Current Event Summaries by Fredric V.

7 Responses to Current Event Summaries by Fredric V.

  1. Fredric Villapena says:

    Title: Sugar-coated RNAs could ‘alter the face of biochemistry as we know it’—if they’re real
    URL: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/10/sugar-coated-rnas-could-alter-face-biochemistry-we-know-it-if-they-re-real
    Author(s): Robert F. Service, Meredith Wadman, Jocelyn Kaiser, Kelly Servick, Kristen McTighe, Eva Frederick
    Published by: 2 October 2019
    Date: 6 October 2019

    Article Summary:

    For the very first time ever, many researchers state that sugars seem to connect to some RNA molecules. No one has found out yet how these sugar-coated RNA molecules will function in organisms, but if such a claim is proven true, then it could mean a wide variety of changes in the way we understand the role of RNA in these living cells. Although there are many who are convinced of such findings, others are not so sure of this information. However, the idea in which RNA molecules can be altered and changed to fit separate roles is not a new concept whatsoever. In the past, several researchers have concluded about one hundred and seventy individual alterations to RNA such as the addition of an acetyl and methyl group, which make sure the composition of RNA molecules fit correctly into its compartment. Even with many instances of evidence of different RNA modifications and changes, until recently, no one had reported or found out any intricate sugars that change or modify RNA molecules. This really makes many wonders of why such a discovery is so important. Such sugar-covered RNA molecules would help with interactions with proteins or even the disposal of other RNA molecules. No one knows for sure, but if this can be proven with more solid evidence, many opportunities for the distribution of genetic information would be opened.

    Personal Reaction:

    I find it intriguing that such a seemingly small discover could have such a big impact on the way in which we perceive the structure and processes of genetic information. It is really interesting to see how much we still have yet to find about the world we live in. From a logical standpoint, one might think that places far out in our universe would be the most unknown territory for mankind, but there are still mysteries yet to be discovered in places like our oceans or even small molecules in life such as RNA.

  2. Fredric Villapena says:

    [Corrections]
    Published by: Science Mag

    Date: 2 October 2019

  3. Fredric Villapena says:

    Title: Brain waves detected in mini-brains grown in a dish
    URL: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190829150824.htm
    Author(s): Cleber A. Trujillo, Richard Gao, Priscilla D. Negraes, Jing Gu, Justin Buchanan, Sebastian Preissl, Allen Wang, Wei Wu, Gabriel G. Haddad, Isaac A. Chaim, Alain Domissy, Matthieu Vandenberghe, Anna Devor, Gene W. Yeo, Bradley Voytek, Alysson R. Muotri
    Published by: Science Daily
    Date: 2 October 2019

    Article Summary:

    A team of scientists artificially formed min-brains that can grow with sophisticated and developed neural connections and networks. Even though these small, little brains are many, many times smaller than human brains, the team of scientists were actually able to observe and record brain waves that are similar to preterm babies, which are babies born before the 37-week mark of pregnancy is achieved. These micro-brains are called cerebral organoids. These were formed with the use of human pluripotent stem cells, which are the cells that make up human embryos. Under the correct conditions with optimized culture medium formula, these small brains were enabled to grow and neurologically form and develop intricate systems and maturity. The group scientists used multi-electrode arrays to track and record their neural actions and growth. At around the time span of two months or so, the team of scientists started to identify brain wave activity with frequencies that can be comparative to the patterns found in immature human brains. With the use of a previously trained learning algorithm, machine learning predicts how many weeks the organoids have advanced in culture. This piece of evidence suggests a very similar path of growth and development to human brains.

    Personal Reaction:

    I find this sort of study and findings very surprising. In the past, I have always been under the impression that life in any sort of way was impossible to replicate artificially. Even though these scientists used the components from another piece of life, which were the human pluripotent stem cells, I still didn’t know such a separation of an organ from the main organism could survive and develop on its own. Such findings and discoveries could really result in gaining a better understanding of early brain development. Maybe we could use that information to better teach the youth in our society for the future.

  4. Fredric Villapena says:

    Title: Tiny, biocompatible nanolaser could function inside living tissues
    URL: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190923140807.htm
    Author(s): Angel Fernandez-Bravo, Danqing Wang, Edward S. Barnard, Ayelet Teitelboim, Cheryl Tajon, Jun Guan, George C. Schatz, Bruce E. Cohen, Emory M. Chan, P. James Schuck, Teri W. Odom
    Published by: Science Daily
    Date: 23 September 2019

    Article Summary:

    With the very, very small size of 50 to 150 nanometers thick which is also about one out of one-thousandth of the thickness of a single piece human hair, researchers have developed a lazer of such small proportions as stated. It is meant to work inside presently living tissues and with the capability to detect disease biomarkers or even maybe operate on deep-brain neurological disorders, such as something like epilepsy. It also promises to have the ability to image inside these living tissues. Even after, for the most part, using an inherently biocompatible material which is glass, the laser can also adjusted to emit different wavelengths of light, whether or not one would want to have a short wavelength of light or a longer wavelength of light. The long wavelengths of light are required for imaging living samples since it penetrates farther into the tissues rather than visible wavelength photons. However, shorter wavelengths of light are also often needed in those deep areas in certain circumstances. They did, though, design a clean system optically so the laser’s light can much more easily penetrate the sample at hand. The lazer was designed with micro-technology such as microprocessors and quantum circuits for extremely quick and very energy-efficient electronic devices.

    Personal Reaction:

    I am quite excited for such development in technology. Not only have they made bioimaging more effective and energy-efficient, but they also used higher-end, new micro-technology to achieve this task. Efficiency has always been something I’ve strived for in life such as my scheduling and the way and order I do daily tasks. I find it interesting how we can fit more and more advanced technology in much more confined spaces to save not only space but also energy. The way that the laser can also potentially treat epilepsy is astounding to me.

  5. Fredric Villapena says:

    Title: You don’t have to go cold turkey on red meat to see health benefits
    URL: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190930101521.htm
    Author(s):
    Published by: Science Daily
    Date: 30 September 2019

    Article Summary:

    In this recent study, by cutting in half the amount of red and processed meat in your diet would have tremendous effects on your health in the present and far off future. This sort of change in your daily meals would significantly cut the amount of LDM cholesterol (bad cholesterol) in your blood system. This massive change would substantially reduce your risk of having any sort of heart disease. Several people in the past have tried vegan diets, diets in which you cut meat out of the things you eat completely, but research and tests show that simply cutting the amount of red and processed meat from your diet would do a lot in itself. The tests involved forty-six people who agreed to reduce the intake of red and processed meat from their diets for a span of twelve weeks. Results showed a drastic decrease in the addition of cholesterol in their blood. However, another detail the researchers quickly noticed was that the amount of red and white blood cells were also significantly reduced. Studies in the past have show meat to provide nutrients and compounds that are used up to form these blood cells, but these nutrients can be achieved with more plant-based diets or even white meat. With this information, many scientists suggest halving people’s intake of red and processed meat, and instead, consume more fruits, vegetables, and white meat such as fish.

    Personal Reaction:

    I don’t find this very surprising, however. I have known many people in the past, with adults and adolescents, to attempt at vegan diets. Many ended their attempt at the trend by giving up simply since such a quick and sudden change to their diet had tormented them. The suggestion of not completely cutting out red and processed meat I agree with. However, you would want to cut it at least by half and replace such with white meat and plant-based foods. I will, of course, definitely consider the recommendations these researchers suggest we change in our diets.

  6. Fredric Villapena says:

    Title: Scientists can now manipulate brain cells using smartphone
    URL: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190805143525.htm
    Author(s):
    Published by: Science Daily
    Date: 5 August 2019

    Article Summary:

    A team of scientists in Korea and a team of scientists in the United States of America worked together to develop a device that has the uncanny capability to control circuits inside of a brain using a small, brain-implanted device that is controlled by a smartphone out of all things. Researchers believe this device can be able to quicken the process in which we discover diseases within the brain such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, addiction, depression, and pain. The technology uses drug cartridges which are replaceable and bluetooth low-energy. These work together to focus on points of interest to identify and track these brain diseases. Some say this very much outdoes the standard techniques that are utilized by neuroscientists currently, which often makes use of unnecessarily metal components and optical fibers to achieve the same goal. Setting aside the fact that the previous methods were much more inefficient compared to this new, smartphone-controlled technology, the interface called for way too intricate and heavy setups for control. With the latest technology, we currently have access to, we can easily use the accessibility and simple use of a smartphone to track and record what is going on inside brains that have these diseases.

    Personal Reaction:

    I’m always interested in new developments and findings in technological advancement, and this article in particular interested me. Before reading about this sort of study, I had no idea that certain areas of the brain neurologically can be controlled to gain information on brain diseases such as Parkinson’s. People had previously used bulky control systems that are difficult to navigate and require training to handle, but now that a team of scientists in Korea and the U.S. has invented a way to control the very same setups on a smartphone is very exciting.

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