FDA approves first ketamine-based antidepressant

Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, affecting more than 300 million people of all ages around the world. The most commonly used antidepressant medications are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Only about  one third of people with major depressive disorder achieve remission after treatment with SSRIs. When the first medication doesn’t work, the next steps are usually to switch to or add another … Continue reading FDA approves first ketamine-based antidepressant

Jellyfish-inspired electronic skin can heal itself under water

Skin is the largest organ in human body, and can sense important information such as pressure, temperature and pain. This waterproof barrier protects us from infections and can heal itself. Electronic skins are soft and flexible electronics that mimic the functions of skin in one or multiple aspects, and can give robots or even prosthetic limbs the sensations of real skin. However, unlike real skin, … Continue reading Jellyfish-inspired electronic skin can heal itself under water

A New Kind of Twin

Researchers in Australia have found the second-ever documented case of semi-identical twins, who share all the DNA from their mother but have different sets of genes from their father. A potential mechanism for such an uncommon occurrence is the fertilization of a single egg by two sperm cells. However, this scenario typically results in an inviable pregnancy, raising the question of what specific conditions allowed for the proper development of these twins. Continue reading A New Kind of Twin

Scientists create an expanded 8-letter DNA genetic code

Each cell in a living organism has an instruction manual known as the genome. These instructions are spelled out using letters, called bases, that pair with one another to form long double-stranded molecules of helical DNA. Life as we know it uses 4 bases called A, C, T, and G. Recently, scientists expanded this alphabet to include 8 bases – 4 natural and 4 artificial. … Continue reading Scientists create an expanded 8-letter DNA genetic code

March 13 – Creating Perception: How the Brain Constructs the World

Time: 6:30-8:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 13th Location: Pfizer Hall at Harvard University, 12 Oxford Street, Cambridge (link to directions) Speakers: Dana Boebinger Graphics: Olivia Foster Rhoades Have you wondered why you see a black and blue dress, but your friend insists that it is white and gold? Perception is the process by which the brain gathers and interprets information about the world that it receives through our senses. … Continue reading March 13 – Creating Perception: How the Brain Constructs the World

Dogs and humans were buried together in 6,000-year-old graves

Dogs are “man’s best friend,” but how long have they been our four-legged companions? A recent study suggests that dogs and humans may have formed close relationships as early as 6,000 years ago — a relationship that involved humans feeding the dogs, but ended with the dogs being sacrificed. Canine remains from this era have been uncovered before, but this study adds 26 more specimens … Continue reading Dogs and humans were buried together in 6,000-year-old graves

New Drug May Prevent Mosquitoes From Wanting to Bite You

While you are likely familiar with the annoying experience of being a mosquito’s ‘meal of the day’, more is going on behind the scenes of that insect bite than meets the eye.  Mosquitoes, which are drawn to human scent and breath, require proteins from the blood of their victims to develop their eggs and reproduce. This sounds harmless enough, but mosquitoes also excel at picking … Continue reading New Drug May Prevent Mosquitoes From Wanting to Bite You

Digging through history: Theorists use old LHC data to search for new particles

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, Switzerland, is the largest and most energetic particle collider in the world. Since it was activated in 2008, it has collided nearly a quadrillion protons. When particles collide they shatter, annihilate, and completely reorganize into a firework of new particles flying out in all directions, producing hundreds of millions of gigabytes of data. Physicists have used this data … Continue reading Digging through history: Theorists use old LHC data to search for new particles

The Big Eater: How the immune system alters the pancreas during obesity

by Lara Roach figures by Rebecca Senft In Greek, macrophage means “big eater,” and that is exactly their job. Like a growing teenager or athlete after a big game, macrophages are activated immune cells whose primary focus is to “eat.” But instead of, say, a plate of pasta, macrophages take in and digest pathogenic microbes, unhealthy molecules, and even other cells in the body when they … Continue reading The Big Eater: How the immune system alters the pancreas during obesity