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Electronics Engineer | Editor at The Surg.
July 23, 2017 · 13 Reads

Top stories in science this week

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

Inspired by organisms that cover the distance by growing – such as vines and nerve cells – the team’s tentacular prototype may look creepy as all hell while it slithers and probes, but it represents a new kind of soft robotics that can move in ways that no known conscious being can.

Research: Science Robotics

Our brains appear to sync with others when we’re in conversation with them

Based on readings from electroencephalography (EEG) machines, the study shows remarkable similarities between brain activity as two people chat to each other – a sort of “interbrain synchronisation”.  It’s not quite mind reading, but it could teach us more about the nature of language and relationships.

Reference: Scientific Reports

Scientists engineered a new electrode design that could charge batteries in seconds

Now a team from Drexel University has combined the properties of a supercapacitor with that of traditional batteries with large storage capacities by using a material called MXene. MXene is a flat nanomaterial that looks like a sandwich: consisting of oxide ‘bread’ with a conductive carbon and metal ‘filling’.

Reference: Nature Energy

The world’s first and youngest double hand transplant is declared a success

Two years after the first successful double hand transplant surgery, doctors have published a progress update about the patient. Although the surgery has, over time, remained a success, it has also revealed the challenges that remain in the field.

Reference: The Lancet

Schizophrenia found to be caused by faulty helper cells in the brain

New research on mice has suggested the symptoms produced by schizophrenia could largely be the result of defective cells that play an important role in supporting and insulating the nerve cells. The discovery challenges conventional thinking that has concentrated on the nerve cells themselves, and could potentially open new ways to detect and treat the condition.

Research: Cell

Brains with Alzheimer’s have more bacteria than healthy ones, says new study

New research shows bacteria that break through the brain’s defences and infected neurons could play a role in the onset of Alzheimer’s, giving experts a better understanding of the disease and ways we could treat it.

Research: Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience

Scientists have reversed brain damage in a 2-year-old girl who drowned in a swimming pool

Researchers in the US have reported what they believe is a first-of-its-kind reversal of brain damage, after treating a drowned and resuscitated toddler with a combination of oxygen therapies.

Research: Medical Gas Research

New chemicals that clear toxic proteins from brain cells have been identified

Researchers have found cell receptors abnormally overexpressed in post-mortem brains of those with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, and that they can be inhibited in animal models to clear toxic protein buildup, reduce brain inflammation, and improve cognitive performance.

Reference: Eureka Alert

Rare discovery of 3 new toad species in Nevada’s Great Basin

Three new species of toads have been discovered living in Nevada’s Great Basin in an expansive survey of the 190,000 square mile ancient lake bottom. Discoveries of new amphibians are extremely rare in the United States with only three new frog species discovered since 1985 – and toad species are even more rare, with the last species discovered north of Mexico, the now extinct Wyoming toad, in 1968.

Reference: Zootaxa

Ultrathin device harvests electricity from human motion

A new, ultrathin energy harvesting system developed at Vanderbilt University’s Nanomaterials and Energy Devices Laboratory has the potential to do just that. Based on battery technology and made from layers of black phosphorus that are only a few atoms thick, the new device generates small amounts of electricity when it is bent or pressed even at the extremely low frequencies characteristic of human motion.

Reference: ACS Energy

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Radhika Gupta, Electronics Engineer | Editor at The Surg
Radhika Gupta, Electronics Engineer | Editor at The Surg
Dr. Gracjan Michlewski, Group leader at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology, University of Edinburgh, UK.
Dr Lisa Hill, Neuroscientist at UoB; Research interests include CNS scarring and Neurotrauma.
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