April 23, 2018

Week In STEM-10th Oct

How environmental memories may be transmitted from a father to child

In recent years, scientists have shown that, before his offspring are even conceived, a father’s life experiences involving food, drugs, exposure to toxic products and even stress can affect the development and health not only of his children, but even of his grandchildren. The researchers show that there is something apart from DNA that plays an important role in inheritance in general, and could determine whether a father’s children and grandchildren will be healthy or not

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Inflatable incubator nearer market after prize win

Last week, the 23-year-old inventor of a cheap, inflatable incubator that could save premature babies in remote locations won a prize that boosts the chances of the device reaching market.

Briton James Roberts designed the incubator during his engineering degree to assist Syrian refugees. He has since won two awards and associated cash prizes that will help him turn his prototype into a commercial product by 2018. The MOM incubator will cost just a fraction of the usual £30,000 (US$46,000) price tag for conventional devices, according to the product’s website.

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Link between specific anti-oxidants and skin cancer

The antioxidant, N-acetylcysteine, is used to relieve mucus production in patients with chronic (COPD), said study senior author Martin Bergo, a professor at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

It also is used as a supplement by people who believe that the antioxidant can help reduce exercise-related muscle damage, burn fat and prevent fatigue, Bergo added.

But water laced with N-acetylcysteine appeared to speed up the spread of melanoma, the potentially deadly , in lab mice, researchers found.

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Neutrino ‘flavours’ win physics Nobel Prize

The 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics has been won by Takaaki Kajita and Arthur McDonald, for discovering how neutrinos switch between different “flavours”. Neutrinos are ubiquitous subatomic particles which rarely interact with matter and are very difficult to study.

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Malaria in pregnancy linked to brain damage in babies

Babies whose mothers contract malaria during pregnancy could suffer later problems, including depression and learning difficulties, according to a study done in mice.

The study found that unborn babies whose mothers were infected with malaria had lower levels of the substances needed for normal brain development and function. It was published in the journal PLOS Pathogenslast week (24 September).

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Infant’s HEAD Reattached Following Internal Decapitation

In a remarkable achievement of modern medicine, surgeons have managed to reattach the head of a toddler that became separated from his neck in a severe car accident. But before your mind begins to run away with images, this was an internal decapitation; his head was not completely separated from his body. Regardless, that should not take away from the fact that this is some surgical feat.

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Unusual tools to make clean water in Kenya

One company is using technology designed for the U.S military and disaster rescue teams to provide communities across developing countries with a different way tackle the problem; Salt and a car battery.


3 Scientists Win Nobel Prize in Medicine for Parasite-Fighting Therapies

Three scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering “therapies that have revolutionized the treatment of some of the most devastating parasitic diseases,” the Nobel committee announced on Monday.

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Permanent Data Storage Using Light Based Memory Chips

The world’s first entirely light-based memory chip to store data permanently has been developed by material scientists. The device, which makes use of materials used in CDs and DVDs, could help dramatically improve the speed of modern computing.

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World’s First Airport For Drones

A futuristic network of “droneports” that will help distribute pharmaceuticals and other crucial goods is set to open soon in the small African republic of Rwanda.

The projects unites the architectural expertise of British firm Foster+Partners and the engineering ingenuity of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne.

Construction is set to begin next year, with operations starting as early as 2020.

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First Gene Therapy To Be Approved in U.S.

What could become the first gene therapy to win approval in the United States moved closer to market on Monday, when its developer announced that the medicine had succeeded in a late-stage clinical trial in treating an inherited eye disease that can cause blindness.

The developer, Spark Therapeutics, said the treatment had allowed people with certain so-called inherited retinal dystrophies to more easily maneuver in dimmer light than they could before. The company said it planned to apply to the Food and Drug Administration next year for approval to sell the product.

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Facebook reaches deal to beam internet to Africa from space

Facebook has reached a deal to have free internet beamed to some of the most remote parts of Africa via satellite.

The social network has agreed a partnership with Eutelsat, a French satellite internet operator, to transmit internet connections to offline parts of sub-Saharan Africa from next year.

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