Science (category filter × )

Yale scientists repair injured spinal cords using patients’ own stem cells
  • Injecting stem cells into veins of patients with spinal cord injuries led to a big improvement in their motor functions.
  • Half the patients in the study regained some key functions - walking, using hands - just weeks after the injection.
  • The stem cells were taken from the patients themselves.
  • To make this clinical trial possible, Yale and Sapporo university teams had to do years of preclinical laboratory work.
  • These results are promising and give hope, yet study authors say it will still take years before doctors will be able to fix brain and spinal cord injuries this way.

Tiny population of neurons may have big role in depression
  • A group of neurons seems to cause depression due to unpredictable, chronic life stress (and not short-term stress, like exams or big life changes).
  • These particular neurons - AgRP - are also involved in appetite, and in maintaining optimal functioning of the whole human organism.
  • This suggests that AgRP neurons could be a target for treating depression.
  • It’s hard to say if these neurons are the starting point of depression, but they definitely play a big role in the process.
  • The study is limited as it was done in mice, but it provides some important clues to the complex process of how depression forms.

Some Proteins Change Their Folds to Perform Different Jobs
  • As technology gets better, scientists can see more - in this case, they’ve been noticing that not all proteins have only one purpose, as previously believed.
  • Turns out that proteins can fold into different shapes depending on what they’re told to do.
  • Example - XCL1, metamorphic human protein, one shape allows it to bind to receptors on white blood cells and use them to fight infections.
  • Another shape allows it to become an antibiotic, and kill invasive bacteria.

New state of matter in one-dimensional quantum gas
  • Scientists built a quantum version of the Archimedes screw which can stabilize gas atoms completely.
  • The screw also lets them observe scar states, an extremely rare repeating particle pattern in a quantum system - it’s only the second known observation ever.
  • They were trying to tweak a super Tonks-Girardeau gas, a highly excited one-dimensional quantum gas, which usually doesn’t hold up in experiments.
  • But here, researchers were able to make the gas remain stable no matter what, a result that was pretty much shocking to them.
  • The discovery doesn’t have an immediate application, but it’s a new addition to the science that will drive the creation and adoption of quantum technology.

New Quantum Algorithms Finally Crack Nonlinear Equations
  • We can’t predict the weather, among many other complex issues, because computers still can’t solve nonlinear equations.
  • But this might change soon, as two different research teams created algorithms that can be used for nonlinear modelling on quantum computers.
  • Their techniques still need refining, and won’t be real-world ready for years, but these studies are another stepping stone towards truly useful quantum algorithms.




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