Science (category filter × )

Researchers develop molecule to store solar energy

liu.se
  • Storing solar energy is a big challenge, so researchers have come up with a new molecular photoswitch, a molecule that changes with light energy.
  • First, they designed the molecule and used supercomputers to calculate if it would lead to the right chemical reaction.
  • Another team built the molecule, and performed experiments that confirmed the initial calculations.
  • In most chemical reactions, a molecule passes from high energy to low energy - here, the opposite happens, and the molecule absorbs energy extremely fast.
  • The next step is to figure out how to release the energy from the molecule in the best way.

Malignant cancer diagnosed in a dinosaur for the first time

brighterworld.mcmaster.ca
  • The cancer was found in the lower leg bone of a Centrosaurus apertus, a horned dinosaur that lived around 77 million years ago.
  • At first, researchers thought the weird bone growth was the result of a healed fracture.
  • An international, multidisciplinary team performed a series of tests and found that the bone growth diagnosis was similar to an unknown tumor in a human patient.
  • It was determined to be osteosarcoma, an bone overgrowth that spreads rapidly across the body.
  • The importance of this study is that it shows a clear link between human disease and diseases of the past, helping to understand their evolution and genetics.

Mitochondria May Hold Keys to Anxiety and Mental Health

quantamagazine.org
  • In the past few decades, scientists have linked mitochondrial DNA mutations to multiple diseases, but they only recently started looking at links to mental disorders.
  • Multiple studies suggest that faulty mitochondria may cause increased stress, anxiety and depression, but there is still very little evidence.
  • Responding to stress might change the shape of the mitochondria, making it hard for them to “communicate”, which can lead to cell damage and even death.
  • Researchers are already looking into drug therapies that would boost mitochondrial output as a way to potentially treat people prone to stress, anxiety and depression.
  • Many experts say stress and anxiety are too complicated to have a single cause, and while mitochondria are crucial for neurons, they’re only a piece of the puzzle.

Inside the mind of an animal

nature.com
  • New research techniques and AI are allowing scientists to study internal brain states in animals by identifying neuronal patterns in relation to behaviour.
  • Research papers on internal brain states (like emotions, motivation, or existential drives like thirst) might lead to a better understanding of mental illness.
  • Animals were previously thought to only respond to stimulus, but this research is showing that a lot of interesting stuff is happening in their brains beyond that.
  • The entire animal brain (not specific regions) coordinates internal brain states that control what animals do, and the key question now is: how does the brain do it?
  • It’s a new field of study that might change our understanding of the world, but it’s very early - for now, scientists are still trying to understand “what the questions are”.

The First Gene-Edited Squid in History Is a Biological Breakthrough

onezero.medium.com
  • In a big milestone for biology, scientists successfully engineered the first genetically altered squid using the DNA editing tool CRISPR.
  • It could not only explain the mystery of the squid’s intelligence, but also genes involved in learning and memory, helping in the study of neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Until now, cephalopods like squid were notoriously difficult when it comes to manipulating genes.
  • For now they only removed pigment from the squid, but they’re planning to use their new technique to study the squid’s neural activity.

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Categories

  • Science Science (74) Researchers develop molecule to store solar energy
  • Psychology Psychology (83) What If Certain Mental Disorders Are Not Disorders At All?
  • Cosmos Cosmos (35) If bacteria band together, they can survive for years in space
  • History History (19) ‘Viking’ was a job description, not a matter of heredity, massive ancient DNA study shows
  • Society Society (87) Study highlights ‘systematic opposition’ to regulation in tackling NCDs from food industry
  • Medicine Medicine (80) Ten minutes of massage or rest will help your body fight stress
  • Technology Technology (93) Self-cooling Microchip Provides a Tiny Solution to a Giant Problem
  • Nature Nature (59) Humans, not climate, have driven rapidly rising mammal extinction rate