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Radhika Gupta verified badge
Electronics Engineer | Editor at The Surg
February 11, 2018 · 355 Reads

Top stories in science this week

SpaceX launched the world’s most powerful rocket with Elon Musk’s red Tesla roadster

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket launched successfully, making history as the world’s most powerful rocket and putting a provierbial feather in Elon Musk’s cap. Containing 27 engines, the rocket has a thrust able to generate more than 5 million pounds, akin to the equivalent of 18 Boeing 747 aircraft. It will be able to lift a payload of more than 64 tons (141,000 pounds) into orbit, twice as much as the Delta IV Heavy, at one-third the cost, according to SpaceX. The payload the Falcon Heavy is carrying is a Tesla Roadster and a dummy pilot, codenamed Starman, playing the David Bowie song of the same name.


For the first time, human eggs have been successfully grown in the lab

For the first time, scientists have successfully taken human eggs from their earliest stages to maturity in a lab setting. This accomplishment is set to give us new insight into how human eggs develop, and it could potentially offer a compelling new option to individuals who are at risk of fertility loss.

Reference: Molecular Human Reproduction

Scientists have successfully produced human kidney tissue within a living organism

Scientists have successfully produced human kidney tissue within a living organism which is able to produce urine, a first for medical science. The study signifies a significant milestone in the development of treatment for kidney disease. Kidney glomeruli — constituent microscopic parts of the organ- were generated from human embryonic stem cells grown in plastic laboratory culture dishes containing a nutrient broth known as culture medium, containing molecules to promote kidney development.

Reference: Stem Cell Reports

The first fish to evolve the ability to walk never even left the ocean

Cartoons that illustrate evolution depict early vertebrates generating primordial limbs as they move onto land for the first time. But new findings indicate that some of these first ambulatory creatures may have stayed under water, spawning descendants that today exhibit walking behavior on the ocean floor.

Reference: Cell

Scientists have discovered how traumatic experiences rewire the brain, making them so hard to forget

For many people dealing with traumatic memories, cognitive behavioural therapy is the best shot at living an anxiety-free life, but unfortunately, relapses are still common. Neuroscientists now have a better idea of what’s going on inside the brain when we revisit terrifying experiences, a find that could inspire better treatments for those with conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Reference: Nature Neuroscience

A new study finds that Autism, schizophrenia & bipolar disorder share molecular traits

Most medical conditions are largely defined by their physical symptoms. Psychiatric illnesses, however, are largely defined by a person’s behavior. A new study challenges that distinction, identifying many shared — and distinct — patterns of gene expression in the brains of people with autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The data hint at potential targets that may one day lead to new treatment approaches.

Reference: Science

Researchers chemically modified an existing antiviral drug for HIV treatment and elimination

In a significant breakthrough that could hasten an eventual HIV cure, a research team has changed the chemical structure of an existing antiviral drug to facilitate it in reaching cells and tissues where HIV resides.Using a physiochemical scheme that alters the properties of the drug dolutegravir, UNMC scientists took the modified drug and placed it into nanocrystals. The produced drug crystals easily distributed throughout the body to tissue reservoirs of HIV infection.

Reference: Nature Communications

Scientists have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells in the adult brain

Scientists have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain can generate new nerve cells throughout life. One of the areas where this happens is the hippocampus, a brain structure that determines many types of learning and memory, deciding what is remembered and what is forgotten.

Reference: Science

Researchers have identified a drug that could help brain reboot and reverse damages of alcohol consumption

Researchers have identified a drug that could potentially help our brains reboot and reverse the damaging impacts of heavy alcohol consumption on regeneration of brain cells. Their studies in adult mice show that two weeks of daily treatment with the drug tandospirone reversed the effects of 15 weeks of binge-like alcohol consumption on neurogenesis – the ability of the brain to grow and replace neurons (brain cells).

Reference: Scientific Reports

Neuroscientists discover a cellular pathway that encodes memories

Neuroscientists have uncovered a cellular pathway that allows specific synapses to become stronger during memory formation. The findings provide the first glimpse of the molecular mechanism by which long term memories are encoded in a region of the hippocampus called CA3.

Reference: Neuron

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