News 2019


Life Sciences

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Life Sciences - Health - 12.11.2019
Newborn baby hiccups could be key to brain development
Each time a newborn baby hiccups, it triggers a large wave of brain signals which could help the baby learn how to regulate their breathing, finds a new UCL-led study. The study, published in Clinical Neurophysiology , was based on brain scans of newborn infants. "The reasons for why we hiccup are not entirely clear, but there may be a developmental reason, given that foetuses and newborn babies hiccup so frequently," said the study's lead author, research associate Kimberley Whitehead (UCL Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology).

Environment - Life Sciences - 12.11.2019
Bacteria may contribute more to climate change as planet heats up
Bacteria may contribute more to climate change as planet heats up
As bacteria adapt to hotter temperatures, they speed up their respiration rate and release more carbon, potentially accelerating climate change. By releasing more carbon as global temperatures rise, bacteria and related organisms called archaea could increase climate warming at a faster rate than current models suggest.

Life Sciences - Environment - 11.11.2019
"Without Bacteria and Fungi, the Earth Would Look Like Mars"
Our soils filter drinking water and produces food. Soils only carry out these services, because they harbour thousands fungal and bacteria species which work together like the wheels in a clock mechanism. These are the conclusions reached by a study published in the renowned by researchers from Agroscope and the University of Zurich.

Life Sciences - Social Sciences - 08.11.2019
Finds Brains of Girls and Boys Are Similar, Producing Equal Math Ability
New research at Carnegie Mellon University indicates that there is no gender disparity in how children learn and perform math skills In 1992, Teen Talk Barbie was released with the controversial voice fragment, "Math class is hard." While the toy's release met with public backlash, this underlying assumption persists, propagating the myth that women do not thrive in science, technology, engineering and mathematic (STEM) fields due to biological deficiencies in math aptitude.

History / Archeology - Life Sciences - 07.11.2019
Ancient Rome: a 12,000-year history of genetic flux, migrations and diversity
Ancient Rome: a 12,000-year history of genetic flux, migrations and diversity
Scholars have been all over Rome for hundreds of years, but it still holds some secrets - for instance, relatively little is known about where the city's denizens actually came from. Now, an international team led by Researchers from the University of Vienna, Stanford University and Sapienza University of Rome, is filling in the gaps with a genetic history that shows just how much the Eternal City's populace mirrored its sometimes tumultuous history.

Life Sciences - Physics - 07.11.2019
Researchers convert 2D images into 3D using deep learning
A UCLA research team has devised a technique that extends the capabilities of fluorescence microscopy, which allows scientists to precisely label parts of living cells and tissue with dyes that glow under special lighting. The researchers use artificial intelligence to turn two-dimensional images into stacks of virtual three-dimensional slices showing activity inside organisms.

Health - Life Sciences - 07.11.2019
New theory for Neanderthal extinction
New theory for Neanderthal extinction
Complex disease transmission patterns could explain why it took tens of thousands of years after first contact for our ancestors to replace Neanderthals throughout Europe and Asia. Growing up in Israel, Gili Greenbaum would give tours of local caves once inhabited by Neanderthals and wonder along with others why our distant cousins abruptly disappeared about 40,000 years ago.

Life Sciences - 07.11.2019
Neural Network Fills In Data Gaps For Spatial Analysis of Chromosomes
Computational methods used to fill in missing pixels in low-quality images or video also can help scientists provide missing information for how DNA is organized in the cell, computational biologists at Carnegie Mellon University have shown. "Filling in this missing information will make it possible to more readily study the 3D structure of chromosomes and, in particular, subcompartments that may play a crucial role in both disease formation and determining cell functions,” said Jian Ma, associate professor in CMU's Computational Biology Department.

Life Sciences - Health - 06.11.2019
A Game-Changing Test for Prion, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's Diseases is on the Horizon
A Game-Changing Test for Prion, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s Diseases is on the Horizon
There are currently no effective treatments for prion diseases, a family of fatal neurodegenerative conditions caused by accumulations of misfolded copies of a naturally occurring protein. But now, there is finally an effective way to test for them. As reported in the journal PLOS ONE , a team of scientists who have been working on prion detection for nearly 20 years have demonstrated that their unique, synthetic-molecule-based approach can isolate prion proteins in body fluids sampled from infected animals.

Life Sciences - History / Archeology - 05.11.2019
3,000-year-old Egyptian wheat genome sequenced for first time
3,000-year-old Egyptian wheat genome sequenced for first time
The genome of an ancient Egyptian wheat has been sequenced for the first time by a UCL-led team, revealing historical patterns of crop movement and domestication. The study was carried out by an international research team, which mapped the genetic code from a sample of wheat harvested over 3,000 years ago, that was excavated in 1924 from the Hememiah North Spur site in Egypt.

Life Sciences - Psychology - 05.11.2019
World-leading mental health research centre celebrates 'decade of discovery'
World-leading mental health research centre celebrates ’decade of discovery’
One of the world's leading centres for research into the underlying causes of mental health issues is marking its 10th anniversary. The MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics is also transitioning from a Medical Research Council Centre to a Cardiff University Centre, and Professor James Walters is taking over as director, replacing Professor Sir Michael Owen.

Chemistry - Life Sciences - 05.11.2019
UW-Madison chemist searches for ways to bioengineer proteins within cells
Andrew Buller , professor of chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, wants to add more building blocks to the body's protein-making kit. In nature, there exist 20 of these building blocks, called amino acids, which make up the proteins that perform the work required to sustain life. Buller says scientists can create more, allowing them to expand the ways in which cells build proteins.

Life Sciences - 05.11.2019
Jaw-some wombats may be great survivors
Jaw-some wombats may be great survivors
Flexible jaws may help wombats better survive in a changing world by adapting to climate change's effect on vegetation and new diets in conservation sanctuaries. An international study, co-led by The University of Queensland's Dr Vera Weisbecker , has revealed that wombat jaws appear to change in relation to their diets.

Life Sciences - Earth Sciences - 04.11.2019
Aquatic invasive species are short-circuiting benefits from mercury reduction in the Great Lakes
Using a combination of mercury, nitrogen and carbon isotope analysis - which he terms "fingerprinting" - on samples of lake trout archived from 1978 to 2012, researcher Ryan Lepak discovered there wasn't an obvious decrease in concentrations of mercury in these fish even though the sediment record revealed reduced mercury loading.

Life Sciences - Psychology - 04.11.2019
Stressed to the max? Deep sleep can rewire the anxious brain
Anxiety keeps us awake, but deep sleep can soothe the anxious brain, according to new study. (iStockphoto) When it comes to managing anxiety disorders, William Shakespeare's Macbeth had it right when he referred to sleep as the "balm of hurt minds." While a full night of slumber stabilizes emotions, a sleepless night can trigger up to a 30% rise in anxiety levels, according to new research from UC Berkeley.

Life Sciences - Environment - 04.11.2019
Swordfish as oceanographers? Satellite tags allow research of ocean's 'twilight zone' off Florida
Swordfish as oceanographers? Satellite tags allow research of ocean’s ’twilight zone’ off Florida
Researchers from the University of Washington are using high-tech tags to record the movements of swordfish - big, deep-water, migratory, open-ocean fish that are poorly studied - and get a window into the ocean depths they inhabit. The researchers tagged five swordfish in late August off the coast of Miami: Max , Simone , Anthony , Rex and Oliver.

Life Sciences - Physics - 04.11.2019
Scientists capture dynamic brain in action
Scientists routinely capture images of the brain in action by focusing on single molecules, cells, or circuits. But visualizing how these tiny units interact to create complex behavior has been a daunting task. Now, in a collaborative, multi-lab effort, researchers at Yale University have developed a way to leverage a pair of microscopic technologies to provide a glimpse of the entire brain at work in real time.

Life Sciences - Health - 04.11.2019
Reveals how brain injury can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder in U.S. military members frequently follows a concussion-like brain injury. Until now, it has been unclear why. A UCLA team of psychologists and neurologists reports that a traumatic brain injury causes changes in a brain region called the amygdala; and the brain processes fear differently after such an injury.

Pharmacology - Life Sciences - 04.11.2019
From cone snail venom to pain relief
From cone snail venom to pain relief
Conotoxins are bioactive peptides found in the venom that marine cone snails produce for prey capture and defense. They are used as pharmacological tools to study pain signalling and have the potential to become a new class of analgesics. To date, more than 10,000 conotoxin sequences have been discovered.

Health - Life Sciences - 04.11.2019
Synthetic phages with programmable specificity
Synthetic phages with programmable specificity
ETH researchers are using synthetic biology to reprogram bacterial viruses - commonly known as bacteriophages - to expand their natural host range. This technology paves the way for the therapeutic use of standardized, synthetic bacteriophages to treat bacterial infections. Bacteriophages ("phages" for short) are viruses that infect bacteria.
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