2. natalienorriswardlaw:

    Tribute to the years I spent living as an endospore

    (via scientificillustration)

  3. s-c-i-guy:

    Zebrafish Embryo

    Live imaging of zebrafish embryo from 4 views. Imaged with ZEISS Lightsheet Z.1. 

    Image Courtesy: Dr. Lingfei Luo, School of Life Science, Southwest University, China.


    (via freshphotons)

  4. nprglobalhealth:

    How a human lung is kept alive and breathing for a transplant

    Lung in a box. Very cool.

    To extend the time an organ can last before it’s transplanted into a recipient, engineers have developed the Organ Care System — which is essentially a box pumping blood and oxygen to the lung.   

    As Gizmodo explains: 

    What’s especially neat about the OCS is that they can actually be used to improve imperfect donor lungs by flushing it with antibiotics and nutrients. Like refurbishing a lung, sort of. Putting donor lungs through the OCS helps increase and improve the number of potential donor lungs. Not every donor lung is usable, donor lungs that go through the OCS may be.

    Learn more about lung transplants at Al Jazeera America

    (ht ASAP Science)

    (via thenewenlightenmentage)

  5. scienceisbeauty:

    I agree.

  6. thenewenlightenmentage:

    The Path to Reading a Newborn’s DNA Map

    What if laboratories could run comprehensive DNA tests on infants at birth, spotting important variations in their genomes that might indicate future medical problems? Should parents be told of each variation, even if any risk is still unclear? Would they even want to know?

    New parents needn’t confront these difficult questions just yet. The more than four million babies born in 2014 in the United States will likely be screened in traditional ways — by public health programs that check for sickle cell anemia and several dozen other serious, treatable conditions. So far, DNA-based tests of infants play only a small part in screening.

    Continue Reading

  7. bpod-mrc:

    10 February 2014

    Illuminating MS

    Multiple sclerosis (MS) develops when the immune system attacks myelin, the fatty substance that insulates nerve cells. The disease often lurks undetected long before any symptoms appear, but scientists might have come up with a method for early diagnosis. Using a fluorescent tag to track a protein called thrombin in mice with an MS-like disease, they found that thrombin was most active precisely in the areas where damage to myelin was most severe. Here, high thrombin activity is shown in red in the spinal columns of diseased mice (left three), in contrast to those of healthy control mice (right three). So heightened thrombin activity appears to herald myelin depletion and nerve cell damage, meaning that this thrombin-specific fluorescent tag could potentially be used as an early-detection method for MS. It might also be employed to monitor how patients respond to treatments.

    Written by Daniel Cossins

    Image courtesy of Katerina Akassoglou and colleagues
    Gladstone Institutes, USA
    Copyright held by original authors
    Research reported in Annals of Neurology, December 2013

  8. thenewenlightenmentage:

    Brain Scans Show We Take Risks Because We Can’t Stop Ourselves

    A new study correlating brain activity with how people make decisions suggests that when individuals engage in risky behavior, such as drunk driving or unsafe sex, it’s probably not because their brains’ desire systems are too active, but because their self-control systems are not active enough.

    This might have implications for how health experts treat mental illness and addiction or how the legal system assesses a criminal’s likelihood of committing another crime.

    Continue Reading

  9. scientificillustration:


    'Be different or die' does not drive evolution

    A new study has found that species living together are not forced to evolve differently to avoid competing with each other, challenging a theory that has held since Darwin’s Origin of Species.

    By focusing on ovenbirds, one of the most diverse bird families in the world, the Oxford University-led team conducted the most in-depth analysis yet of the processes causing species differences to evolve.

    They found that although bird species occurring together were consistently more different than species living apart, this was simply an artefact of species being old by the time they meet. In fact, once variation in the age of species was accounted for, coexisting species were actually more similar than species evolving separately, opposite to Darwin’s view which remains widely-held today.

    'It's not so much a case of Darwin being wrong, as there is no shortage of evidence for competition driving divergent evolution in some very young lineages,' said Dr Joe Tobias of Oxford University's Department of Zoology, who led the study. 'But we found no evidence that this process explains differences across a much larger sample of species.

    Read more

    (via freshphotons)

  10. neurosciencestuff:

    Optogenetic toolkit goes multicolor

    Optogenetics is a technique that allows scientists to control neurons’ electrical activity with light by engineering them to express light-sensitive proteins. Within the past decade, it has become a very powerful tool for discovering the functions of different types of cells in the brain.

    Most of these light-sensitive proteins, known as opsins, respond to light in the blue-green range. Now, a team led by MIT has discovered an opsin that is sensitive to red light, which allows researchers to independently control the activity of two populations of neurons at once, enabling much more complex studies of brain function.

    “If you want to see how two different sets of cells interact, or how two populations of the same cell compete against each other, you need to be able to activate those populations independently,” says Ed Boyden, an associate professor of biological engineering and brain and cognitive sciences at MIT and a senior author of the new study.

    The new opsin is one of about 60 light-sensitive proteins found in a screen of 120 species of algae. The study, which appears in the Feb. 9 online edition of Nature Methods, also yielded the fastest opsin, enabling researchers to study neuron activity patterns with millisecond timescale precision.

    Boyden and Gane Ka-Shu Wong, a professor of medicine and biological sciences at the University of Alberta, are the paper’s senior authors, and the lead author is MIT postdoc Nathan Klapoetke. Researchers from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Farm Research Campus, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Cologne, and the Beijing Genomics Institute also contributed to the study.

    Read more