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Elein Chahoud verified badge
Intern Pharmacist
September 29, 2018 · 287 Reads

Top stories in science this week

Researchers uncovered an unexpected tactic of pathogenic bacteria to resist antibiotics

It is well-known that disease-causing bacteria can develop antibiotic-resistant variants. In a recent study, researchers uncovered a new resistant tactic, that a small number of bacteria could exempt antibiotics attack by hiding out in an inactive, hibernation-like state until the antibiotic danger passes. Then, they resume their regular functions. The researchers discovered the responsible enzyme for hibernation which can be a potential target of new drug therapy that can combat dormant bacteria.

Reference: Science Signaling



A study found contact lenses’ can contribute to a rare eye infection

In a new study, scientists found an increase in eye infection cases that can cause vision loss. This infection, Acanthamoeba keratitis, is rare but preventable. It can occur in anyone, but contact lens wearers found to be more susceptible to get eye infections. Severely affected people have less than 25% of vision or become blind following the disease and have to face long-time treatment. This increase in cases highlights the need for contact lens users to be aware of the risks. The study concluded that contact lenses as medical devices and should be provided to people with warnings regarding safe use.

Reference: British Journal of Ophthalmology

Scientists invented a tiny caterpillar-like drug delivery robot

Scientists developed a petite soft robot with caterpillar-like legs to carry drug loads inside the human body. The robot is capable of adapting to the harsh body environments. With small soft multiple feet, the robot can move efficiently inside surfaces within the body. In the next few years, scientists aim to create a biodegradable robot that could decompose naturally after its medication delivery mission.

Reference: Nature Communications

Researchers developed a new battery that uses CO2 emitted from power plants

Researchers developed a new type of battery made partly from carbon dioxide captured from power plants. This battery is capable of converting carbon dioxide into a solid mineral carbonate continuously as it discharges. Although the research is still on early-stage, the discovery of this new battery could open up new ways for modifying electrochemical carbon dioxide conversion reactions, which eventually help in reducing the emission of the greenhouse gas to the atmosphere.

Reference: Joule

Scientists made a critical step in developing a better Salmonella vaccine

Each year Salmonella infection kills one million people worldwide. Although there are two Salmonella vaccines currently available, neither are practical for use in many countries, and they only protect about 50 % of immunised people. Scientists discovered the cells type that could afford optimal protection against Salmonella. They researched non-circulating memory T cells to understand how well they protected against reinfection from Salmonella Typhi, a strain that causes life-threatening fever commonly in Africa and parts of Asia.

Reference: PNAS

Researchers invented cheap filters making contaminated water drinkable

It is estimated that 790 million people do not have access to clean water. Currently, portable filters are available, but they are expensive. Researchers invented filters made of aluminium oxide which is cheaply produced from liquid metal gallium. Researchers found that these porous aluminium oxide sheets are capable of filtering heavy metal ions and oil contamination within minutes turning contaminated water into safe and drinkable water.

Reference: Advanced Functional Materials

Scientists invented new antibody therapy for better HIV control

New studies suggest that new immunotherapy is capable of suppressing HIV for a longer time in comparison to conventional antiretroviral drugs. The new drugs, called neutralising antibodies or bNAbs, were found to be both safe and effective. This novel therapy aims to help in better control of HIV through enhancing the immune response against the virus. Also, these antibodies remain in the body longer than antiretroviral drugs and therefore require less frequent administration.

Reference: Nature

Scientists found that plant trait is changing with climate change

New research revealed that plants across the Arctic tundra, where trees growth is hindered by extreme low temperature, are growing taller because of climate change. Scientists stated that plants’ growth and expansion could speed up the thawing of the frozen carbon bank, and lead to the release of greenhouse gases. Also, it could have a serious impact on the Arctic ecosystem.

Reference: Nature

Researchers taught computers to perceive optical illusions like human do

Computer vision experts made a neural-network computer model that can be tricked by context-dependent visual illusions like humans. The model captures how adjacent brain nerve cells send messages to each other and adjust one another’s responses when presented with complex optical illusion. This model found to be simple and sufficient to explain the behaviour of the visual cortex regarding contextual illusions where a perception of what is seen dependent on the context. This advanced knowledge of the human optical system might help in improving the artificial vision.

Reference: Psychological Review

Scientists found cells act as “Trojan Horse” for anticancer drugs delivery

In mice model, scientists found that special cells known as olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) that protect newly generated olfactory nerve cells can be genetically engineered to deliver an anticancer agent to tumour cells, reduce tumour growth and prolong survival. These cells present in the nose in all mammals and can migrate from the nose to inflamed sites in the brain. Scientists are investigating OECs use as a therapy for different types of brain cancer and other cancers in the body.

Reference: Journal of the National Cancer Institute

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