Visiting the island of Socotra in Yemen
can seem like you’re on another planet.
More than 30% of the island’s plant life,
including the dragon blood tree that
bleeds bright red sap when it’s cut, isn’t
found anywhere else on earth. SourceSource 2
Clouds tend to be relatively flat or slightly curved on the bottom. Well, asperatus clouds aren’t like most clouds. Also known as undulatus asperatus clouds, which translates roughly to turbulent waves, these hovering masses of water particles oftentimes seem to reach down towards the ground with dramatic and seemingly artistic waves and curls. Recently named in 2009 for their wavy undersides, asperatus clouds are mysterious by nature. Since they are seen so rarely, that their origins remain somewhat of an unknown and they are the first new clouds to be named since 1951.
The Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is a national park located in Maranhão state, in northeastern Brazil. Because there is a high average amount of rainfall per year and almost no vegetation, the sweeping sand dunes that dominate the landscape catch the rain instead - turning it into vast, shallow pools that are popular tourist destinations for swimming.
When humans “domesticated” fire 400,000 years ago they made the right combination of conditions – longer periods with close human contact, plus smoke-damaged lungs – for tuberculosis to mutate from a harmless soil bacterium into our number one bacterial killer, according to new research.
We need more future women in science! Don’t let the bullies get you down (they’re just scared to be “different” than what’s “cool”).
I was what you may call a “girly” girl growing up- I loved my pink dresses and ribbons- but I would also come home with frogs in my pockets (much to my mother’s dismay)! I was told this wasn’t how a “girl” should behave. That was very wrong. Girl, boy, dresses, pink, blue, tee shirts….no matter what scenario— does not define your interests or you. You be you. No matter what.
Bugs are cool- and most people aren’t cool enough to realize that…unfortunately, until they are much much older than you. I learned at a much later age that the very things I was once teased for are now the things that make me interesting. I’m that same “girly” girl- I still like pink dresses- but now when I say “I study spiders” it’s met with interest rather than ridicule.
There’s a wonderful thing that all entomologists share… and it is that we never grew up… we always held on to that fascination of that little “weird 6 & 8 legged world” that most kids grow out of…. Don’t grow out of it. You’re golden. And even, I, a grown-up budding scientist, learned from your story.
Christo and Theo Menelaou have become the first same-sex couple in South Africa to have children born of both parents’ DNA through a surrogate mother.
Each of the men fertilized a single egg, and their surrogate had triplets (including a set of twins). Each child doesn’t contain both of the men’s DNA, but technology is in the works that could make that happen one day.
“When you are gay, there is always the thought that it just may not be possible to be a parent no matter how much you would love to be,” Christo Menelaou told Sky News. “It’s very hard to be accepted for adoption and we were told we would always come after heterosexual couples. And then we just never thought we’d ever find a person who would want to be surrogate to a gay couple.”
South Africa has strict laws when it comes to surrogacy, according to Sky News, and both the surrogate and her husband had to both appear before a judge and sign documents “insist[ing] they all agreed and were willing participants and no money would be exchanged (aside from expenses incurred as a result of the pregnancy).”
Science is so cool. Love is so cool. Congratulations, Dads.
Salk Institute scientists have found preliminary evidence that
tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other compounds found in marijuana can
promote the cellular removal of amyloid beta, a toxic protein associated
with Alzheimer’s disease.
While these exploratory studies were conducted in neurons grown in
the laboratory, they may offer insight into the role of inflammation in
Alzheimer’s disease and could provide clues to developing novel
therapeutics for the disorder.
“Although other studies have offered evidence that cannabinoids might
be neuroprotective against the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, we believe our
study is the first to demonstrate that cannabinoids affect both
inflammation and amyloid beta accumulation in nerve cells,” says Salk
Professor David Schubert, the senior author of the paper.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that leads to
memory loss and can seriously impair a person’s ability to carry out
daily tasks. It affects more than five million Americans according to
the National Institutes of Health, and is a leading cause of death. It
is also the most common cause of dementia and its incidence is expected
to triple during the next 50 years.
It has long been known that amyloid beta accumulates within the nerve
cells of the aging brain well before the appearance of Alzheimer’s
disease symptoms and plaques. Amyloid beta is a major component of the
plaque deposits that are a hallmark of the disease. But the precise role
of amyloid beta and the plaques it forms in the disease process remains
In a manuscript published in June 2016’s Aging and Mechanisms of Disease, the Salk team studied nerve cells altered to produce high levels of amyloid beta to mimic aspects of Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers found that high levels of amyloid beta were
associated with cellular inflammation and higher rates of neuron death.
They demonstrated that exposing the cells to THC reduced amyloid beta
protein levels and eliminated the inflammatory response from the nerve
cells caused by the protein, thereby allowing the nerve cells to
“Inflammation within the brain is a major component of the damage
associated with Alzheimer’s disease, but it has always been assumed that
this response was coming from immune-like cells in the brain, not the
nerve cells themselves,” says Antonio Currais, a postdoctoral researcher
in Schubert’s laboratory and first author of the paper. “When we were
able to identify the molecular basis of the inflammatory response to
amyloid beta, it became clear that THC-like compounds that the nerve
cells make themselves may be involved in protecting the cells from
Brain cells have switches known as receptors that can be activated by
endocannabinoids, a class of lipid molecules made by the body that are
used for intercellular signaling in the brain. The psychoactive effects
of marijuana are caused by THC, a molecule similar in activity to
endocannabinoids that can activate the same receptors. Physical activity
results in the production of endocannabinoids and some studies have
shown that exercise may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Schubert emphasized that his team’s findings were conducted in
exploratory laboratory models, and that the use of THC-like compounds as
a therapy would need to be tested in clinical trials.
In separate but related research, his lab found an Alzheimer’s drug
candidate called J147 that also removes amyloid beta from nerve cells
and reduces the inflammatory response in both nerve cells and the brain.
It was the study of J147 that led the scientists to discover that
endocannabinoids are involved in the removal of amyloid beta and the
reduction of inflammation.
My life as a science major is just sad…This morning I decided to make ramen, and while I was making said ramen, I thought “Huh, this ramen is a lot like proteins. They’re both densely packed, but at high temperature (boiling water), they uncoil and get denatured. Now if only I could break the peptide bonds (proceeds to break the ramen), oh would you look at that!” How sad is that?? I can’t even look at a normal thing ever again without thinking, SCIENCE!!