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Ajit Johnson
Cancer biologist, University of Edinburgh.
May 13, 2017 · 8 Reads

Top stories in science this week

1. Massive landforms have just been discovered under the antarctic ice sheet

Scientists have discovered massive landforms lurking under Antarctica — some as tall as the Eiffel Tower — and they’ve been actively carving deep channels into the ice flow above. These landforms, which are five times bigger than those left behind by former ice sheets in Scandinavia and North America, are now thought to be contributing to the thinning of the Antarctic ice shelves, and that could have big consequences for the region’s stability.

Reference: https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms15228

2. Scientists found out why stroke patients develop life threatening infections

Having a stroke damages immune cells as well as affecting the brain, research has found. The findings help explain why patients have a greater risk of catching life-threatening infections, such as pneumonia, after having a stroke. Therapies that boost survival of the affected immune cells or compensate for their damage could help improve the recovery of stroke patients, the researchers say.

Reference: https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms15051

3. Researchers developed a new electrical method to clear pollutants from water

When it comes to removing very dilute concentrations of pollutants from water, existing separation methods tend to be energy- and chemical-intensive. Now, a new method developed at MIT could provide a selective alternative for removing even extremely low levels of unwanted compounds.

4. New quantum device could make contactless payment more secure

A prototype gadget that sends secret keys to encrypt information passed from a mobile device to a payment terminal, could help answer public concerns around the security of contactless and wireless transactions, a new Oxford University collaboration has found.

Reference: https://www.osapublishing.org/oe/abstract.cfm?uri=oe-25-6-6784

5. Common painkillers linked to increased risk of heart attack

Taking even over-the-counter doses of common painkillers known as NSAIDs — nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs — has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack in a new study. The likelihood of experiencing a heart attack was calculated to increase by an average of 20% to 50%, compared with someone not taking the drugs, regardless of the dosage and amount of time the medications are taken.

Reference: https://www.escardio.org/The-ESC/Press-Office/Press-releases/harmless-painkillers-associated-with-increased-risk-of-cardiac-arrest

6. Review suggests, Osteoarthritis could be prevented with good diet and exercise

Osteoarthritis can potentially be prevented with a good diet and regular exercise, a new expert review published in the Nature Reviews Rheumatology reports. During the expert review, researchers from the University of Surrey identified a crucial link between metabolism and osteoarthritis. Metabolic changes, caused by a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle, trigger’s the genetic reprogramming of cells in the body and joints.

Reference: http://www.nature.com/nrrheum/journal/v13/n5/full/nrrheum.2017.50.html

7. Mechanism by which solar cells break down has been identified, paving way for a solution

Solar cells harness energy from the Sun and provide an alternative to non-renewable energy sources like fossil fuels. However, solar cells (perovskite) degrade rapidly in natural conditions, greatly decreasing their performance in a matter of days. This is one reason they are not currently widely used. Now, in a study published in Nature Communications, the team have determined how the superoxides form and how they attack the perovskite material, and have proposed possible solutions.

Reference: https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms15218

8. Researchers create anticancer nanomaterials by simulating underwater volcanic conditions

Researchers at Aalto University, Finland, have developed anticancer nanomaterials by simulating the volcano-induced dynamic chemistry of the deep ocean. The novel method enables making nanoclusters of zinc peroxide in an environmentally friendly manner, without the use of additional chemicals. The as-synthesised zinc peroxide nanoparticles can be used as a tool for cancer therapy and against other complicated diseases.

Reference: https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms15319

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