Michał Słupski



Scientists discover powerful antibiotic using AI
  • In what MIT researchers call a first-of-its-kind discovery, a neural network AI algorithm helped scientists find a new type of drug.
  • It’s halicin, and it’s suspected to be one of the most powerful antibiotics discovered to date.
  • The algorithm analysed 6,000 chemical compounds, and isolated one special molecule.
  • Just a few weeks ago, a different drug molecule, also discovered by AI, became the first to be used in human trials.
  • This study is important because it adds proof that AI can be very helpful in discovering new substances, and it’s a big step in the battle against drug resistance.

Scientists are trying to save bees with special bacteria for bee gut microbiome
  • Researchers from the University of Texas have engineered bacteria that protects bees from inside their tiny bee guts.
  • The bacteria helps bees fight off two major causes of colony collapse - Varroa mites and deformed wing virus.
  • It’s the first time ever that scientists have improved bee health by engineering their microbiome.
  • Further research is needed to confirm these claims, but the team believes this could be scaled up for agricultural use, and that negative side-effects are very unlikely.
  • Honey bees contribute $20 billion yearly to US crop production alone, and they are critical to global food production.

The start-up bubble is finally bursting (a little bit)
  • Insane start-up market growth is slowing down, with over 30 start-ups cutting 8,000 jobs in just the last 4 months, and much fewer investments in young companies.
  • Startups like Casper, a mattress market disruptor that raised over $300 million in venture capital, are plummeting as soon as they enter the stock market.
  • Other examples include e-scooter giant Lime that pulled out of several countries, or WeWork, which announced a 2,400 people layoff last November.
  • Even marijuana start-ups are facing significant difficulties, despite having collectively raised $2.6 billion in 2019.
  • This might not become the next dot-com bubble, but it is a sign that start-ups cannot do irrational things anymore, like forgoing profit in order to disrupt markets.

Level of education found to be a good predictor of how long people live
  • Since 2014, there has been an unprecedented decline in life expectancy in the US, and the reason might be lack of education.
  • Study shows that only 12.71 out of 1,000 college graduates are at risk of early death, whereas for high school and lower education levels it is 61.69 out of 1,000.
  • To uncover this, researchers analyzed data from 5,114 Americans, collected since participants enrolled in a coronary artery risk study back in 1984.
  • The conclusion is that increasing one’s education might bring about positive changes in health and financial stability.

Could your visual cortex be responsible for migraines?
  • Experiment with 60 volunteers (half with a migraine problem) shows that migraine sufferers have a hyper-excitable visual cortex.
  • The vision anomalies we experience before migraines might indicate that migraines are caused by differences in how our brains process visuals.
  • But it’s not clear, as some participants also reported visual anomalies, but didn’t suffer from migraines.
  • This study is the first to prove a connection between vision cortex anomalies and migraines.
  • It brings scientists one step closer to understanding the cause of migraines, which is still unknown.



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