Vaccine protection against Zika virus achieved
The rapid development of a safe and effective vaccine to prevent the Zika virus (ZIKV) is a global priority, as infection in pregnant women has been shown to lead to fetal microcephaly and other major birth defects. The World Health Organization declared the Zika virus epidemic a global public health emergency on February 1, 2016
Alien plants turn East Africa into ‘green desert’
Invasive species can have unpredictable impacts on new habitats. They can alter the food chain, and overpopulate entire regions at the expense of local animals and plants.
Living creatures have always moved at different rates around the planet. But human transport can rapidly carry animals and plants around the world. Those who thrive in new places will irreparably change localbiodiversity.
Helium discovery a ‘game-changer’
Scientists say they have found a large helium gas field in Tanzania. With world supplies running out, the discovery is a “game-changer”, say geologists at Durham and Oxford universities. Helium is used in hospitals in MRI scanners as well as in spacecrafts and radiation monitors.
Longevity and Human Health May be Linked to Muscle Cell Enzyme
Exercise and fasting do not change the location of a key enzyme involved in energy production, a study inExperimental Physiology found.
SIRT3 is an important enzyme involved in fat metabolism and energy production. Located within the mitochondria of human skeletal muscle, it acts by targeting certain proteins and altering their activity. Nearly every cell in the body contains mitochondria as they are responsible for producing the energy cells need to function properly. Learning more about the enzymes located in the mitochondria, their movements, and purpose in relation to the entire cell is essential for fully appreciating how cellular functions can influence the entire body’s well-being.
This New Shade Of Blue Was Accidentally Discovered By Chemists
Back in 2009, a lab full of chemists stumbled across a new pigment, more or less by sheer chance. After being heralded as “the creation of a near-perfect blue pigment,” this coincidental eureka moment is now being manufactured for artists’ brushes.
This burst of blue came about when scientists at Oregon State University (OSU) heated manganese oxide, along with other chemicals, to over 1,200°C (2,000°F). Although the scientists were actually looking at manganese oxide for some of its electronic properties, one of their reactions inadvertently birthed a new pigment: the catchily named “YInMn blue.”
The ozone hole is finally closing up
Scientists have found evidence that the hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica is finally beginning to heal. If progress continues, it should be closed permanently by 2050.
The news comes almost 30 years since the world worked together to phase out ozone-depleting chemicals, so we’re allowed to give ourselves a little pat on the back. “We can now be confident that the things we’ve done have put the planet on a path to heal,” said lead researcher Susan Solomon from MIT.
Chronic fatigue syndrome is in your gut, not your head
Physicians have been mystified by chronic fatigue syndrome, a condition where normal exertion leads to debilitating fatigue that isn’t alleviated by rest. There are no known triggers, and diagnosis requires lengthy tests administered by an expert. Now, for the first time, researchers report they have identified biological markers of the disease in gut bacteria and inflammatory microbial agents in the blood.
Building a smart cardiac patch
Researchers have created nanoscale electronic scaffolds that can be seeded with cardiac cells to produce a ‘bionic’ cardiac patch. Once implanted, the bionic patch could act similarly to a pacemaker — delivering electrical shocks to correct arrhythmia, but the possibilities don’t end there, say researchers.
Scientists just made it cheaper to produce hydrogen from water
A hydrogen-fuel economy could finally become a reality with the recent discovery of a cheap, stable and efficient means of getting hydrogen from water.
At least four crops grown on simulated Mars soil are edible
Scientists are working on growing crops on Mars and moon soil simulants. Just like the real Martian and moon soil these contain heavy metals in almost the same quantities. Four of the crops grown were tested for heavy metal content. No concentrations were detected that would be dangerous for human health. The four crops are therefore safe to eat and, for some heavy metals, the concentrations were even lower than in the crops grown in potting soil.