FDA just approved the first drug to prevent migraines
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first in a new class of drugs designed to prevent migraines. This feature, originally published on 7 January 2016, describes the history of these drugs, the powerful relief they can bring some patients, and the limitations that still exist with them.
Scientists developed new tech to capture the details of how embryo divides
Scientists have created a new tech to capture the details of how embryo divides to become everything else. This helps to identify which active genes control the process. It could also contribute to new understanding of developmental and genetic conditions.
Engineers have created a smart gel that walks underwater, grabs objects and moves them
The watery creation could lead to soft robots that mimic sea animals like the octopus, which can walk underwater and bump into things without damaging them. It may also lead to artificial heart, stomach and other muscles, along with devices for diagnosing diseases, detecting and delivering drugs and performing underwater inspections.
Reference: ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Scientists have identified a gene that can help prevent neurological disorders
Scientists have identified a gene that helps prevent the harmful buildup of proteins that can lead to neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The researchers found that the ‘Ankrd16’ gene acts like a failsafe in proofreading and correcting errors to avoid the abnormal production of improper proteins.
Intelligence is correlated with fewer neural connections, not more, study finds
The more intelligent a person, the fewer connections there are between the neurons in his cerebral cortex. This is the result of a study conducted by neuroscientists; the study was performed using a specific neuroimaging technique that provides insights into the wiring of the brain on a microstructural level.
Reference: Nature Communications
A robotic system has been developed to automate the production of human mini-organs
The ability to rapidly, mass produce organoids promises to expand the use of mini-organs in basic research and drug discovery. The system was tested in producing kidney organoids, including models of polycystic kidney disease. The robots were also programmed to analyze the organoids they produced.
Reference: Cell Stem Cell
Scientists have engineered bacteria to convert plants into renewable chemicals
Economically and efficiently converting tough plant matter, called lignin, has long been a stumbling block for wider use of the energy source and making it cost competitive. Scientists have engineered E. coli into an efficient and productive bioconversion cell factory.
Researchers uncover gut bacteria’s potential role in neurological disorders
A study sheds new light on the connection between the gut and the brain, untangling the complex interplay that allows the byproducts of microorganisms living in the gut to influence the progression of neurodegenerative diseases.
Scientists have developed a portable device to sniff out trapped humans
The scientists had previously developed small and extremely sensitive gas sensors for acetone, ammonia, and isoprene — all metabolic products that we emit in low concentrations via our breath or skin. The researchers have now combined these sensors in a device with two commercial sensors for CO2 and moisture.
Reference: Analytical Chemistry
New genes found that determine how the heart responds to exercise
The findings could be used to improve the identification of people with impaired heart rate during recovery and those at higher risk of heart disease mortality. The difference in heart rate response to exercise was as much as 3.15 beats per minute, depending on the genetic risk score of an individual, while the difference in heart rate response to recovery differed by as much as 10.4 beats per minute.
Reference: Nature Communications