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Radhika Gupta verified badge
Electronics Engineer | Editor at The Surg
November 26, 2017 · 628 Reads

Top stories in science this week

Physicists discovered that graphene could be exploited to produce limitless supply of clean energy

By all measures, graphene shouldn’t exist. The fact it does comes down to a neat loophole in physics that sees an impossible 2D sheet of atoms act like a solid 3D material. New research has delved into graphene’s rippling, discovering a physical phenomenon on an atomic scale that could be exploited as a way to produce a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.

Reference: Physical Review Letters


World’s smallest tape recorder has been built inside a living bacteria

Researchers have hacked the immune system of a bacterium into serving as the equivalent of a molecular tape recorder. By responding to chemical changes in the surroundings and then ‘time-stamping’ them in DNA, the technology paves the way for living monitoring devices that could be used in health screens or to analyse pollutants in ecosystems.

Reference: Science

Scientists have developed an implantable robot that helps to pump blood out of failing heart

Scientists have developed a soft implantable robotic device that wraps around the heart and squeezes it to help damaged or failing organs keep properly pumping blood. The device builds upon a previous robotic sleeve that Vasilyev and fellow researchers unveiled earlier in the year, which similarly enveloped the heart and helped it to maintain a steady circulation of blood to the rest of the body.

Reference: Science Robotics

Researchers pinpoint important role of muscle cells in tissue regeneration

Researchers have illuminated an important role for different subtypes of muscle cells in orchestrating the process of tissue regeneration. Notably, in the absence of these muscles, regeneration fails to proceed.

Reference: Nature

Scientists can now use artificially tweak the brain circuits that control our music taste

In a small sample of participants, researchers were able to increase or decrease how much music was enjoyed, and how eager subjects were to listen to music – all by targeting certain brain circuits with artificial stimulation. Not only does this give us new insight into how music affects the brain, it offers researchers more clues as to how we might be able to manipulate brain activity to control issues like addiction and depression.

Reference: Nature Human Behaviour

New mechanism helpful in weakening neurodegenerative disorders have been discovered

New mechanisms of cell death have now been discovered, which may be involved in debilitating neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, report scientists.

Reference: Current Biology

Researchers have designed a synthetic molecule to block antibiotic resistant genes

One of the ways antibiotic resistance genes spread in hospitals and in the environment is that the genes are coded on plasmids that transfer between bacteria. A plasmid is a DNA fragment found in bacteria or yeasts. It carries genes useful for bacteria, especially when these genes encode proteins that can make bacteria resistant to antibiotics.

Reference: Scientific Reports

Scientists discovered that specific tumour environments can trigger cancer to spread to other parts of the body

The environment surrounding a tumor can trigger metastatic behavior in cancer cells, a team of bioengineers and bioinformaticians has discovered. Specifically, when tumor cells are confined in a dense environment, the researchers found that they turn on a specific set of genes and begin to form structures that resemble blood vessels.

Reference: Nature Communications

Scientists can now produce images of brain tissue that is affected by Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is associated with areas of high protein concentration in brain tissue: plaques and tangles. Raman imaging is now used to get sharp images of these affected areas. It is an attractive technique because it shows more than the specific proteins involved. The presence of water and lipids, influenced by protein presence, can also be detected.

Reference: Scientific Reports

New study suggests schizophrenia could originate in the early weeks of pregnancy

By growing “mini brains” in lab conditions, scientists have been able to identify disruptions in stem cells surrounding the ventricles, or brain cavities, as early as two weeks into the growth – the equivalent of the first trimester of pregnancy.

Reference: Translational Psychiatry 

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