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Elein Chahoud verified badge
Intern Pharmacist
November 4, 2018 · 363 Reads

Top stories in science this week

Breakthrough in paralysis treatment restores walking ability in record time.

Targeted electrical stimulation of the spinal cords in patients with chronic lower body paralysis via a wireless implant, enabled them to walk over ground. In new research, scientists show that, after a few months of training, the patients were able to control previously paralysed leg muscles without electrical stimulation. These findings will be used to develop tailored neurotechnology to turn this rehabilitation model into a treatment available at hospitals and clinics everywhere.

Reference: Nature



Scientists discovered new therapy to treat Parkinson’s.

Scientists found MCC950, a small molecule, which can stop the development of Parkinson’s through blocking the activation of NLRP3, a critical immune system target in the brain. Current therapies focus on managing symptoms rather than halting the disease. However, MCC950 is a promising new therapy which can prevent the loss of brain cells, resulting in markedly improved motor function and allowing neurons to function normally. The scientists hope to commence human clinical trials in 2020.

Reference: Science Translational Medicine

Scientists listed 133 different cell types in the brain many of them are rare.

In the new study, neuroscientists have moved one step closer to understanding the complete list of cell types in the brain. Based on analysing genes from nearly 24,000 of the mouse’s brain cells, they sorted cells from the cortex, the outermost shell of the brain, into 133 different ‘cell types’. The classification, building off of 15 years of work, uncovered many rare brain cell types and laid the groundwork for revealing new functions of two of those rare neuron types.

Reference: Nature

Researchers trained artificial intelligence bot to identify galaxies.

Researchers taught an artificial intelligence program, named CLARAN which is used to recognise faces on Facebook, to identify galaxies in deep space. CLARAN scans images taken by radio telescopes. Its job is to spot radio galaxies which emit powerful radio jets from supermassive black holes at their centres.

Reference: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Scientists found immunity genes allow coral species to cope with climate change.

A new study found that a cauliflower coral’s (Pocillopora damicornis) species might have evolved unique immune strategies to cope with environmental change. Around 30% of the cauliflower coral’s genome was unique compared to several other reef-building corals, and many of these genes were associated with immune function. This diversity of genes may be necessary for the long-term survival of coral reefs as climate change, and ocean acidification continues to change the environment to which corals are adapted.

Reference: Nature

Researchers found that immigration to the USA changes a person’s microbiome.

The study of immigrants from Southeast Asia to the US provided insight into some of the metabolic health issues, including obesity and diabetes, affecting immigrants to the country. Researchers new evidence that the gut microbiota of immigrants rapidly Westernize after a person’s arrival in the United States. They found that immigrants begin losing their natural microbes after arriving in the US and acquire new bacteria that are more common in European-American people. However, the new microbes aren’t enough to compensate for the loss of the native microbes, so a notable overall loss of diversity is seen.

Reference: Cell

News Study outlines how gut bacteria may influence behaviour, including movement.

New study findings suggest that gut bacteria may control movement in fruit flies and identify the neurons involved in this response. The study provides additional evidence for an association between the gut and the brain and outlines explicitly how gut bacteria might influence behaviour, including movement. Future studies will further investigate whether bacteria control movement in mammals.

Reference: Nature

Scientists identified appendix as a potential starting point for Parkinson’s.

According to the extensive and comprehensive study, removing the appendix early in life can reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by 19 to 25 %. The results reinforce the gut and immune system role in the genesis of the disease and reveal that the appendix acts as a significant reservoir for abnormally folded alpha-synuclein proteins, which are associated with Parkinson’s onset and progression.

Reference: Science Translational Medicine

Scientists show that common RNA modification aids learning and memory.

RNA carries instructions encoded in DNA to regulate protein production that will carry out the cells biological functions. However, the process isn’t always straightforward. Chemical modifications to DNA or RNA can change the way genes are expressed without changing the actual genetic sequences. These changes can affect many biological processes such as immune system response, nervous system development, various human cancers and even obesity. In mammals, the most common modification on messenger RNA is called N6-methyladenosine (m6A), and it is extensive in the nervous system. Scientists using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing tools showed how Ythdf1 gene, a member of the YTH protein family that specifically identifies m6A, plays an essential role in the process of learning and memory formation.

Reference: Nature

Scientists confirmed that Bee diversity decline due to anthropogenic activity.

A recent study of native wild bees in Mexico reported that changes in nature that are caused by human activities, negatively affect bee species richness and cause significant shifts in species composition. Although the availability of food and nesting sites are the critical factors for bee communities, changes in land use by human negatively impact flower richness and and and significantly diminishes the populations of the bees which rely on specific plants for nectar and pollen.

Reference: Journal of Hymenoptera Research

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