Japanese Scientists Find Way to Remove Radiation from Water and Soil
After the explosion that followed Japan's March 2011 earthquake, the area around F*kushima power plant became polluted with radiation from the metallic element cesium (Cs). Radiation levels were deemed high enough to potentially cause health damage, and Japanese researchers scrambled for a fix.
A team of scientists from Hiroshima Kokusai Gakuin University, headed by Professor Ken Sasaki, helped come to the rescue with radioactive material-eating microbes. When added to water or soil containing cesium, the microbes were shown to reduce levels of the radioactive substance to 1/12 after a day, and completely remove the element after three.
The F*kushima disaster gave researchers the opportunity to test out these microbes in a practical setting. The findings could lead to improved clean-up of nuclear accidents in the f*ture, sparing lives and protecting people from illness.
Antibiotics Found in Cockroach BrainsA group of researchers at University of Nottingham discovered that the brains of cockroaches and locusts contain potent antibiotics. In fact, the substances found in the heads of these insects are capable of obliterating 90% of the types of bacteria that cause human disease, including Staphlococcus aureus and E. coli. These bug antibiotics are harmless to human cells.
These findings could lead to f*ture medicines that are capable of curing people with drug-resistant strains of diseases. It will be five to 10 years before any preparations of roach brains will be offered to the general public.
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Scientists Have Found a Way to Reverse Aging in MiceIt seems that science has found the fountain of youth. Maybe.
Researchers have found that by controlling a piece of DNA called telomeres found at the end of chromosomes, they could reverse the signs of again in cells. Each time a cell divides the telomere shortens. This shortening is what causes the cells to age. However, by controlling an enzyme called telomerase, the researchers were able to stop the telomere from shortening in the cellular division process, making it possible to reverse the again of the cell.
They have been able to test this theory by genetically creating mice that start out with low teomerase levels so the telomere shortens faster, making the rats age faster. When they increased the levels of telomerase in these mice there is a noticed de-aging process. The fur went from grey to colored and there was marked improvement in memory and fertility functions.
While this did not increase the lifespan of the mice, it is one step closer in scientists discovering the fabled anti-aging potion.
In a related discovery, French scientists have been able to not only de-age cells as old as 101 years back to an embryotic stem cell state, but also have been able to start the cells again process again. Meaning that it might be possible to take an organ that is aged to death and remake it new. Possibly.
Stem Cell Breakthrough for Parkinson's DiseaseOver the past years, scientists have been working on a treatment for Parkinson's disease that uses dopamine-producing stem cells. However, this treatment has proven dangerous because the stem cells can cause cancer. The University of Melbourne's Lachlan Thompson announced in 2011 that Australian researchers have found a way to distinguish between the stem cells that are helping the patients and those that have potential for harm. This allows scientists to remove the dangerous cells.
These findings will allow researchers to move forward with groundbreaking Parkinson's treatment research. According to Thompson, the new knowledge may lead to better treatment within the next five to 10 years.
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Scientists Discover More Effective Malaria VaccineMosquitos are notorious for spreading malaria, a disease that is contracted by 250 million people annually and costs about $12 billion each year to treat. However, in 2011 scientists found a way to use malaria-infected mosquitos to create a vaccine to ward off the illness.
The vaccine invented prior to this breakthrough is about 50% effective. This new vaccine, created using sporozoites (early malaria forms) from the salivary glands of infected mosquitos, has an effectiveness of 90-100%. This means that up to twice as many people as previously thought possible may be spared from this deadly disease once the vaccine is fully developed.
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