Hearing restored in gerbils by stem cell treatment – might work for the human ear, too

In an exceptional feat of medical and technical ingenuity, scientists have been able to restore partial hearing to deaf gerbils by implanting modified human embryonic stem cells in their ears. The success rate is pleasing, and offers solid ground on which human trials with a similar treatment might commence. There are many causes which might lead to hearing loss. The

Bacteria replicate close to the limit of thermodynamic efficiency

We often like to think us humans have achieved a remarkable standard of efficiency and development – but a look at the animal life around us is often enough to humble us. Replicating bacteria and physics The common gut bacteria, Escherichia coli (E. coli, in short) typically takes about 20 minutes to duplicate itself in good conditions – a staggering

How tabby cats earn their stripes – genetics answer

A feline genetic study has revealed that a particular gene variation in a cat’s chromosome is responsible for the stripped fur so many cat lovers adore. According to the researchers, the same gene gives cheetahs, the house cat’s larger and wilder cousin, stripes instead of the regular spots. The research was lead by Stephen O’Brien of the National Laboratory for Cancer

Atlas of the human brain might help identify the mechanics of neural conditions

Neuroscientists at the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle have created an atlas of the human brain, which highlights the activity of genes across the entire organ. The brain map was created after many hard years of labor, and might help scientists from across the world  identify factors that underlie neurological and psychiatric conditions. “The human brain is the most complex structure known

Genetic tweak makes plants produce enzyme-replacing drug

Culturing mammalian cells is currently the only way to make some complex proteins used in certain drugs; but growing such cultures is an extremely difficult and delicate job, because they can harbor human pathogens and must therefore be kept under strict temperature conditions. It’s a difficult job, but it’s definitely worth it; take a look at the rare lysosomal storage

Sperm captured in 3D for the first time, reveals corkscrewing swimming [with video]

Scientists have finally managed to track sperm patterns in 3D, for the first time in history. Bless their gifted brains, this remarkable achievement revealed some interesting and unexpected things: some sperm swim in corkscrew patterns, while others are hyperactive and hectic. Aydogan Ozcan, the sperm study leader, placed sperm on a silicon sensor chip and used red and blue light

DNA could be used to visually recreate a person’s face

No person is the same, thanks to genetic variation. While skin color, hair, or body proportions are elements that might be exactly the same for two persons, you can be sure that one’s face is unique – even in identical twins, if you look extremely closely. While life style, body weight, diet, accidents and so on influence the shape and

Hans Rosling’s enlightening TED talks about world population and world health

Hans Rosling is one of the most remarkable people on the face of the Earth – even the most educated, well traveled and insightful have their perspectives shifted by Rosling. A professor of global health at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, a member of Time’s most influential 100 people, as well as an accomplished sword swallower, he currently focuses on dispelling myths

New biocompatible, self-healing gel is perfect replacement for cartilages

A team of experts in mechanics, materials, medicine and tissue engineering have managed to create a self replicating gel which can stretch about 21 times its length. The water-based tough gel is also self-healing and biocompatible, which means it could be perfect for people with cartilage injuries. When 1+1 isn’t 2 The new hydrogel (names this way because water is

Loud Music Can Stimulate Your Brain

 Music is LIFE Music makes the world go round, but in recent years youngsters have been warned about listening to too much music at high volumes, advising that it may cause hearing loss in later life. Contrary to this, research in the last few years into the positive reactions of listening to loud music has taken place, and offers an

Pulling all-nighters before tests is counter-productive – does more harm than good

The findings of a new research at UCLA, suggest that cramming all night before a big test, something that we’ve all went through at least once in a point of our lives with personal mixed results, is generally counter-productive as the sleep deprivation acts its toll on cognitive performance. Whether we’re talking about high school or university, especially the latter, we’ve all

Secrets of the ‘Super Agers’: elder people who

Researchers often study and analyze what goes wrong with the brains of people with dementia; but this is not the case here – researchers from Northwestern Medicinecasked themselves exactly the opposite: what happens with the brains of the so-called ‘Super Agers’, elder people who still have terrific memories. Emili Rogalski identified an elite group of people aged over 80, whose

Seizure detector treats epilepsy in rats

Just think about it: a minimally invasive brain stimulator that significantly reduces seizure duration for epilepsy patients. Such a device exists, but sadly, only works in rats so far. The device was tested on nine rats with a ‘petit mal’ form of epilepsy, and it reduced the length of seizures by approximately 60 percent. Most electrical stimulation devices, most notably

Beating cancer by making it forget what it is [TED VIDEO]

Dr. Jay Bradner, a physician and chemical biologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, makes beating cancer sound easy – darn easy! Through the wonderful information that epigenetics science has delivered in the past decade, he believes cancer can be defeated simply by re-writing its genetic information such that it forgets that it’s a cancer, and starts behaving like a regular

Malaria genome sequence shows the disease is more challenging, yet offers opportunities

Two recently released studies by teams of international researchers sequenced the genomes of two major strains of the parasitic disease known as malaria. Their findings show that malaria is a lot more resistant than previously thought, but at the same time helps paint a broader picture which will certain aid in developing more effective treatment, which might one day lead

Shorties: Exercise helps ease depression in heart failure patients

Almost half of all patients who suffered some sort of heart failure slip into depression, even though some of them live another few decades after the event. But exercise really is a miracle worker – according to doctors, even in such a delicate case, it can significantly help patients overcome their depression. Researchers randomly assigned more than 2,300 heart failure

Leg ulcer spray accelerates healing

Leg ulcers are nasty problems – and hard ones to get rid of. Now, according to a team of Canadian and American doctors, spraying leg ulcers with a mixture of skin cell mixture may speed up healing, even for nasty cases. Typically, such ulcers develop when high blood pressure in the veins from the legs damages the skin, causing it

Chemical lets blind mice see instantly – no surgery, chips or genetic alteration

Remarkably, researchers University of California, Berkeley  have discovered that a chemical called AAQ can temporarily restore the vision in blind mice. The find might help people suffering from inherited genetic blindness or age-related macular degeneration, and bring back light into their world. The process isn’t quite as easy as applying eye drops, but it’s a whole lot less intrusive than surgery, bio-chips or optogenics,

We make mistakes more often and learn harder when rules change

Someone whose been driving for 20 years, let’s say, in the United States and somehow ends up driving a car in the UK will be in a lot of trouble. Going from right side driving to left side driving, or vice versa, will bewilder just about anyone, and if you’ve gone through such an experience maybe you can relate to

Avian flu jumps from birds to mammals, killing New England baby seals

A novel avian influenza virus has developed the ability to infect aquatic mammals and is responsible for an outbreak of fatal pneumonia that recently struck harbor seals in New England. The announcement was made by researchers from the Center for Infection & Immunity (CII) at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, New England