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Faster-Acting Insulin Found in the Slow Cone Snail

The cone snail uses insulin to stun its predators

The cone snail uses insulin to stun its predators (Credit: Baldomero Olivera)

An at times urgent need for insulin has given rise to quick-fire solutions that can take effect in as few as 15 minutes, but in a scenario where every second can make a difference there is always room for improvement. This has led scientists to look for an even faster-acting insulin from a notoriously slow-moving source, finding the insulin in a certain type of snail venom can begin working in a third of the time of the fastest insulins currently on the market.

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Scientists Have Found a Way to Alter how You Feel About Someone

We are often urged not to judge a book by its cover when meeting someone new, but scientists have found a way to alter how you might feel about someone by tweaking your response to their face.

Researchers have developed a technique that allows them induce either positive or negative feelings about other people’s faces.

They were able to get participants in the study to feel more warmly towards faces of people they had never met before or less keen on other faces at will, all without those taking part realising they were being manipulated.

Scientists have developed a technique that allows them to identify brain activity associated with specific emotional responses (some examples above). They showed they could then promote this activity in participants by rewarding them whenever it appeared

Scientists have developed a technique that allows them to identify brain activity associated with specific emotional responses (some examples above). They showed they could then promote this activity in participants by rewarding them whenever it appeared

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Close to a Cure for Alzheimer’s?

The researchers found that increasing levels of the protein Neuregulin-1 in the brain (seen here on ...
The researchers found that increasing levels of the protein Neuregulin-1 in the brain (seen here on the right), lowered levels of amyloid precursor proteins (Credit: Salk Institute)
Our understanding of Alzheimer’s, a neurodegenerative condition that, according to Alzheimer’s Disease International, affects a staggering 46.8 million people across the globe, is constantly improving. Now, scientists at the Salk Institute have taken another step in the right direction. They’re using a laboratory mouse model of the disease to evaluate the effectiveness of a specific protein at breaking up plaques in the brain, that are central to the progression of the condition.

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Is This the Cure for Deafness?

Most people will be familiar with the feeling of a ringing in their ears after a night of loud music.

Although the ringing is normally temporary, repeated damage like this in humans, and other mammals, leads to hearing problems and eventually causes deafness.

But sea anemones possess a skill we do not – they can repair cells like those damaged in human ears through loud noises, a new study has shown.

Repeated damage like this in humans, and other mammals, would eventually lead to deafness. But sea anemones have a skill we do no - they can repair the damage caused in their ears by loud sounds, a new study has shown
Repeated damage like this in humans, and other mammals, would eventually lead to deafness. But sea anemones have a skill we do no – they can repair the damage caused in their ears by loud sounds, a new study has shown

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Another Cancer Breakthrough

The patch contains specially-designed nanorods and nanospheres, seen here attacking the tumor cells
The patch contains specially-designed nanorods and nanospheres, seen here attacking the tumor cells (Credit: MIT/Ella Maru)

A new, MIT-developed hydrogel patch could provide a more targeted, triple-therapy approach to treating tumors. With benefits to using the patch both before and after tumor removal, and with tests of laboratory mice showing extremely positive results, the little patch could have a big impact on cancer treatment. read more

There’s Gold in Them There Joints

Emilia Morosan (right) led the study that uncovered the tough new material

Emilia Morosan (right) led the study that uncovered the tough new material (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)

A chance discovery in a physics lab at Rice University has turned up an ultra-hard material that could usurp the titanium commonly used in today’s knee and hip replacements.

Scientists have found that by melting gold into the titanium mix they can produce a non-toxic metal that is four times harder than titanium itself, raising the prospect of more durable, longer lasting medical implants. read more

Artificial Pancreas Coming Soon For Diabetes Sufferers

Existing insulin pumps could soon be a thing of the past, with research showing that automated, ...
Existing insulin pumps could soon be a thing of the past, with research showing that automated, artificial pancreases may be available by 2018 (Credit: Alden Chadwick/ Creative Commons)

Sufferers of type 1 diabetes are required to constantly monitor their blood glucose levels and administer insulin as needed. But the daily hassle of self-care for patients could soon be reduced, with a new study concluding that automated “artificial pancreas” systems could be available in as little as two years. read more

Electric Shock May Help Vision

A mild electrical current to a certain part of the brain has been found to affect ...
A mild electrical current to a certain part of the brain has been found to affect how it processes visual information (Credit: Ken Teegardin/CC BY-SA 2.0)

If you find yourself struggling to focus on an object, there may one day be an alternative to reaching for your glasses or popping in your contact lenses. Scientists have found that by delivering a mild electrical current to a certain part of the brain they can affect how it processes visual information, leading not only to sharpened focus for the subject, but possibly a new understanding of our sense of sight as well.

Stimulating the brain with electrical currents has shown promise in a number of different areas of healthcare. These include treating psychological disorders, preventing migraine attacks, rehabilitating stroke victims and even helping us to learn from our mistakes. So for researchers at Vanderbilt University, adapting the technology to improve eyesight wasn’t all that big of a leap. read more

New Treatment Halts MS in its Tracks

A breakthrough treatment for multiple sclerosis has been shown to halt the disease in its tracks.

Doctors used chemotherapy to kill off patients’ faulty immune cells and then replaced their stem cells to ‘reset’ the system.

The clinical trial, involving 24 patients, had remarkable results.

All but one of the Canadian patients were able to come off all medication for seven and a half years without their disease progressing.

And a third of patients saw a sustained improvement in their condition throughout the study period, according to a paper published in The Lancet last night.  read more

Amputee Can Move Fingers Individually

An amputee has reportedly become the first in the world to gain individual finger control in his prosthetic hand thanks to a ground-breaking operation.

Two hand surgeons from OrthoCarolina in North Carolina say they completed the first surgery that allows an amputee patient to have individual digital control in a functioning myoelectric prosthesis.

The operation involved transferring existing muscle from the fingers to the back of the hand and wrist without causing damage to the nerves and blood vessels to the muscles. read more