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Elein Chahoud verified badge
Intern Pharmacist
September 1, 2018 · 660 Reads

Top stories in science this week

Researchers created a 3D printed prototype of a bionic eye

For the first time, researchers 3D printed an array of light sensing receptors on a curved hemispherical surface. This invention marks an essential step toward creating a ‘bionic eye’ that could eventually help blind people see. Currently, scientists are working on improving the light reception efficiency of the device.

Reference: Advanced Materials


Researchers found a new type of nerve cells in the human brain

Neuroscientists identified a new type of human brain cell that does not exist in rodents or other laboratory animals’ brain. As these cells have a rosehip-like structure with long fine branching nerve fibres, the scientists named them rosehip cells. They belong to the inhibitory class of nerve cells, which possess a suppressing kind of activity in the brain. Researchers’ future goal is to explore the potential role of rosehip cells in brain disorders.

Reference: Nature

Researchers identified the genes that regulate sleep

Sleep is a vital behaviour plays a critical role in the fundamental biological functions such as learning and memory. Sleep has two phases, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep. REM sleep maintains a healthy mental and physical life, but the mechanism behind it is merely understood. Scientists identified a pair of genes that regulate how much REM and non-REM sleep an animal experiences. Their study showed that the amount of REM sleep significantly decreased when these genes, which encode Chrm1 and Chrm3 receptors, were knocked out in a mouse model. The study concluded that these receptors are crucial for sleep regulation and biological function.

Reference: Cell Reports

Scientists found that cannabis extract can reset brain function in psychosis

Scientists found that one dose cannabidiol (CBD), the cannabis extract, can reduce brain function abnormalities seen in people with psychosis. However, CBD’s exact mechanism of action in psychosis has remained a mystery. It appears to work in contrast to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC); the compound in cannabis responsible for feeling high and associated with the development of psychosis. CBD also found to be safe and well tolerated. Therefore, scientists are now starting the first large-scale study to examine whether cannabidiol can be used to treat adults who are at high risk of developing psychosis.

Reference: JAMA Network

Researchers developed a brain implanted device to stop seizures

Epilepsy is commonly treated with anti-epileptic medications, but these drugs do not prevent seizures in all patients. In a study in mice, the researchers implanted a drug delivery device into mice brains. The device detects the first signals of a seizure then delivers the drug, which is a natural brain chemical, to stop the seizure. Researcher anticipated that further studies will enable them to apply their finding in other medical conditions such as brain cancers and Parkinson’s disease.

Reference: Science Advances

Climate scientists discovered heated water hidden deep under the Arctic

Scientists found that Arctic ice is not just endangered by the melting ice around its edges, but also with warmer water originated hundreds of miles away and penetrated deep into the interior of the Arctic. Researchers declared that the heat currently trapped below the surface layer of the Arctic is capable of melting the entire sea-ice pack region if it reaches the surface.

Reference: Science Advances

Scientists changed their antibiotics searching approach using a 3D-printed box

Scientists built a small, printed fluorescence imaging box (PFIbox) for their research using a 3-D printer. This laboratory tool could collect extensive amounts of data and allow the scientists to analyse more than 6,000 specimens of bacteria at a time which will help in their research to discover new antibiotics.

Reference: Cell Systems

New drug offers hope for people with multiple sclerosis

In a clinical trial, scientists found that the anti-inflammatory drug, ibudilast, was associated with slower progression of brain shrinkage caused by progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). The study’s results point towards a potential treatment option to help people with progressive MS which is characterised by a gradual decline in body function resulted from disrupted communication between the brain and the body. Future research will examine whether ibudilast slows the progression of symptoms or loss of function in MS patients.

Reference: NEJM

To help fight the opioid crisis, scientists tested new painkiller compound

In an animal model, scientists tested a non-addictive painkiller known as AT-121. The new chemical compound found to have a bifunctional therapeutic action that suppressed the addictive effects of opioids and produced a potent pain relief. Researchers will conduct further studies to collect more safety data to begin clinical trials in human.

Reference: Science translational medicine

Scientists found a potential biotherapy for Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is characterised by the formation of amyloid plaques which consists of toxic protein fragments called β-amyloid that destroy nerve cells in the brain. In a study in mice, researchers found that soluble version of an immune cell protein called toll-like receptors (TLR) can reduce the accumulation of amyloid plaques and prevent them from killing the brain nerve cells in Alzheimer’s disease.

Reference: JEM

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