Our editors pick of the top 10 STEM news from around the world this week:
A video game to help build better tests for tuberculosis
A new version of the Eterna video game could allow citizen scientists to design a molecule that would simplify the widespread use of a new TB test.
Reality doesn’t exist until we measure it
Australian scientists have recreated a famous experiment and confirmed quantum physics’s bizarre predictions about the nature of reality, by proving that reality doesn’t actually exist until we measure it – at least, not on the very small scale.
That all sounds a little mind-meltingly complex, but the experiment poses a pretty simple question: if you have an object that can either act like a particle or a wave, at what point does that object ‘decide’?
Skin cells to restore a patient’s vision for the first time
Japanese scientists have reported the first successful skin-to-eye stem cell transplant in humans, where stem cells derived from a patient’s skin were transplanted into her eye to partially restore lost vision.
Meat consumption raises mortality rates
All-cause mortality is higher for those who eat meat, particularly red or processed meat, on a daily basis, a review of large-scale studies involving more than 1.5 million people has found
Bipolar disorder has genetic links to autism
A new study suggests there may be an overlap between rare genetic variations linked to bipolar disorder (BD) and those implicated in schizophrenia and autism.
The study, by researchers at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and published recently in JAMA Psychiatry, adds to the growing understanding that many psychiatric diseases share genetic roots, but is among the first to suggest a genetic overlap between bipolar disorder and autism
Breast milk hormones found to impact bacterial development in infants’ guts
A new study finds that hormones in breast milk may impact the development of healthy bacteria in infants’ guts, potentially protecting them from intestinal inflammation, obesity and other diseases later in life.
The contented shall inherit the Earth?
The survival of the fittest might just be the survival of the steadfast instead. Having a positive attitude could be evolutionarily advantageous, according to Cornell researchers who simulated generations of evolution in a computational model.
Introducing the disposable laser
Since lasers were invented more than 50 years ago, they have transformed a diverse swath of technology — from CD players to surgical instruments. Now researchers have invented a way to print lasers that’s so cheap, easy and efficient they believe the core of the laser could be disposed of after each use.
Toward artificial photosynthesis: Mimicking the ingenuity of nature
A clean, climate-friendly energy source that is virtually inexhaustible: This is the promise artificial photosynthesis holds. Chemists from the University of Würzburg have now got one step closer to reaching this goal. The scientists present their work in the journal Nature Chemistry.
Smartphones uncover how the world sleeps
A pioneering study of worldwide sleep patterns combines math modeling, mobile apps and big data to parse the roles society and biology each play in setting sleep schedules.
The study, led by University of Michigan mathematicians, used a free smartphone app that reduces jetlag to gather robust sleep data from thousands of people in 100 nations. The researchers examined how age, gender, amount of light and home country affect the amount of shut-eye people around the globe get, when they go to bed, and when they wake up.