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Top 10 STEM News – 9th July

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Our Eidtor’s pick of the Top 10 STEM News this week

Surprising planet with three suns discovered

A team of astronomers have used the SPHERE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope to image the first planet ever found in a wide orbit inside a triple-star system. The orbit of such a planet had been expected to be unstable, probably resulting in the planet being quickly ejected from the system. But somehow this one survives. This unexpected observation suggests that such systems may actually be more common than previously thought.

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Urine smaples to test for Parkinsons disease

Stored samples of urine and cerebral-spinal fluid from patients with Parkinson’s disease hold a brand-new type of biomarker — a phosphorylated protein that correlates with the presence and severity of Parkinson’s disease — new research indicates

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Injectable biomaterial could be used to manipulate organ behavior

Ideally, injectable or implantable medical devices should not only be small and electrically functional, they should be soft, like the body tissues with which they interact. Scientists set out to see if they could design a material with all three of those properties.

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Gelatin instead of the gym to grow stronger muscles

Scientists have devised a way to develop bigger, stronger muscle fibers. But instead of popping up on the bicep of a bodybuilder, these muscles grow on a tiny scaffold or ‘chip’ molded from a type of water-logged gel made from gelatin.

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Gut bacteria spotted eating brain chemicals for the first time

Bacteria have been discovered in our guts that depend on one of our brain chemicals for survival. These bacteria consume GABA, a molecule crucial for calming the brain, and the fact that they gobble it up could help explain why the gut microbiome seems to affect mood.

Philip Strandwitz and his colleagues at Northeastern University in Boston discovered that they could only grow a species of recently discovered gut bacteria, called KLE1738, if they provide it with GABA molecules. “Nothing made it grow, except GABA,” Strandwitz said while announcing his findings at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Boston last month.

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Researchers think they’ve finally figured out what causes migraines

A new study suggests that migraines are mostly caused by problems with the blood supply system, and the findings could help inform future research and treatments for the disorder.

The research, published by the International Headache Genetics Consortium (IHGC), could help resolve a question doctors have long wrestled with: whether migraines are primarily a vascular (related to blood supply) or neurological (related to the nervous system) problem.

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Clinically Viable HIV Vaccine

A new scientific study conducted by a team of leading AIDS scientists reveal results that lead the way to the development of an effective human vaccine against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In the study published inNature Medicine, researchers worked with a species of Old World monkeys, rhesus macaques to reproduce the trial results of RV144, the only HIV vaccine that has been tested and shown to reduce the rate of HIV acquisition in a phase III clinical trial.

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New clues could help scientists harness the power of photosynthesis

A discovery has been made that could enable scientists to design better ways to use light energy and to engineer crop plants that more efficiently harness the energy of the sun. The identification of a gene needed to expand light harvesting in photosynthesis into the far-red-light spectrum provides clues to the evolution of oxygen-producing photosynthesis, an evolutionary advance that changed the history of life on Earth.

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Researchers pinpoint neurons that tell the brain when to stop drinking

By activating particular neurons, we may be able to influence alcohol drinking behavior, according to new research findings. These findings provide insight into another mechanism underlying the complicated disease we call alcoholism, say the investigators.

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Scientists detect radio emission from a nearby brown dwarf

Located some 23 light years away, the brown dwarf designated WISEP J060738.65+242953.4 or W0607+24 for short, turns out to be a source of radio emission. According to a research paper published July 4, this substellar object showcases quiescent radio emission, making it one of the most radio-faint, ultra-cool dwarfs yet detected.

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