April 22, 2019

    Short Science News, Articles And The Latest Scientific Discoveries And Research

    Brain function partially restored in pig after death

    Mind and Brain | Apr 18, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    Certain brain function restored in pig hours after death.
    Brain function partially restored in pig after death - interesting science news

    Immediately after death, once the oxygen and blood supply is cut off, the electrical brain activity disappears immediately, while the energy stores get depleted within minutes. This has always lead to believe that brain functions end after death irreversibly.

    Now, researchers restored the circulation and cellular activity in the pig’s brain 4 hours after its death. The circulated a uniquely formulated solution specially made to preserve brain tissue and found that neural cell integrity was preserved and certain neuronal functions were restored.

    While this technique does not have any immediate application, it could be used in future to salvage brain function in stroke patients and test new drugs for brain cellular recovery after injury.

    Read the full story: Yale University
    Scientific publication: Nature


    Immunity of kids restored by gene therapy

    Health | Apr 18, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    Gene therapy could help cure X-SCID
    Immunity of kids restored by gene therapy - interesting science news

    Scientists have used gene therapy to restore immunity in infants with X-SCID, which is a life-threatening inherited disorder in which the immune cells do not develop correctly. This makes the infants highly susceptible to infections.

    The researchers inserted a normal copy of the IL2RG gene in the normal blood-forming stem cells of these infants. A lentivirus was used to deliver the gene which by itself isn’t infectious to the patient.

    Within 3-4 months of the therapy the infants were able to to produce normal number of several immune cells such as T cells, B cells and natural killer cells. This was a small clinical trial and hence will be replicated with a larger sample size in the future.

    Read the full story: NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
    Scientific publication: NEJM


    Hurricane Maria: Blame climate change

    Earth | Apr 17, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    Hurricanes will increase in frequency due to climate change
    Hurricane Maria: Blame climate change - interesting science news

    Hurricane Maria released more rain on Puerto Rico than any recorded 129 storms that have hit the island since 1956. Now, new research finds that this is mostly due to the human caused climate warming.

    Researchers found that the peak rainfalls seen due to Maria (41 inches in a day), are more likely in the climates of 2017 than the early 50s. While storms like Maria could have happened once in 300 years earlier, their likelihood has increased to once every 100 years.

    With so much damage being done, it needs to be emphasized that we need to wake up to the effects of climate change.

    Read the full story: American Geophysical Union
    Scientific publication: Geophysical Research Letters


    Water from moon released due to meteoroid strike

    Space | Apr 17, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    Moon releases water on meteoroid strikes
    Water from moon released due to meteoroid strike - interesting science news

    Researchers have found that striking of meteoroids on the Moon releases water vapour for a short time into its atmosphere. While previous models had predicted this, the phenomenon was observed for the first time. To release this water the meteoroids have to penetrate atleast 3 inches below the surface.

    While the Moon doesn’t have significant amount water in the atmosphere, there is evidence that it has water (H2O) and hydroxyl (OH) which is the more reactive species of water.

    This new evidence could explain why there are ice deposits at the poles of the Moon. These results are significant since this water could be potential source for sustaining long-term exploration of the Moon and the deep space.

    Read the full story: NASA
    Scientific publication: Nature Geoscience


    Where do angry dreams arise in the brain?

    Mind and Brain | Apr 16, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    Anger experienced in dreams originates in the frontal cortex
    Where do angry dreams arise in the brain? - interesting science news

    In a new study conducted in healthy adults, researchers have identified a pattern of brain activity which can predict anger experienced during dreams.

    Researchers collected EEG recordings from heathy study participants during sleep studies on two separate nights. Immediately after a five minute bout of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is associated with dreams, the study participants were woken up and inquired about their dream. It was found that those individuals who displayed greater alpha band brain activity in the right frontal cortex and not the left, both during evening wakefulness and REM sleep experienced more anger in their sleep.

    This neural signature called frontal alpha asymmetry (FAA) might be the universal indicator of emotional regulation and studying this could be important since it could give us insights into nightmares which are common in several mental and sleep disorders.

    Read the full story: Society for Neuroscience (via ScienceDaily)
    Scientific publication: Journal of Neuroscience


    3D printed heart… How cool is that

    Technology | Apr 16, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    A 3D-printed, small-scaled human heart engineered from the patient's own materials and cells. Credit: Advanced Science. © 2019 The Authors.
    3D printed heart… How cool is that - interesting science news

    In a first, researchers have 3D printed the world’s first engineered heart using patients own cells and other biological materials. The first heart with cells, blood vessels, all the chambers and everything else together.

    Until now researchers in regenerative medicine had only printed simple tissues without any blood vessels. The new 3D printed heart is made from human cells and biological materials made of sugars and proteins which serve as biolink while printing the tissue.

    With heart disease as the leading cause of death and heart transplantation being the only definitive treatment for end stage heart failure, this new technology could help millions if scientists are able to scale it to human size.

    Read the full story: American Friends of Tel Aviv University
    Scientific publication: Advanced Science


    How to change your brain: Train it

    Mind and Brain | Apr 15, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    Neurofeedback increases brain connections quickly
    How to change your brain: Train it - interesting science news

    Researchers have found out that even 1 hour of brain training exercises using neurofeedback can increase the strength of neuronal connections and improved communication between different brain regions.

    Individuals who were trained on neurofeedback and then scanned in a MRI machine showed a positive impact on the default mode network, which is the brain network, impaired after stroke, Parkinson’s disease and depression.

    This shows that neurofeedback could be a powerful way to induce brain changes quickly and hence it would be next tested in patients with neurological disorders.

    Read the full story: D’Or Institute for Research and Education (via NeuroscienceNews)
    Scientific publication: NeuroImage


    Where are the superbugs: On patients’ hands

    Health | Apr 15, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    Antibiotic resistant bacteria are on patients and could be transmitted to others
    Where are the superbugs: On patients’ hands - interesting science news

    Multidrug resistant organisms or MDROs were found in 14% of patients on their hands and nostrils when tested for antibiotic resistant drugs.

    Certain patients developed infections of MRSA when in hospital and all these patients were positive for MRSA on their hands as well as hospital room surfaces. Surprisingly, this happened to be seen very early in their hospital stay indicating that transmission to room surfaces is very rapid.

    With the current practice of encouraging hospital patients to move about in the halls as a part of recovery, increases the risk of these bugs being transmitted to other hospital areas.

    Read the full story: Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan (via ScienceDaily)
    Scientific publication: Clinical Infectious Diseases


    Homo luzonensis: A new human species discovered

    Life | Apr 12, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    A new species added to the human evolution
    Homo luzonensis: A new human species discovered - interesting science news

    A team of International scientists have uncovered the mortal remains of a new human species in Philippines, which indicates that this region played an important role in the human evolution. These fossil remains were found in the Luzon island and are 50,000 years old at the Callao Caves.

    The bones found were adult finger and toes bones as well as teeth. The size of the teeth are usually indicative of the overall size of the mammal and since the teeth discovered were very small, the scientists predict that Homo luzonensis was a small being.

    They also found evidence of a butchered rhinoceros and stone tools dating 700,000 years old but it still remains to be established if these were used by Homo luzonensis.

    Read the full story: Australian National University
    Scientific publication: Nature


    NFL players have higher abnormal proteins in the brain

    Mind and Brain | Apr 12, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    Earlier detection of CTE could be possible with this new PET scan
    NFL players have higher abnormal proteins in the brain - interesting science news

    Scientists conducted a PET scan in living National Football League (NFL) players who displayed certain cognitive and behavioural symptoms. They found that these players had abnormal levels of tau protein in the brain regions which are usually affected by Chronic Traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

    Further, there was a significant positive correlation between more years spent playing tackle football and the levels of the tau proteins.

    Currently, CTE can be diagnosed only post mortem and this is the first study, which shows that it can be detected even before death. CTE is associated with progressive neuronal loss and this study could help us catch it earlier.

    Read the full story:
    Scientific publication: Boston Medical Center (via ScienceDaily)
    Scientific publication: NEJM


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