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Radhika Gupta verified badge
Electronics Engineer | Editor at The Surg
October 15, 2017 · 790 Reads

Top stories in science this week

An Alzheimer’s drug has been found that could help regrow teeth in just six weeks

Dental fillings may soon be left in the ash heap of history, thanks to a recent discovery about a drug called Tideglusib. Developed for and trialled to treat Alzheimer’s disease, the drug also happens to promote the natural tooth regrowth mechanism in mice, allowing the tooth to repair cavities.

Reference: Scientific Reports


‘Magic mushrooms’ may help reset the brains of depressed patients, study suggests

Patients taking psilocybin to treat depression show reduced symptoms weeks after treatment following a ‘reset’ of their brain activity. The researchers describe patient-reported benefits lasting up to five weeks after treatment and believe the psychedelic compound may effectively reset the activity of key brain circuits known to play a role in depression.

Reference: Scientific Reports 

At just 53 attoseconds, a single flash of an X-ray laser has become the shortest light pulse

Researchers just shattered the record for the shortest ever light pulse of its kind in the history of optics, smashing the previous record by 14 attoseconds. As cool as it is, the record light pulse is more than just about bragging rights. The advance will improve research that requires measuring the positions and behaviours of particles within atoms and molecules in ways that could open doors to new kinds of technology.

Reference: Nature Communications

Researchers invent camouflaged membrane that hides like an octopus

Engineers have been inspired by the cephalopod’s ability to change the texture and colour of its skin to create a new, programmable material that can morph from 2D to 3D and blend in with its environment.Cephalopods such as octopuses and cuttlefish are the true masters of animal disguise (we’ve included some videos down the end for your enjoyment).Thanks to colour-changing chromatophores in their skin, as well as light-reflecting iridophores and leucophores, they can alter their colour in a second, which is useful for menacing predators as well as hiding.

Reference: Science

Scientists discovered a new test for detecting particles that are their own antiparticles

The discovery of a unique property in what’s known as a Majorana fermion has given researchers an easy way to spot the real deal from a fraud. Such particles are famous for being their own antiparticle, a feature that makes them appealing candidates for qubits in certain kinds of quantum computers. But until now identifying them from look-alikes has been no trivial task.

Reference: Science

Hacking brain waves can give instant cognitive boost, according to new research

Artificially getting activity in certain parts of the brain to sync up can provide a small mental boost when completing tasks or recovering from mistakes, according to new research. The technique could eventually be used as a safe and simple way to perk up the brain, as well as an option for treating those with psychiatric and neurological disorders, where these types of oscillations are often disrupted.

Reference: PNAS

Physicists have smashed quantum light measurement limit

In a first-of-its-kind experiment, a team of physicists has broken through what’s called the shot-noise limit – maximising the amount of information that can be extracted from individual particles of light in optical measurements. For decades, theoretical physicists have predicted that taking measurements with photons in quantum states – where individual particles of light are entangled – could deliver an advantage over measurements taken with light in non-quantum states.

Reference: Nature Photonics

For the first time, neural signatures of explicit and implicit learning have been identified

Figuring out how to pedal a bike and memorizing the rules of chess require two different types of learning, and now for the first time, researchers have been able to distinguish each type of learning by the brain-wave patterns it produces.These distinct neural signatures could guide scientists as they study the underlying neurobiology of how we both learn motor skills and work through complex cognitive tasks.

Reference: Neuron

Scientists unveil ‘Roadmap’ to aid osteoporosis treatment development

Using a technology known as HDX, which the Griffin lab has propelled into mainstream protein analysis, the scientists delivered the first dynamic snapshots of a prime target for osteoporosis treatments: a receptor that regulates calcium levels to maintain healthy bones.

Reference: Nature Communications

Researchers have discovered a cellular mechanism that disrupts communication between neurons in Alzheimer’s disease

Researchers have discovered a cellular mechanism that may contribute to the breakdown of communication between neurons in Alzheimer’s disease. In the brain tissue of Alzheimer’s patients, the RNAs that encode synaptic proteins are degraded more rapidly than in healthy brain cells, the researchers found. Their findings indicate that inadequate levels of a protein known as RBFOX1 may be a factor in the faulty connections that are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.

Reference: Nature Communications

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