
    Scientific publication: Current Biology


    Subscribe to our mailing list

    * indicates required