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Vaccine to Help Alzheimer’s Patients

A new type of virus-like particle has been shown to improve Alzheimer’s symptoms in mice. Could...
A new type of virus-like particle has been shown to improve Alzheimer’s symptoms in mice. Could it one day work on humans too?(Credit: burdun/Depositphotos)

Alzheimer’s is a disease with a number of potential causes and therefore a number of potential targets for prevention. One of those centers on a protein call tau, which can gather in long tangles that kill off neurons in the brain. Scientists have developed what they describe as a vaccine to keep the brain clear of these dangerous clumps, and found that treating mice in this way helped stave off the kind of memory decline associated with the disease. read more

Hardened Arteries Mystery Solved

Uncovering the mechanism by which calcium deposits accumulte on the walls of arteries could help develop...
Uncovering the mechanism by which calcium deposits accumulate on the walls of arteries could help develop new treatments for everything from heart disease to dementia(Credit: Melinda Duer)

A landmark study, led by a team of scientists from King’s College London and the University of Cambridge, has described the mechanism responsible for the hardening of arteries. The research also points to a common antibiotic as a potential new treatment to prevent this condition. read more

Scorpion Venom’s Health Benefits

Scorpion venom has proven a rich source of medical discovery
Scorpion venom has proven a rich source of medical discovery(Credit: 312010/Depositphotos)

The venom of deadly animals mightn’t seem like a great place to look for life-saving medicines, but scientists are continually sifting through these toxins to discover compounds with huge potential. Now researchers at Stanford studying scorpion venom have identified a pair of compounds that were shown to kill off both staph and tuberculosis bacteria. And better yet, they were able to create synthetic versions in the lab. read more

Skai Air Taxi May Cost as Little as an Uber

Expecting to achieve full FAA certification by the end of 2020, Skai says its "point to...
Expecting to achieve full FAA certification by the end of 2020, Skai says its “point to any point” air taxi service will cost about the same per mile as a standard Uber(Credit: Alaka’i Technologies)

Skai made big waves last month with the launch of its long-range hydrogen-powered eVTOL air taxi prototype. In an interview with New Atlas, Skai’s CTO tells us these flying commuter vehicles will cost about the same per mile as an Uber ride, and that he expects to be able to land them just about anywhere. read more

Dietary Update for Diabetes

Altering the fat metabolism in the liver could reduce the chances of diabetes even while still...
Altering the fat metabolism in the liver could reduce the chances of diabetes even while still eating a high-fat diet(Credit: arskajuhani/Depositphotos)

No matter what the latest fad diet tells us to do, we already know the general gist of how to stay healthy – eating too much sugar and fat leads to weight gain and metabolic diseases. But what if you could stay healthier without changing your diet? In mouse tests conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research, researchers have now found a way to alter the fat metabolism in the liver, reducing the chances of diabetes without changing a high-fat diet.

Our bodies store fat in adipose tissue, but after eating high amounts of the stuff over a long period of time it begins to build up in more important places like the liver. That in turn can lead to fatty liver disease, which can then reduce the body’s response to insulin and eventually bring on type 2 diabetes.

A group of fats known as ceramides have long been associated with these metabolic diseases, and plenty of research has in the past focused on lowering their levels by blocking the proteins that create them – ceramide synthases. Unfortunately, it hasn’t always gone to plan.

“Other research groups have already shown that blocking ceramide production in mice prevents the development of insulin resistance,” says Philipp Hammerschmidt, first author of the new study. “However, this is associated with a large number of side effects. If, for example, ceramide synthesis is completely inhibited it can adversely affect the development of the animals.”

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New Lego Lunar Lander

Lego's NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander set (#10266) and the separate ascent and descent stages

Lego’s NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander set (#10266) and the separate ascent and descent stages(Credit: Lego)

Almost 50 years to the day since Neil Armstrong uttered the immortal words “the Eagle has landed” Lego will launch its Creator Expert set of the Eagle Lunar Module to celebrate the anniversary. Developed in cooperation with NASA, the set comes with mini astronaut figures and a Moon-surface diorama stage complete with craters, footprints, a flag and even a replica of the plaque Armstrong and Aldrin left behind on the surface. read more

The Gut-Brain Connection in Autism

The new research suggests fundamental links between our gut microbiome, our brain, and our behavior
The new research suggests fundamental links between our gut microbiome, our brain, and our behavior (Credit: Caltech)

Two fascinating new studies are shedding light on the association between the gut, the brain, and autism. The new research reveals how gastrointestinal problems can be triggered by the same gene mutations associated with autism, and a striking mouse study has demonstrated how a fecal transplant from humans with autism can promote autism-like behaviors in the animals. read more

Raspberry-Picking Robot

Data from the initial field trial of the raspberry-harvesting robot system will inform further design, ahead...
Data from the initial field trial of the raspberry-harvesting robot system will inform further design, ahead of commercialization of the technology in 2020(Credit: Fieldwork Robotics Ltd)

Fieldwork Robotics – a spinout company from the University of Plymouth in the UK – has announced the successful completion of early field trials of a raspberry-harvesting robot. If commercialized, the system could help make up for a shortage of human fruit pickers in the country. read more

The Fight Against Drug-Resistant Bacteria and Fungi

Existing drugs have been used to starve fungal infections of Candida albicans of nutrients
Existing drugs have been used to starve fungal infections of Candida albicans of nutrients(Credit: iLexx/Depositphotos)

Microorganisms like bacteria and fungi are increasingly becoming resistant to our best drugs, which is hurtling us towards a terrifying future where once-easily-treated infections become potentially life-threatening again. In a new approach to this problem, researchers from the University at Buffalo and Temple University have tested an alternative to antibiotics that uses existing drugs to starve a fungal infection of vital nutrients. read more