How are human cannonballs launched?
Medicine A newly discovered growth factor allows nerve fibers to grow together again.
This is what neurobiologists from Harvard Medical School report in the journal "Nature Neuroscience". The substance oncomodulin stimulates the regeneration of injured nerve fibers in the central nervous system by activating a large number of genes that control nerve growth. So far, there has been no way of stimulating injured nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord in adults to grow again. In their research, the scientists examined optic nerves that connect the retina to the visual center in the brain. They brought them into contact with Oncomodulin and saw that the regeneration of the nerve cells was stimulated five to seven times. Animal experiments with live rats produced similar results. The researchers hope that the new substance is suitable for treating diseases such as glaucoma, but could also be used for strokes and spinal cord injuries. // [mst] //
Chemistry The pizza delivery boy doesn't just deliver the pizza ...
... but also a box that contains benzene, phenol and naphthalene. This is what scientists from the Food Research Institute at the University of Milan discovered. These substances refine the cardboard during the manufacture of the packaging. The researchers, led by Professor Fernando Tateo, found out that benzene, phenol and naphthalene always release their toxic substances when the hot pizza comes out of the oven and into the packaging, i.e. the cardboard is in direct contact with a temperature of around 60 degrees Celsius. Further investigations will now have to prove whether the use of conventional pizza packaging can also be harmful to health, the researchers report. // [mig] //
Biology Frogs could help stem cell research.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh are convinced of this. As you write in the current issue of the specialist journal "Development", the African clawed frog has mechanisms that are similar to humans, since their embryonic stem cells are also able to divide as often as desired. The amphibious counterpart to the human key protein Oct4 is the so-called protein PouV. Similar to that of humans, this couples to the DNA and activates the genes there that stimulate stem cell division. In experiments with frog embryos, the researchers succeeded in turning on animals in which specific genes for the development of the head and upper body had been switched off. Doctors see this discovery as proof of the long history of the development of stem cells, whose unlimited ability to divide must have been developed 300 million years ago. // [mst] //
Chemistry researchers discover the first stage of development of petroleum.
So far, it was not known which geochemical processes convert dead organisms into crude oil. Researchers at ETH Zurich have now found out how organic material is stabilized in sediments after it has died. As you write in the journal "Science", anaerobic water is necessary for this conversion. During their experiments on Lake Cadagno in Ticino, they saw that the sulfate in the oxygen-poor water layer is converted by bacteria into hydrogen sulfide. This allows organic material to be preserved and converted into petroleum. The researchers were able to confirm their observations in replicas in the laboratory: first, simple sulfur-hydrogen groups bond to a carbon chain of the dead organism, then the sulfur atom is dissolved, leaving hydrogen, the researchers write. // [mst] //
Neurology A molecule controls the "fuel gauge" in the brain.
Source: Science, volume 312, page 927
Physiology Schnabel sneakers are designed to prevent muscle wasting in space.
Because humans are weightless in space, the muscles in the legs break down over time. So far, scientists have not developed a satisfactory remedy for it. Industrial researchers from Japan now hope to have found a solution. They designed a shoe with a tip that is slightly curved upwards. In this way, the astronaut's calf is constantly stressed in space, which is supposed to counteract muscle breakdown. The shoe is to be tested by the Japanese astronaut Takao Doi on his flight to the ISS in the coming year. // [gät] //
Paleontology Man did not exterminate the mammoth alone.
Source: Nature, volume 441, page 207
Nanotechnology Electricity controls the assembly lines of the nano-factory.
Source: Science, volume 312, page 910
Zoology Africa has a new species of monkey.
Source: Science, DOI 10.1126 / science.1125631
Medicine A new bird flu vaccination has passed its test.
The serum was developed by scientists from France and tested on 300 people. The subjects tolerated the vaccination well and developed antibodies against the H5N1 virus. This is what the researchers from the vaccine manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur report in a publication in the specialist journal "The Lancet". The industry developers tested the vaccine in various dosages. The best results were obtained with two doses of serum and an additional dose of aluminum hydroxide, which supports the effect of the vaccine. Researchers from the USA and Hungary are also reporting successful tests with vaccines against the H5N1 virus. However, it is unclear whether these will be of any use in the event of a global epidemic. However, the doctors hope that their work will shorten the development time for an effective vaccine in the future. // [gät] //
Literary studies Old Low German document from the 9th century discovered.
In the Leipzig University Library, scientists have found an important handwriting of an episode from the medieval Heliand poetry. The fragment comes from the 9th century. This makes it 100 years older than the only previously known Heliand manuscript that is in the British Museum. Since the script is unusually written in Old Low German rather than Latin, the discovery is a sensation, said the Leipzig language historians. The parchment leaf was discovered in a comparatively insignificant book from the 17th century. // [tj] //
Archeology Harsh customs prevailed in the Neolithic Age.
Source: New Scientist, 05/13/06, page 6
Environment Air pollution over the Arctic has reached record levels.
Geochemistry Fossil remnants of a meteorite lay in a South African crater.
Source: Nature, volume 441, page 203
Planetology Neptune stole its largest moon from a sun.
Source: Nature, volume 441, page 192
Biology Water bugs regulate their buoyancy with an air bubble.
The so-called back swimmers also belong to the water bugs. These insects can hover at constant depth for several minutes while diving. Australian researchers report in "Nature" how they do this. Similar to a buoyancy compensator that a diver can fill with air to regulate his buoyancy, the animals use an air bubble that they collect on the surface of the water. They draw air from this bubble. To keep the volume of the bladder constant during the dive, fill it with oxygen from a special reservoir in your body. This is the protein hemoglobin. // [tj] //
Nanotechnology Probably the smallest soccer field in the world is in Bochum.
Source: idw ticker, Ruhr University Bochum
Biology Syrian hamsters are human too.
Source: Syrian hamsters are human too.
Space astronauts are supposed to supply themselves with oxygen on the moon.
Source: NASA, bdw
Physics Physicists are on the trail of ball lightning.
Source: idw, Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics
Neurology messengers arrive differently.
Physics IBM researchers sort molecules using the turbo method.
Source: idw, IBM
Psychology Father qualities make men sexy.
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society
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