Profile

Michał Słupski

Website: mslupski.com

Summaries

Cleaning Our Water with Groundbreaking 'Bioinspired' Chemistry

cmu.edu
  • Terrence J. Collins, director of the Institute for Green Science at Carnegie Mellon University, pioneers new field of sustainable ultradilute oxidation catalysis.
  • For 40 years, him and his team have been trying to find a natural way to break down the harmful synthetic chemicals that pollute waterways and harm the environment.
  • They finally managed to recreate the power and efficiency of natural oxidation, using artificial catalysts called tetra-amido macrocyclic ligands (TAMLs).
  • Testing shows that tiny amounts of TAMLs can eliminate some common pollutants from water in under 5 minutes.
  • It’s cheaper from other water treatment methods, and to ensure safety it relies on the same biological processes that occur in our bodies.

Study links congenital heart disease to oil, gas development

upi.com
  • Study of 3,300 infants, born between 2005 and 2011 in areas with heavy oil and gas production in Colorado, shows increased risk of heart disease.
  • The conclusion is that mothers living near oil and gas plants have from 40% to 70% bigger risk of giving birth to babies with congenital heart defects.
  • This research follows up on a 2014 study which also linked congenital heart disease in newborns to living in areas with heavy oil and gas production.
  • Each year in the US about 40,000 babies are born with congenital heart defects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Manipulating nerve cells makes mice ‘see’ something that’s not there

sciencenews.org
  • Neuroscientists use optogenetics to shoot an image straight into the neurons in mice brains.
  • The experiment relied on precise lasers, carefully controlled by liquid crystals, and a newly-discovered light-responsive protein called ChRmine to activate neurons.
  • Each mouse was trained to react to lines, then in total darkness the image of the lines was created in their brains with lasers.
  • The mice reacted, and their neurons fired off similarly to when the visual part of the brain really saw the image.
  • It’s a breakthrough, and similar approaches could let scientists manipulate other perceptions (smells, touches, tastes), or study complex brain tasks like memory.

Association of Genetic and Environmental Factors With Autism in a 5-Country Cohort

jamanetwork.com
  • Study on 2 million people, with 22 156 diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), shows that ASD is inherited with genes.
  • It took from 2016 to 2018 to analyze data from children born in Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Israel, and Australia between 1998 and 2011, followed up to the age of 16.
  • The heritability of ASD was estimated to be 80%.
  • Heritability is a measure of how much differences in genes account for changes in traits (intelligence or height), and disorders like ASD or schizophrenia.
  • It’s an important step towards understanding the origins and development of ASD.

Cycling success may hold key to land savings

ed.ac.uk
  • New report indicates that, in developed countries, consumers hold the most power to reduce environmental harm through changing dietary habits.
  • Less developed countries, on the other hand, require an increase in production efficiency to make food production less harmful.
  • Report authors concluded this from applying the “marginal gains” strategy (used by British cycling team) to the latest food & agriculture data from the UN.
  • Small steps, like reducing food waste, changing diets, and improving food production efficiency, could free up to 21% of land currently used for food.
  • Other reports usually suggest huge, impossible-to-implement ideas--instead, a lot of small changes would be more realistic, and still have a significant effect.

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