Genetic editing of human embryos in the United States ignites debate

In December 2018, a Chinese researcher, He Jiankui, shocked the world when he revealed the birth of the world’s first genetically edited babies. While it is clear that Jiankui egregiously violated university regulations and ethical standards, his announcement has since ignited a heated international dialogue about the permissibility of human embryonic gene editing. Currently, there are scientists in the United States working in university laboratories, … Continue reading Genetic editing of human embryos in the United States ignites debate

Scientists control rat’s movements with their minds

The concept of mind control sounds like something that only exists in sci-fi movies. Until now. Recent work from Zhejiang University on developing a system appears to allow human mind control over the rat’s movements. This “brain-to-brain interface”, or BBI, is achieved by wirelessly coupling the brains of a human operator and a “rat cyborg” and transmitting brain activity in real time. Brain cells communicate … Continue reading Scientists control rat’s movements with their minds

Oral bacteria may be responsible for Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia. It progressively worsens multiple aspects of health over time, from short-term memory loss to behavioral changes to loss of bodily functions. The actual cause of Alzheimer’s is currently unknown. One widely-accepted hypothesis proposes that Alzheimer’s is caused by the accumulation of misfolded proteins in the brain. Unfortunately, many drugs targeting misfolded proteins perform poorly in clinical trials, … Continue reading Oral bacteria may be responsible for Alzheimer’s disease

Double Vision: A Second Visual Pathway in Mice

A study of the mouse brain found that a region involved in processing visual motion does not depend on the area thought to be the primary source of visual information, but rather a separate structure. While a similar discovery in the analogous region of primates has yet to be made, this suggests the presence of non-conventional pathways in sensory processing and highlights that, even in widely studied areas, there is still much to learn. Continue reading Double Vision: A Second Visual Pathway in Mice

Breaking the ice: Scientists find signs of ancient life in submerged Antarctic lake

The frozen desert of Antarctica is not exactly a place you would want to call home. But under its surface lies an unexplored, watery world of subglacial lakes and rivers stretching for millions of square miles, the ice above exerting enough pressure to keep them from freezing. But when scientists found a diverse bacterial haven in the secluded lakes, they were mystified: What other organisms … Continue reading Breaking the ice: Scientists find signs of ancient life in submerged Antarctic lake

Efficient drug delivery platform into the brain

Treatment of neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease and stroke, has always been a challenging task, partly due to the existence of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The BBB is a border that separates the blood circulation from the surrounding brain tissue. In a healthy brain, the BBB only allows the passage of nutrients crucial to brain function, while restricting the transportation of other substances, including … Continue reading Efficient drug delivery platform into the brain

Nano-antidote provides long-term protection against nerve agents

Nerve agents are toxic chemicals that disrupt signals in the nervous system. They can be absorbed easily through skin contact or by breathing. Exposure to nerve agents interferes with nerve cell signaling and prevents muscles from relaxing, quickly leading to muscle paralysis and eventually death by asphyxiation or cardiac arrest. Treatment is possible but must be administered within minutes of exposure. No long-term vaccine or … Continue reading Nano-antidote provides long-term protection against nerve agents

A Joint Effort: Inheritance of Mitochondrial DNA from Both Parents

Researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center have found evidence in three families for inheritance of mitochondrial DNA from both mothers and fathers, in contrast to the conventional belief that this genetic transmission is exclusively maternal. This discovery opens new doorways in molecular biology and genetics to understand this inheritance pattern, and properly harnessing the process could dramatically reduce chances of inheriting mitochondrial disorders. Continue reading A Joint Effort: Inheritance of Mitochondrial DNA from Both Parents

Treating knee osteoarthritis with a nanoparticle injection

Osteoarthritis is a joint disease that occurs when the cartilage (the flexible and slippery tissue that protects the ends of bones in the joints) wears away, causing bones to rub against each other. Common causes of osteoarthritis include aging, sports injuries, and excess body weight. Scientists from Tsinghua University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University have developed nanoparticles that can be injected as lubricant into the … Continue reading Treating knee osteoarthritis with a nanoparticle injection

The Actual Master of Disguise: The Flu

Influenza A is the virus responsible for the Spanish Flu pandemic, which wiped out 3-5% of the human population in the early 20th century. The annual influenza outbreak occurs in the autumn and winter, although it is not normally deadly for healthy adults. There is currently no vaccine providing permanent protection against influenza A because the virus mutates and changes so often, requiring a yearly … Continue reading The Actual Master of Disguise: The Flu