Science News July 2017 – STEM
Science News July 2017
Science News and advances in science, medicine, engineering, technology, mathematics and entrepreneurship so far in 2017. Let us know what you science news you have heard of, seen on the TV, read in newspapers, or found on the Internet. And tell us what has inspired you and made you curious. We will post it on this web site. email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any interesting breakthroughs in your country.
Science News July 2017 – July 29th – Protons on a diet
The proton has just lost weight, which is important because knowing the mass of a proton is needed to analyse atomic spectral data, not to mention determining various fundamental constants. Researchers in Germany and Japan using a purpose built Penning (electromagnetic) Trap and ionised carbon as a reference, worked out the mass to be 296 parts per trillion lighter than previously thought. The precision was 32 parts per trillion. Quite amazing accuracy and precision.
Read more at:
Heiße, F., Köhler-Langes, et al Phys. Rev. Lett. 119, 033001 – Published 18 July 2017.
Science News July 2017 – July 29th – Nightmare Bacteria – a wake up call
Infection with the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae causes the sexually transmitted infection, Gonorrhoea. A global study just published by the World Health Organisation showed that the bacteria have become resistant to the most powerful antibiotic treatment available. 97% of countries investigated had bacteria resistant to ciprofloxacin (an antibiotic which acts by inhibiting DNA gyrase), and 66% to the last resort treatment, the cephalosporins, (which like penicillins they disrupt the synthesis of the bacterial cell wall). There are 78 million cases among adults worldwide; this is a crisis.
Search for novel approaches to fight this infection is a global priority, (http://www.dndi.org/diseases-projects/gardp/). But there must also be strategies put in place to reduce new antibiotic resistance and for early detection and screening of asymptomatic cases. Work towards the development of a vaccine is vital. A combination of political will and scientific brilliance and persistence is needed urgently to avoid a catastrophe.
Read more at https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002344 Published: July 7, 2017.
Science News July 2017 – July 27th – Breakthrough in the fight against Malaria
There were about 300 million cases of malaria in the world in 2015 resulting in about 700,000 deaths. An exciting study has been published which opens up a possible new therapeutic approach to treatment. It is based on the clever mechanism known as ‘Nutrient sensing’. An invading cell knows when the host is well fed and adapts to the environmental conditions by altering its gene expression, leading to rapid growth and division. The protozoan responsible for malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, when in the mammalian part of its life cycle, has been shown to do just this. The molecule that is the key to this regulation has been discovered. It is called KIN, (a putative serine/threonine kinase), and this gives researchers a new way to try to attenuate the parasite replication and virulence. It is also important because there is a trend towards obesity in Malaria endemic regions and this correlates with an increase in the infection rates. Don’t worry, nobody was purposely infected with malaria for this study, it was done in a mouse model.
Read more at:
Science News July 2017 – July 7th – Congratulations Professor Hawkins
The physicist and cosmologist, Stephen Hawking has given a lecture in Cambridge, UK, to celebrate his reaching 75 years of age. Asked what his greatest achievement was, he replied, “ showing that black holes weren’t entirely black”. His theories on black holes and the origin of the Universe have transformed our understanding of the cosmos. Asked what his blue sky wish for a scientific discovery would be, it was to discover a cure for Motor Neurone Disease, or at least a way to stop it the disease progressing. Prof Hawking has had motor neurone disease for most of his adult life, which has impaired his ability to move and speak.
Science News July 2017 – July 4th – So is chocolate good for you?
Not all research gives clear-cut answers but gives enough evidence to make further study worthwhile. This is the case of eating chocolate! Two recent publications review evidence that the polyphenols in cocoa have positive cardiovascular benefits and also help general cognition, attention, processing speed, and working memory. The interest is in the flavonoids, mainly the flavanols subclass in the form of epicatechin and catechin. Of interest to students, the flavonoids also appear to exert a protective role on cognitive performance, specifically that impaired by sleep loss. But caution is required in the interpretation of levels in the chocolate as the results obtained by colorimetric methods were 5–7 times higher for the same type of product than results obtained by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).
Read more at Front. Immunol., 09 June 2017 https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2017.00677
Front. Nutr., 16 May 2017 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2017.00019