tech and geek stuff
Zika virus kills brain cancer stem cells
While Zika virus causes devastating damage to the brains of developing fetuses, it one day may be an effective treatment for glioblastoma, a deadly form of brain cancer. New research shows that the virus...
Bacterial optical fibre helps shine lasers through murky waters
Less scatter neededGIPhotoStock/SPLBy Lakshmi SupriyaAdding a smattering of bacteria can help a laser beam travel further through murky water before it peters out. The finding could help us perform non-invasive...
Antarctic mystery microbe could tell us where viruses came from
The lake in Antarctica where the R1S1 strain of Halorubrum lacusprofundi was discoveredAlyce HancockBy Michael MarshallA peculiar Antarctic microbe may offer a clue to one of the biggest mysteries in...
Stem cell technique could reverse a major type of infertility
Fertile sperm are rare in men with an extra sex chromosomeDennis Kunkle Microscopy/SPLBy Andy CoghlanTurning skin cells into sperm may one day help some infertile men have babies. Research in mice has...
FDA testing groundbreaking science: Human organs-on-a-chip
There is an emerging biotech movement that promises to transform medical science and radically overhaul the arduous process of bringing new drugs, foods and cosmetics to market. Teams of academic and...
One step closer to using pig organs in human transplants
An average of 22 people die in America every day while waiting for organ transplants, but a group of researchers from the biotech company eGenesis hope to eventually change that statistic by using organs...
CRISPR makes piglets that may be better organ donors for humans
One day these little piggies could give you more than just baconLuhan Yang/EgenesisBy Clare WilsonOrgan transplants from pigs are a step closer, after the birth of piglets that have had harmful viruses...
Finally, the first new drug for sickle cell anemia in 20 years
In early July the Food and Drug Administration approved the first new drug for sickle cell patients in nearly 20 years. It was a watershed moment for people who suffer from the rare blood disorder that...
How to reprogram cells in our immune system
Scientists have revealed, for the first time, a method to reprogram specific T cells. More precisely, they discovered how to turn pro-inflammatory cells that boost the immune system into anti-inflammatory...
Brain cells found to control aging
Scientists have found that stem cells in the brain's hypothalamus govern how fast aging occurs in the body. The finding, made in mice, could lead to new strategies for warding off age-related diseases...
Dust may spur growth of fat cells, study suggests
Could something as simple as household dust be contributing to America's obesity epidemic?Small amounts of household dust appear to contain many of the compounds that can spur fat cells to accumulate more...
See the first movie uploaded to DNA of living cells
From one of the scientific minds working to bring wooly mammoths back from extinction comes an entirely new kind of movie: one that's been recorded and played back from the DNA of living cells. A team...
Video stored in live bacterial genome using CRISPR gene editing
Photos from Eadweard Muybridge’s study of a galloping horse have been recorded in bacterial DNAEadweard Muybridge/The LIFE Picture Collection/GettBy Douglas HeavenLife is an open book and we’re writing...
House dust spurs growth of fat cells in lab tests
Poor diet and a lack of physical activity are major contributors to the world's obesity epidemic, but researchers have also identified common environmental pollutants that could play a role. Now one team...
Hormone replacement therapies help breast cancer grow, spread
Women who take hormone replacement therapies have a higher incidence of breast cancer, research shows. Now, researchers have linked natural and synthetic progestins to the body's production of specialized...
Could humans ever regenerate a heart? A new study suggests the answer is 'yes'
In a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the University of Florida scientist and colleagues found genes known to form hearts cells in humans and other animals...
Special cells explain why cabbage and stress churn your guts
Gets your guts grumbling SG Hirst/GettyBy Alice KleinHave you ever needed to hurry to the toilet during times of stress or after eating a spicy meal? This may be because taste buds lining your intestine...
Pig brain cells implanted into brains of people with Parkinson’s
The disease is caused by the gradual loss of dopamine-producing cellsGJLP/Science Photo LibraryBy Clare WilsonWould you have pig cells implanted in your brain? Some people with Parkinson’s disease have,...
Small group of cells within a plant embryo operate in similar way to the human brain
In a study published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), scientists from the University of Birmingham have shown that this trade-off between speed and accuracy is controlled...
Photos of human faces reassembled from monkeys’ brain signals
There must be 50 ways to pin down a faceJohn Lamb/GettyBy Andy CoghlanPrecision images of real faces have been recreated simply by monitoring the activity of certain cells in the brains of macaque monkeys...
Boom in human gene editing as 20 CRISPR trials gear up
CRISPR keeps cancer in checkSPLBy Michael Le PageThe CRISPR genome editing revolution continues to advance at an astounding pace. As many as 20 human trials will be under way soon, mostly in China, New...
Nanoparticles that chat back and forth could dispense medication
A little teamwork might helpLaguna Design/Science Photo LibraryBy Leah CraneTwo nanoparticles have communicated with one another to perform a task for the first time, paving the way for more complex nanomachines...
Scientists borrow from electronics to build circuits in living cells
Synthetic biology researchers have demonstrated a new method for digital information processing in living cells, analogous to the logic gates used in electric circuits. The circuits are the largest ever...
The brain starts to eat itself after chronic sleep deprivation
Missing sleep can cause long-term harmThanasis Zovoilis/GettyBy Andy CoghlanBurning the midnight oil may well burn out your brain. The brain cells that destroy and digest worn-out cells and debris go...
Bioelectric tweak makes flatworms grow a head instead of a tail
A flatworm with a head at either end of its bodyMichael Levin/Tufts Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology By Jessica HamzelouCut off the head of a planarian flatworm, and a new one will grow...
Microbes seen controlling action of host's genes
Microbes can control their animal hosts by manipulating the molecular machinery of their cells, triggering patterns of gene expression that consequently contribute to health and disease, new research shows....
Synthetic bone implant can make blood cells in its marrow
Bone marrow makes our red blood cellsDENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY/SPLBy Helen ThomsonScientists have engineered a bone-like implant to have its own working marrow that is capable of producing healthy blood....
Scientists hit milestone in 3D printing human cartilage
The story of 3D printing in medical care is quickly moving from abstract hope to concrete progress, as Swedish researchers announced that they have successfully 3D-printed stem cells that multiplied and...
The energy generators inside our cells reach a sizzling 50°C
It’s getting hot in therePROFESSORS P. MOTTA & T. NAGURO/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARYBy Michael Le PageOur body temperature might not ever get much hotter than 37°C. But it turns out that the insides of our...
Immune war with donor cells after transplant may wipe out HIV
HIV hides in white blood cellsCarolyn Drake/Magnum PhotosBy Clare WilsonHAVE we had it all back to front? Ten years ago, a man known as the Berlin patient was cured of HIV. It was thought that a bone...
New approach makes cells resistant to HIV
Scientists have found a way to tether HIV-fighting antibodies to immune cells, creating a cell population resistant to the virus. Their experiments under lab conditions show that these resistant cells...
Injecting virus into brain may relieve Parkinson’s symptoms
Parkinson’s disease is caused by a loss of dopamine-producing cells in the brainGJLP/Science Photo LibraryBy Andy CoghlanUsing a virus to reprogram cells in the brain could be a radical way to treat Parkinson’s...
Amazing tales of virgin births in the animal kingdom
Turns out, there’s at least one yellow-bellied water snake that doesn’t need a man. In September 2015, a female water snake at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Cape Girardeau Conservation...
Here’s how an otherwise humdrum virus sparks celiac disease
Enlarge / Viruses in the Reoviridae family.CDC reader comments 11 Share this story Throughout our lives, many viruses sneak into our intestines, silently mount cellular invasions like tiny little Hannibals...
Mini brains from the petri dish
A new method could push research into developmental brain disorders an important step forward. This is shown by a recent study in which the researchers investigated the development of a rare congenital...
How melanoma tumors form
Researchers have documented in continuous, real time how melanoma cells form tumors. The team report the process is similar to that of breast cancer cells and have successfully screened for two antibodies...
Mini reproductive organs in a dish mimic 28-day menstrual cycle
Everything but periodsBSIP/GettyBy Clare WilsonIt’s ovulation in the lab. A simulated female reproductive system behaves almost like the real thing over 28 days. “Menstruation in a dish is one of my goals,”...
The life-saving treatment that’s being thrown in the trash
Enlarge / A little needlework and blood has never looked better.© MaricorMaricar @ Handsome Frank reader comments 1 Share this story Transplanted umbilical cord blood can be used to treat or cure more...
Spinach leaf transforms into sheet of beating human heart cells
Enlarge / In this sequence, a spinach leaf is stripped of its plant cells, a process called decellularization, using a detergent. The process leaves behind the leaf's vasculature. Researchers at Worcester...
Most common cells in the brain help us anticipate rewards
A rodent.Carlos de Paz reader comments 2 Share this story Cerebellar granule cells, which make up the cerebellum, are the smallest and most abundant of all neuron types in the brain. These cells are known...
Scientists reveal hidden structures in bacterial DNA
Researchers have described the 3D structure of the genome in the extremely small bacteria Mycoplasma pneumoniae. They discovered previously unknown arrangements of DNA within this tiny bacteria, which...
Heart tissue grown on spinach leaves
Researchers face a fundamental challenge as they seek to scale up human tissue regeneration from small lab samples to full-size tissues and organs: how to establish a vascular system that delivers blood...
First mutations in human life discovered
The earliest mutations of human life have been observed by researchers. Analyzing genomes from adult cells, the scientists could look back in time to reveal how each embryo developed. The study shows that...
Japanese company develops a solar cell with record-breaking 26%+ efficiency
reader comments 38 Share this story Enlarge / A solar cell with 26.3 percent efficiency.Photovoltaic & Thin Film Research Laboratories (Kaneka corporation)Solar panels are cheaper than ever these days,...
Stem cell clinic masquerading as legit research blinds three in Florida
EnlargeGetty | Tim Flach reader comments 26 Share this story Ars has reported before about the predatory ways of direct-to-consumer clinics touting unproven and sometimes dangerous stem cell therapies....
Here’s the first 3D glimpse of how DNA is packaged up in a single cell
Enlarge / Intact genome from a mouse embryonic stem cell with 20 chromosomes colored differentlyUniversity of Cambridge and MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology reader comments 0 Share this story In a...
Immunotherapy: The next frontier in cancer treatment
The effort to unlock the secret within the human immune system is already offering new hope to cancer patients for whom traditional treatments have fallen short. Dr. Jon LaPook reports: Twelve-year old...
A trip to Mars could give you cancer according to new research
There’s more holding us back from a manned mission to Mars than technology – we’re ambitious, but we forget that our own bodies are a problem to be overcome. According to recent research from the Wake...
Get ready for robots made with human flesh
Enlarge / Oh hey, could you zip up my flesh? I can't reach. reader comments 8 Share this story Two University of Oxford biomedical researchers are calling for robots to be built with real human tissue,...
'Smart' bacteria remodel their genes to infect our intestines
Researchers have described how infectious bacteria can sense they’re attached to our intestinal cells, and then remodel their expression of specific genes, including those involved in virulence and metabolism,...
The future of solar power technology is bright
reader comments 4 Share this story Enlarge / Making tea with the sun in Tibet.McKay SavageWhile our recent look at residential solar may lead you to believe harnessing that power is a newer initiative,...
Zika crosses the placenta by latching on to fetal blood vessels
A representation of the surface of the Zika virus with protruding envelope glycoproteins (red) shown.Courtesy of Kuhn and Rossmann research groups, Purdue University reader comments 2 Share this story...
Timing when you get pregnant could prevent a miscarriage
Is there a heartbeat?John Fedele/GettyBy Jessica HamzelouMiscarriage could be caused by too many ageing cells and a fluctuating immune response. This finding suggests that carefully timing a pregnancy...
Pig-human hybrid brings us closer to barnyard organ factories
A 4-week-old pig embryo injected with human pluripotent stem cellsSalk Institute, JUAN CARLOS IZPISUA BELMONTE reader comments Share this story Scientists have successfully created pig embryos that contain...
Human-pig 'chimera' embryo grown in lab
The so-called chimera embryo has been hailed as a breakthrough that could overcome the problem of organ shortages.But some experts say the development raises huge ethical issues, especially if any of...
Scientists take first steps to grow human organs in pigs
NEW YORK — Scientists have grown human cells inside pig embryos, a very early step toward the goal of growing livers and other human organs in animals to transplant into people. The cells made up just...
Scientists use stem cells to create human/pig chimera embryos
Efforts by researchers to grow the first embryos containing cells from humans and pigs proved more challenging than anticipated, they report in a new study. Human/animal chimeras can offer insights into...
Gene editing has saved the lives of two children with leukaemia
Immune cells can be edited to target cancerVal Altounian / Science Translational Medicine (2017)By Michael Le PageTwo children treated with gene-edited cells to kill their cancers are both doing well...
Animals that grow designer organs for humans are a step closer
Organs made to order?Manfred Weis/GettyBy Clare WilsonTRANSPLANT waiting lists could become a thing of the past if we could find a way to grow human organs inside other animals. Now mouse pancreases have...
How plant cells regulate growth shown for the first time
Researchers have managed to show how the cells in a plant, a multicellular organism, determine their size and regulate their growth over time. The findings overturn previous theories in the field and are...
I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its component fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers. That is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark