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Radhika Gupta verified badge
Electronics Engineer | Editor at The Surg
November 19, 2017 · 432 Reads

Top stories in science this week

Scientists for the first time have used brain implant to improve human memory

A professor built a brain implant that can reportedly improve short-term memory by 15 percent and working memory by 25 percent. The device could prove life-changing for the growing segment of the population impacted by Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Reference: New Scientist


A new organic material that generates electricity from mechanical stress has been created

Researchers at Empa have developed an incredible new material that generates electricity from mechanical stress. This thin, flexible, rubber film could potentially be used in everything from clothing to pacemakers.

Reference: Phys

The first-ever gene editing directly inside a patient’s body took place

In a bold first-of-its-kind experiment, scientists have edited a person’s genes directly inside living tissue in an ambitious bid to cure a man of a rare, crippling genetic disorder. While CRISPR has broken ground in things like editing human embryos and injecting patients with genetically edited cells, this alternative technique pioneers a new real-time approach to infusing a person’s blood with a gene-editing virus.

Reference: AP News

Scientists have developed a material that can generate and maintain completely new and more complex states of light

Light is ubiquitous and vital, but also incredibly strange – and it’s possible we’ll never exhaust the opportunities to learn more about it. Case in point: researchers at Harvard have developed a material that can generate and maintain completely new and more complex states of light. The tool uses polarisation to generate structures such as swirling vortices, spirals, and corkscrews that not only help explore light’s properties, but also have potential practical applications, such as high-powered imaging.

Reference: Science

A scientific team has identified signatures of Ebola virus disease that may aid in future treatment

Conducting a sweeping analysis of everything from enzymes to lipids to immune-system-associated molecules, the team found 11 biomarkers that distinguish fatal infections from nonfatal ones and two that, when screened for early symptom onset, accurately predict which patients are likely to die.

Reference: Cell Host and Microbe

Scientists have discovered a way to reduce the spread of cancer by hindering a protein that binds to cancer cells

Scientists have made a discovery that could reduce the spread of cancer by hindering a protein that binds cancer cells together and allows them to invade tissues. The groundbreaking study identified a protein, known as cadherin-22, as a potential factor in cancer metastasis, or spread, and showed that hindering it decreased the adhesion and invasion rate of breast and brain cancer cells by up to 90 percent.

Reference: Oncogene

Researchers create a new phase change material that can store heat and release it on demand

A new chemical composite developed by researchers at MIT could provide an alternative. It could be used to store heat from the sun or any other source during the day in a kind of thermal battery, and it could release the heat when needed, for example for cooking or heating after dark.

Reference: Nature Communications

A new computational model allows researchers to estimate heartbeat irregularities

An increased risk of sudden cardiac death is associated with some heart diseases. It occurs when an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) interferes with normal electrical signaling in the heart, leading to cardiac arrest. Previous research has shown that simultaneous, spontaneous calcium release by clusters of adjacent heart cells can cause premature heartbeats that trigger these deadly arrhythmias.

Reference: PLOS Computational Biology

An existing anti-malaria drug shows promise as Zika virus treatment

A medication used to prevent and treat malaria may also be effective for Zika virus, scientists have discovered. The drug, called chloroquine, has a long history of safe use during pregnancy, and is relatively inexpensive.

Reference: Scientific Reports

For the first time, engineers have found a way to create a stable plasma ring in open air

Plasma, one of the four fundamental states of matter, is tricky stuff. Just like gas, plasma has no fixed shape or volume, so it usually has to be contained to be useful – as in plasma TVs, for example. But now, for the first time, researchers have found a way to create a stable plasma ring in the open air, and they think their discovery has the potential for energy storage.

Reference: PNAS

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