News Round-Up October 5th-11th

Bioscience news 1

Hello, and welcome to the #bioscisews round-up! This is the place where you can find all the important biosci new stories from the past week, in a short, digestible paragraph.

This week’s news

Pitcher plants’ ant trap. Until recently, carnivorous plants fell into two classes, active and passive, based on how they ‘receive’ their prey. Venus fly traps are an example of ‘active’ carnivorous plants, while all pitcher plants were thought to be ‘passive’. However a species of pitcher plant has now been classified as a ‘free energy’ species, as it uses the force of raindrops hitting its unique lid, to fling ants into its pitcher for digestion.

ants crawling on a pitcher plant leaf

Image Source

Mammals flourish at Chernobyl. The human exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor is acting as the perfect method of creating a virtually human free nature reserve, and a long-term study has found that mammals appear to be flourishing under these conditions.

Roe deer near Chernobyl nuclear power plant (c) Tatyana Deryabina

Image Source

Decline of the cactus? A global study has concluded that almost one third of cactus species are under threat, due to over harvesting, slow growth and small distribution range.

Carnegiea gigantea (Image: Craig Hilton-Taylor)

Image Source

Hope you enjoyed this week’s news round-up, thanks for reading!

Stewart Barker                                                                                                                   The University of Sheffield                                                                                                     @Stewart_Barker

Advertisements

News Round-Up September 14th-20th

Bioscience news 1

Hello, and welcome to the #bioscisews round-up! This is the place where you can find all the important biosci new stories from the past week, in a short, digestible paragraph.

This week’s news

Controlling nerve cells. Scientists have developed a new method for controlling nerve cells – by using sound waves. Named ‘sonogenetics’ this is an important development that hopefully will be able to be applied the brain cells in humans to treat diseases.

Image Source

Cure for sickle cell disease. By using a combination of stem cell transplant and low dose radiation therapy, doctors have been able to significantly improve the quality of life and cure patients with sickle cell disease. The previous alternative involved dangerous chemotherapy.

Image Source

Hope you enjoyed this week’s news round-up, thanks for reading!

Stewart Barker                                                                                                                   The University of Sheffield                                                                                                     @Stewart_Barker

News Round-Up August 31st – September 13th

Bioscience news 1

Hello, and welcome to the #bioscisews round-up! This is the place where you can find all the important biosci new stories from the past week, in a short, digestible paragraph.

This week’s news

A cure for jetlag? Researchers in Austria have found that, if you can stomach it, a blood transfusion could alleviate symptoms of jet lag. It appears that a lack of sleep has a severe effect on red blood cells, so replenishing them should help reverse the effects of jet lag! On a serious note, this could potentially be very useful for shift workers, where incidences of heart disease are higher.

Image Source

Meningitis and starting university. If you are starting university or even returning, it is important you know about meningitis, and how to recognise the symptoms – it could save a life. Common symptoms can include:

  • Fever with cold hands and feet
  • Vomiting
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Severe headache
  • Sensitive to bright lights
  • A distinctive rash
  • Drowsiness and difficulty waking up

Meningitis bacteria, SEM

Image Source

The importance of iron-oxidising bacteria. A new study has indicated that iron-oxidising bacteria probably sustained the global carbon cycle prior to oxygen dependent species arising.

Image Source

New human ancestor discovered The announcement of the discovery of ancient hominid fossils in South Africa got evolutionary biologists really excited. The original paper is open access, and there is some wonderful coverage by National Geographic.

Hand and foot

Image Source

Hope you enjoyed this week’s news round-up, thanks for reading!

Stewart Barker                                                                                                                   The University of Sheffield                                                                                                     @Stewart_Barker

News Round-Up August 23rd-30th

Bioscience news 1

Hello, and welcome to the #bioscisews round-up! This is the place where you can find all the important biosci new stories from the past week, in a short, digestible paragraph.

This week’s news

Hypothesised fat-burning regulatory genes. Researchers have proposed a genetic pathway that is involved in adipocyte thermogenesis – in lamens terms – genes that regulate heat generation from fat in fat cells in the human body.

Image Source

Vitamin D and Multiple Sclerosis. Some people are genetically prone to have low vitamin D levels (as Vit D is produced by the body when sunlight hits the skin), and this has now been associated with a higher risk of developing MS.

Image Source

Novel antibiotic from chestnut leaves. Working on historical botanical cures for infections, a novel antibiotic has been discovered in chestnut leaves, which is active against super bugs – such as ones with high levels of antibiotic resistance.

Image Source

Ants self-medicating. Despite being poisonous, for the first time, ants have been shown to consume foods rich in hydrogen peroxide, if they have a dangerous fungal disease, as a method to treat themselves.

Image Source

Hope you enjoyed this week’s news round-up, thanks for reading!

Stewart Barker                                                                                                                   The University of Sheffield                                                                                                     @Stewart_Barker

What exactly is Rabies?

This is a little belated, but for those who didn’t know, Monday September 28th was World Rabies Day. But what exactly is Rabies? I’m sure, for many, it conjures up images of dogs with foaming mouths and a manic disposition. And for lovers of the work of Stephen King, it probably makes you think of this guy:

Image: Wikipedia

Continue reading