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Radhika Gupta verified badge
Electronics Engineer | Editor at The Surg
September 29, 2017 · 358 Reads

Top stories in science this week

Researchers have demonstrated that light at night disrupts metabolism and promote tumour growth

It has become very common to stay up late at night to study, work or just for the sake of leisure. This extended period results in excessive exposure to light at night, stimulating a conflicting signal to the biological clock. This structure in our brain organizes the temporal order in our physiology and behavior (circadian rhythms) indicating high and low activity moments (activity, food consumption, hormone secretion, etc.) in accordance to the external environment.

Reference: BMC Cancer


Researchers have developed microchips that behave like brain cells

The human brain is used as a comparison for how computer’s function. But, honestly, computers are nothing like human brains. Not yet, at least. That could change as researchers have developed computing technology that uses light to mimic the functionality of a nerve’s synapse, opening the way for hardware that combines the speed of modern processors with the efficiency of brainpower.

Reference: Science Advances

A fatal blood disorder was repaired in human embryo using gene editing

Researchers have employed a different technique to swap a single base in a human embryo’s genome. The precise edit was designed to return functionality to a gene responsible for a component of haemoglobin, which in its mutated form results in an often-fatal blood condition called beta-thalassaemia.

Reference: Protein & Cell

Scientists can finally detect concussive brain trauma in living patients

If you’re an athlete who’s suffered one too many knocks to the skull, you’ll only get a diagnosis of the degenerative and devastating neurological condition Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) when it’s too late to act. That could change with the discovery of a biomarker specific to the disease, making it possible for physicians to deliver treatments sooner and researchers to track progress more accurately.

Reference: PLOS one

A chemical tag added to RNA during embryonic development regulates how early brain grows

A chemical tag added to RNA during embryonic development regulates how the early brain grows. When this development goes awry, problems happen and may cause psychiatric disorders in people.

Reference: Cell

Scientists got a huge step closer to eradicating malaria using genetic modification

In recent years, one new tool – genetic modification – has appeared especially promising. Malaria is caused by a parasite that lives in the mosquito’s gut and infects humans when the mosquito bites. The study published illustrate the potential of genetic engineering for fighting the disease.

Reference: Science

A new study uncovers the molecular bridge between sleep, cognition and schizophrenia

Many people with schizophrenia have trouble with learning and memory. A new study has found intriguing links between sleep, cognition and a compound called kynurenine. These links could illuminate the mechanism that causes cognitive problems among those with the disease, and could point the way to new treatments to reduce some of the disease’s symptoms.

Reference: Sleep

Researchers find a new way to fight an aggressive form of skin cancer using the immune system

We have immune cells called T-cells that are good at killing off cancer cells, but there is an inhibition system in place to prevent autoimmunity. Researchers report on a potential new way to fight melanoma by blocking one of the immune system’s checks and balances. Combining their strategy with an existing immunotherapy treatment that works by releasing the “brakes” on immune cells, they found they could shrink melanoma tumors, and prolong survival in preclinical models of melanoma.

Reference: JCI Insight

Scientists have identified what causes hallucinations in Parkinson’s patients

Scientists have identified what they believe to be the missing brain connections that cause hallucinations for people with Parkinson’s, a discovery which may help doctors predict and track the development of the disease in the future. The new research, based on a series of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans, points to brain areas associated with attention and visual processing as being at the root cause of these hallucinations.

Reference: Radiology

Scientists reaffirm that autism can be explained by faulty genes

A fresh look at data from earlier research has reaffirmed what many researchers had thought – autism is primarily in the genes. Other studies have shown autism spectrum disorder (ASD) tends to cluster in families and is associated with particular genes, but nailing down the risks with precision is a complex task. This new research has put a figure on the chances, claiming 83 percent of autism cases are inherited.

Reference: JAMA

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