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Radhika Gupta verified badge
Electronics Engineer | Editor at The Surg
June 24, 2018 · 378 Reads

Top stories in science this week

Engineers have created an electronic ‘skin’ to restore the sense of touch for amputees

Amputees often experience the sensation of a “phantom limb” — a feeling that a missing body part is still there. That sensory illusion is closer to becoming a reality thanks to a team of engineers at the Johns Hopkins University that has created an electronic skin. When layered on top of prosthetic hands, this e-dermis brings back a real sense of touch through the fingertips.

Reference: Science Robotics


Research team discovers drug compound that stops cancer cells from spreading

Fighting cancer means killing cancer cells. However, oncologists know that it’s also important to halt the movement of cancer cells before they spread throughout the body. New research, published today in the journal Nature Communications, shows that it may be possible to freeze cancer cells and kill them where they stand.

Reference: Nature Communications

For the first time ever, astronomers have observed a black hole ejecting matter twice

Black holes don’t just sit there munching away constantly on the space around them. Eventually they run out of nearby matter and go quiet, lying in wait until a stray bit of gas passes by. Then a black hole devours again, belching out a giant jet of particles. And earlier this year scientists announced they’d captured one doing so not once, but twice – the first time this had been observed. The two burps, occurring within the span of 100,000 years, confirm that supermassive black holes go through cycles of hibernation and activity.

Reference: The Astrophysical Journal

Possible link found between diabetes and the most common white pigment in everyday products

In a pilot study, crystalline particles of titanium dioxide — the most common white pigment in everyday products ranging from paint to candies — were found in pancreas specimens with Type 2 diabetes, suggesting that exposure to the white pigment is associated with the disease.

Reference: Chemical Research in Toxicology

New tissue-imaging technology could enable real-time diagnostics and map cancer progression

A new microscope system can image living tissue in real time and in molecular detail, without any chemicals or dyes. It enables researchers to study concurrent processes within cells and tissue, and could give cancer researchers a new tool for tracking tumor progression and physicians new technology for tissue pathology and diagnostics.

Reference: Nature Communications

A new study reveals how our microbiome influences metabolism through the immune system

The innate immune system, our first line of defense against bacterial infection, has a side job that’s equally important: fine-tuning our metabolism.

Reference: Cell Metabolism

Scientists print sensors on gelatin and other soft materials for new medical diagnostics tools

Microelectrodes can be used for direct measurement of electrical signals in the brain or heart. These applications require soft materials, however. With existing methods, attaching electrodes to such materials poses significant challenges. A team has now succeeded in printing electrodes directly onto several soft substrates.

Reference: npj Flexible Electronics

A new study provides a platform for predicting how microbial gut communities work

A new study provides a platform for predicting how microbial gut communities work and represents a first step toward understanding how to manipulate the properties of the gut ecosystem. This could allow scientists to, for example, design a probiotic that persists in the gut or tailor a diet to positively influence human health.

Reference: Molecular Systems Biology

Low-cost plastic sensors could monitor a range of health conditions

An international team of researchers have developed a low-cost sensor made from semiconducting plastic that can be used to diagnose or monitor a wide range of health conditions, such as surgical complications or neurodegenerative diseases.

Reference: Science Advances

New machine learning algorithm helps predict cerebral palsy

A pioneering technique developed to analyze genetic activity of Antarctic worms is helping to predict cerebral palsy. The technique uses next-generation genetic sequencing data to measure how cells control the way genes are turned on or off, and can also be used in other human health care research.

Reference: BMC Bioinformatics

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