Inside Teenage Brain: Explaining Risky Behavior

    Florida State University College of Medicine Neuroscientist Pradeep Bhide brought together some of the world’s foremost researchers in a quest to explain why teenagers — boys, in particular — often More »

Death of the computer mouse? Meet the 3DTouch

  When we use a computer mouse, we’re limited to two-dimensional movements. But what if we had the ability to interact with our computers in a three-dimensional fashion? Anh Nguyen and Amy More »

Insect Diversity Is Abundant in GM Maize Fields

The study is described in an article called “Comparative Diversity of Arthropods on Bt Maize and Non-Bt Maize in two Different Cropping Systems in South Africa,” which appears in the February 2014 More »

Why Do Migrating Birds Fly in V-Formation?

The research, led by the Royal Veterinary College, University of London, proves for the first time that birds precisely time when they flap their wings and position themselves in aerodynamic optimal positions, More »

62 Indians shortlisted for one-way Mars trip in 2024

Over 1,000 aspirants, including 62 from India, have been shortlisted for an ambitious private mission to send four men and women on a one-way trip to Mars in 2024 to establish a More »

 

Three cups of coffee a day could benefit your liver

Previous research has suggested that coffee has many health benefits, including providing support to the liver and preventing it from developing cancer. However, until now, it remained unclear whether these potential benefits extended to decaffeinated coffee.

coffee

Researchers from the National Cancer Institute in the US have reported in a study published in the journal Hepatology, that higher coffee consumption prevents the liver from abnormal enzymes – whether it’s decaffeinated or not

The researchers used data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey that recorded the coffee-drinking habits of 27,793 participants. The team measured blood levels of four enzymes, including

Scientists have opened the blood-brain barrier for the first time

The blood-brain barrier is a network of cells that separates the brain from the rest of the body, preventing harmful toxins and chemicals in the blood stream from entering the brain tissue. This blocking mechanism makes it very difficult to deliver drugs to the brain for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders and cancer.

brain

This protective barrier has been opened in animals but never in humans, until now. A medical start-up company CarThera in France, have opened and closed the barrier on demand with the help of an ultrasound brain implant and an injection of microbubbles.

The findings were presented last week at the Focused Ultrasound symposium in the US by Michael Canney, a neuroscientist at CarThera. The study involved the treatment of glioblastoma – the most aggressive form of brain cancer –  in four patients. Patients with glioblastoma usually need surgery to remove the tumour, after which they are given chemotherapy drugs to destroy any remaining cancerous cells. The blood-brain barrier becomes leaky when a tumour is present, so a small amount of the drugs are able to enter the brain.

“If more of the chemotherapy drugs could get through, they’d do a better job of killing cancer,”Canney told Chris Weller from Medical Daily.

To penetrate the barrier, the surgeons first inserted a tiny ultrasound brain implant into the patients’ skulls. They then injected microbubbles to counter the ultrasound imaging. When the ultrasound’s pulses collided with the bubbles, it caused them to vibrate, pushing apart the cells of the blood-brain barrier. To confirm the observations, an MRI scan showed that the microbubbles were effectively crossing the blood-brain barrier.

“We hope this means the chemotherapy drug is doing the same thing,” Canney told Helen Thomson from New Scientist.

The team estimate that the novel approach keeps the barrier open for up to six hours, allowing enough time to deliver high dosages of the drugs.

It has been suggested in animal models that simply opening up the barrier can reduce the protein plaques in an Alzheimer’s patient. Canney and his colleagues will now look at these interactions, and study the role of the immune system in these observations.

“We think we will have a significant effect on these tumours,” Canney told Thompson fromNew Scientist.

A cell transplant has enabled a paralysed man to walk again

Darek Fidyka had been paralysed for almost two years following a knife attack, and despite intensive physiotherapy, he showed no sign of recovery. Following the transplant, he began to regain feeling in his legs. He steadily continued on the road to recovery, and two years after the operation, he can now walk again with the aid of a frame.

paralysis

The transplant was a world-first collaboration effort by surgeons at the Wroclaw University Hospital in Poland and scientists at University College London’s Institute of Neurology in the UK, and the findings are published in the journal Cell Transplantation.

The cells that were used to achieve this miracle were taken from Fidyka’s olfactory bulb, the structure that gives us our sense of smell. These nerve cells are continually damaged due to the different odours we smell and must be replaced regularly, which means the olfactory