Graphene Invention Makes Seawater Drinkable in One Simple Step

Using a type of graphene called Graphair, scientists from Australia have created a water filter that can make highly polluted seawater drinkable after just one pass. The technology could be used to cheaply provide safe drinking water to regions of the world without access to it. “Almost a third of the world’s population, some 2.1 billion people, don’t have clean and safe drinking water,” said lead author Dong Han Seo. “As a result, millions – mostly children – die from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene every year. In Graphair we’ve found a perfect filter for water purification. “It can replace the complex, time consuming and multi-stage processes currently needed with a single step.” Developed by researchers at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Graphair is a form of graphene made out of soybean oil. […]

An Improved Anti-Addiction Medication is Being Developed

Drug addiction continues to plague vast numbers of people across the world, destroying and ending lives, while attempts to develop more effective pharmaceutical addiction treatments continue. Scientists now report in the Journal of the American Chemical Society the development of a potent new medicine to fight addiction, which might also be an effective treatment for epilepsy and other conditions. Vigabatrin is an anti-epilepsy medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration that has also been shown to be effective against addiction to cocaine, nicotine, methamphetamine, heroin and alcohol in animal models. In humans, vigabatrin eliminates cocaine addiction in 28 percent of patients. It works by blocking an enzyme, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) aminotransferase, which breaks down GABA. The result is higher levels of this neurotransmitter in the brain and diminished narcotic-activated release of dopamine. Long-term vigabatrin therapy can have serious side […]

We Might Finally Know Why The Blood of Young People Can Rejuvenate Old Brains

Scientists have been rejuvenating old mice with infusions of not just the blood of younger mice, but even blood from teenage human beings – and we finally have our first clues on why this strange technique works. Researchers have discovered an enzyme that helps rescue ageing brains from cognitive decline. So far it’s only been shown in mice, but if the same mechanisms are found in humans, it could lead to a new class of anti-ageing therapies. Four years ago, a team of researchers led by neurobiologist Saul Villeda from the University of California, San Francisco, discovered that giving older mice infusions of blood from younger mice improved their memory and learning by improving connections in the hippocampus. By the same token, they also found that giving the younger mice ‘old blood’ led to an increase in cognitive aging. Ever since, Villeda’s lab has […]

Alzheimer’s disease reversed in mouse model

A team of researchers from the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute have found that gradually depleting an enzyme called BACE1 completely reverses the formation of amyloid plaques in the brains of mice with Alzheimer’s disease, thereby improving the animals’ cognitive function. The study, which will be published February 14 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, raises hopes that drugs targeting this enzyme will be able to successfully treat Alzheimer’s disease in humans. One of the earliest events in Alzheimer’s disease is an abnormal buildup of beta-amyloid peptide, which can form large, amyloid plaques in the brain and disrupt the function of neuronal synapses. Also known as beta-secretase, BACE1 helps produce beta-amyloid peptide by cleaving amyloid precursor protein (APP). Drugs that inhibit BACE1 are therefore being developed as potential Alzheimer’s disease treatments but, because BACE1 controls many important processes by cleaving proteins […]

Converting heat into electricity with pencil and paper

The thermoelectric effect is nothing new – it was discovered almost 200 years ago by Thomas J. Seebeck. If two different metals are brought together, then an electrical voltage can develop if one metal is warmer than the other. This effect allows residual heat to be partially converted into electrical energy. Residual heat is a by-product of almost all technological and natural processes, such as in power plants and every household appliance, and the human body as well. It is one of the largest underutilised energy sources in the world – and usually goes completely unused. Tiny effect Unfortunately, as useful an effect as it is, it is extremely small in ordinary metals. This is because metals not only have high electrical conductivity, but high thermal conductivity as well, so that differences in temperature disappear immediately. Thermoelectric materials need to […]

Drug that treats psoriasis also reduces aortic vascular inflammation

An antibody used to treat the skin disease psoriasis is also effective at reducing aortic inflammation, a key marker of future risk of major cardiovascular events. Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, in collaboration with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, led a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study and found patients who took the drug ustekinumab had a 19 percent improvement in aortic inflammation, as measured and confirmed by imaging, when compared to the placebo group. Joel M. Gelfand, MD MSCE, a professor of Dermatology and Epidemiology at Penn and the study’s first author, will present the findings at the 2018 American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting in San Diego tomorrow. Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes skin cells to multiply faster than normal resulting in raised, red patches covered by silvery […]

Link between chronic pain and glutamate consumption

Chronic pain is among the most vexing health problems, including in the developing world, where most research suggests that the prevalence of pain is similar to the United States and other developed nations. Preliminary research from a small pilot study carried out in Meru, in eastern Kenya, shows a link between chronic pain and consumption of glutamate, a common flavor enhancer found in Western and non-Western diets worldwide. Results demonstrated that when study participants cut monosodium glutamate from their diets, their symptoms improved. The findings are published in the journal Nutrition. “This preliminary research in Kenya is consistent with what I am observing in my chronic pain research here in the United States,” said Kathleen Holton, lead author of the study and assistant professor of health studies at American University. “We don’t know what exposure is leading to this susceptibility to […]

Increased stress on fathers leads to brain development changes in offspring

New research in mice has found that a father’s stress affects the brain development of his offspring. This stress changes the father’s sperm, which can then alter the brain development of the child. This new research provides a much better understanding of the key role that fathers play in the brain development of offspring. Scientists have known that a mother’s environment during pregnancy, including factors such as poor diet, stress or infection, can cause damage negatively impact her offspring. This may be due in part to how this environment affects the expression of certain genes — known as epigenetics. But the researchers, led by neuroscientist Tracy Bale at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, now show that a father’s stress can also affect offspring development, by altering important aspects of his sperm. Bale will discuss this new, not-yet-published work […]