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Top 10 STEM News – 20th May

Top 10 STEM News – 20th May

Our pick of the Top 10 STEM news from around the world including evidence of inherited memories and new SD cards with mind blowing storage capacity:

Memories can be inherited

Our life experiences may be passed on to our children and our children’s children – and now scientists report that they have discovered that this inheritance can be turned on or off.

Epigenetics is the study of inherited changes in gene expression… changes that are inherited, but aren’t inherent to our DNA. For instance, life experiences, which aren’t directly coded in human DNA, can actually be passed on to children. Studies have shown that survivors of traumatic events may have effects in subsequent generations.

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Doctors perform first U.S. penis transplant

Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital performed the first U.S. penis transplant, they said Monday, calling it a “landmark procedure.”

Thomas Manning, 64, is recovering well after the 15-hour procedure performed by a team of over 50 surgeons, doctors and nurses, this month, according to the hospital. Manning, of Halifax, Massachusetts, had his penis amputated after he was diagnosed with penile cancer in 2012.
The procedure, also described by the doctors as a “surgical milestone,” is called a gentitourinary vascularized composite allograft, or GUVCA.

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Academies of Science finds GMOs not harmful to human health

Genetically engineered crops are safe for humans and animals to eat and have not caused increases in cancer, obesity, gastrointestinal illnesses, kidney disease, autism or allergies, an exhaustive report from the National Academies of Science released Tuesday found.

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IBM scientists achieve storage memory breakthrough

For the first time, scientists at IBM Research have demonstrated reliably storing 3 bits of data per cell using a relatively new memory technology known as phase-change memory (PCM).

The current landscape spans from venerable DRAM to hard disk drives to ubiquitous flash. But in the last several years PCM has attracted the industry’s attention as a potential universal memory technology based on its combination of read/write speed, endurance, non-volatility and density. For example, PCM doesn’t lose data when powered off, unlike DRAM, and the technology can endure at least 10 million write cycles, compared to an average flash USB stick, which tops out at 3,000 write cycles.

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These new earbuds can translate languages for you in real-time

A nifty new wearable technology could soon make conversing with people from other cultures a much easier affair, with New York City-based startup Waverly Labs about to release what they’re claiming is the world’s first ‘smart’ earpiece that translates between users speaking different languages.

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A home urine test that could scan for diseases

There’s a good reason your doctor asks for a urine sample at your annual checkup. A simple, color-changing paper test, dipped into the specimen, can measure levels of glucose, blood, protein and other chemicals, which in turn can indicate evidence of kidney disease, diabetes, urinary tract infections and even signs of bladder cancer.

The simple test is powerful, but it isn’t perfect: It takes time, costs money and creates backlogs for clinics and primary care physicians. Results are often inconclusive, requiring both patient and doctor to book another appointment. Patients with long-term conditions like chronic urinary tract infections must wait for results to confirm what both patient and doctor already know before getting antibiotics. Tracking patients’ progress with multiple urine tests a day is out of the question.

Some innovators have tried to democratize urine testing by creating a low-cost way to analyze one of medicine’s trusty staples – the urinary dipstick – in any setting, even at home.

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A MOLECULE THAT COULD DESTROY ALL VIRUSES

Finding a cure for viruses like Ebola, Zika, or even the flu is a challenging task. Viruses are vastly different from one another, and even the same strain of a virus can mutate and change–that’s why doctors give out a different flu vaccine each year. But a group of researchers at IBM and the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology in Singapore sought to understand what makes all viruses alike. Using that knowledge, they’ve come up with a macromolecule that may have the potential to treat multiple types of viruses and prevent them from infecting us. The work was published recently in the journal Macromolecules.


Potential new adhesive can be turned on and off

Some adhesives may soon have a metallic sheen and be particularly easy to unstick. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart are suggesting gallium as just such a reversible adhesive. By inducing slight changes in temperature, they can control whether a layer of gallium sticks or not. This is based on the fact that gallium transitions from a solid state to a liquid state at around 30 degrees Celsius. A reversible adhesive of this kind could have applications everywhere that temporary adhesion is required, such as industrial pick-and-place processes, transfer printing, temporary wafer bonding, or for moving sensitive biological samples such as tissues and organs. Switchable adhesion could also be suitable for use on the feet of climbing robots.

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Samsung Electronics Introduces the EVO Plus 256GB MicroSD Card

Samsung Electronics, an expert provider of advanced memory solutions, today unveiled its newest memory card globally – the EVO Plus 256GB microSD card. The EVO Plus 256GB offers the highest capacity for a microSD card in its class, delivering fast speeds and an expanded memory storage for use in premium smartphones and tablets, 360-degree video recorders, action cameras, and drones. Consumers can now record up to 12 hours of 4K UHD video or 33 hours of Full HD video on their mobile device or action camera without needing to change or replace the memory card, allowing them to experience more and worry less about running out of memory.

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Google’s New Science Journal App Turns Your Android Phone Into a Lab Full of Sensors

If you’re working on a rocket destined for Mars, Google’s new Science Journal app might be a bit limited. But if you’re an aspiring scientist, the free app will turn an Android smartphone or tablet into laboratory full of experiments by grabbing data from the device’s various sound, light, and motion sensors.

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