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Elein Chahoud verified badge
Intern Pharmacist
December 31, 2018 · 247 Reads

Top stories in science this week

Scientists are close to making contactless surgeries possible.

Advances in acoustic tweezers technology, where the movement of objects is controlled through sound waves, have been made by scientists in Bristol University. They created a complex sound field that could efficiently trap small objects at the target’s location and allow levitation of multiple subjects.

Reference: PNAS

Researchers genetically modified houseplant to clean home’s air.

Researchers at the University of Washington have genetically modified Pothos Ivy plant which is a widespread houseplant to clean the air around it from chloroform and benzene. The newly modified plant possesses an extra protein called 2E1 which converts chloroform and benzene to molecules that the plant can use to grow.

Reference: Environmental Science and Technology

Scientists made world’s smallest “noughts and crosses” game board of DNA.

Recently, scientists created a little version of noughts and crosses game which is also known as tic-tac-toe. Players can place X’s and O’s by adding special DNA tiles to the board. The research team’s study aimed to create Nanomachines that can be adjusted or repaired after they have already been built.

Reference: Nature Communication

Engineers designed a tiny implantable device for weight loss.

Researchers examined the newly designed device and they found that it helped rats to lose around 40% of their body weight. The device can be implanted inside the body easily and in a minimally invasive way. It works by generating gentle electric pulses from the stomach’s natural movements to the brain via the vagus nerve. This mild stimulation tricks the brain into thinking that the stomach is full after only eating a small amount of food.

Reference: Nature Communication

Researchers designed a 3D-printed robot hand which can play the piano.

The designed hand consists of rigid and soft parts mimicking bones and ligaments but not muscles and tendons of the human hand. Therefore, researchers expected it to perform a limited range of motions. However, in their experiment, the robot hand was able to play simple music on the piano through moving the wrist only. Researchers concluded that a wide range of movements was still possible by relying on the hand-mechanical design.

Reference: Science Robotics

Astronomers detected a giant stellar flare which could create new exoplanets.

Astronomers observed a massive explosion of energy and plasma on a star which is found to be 100,000 times bigger than the largest solar flare ever recorded from our sun. This gigantic stellar flare sheds light on the origins of potentially habitable exoplanets.

Reference: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Scientists programmed proteins pairing technique which can help treat diseases.

Proteins designed in the lab can now pair together in the same way that DNA molecules pair to form a double helix. The technique could enable the creation of protein nanomachines that can help diagnose and treat diseases and allow for engineering of new cells functions. This technique provides scientists with a precise, programmable way to control how protein machines interact.

Reference: Nature

Researchers found that bees can solve counting tasks.

According to a new study, bees can count with small numbers of nerve cells in their brains. The findings suggest that active scanning behaviour plays an important role in cognitive tasks.

Reference: iScience

HIV vaccine immunised non-human primates, a new study shows.

In a new study, researchers examined the experimental HIV vaccine on rhesus macaque monkeys and found that their bodies produce antibodies against a strain of HIV similar to the one that commonly infects people. The study also gives an overview of the vaccine-induced neutralising antibodies levels needed to protect against HIV.

Reference: Immunity

Scientists revealed that dopamine released two times per meal.

It is well-known that food stimulates dopamine production in the brain which gives us the feeling of reward. In a new study, scientists found that dopamine released in the brain on two occasions. Firstly, at the beginning of food intake process then when food reaches the stomach.

Reference: Cell metabolism

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