LAURA KNIGHT-JADCZYK AND JOE QUINN
Science & Technology
Sydney Morning Herald
Wed, 02 Apr 2014 10:14 CDT
The molecule, found in the pink and white flowers of the ornamental tobacco plant Nicotiana alata, is a key part of the plant's natural defence mechanism, allowing it to fight off fungal and bacterial infections.
After isolating the molecule, known as NaD1, La Trobe University biologists found that it also had the ability to identify and destroy cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unscathed.
"This is the holy grail - to develop specific agents which will only target cancer and not the normal healthy cells," cancer biologist Mark Hulett said.
Comment: See also:
Health Benefits of Smoking Tobacco
Tue, 01 Apr 2014 22:34 CDT
Biomedical engineers discovered that the test skeletal muscle developed at the Durham, North Carolina school was able to integrate into lab mice quickly, and then heal itself quickly once inside the animal. They also measured the muscle's strength by shocking it with electric pulses, discovering it was more than 10 times stronger than any previously engineered muscles, according to Quartz.
Lead researcher Nenad Bursac told the site that perhaps the most exciting development was that they were able to isolate stem cells from mouse muscle and then grow them into muscle fibers.
"We got them to grow into strongly contracting fibers," he said. "This is the first time we've seen muscle fibers contract so strongly in the lab. It was comparable to the contracting forces you'd see in an actual mouse muscle."
They quickly confirmed the observation with additional photos taken with a 0.40-m (16-inch) reflector. Nothing was seen down to magnitude +13.4 in photos taken the on the 27th, but when they checked through images made on March 30 the star present at +12.4. Good news - it's getting brighter!
A coronal mass ejection is a huge release --billions of tons -- of solar material and magnetic fields that, if it reaches Earth, can create beautiful auroras as well as cause problems with the power grid.
Mon, 24 Mar 2014 10:42 CDT
A Northern Ireland company has turned Debby Elnatan's idea for a walking harness into a product that could transform the lives of countless disabled children.
Mrs Elnatan, a music therapist, came up with the concept to help her young son Rotem, who has cerebral palsy.
She designed a support harness that would enable Rotem to stand upright and, by attaching it to herself, let parent and child take steps together.
Arizona State University - Biodesign Institute
Thu, 27 Mar 2014 07:53 CDT
The therapeutics, known as monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) and their derivatives, were shown to neutralize and protect mice against a lethal dose challenge of West Nile virus---even as late as 4 days after the initial infection.
"The overarching goal of our research is to create an innovative, yet sustainable and accessible, low cost solution to combat the global threat of West Nile virus," said Chen, a researcher at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute and professor in the Department of TEIM.
West Nile virus is spread by infected mosquitoes, and targets the central nervous system. It can be a serious, life-altering and even fatal disease and currently, there is no cure or drug treatment against West Nile virus, which has been widely spread across the U.S., Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Sat, 29 Mar 2014 05:52 CDT
Their quest is elegantly laid out in The Immortalists, a new documentary making its way around the film festival circuit. The Immortalists follows the triumphs and tragedies of three years in the lives of William H. Andrews and Aubrey de Grey, two men who prove just as interesting as the work they're doing. The Immortalists is really a film about death, not life, which is what makes it so fascinating.
Here's the trailer:
Fri, 28 Mar 2014 14:05 CDT
A project dubbed "The Call of the Abyss" took explorers to the deepest cave on Earth, and they ventured down to a breathtaking depth of nearly 2,200 meters - around 1.3 miles.
Now scientists have evidence to back up that tale. New Caledonian crows actually do understand how to make water displacement work to their advantage, experiments showed. The results suggest that the birds are, at least in some respects, as smart as first-graders, according to the study.
Researchers led by Sarah Jelbert at the University of Auckland in Australia presented six crows with tubes filled with water. Inside the tubes, a worm or chunk of meat on a cork was floating, just out of reach of the crow's beak.
In front of the tubes, the researchers arranged a bunch of heavy rubber erasers that would sink, and light polystyrene objects that would float. In other variations of the experiment, the birds were presented with hollow and solid cubes.
The crows figured out that they could drop the heavy objects and the solid cubes into the tubes in order to raise the water level and get their snack, the researchers reported March 26 in the journal PLOS ONE.
Wed, 26 Mar 2014 08:54 CDT
But it wouldn't take a full-scale nuclear war to make Earth uninhabitable, reports Live Science.
Even a relatively small regional nuclear war, like a conflict between India and Pakistan, could spark a global environmental catastrophe, says a new study.
"Most people would be surprised to know that even a very small regional nuclear war on the other side of the planet could disrupt global climate for at least a decade and wipe out the ozone layer for a decade," said lead author Michael Mills, an atmospheric scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado.
Researchers developed a computer model of the Earth's atmosphere and ran simulations to find out what would happen if there was a nuclear war with just a fraction of the world's arsenal.