New Breakthrough for Type1 Diabetics

Implanted insulin-producing beta cells (purple) are encapsulated in a device that protects them from destruction by the immune cells, allowing them to regulate a diabetic patient's blood sugar levels
Implanted insulin-producing beta cells (purple) are encapsulated in a device that protects them from destruction by the immune cells, allowing them to regulate a diabetic patient’s blood sugar levels
Washington University in St. Louis

Researchers have found a way to maintain insulin levels in diabetic mice by growing and implanting new beta cells that produce the hormone. These cells are housed inside a tiny device that protects them from the animal’s immune system, like a shark cage. read more

New Sniffer Highly Accurate in Detecting Cancer

A new electronic nose device can sniff out cancer with high accuracy
A new electronic nose device can sniff out cancer with high accuracy

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have developed an electronic nose (or e-nose) that may be able to sniff out signs of cancer from blood plasma samples. In tests, the device was able to detect a range of cancer types with over 90 percent accuracy. read more

The Slowest Earthquake ever Found

Ancient coral structures called microatolls preserve geological history, and now some in Indonesia have told the tale of a record-breaking 32-year earthquake
Ancient coral structures called microatolls preserve geological history, and now some in Indonesia have told the tale of a record-breaking 32-year earthquake
R. van Woesik, Y. Golbuu and G. Roff/CC BY-SA 4.0

Most earthquakes last seconds to minutes, but others will rumble along slowly for days, weeks or even months, at low frequencies that may not be felt at the surface. Now, researchers in Singapore have discovered the slowest earthquake ever found, which lasted 32 years. read more

Glowing Algae Helps with Vision Loss

Using a light-sensing protein found in glowing algae, scientists have shown how vision can be partially restored in a patient suffering from common vision loss
Using a light-sensing protein found in glowing algae, scientists have shown how vision can be partially restored in a patient suffering from common vision loss

In a major breakthrough for regenerative medicine, scientists have partially restored vision in a blind man using an emerging technique called optogenetics. The approach involved injecting the patient’s eye with genes that code for light-sensitive proteins found in green algae, and represents the first successful clinical application of the technology, which enabled the patient to locate and identify objects for the first time in decades.

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Reprogramming Immune Cells to Kill Cancer

Researchers have reprogrammed immune cells that were previously hijacked by cancer to wipe out the disease
Researchers have reprogrammed immune cells that were previously hijacked by cancer to wipe out the disease

One of cancer’s crafty tricks involves manipulating the host’s immune cells to protect the tumors instead of fighting them. But now, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have turned the tables around again, transforming these cells back into cancer killers. read more

Recent Martian Volcano Eruption?

The dark area appears to be a relatively recent volcanic deposit, and the large crater nearby may be connected
The dark area appears to be a relatively recent volcanic deposit, and the large crater nearby may be connected
NASA/JPL/MSSS/The Murray Lab

While there’s evidence of volcanic activity in Mars’ ancient past, it was presumed to have been quiet for millions of years. But now, orbiters have spotted a large volcanic deposit that appears to be relatively fresh – only about 53,000 years old – which may lend weight to the idea that the Red Planet was recently, or still is, habitable for subsurface microbes.

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Defeating Superbugs

The superbug Pseudomonas aeruginosa, after being "popped like a balloon"
The superbug Pseudomonas aeruginosa, after being “popped like a balloon”
Imperial College London

By turning modern scientific tools on an antibiotic discovered 70 years ago, researchers have unearthed a previously unknown mechanism it uses to pierce and pop superbugs like balloons. Promisingly, the scientists have also demonstrated how this approach to taking out bacteria can be supercharged by combining it with other antibiotics, potentially offering a new form of defense against deadly, drug-resistant bacteria.

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Supercoiling Artificial Muscles

An example of supercoiling in the artificial muscles (right), compared to the looser twist (left)
An example of supercoiling in the artificial muscles (right), compared to the looser twist (left)
Geoff Spinks

Tiny robots could serve all kinds of useful functions, but shrinking their actuators has proven challenging. Now researchers at the University of Wollongong (UOW) in Australia have made artificial muscles that surpass your puny natural ones, inspired by the “supercoiling” of DNA strands. read more

LongROAD may track Early Stage Dementia

Researchers have developed models that could predict mild cognitive impairment and dementia with 88 percent accuracy
Researchers have developed models that could predict mild cognitive impairment and dementia with 88 percent accuracy

A fascinating new study from a team of US researchers has used machine learning techniques to develop algorithms that can analyze naturalistic driving data and detect mild cognitive impairment and dementia in a driver. The work is still in the preliminary stages, however, the researchers claim it could be possible in the future to detect early signs of dementia using either a smartphone app or devices incorporated into car software systems. read more

New Speed Record

Artist's impression of the Parker Solar Probe on approach to the Sun
Artist’s impression of the Parker Solar Probe on approach to the Sun
NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben (illustration)

Launched in 2018 on a mission to study the Sun from close proximity, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe continues to edge closer and closer to its target, setting one new record after another. The latest came during a close approach today, where the spacecraft exceeded blistering speeds of 330,000 mph (532,000 km/h) as it began its eighth loop of the Sun. read more