Muy interesante e ingenioso… sumamente útil en nuestro laboratorio.
Plant-Inspired Medicine: It’s Slippery and Sterile
Many people think of bacteria as little round or rod-shaped swimmies, free-floating like plankton in the sea. But that’s not true of most bacteria in nature. Much of the time, they exist in dense, carbohydrate-rich colonies called biofilms. From the gunk inside your pipes to the plaque on your teeth, these bacterial goop fortresses are very common, and very tough.
Antibiotics, heck, even bleach, have a hard time breaking through biofilms. And some of the dangerous bacteria that people fall victim to in hospitals use these biofilms to persist on tables, equipment and other surfaces.
A Harvard group has developed a way to line those surfaces with a durable, safe material that is so slippery that even ice can’t grow on it. It’s called SLIPS, appropriately, because scientists will do anything to nail down a cool acronym. It’s inspired by the surface of the carnivorous pitcher plant, a frictionless micro-structure that makes its insect prey fall in and never come out. Same for the bacteria. It’s so slippery that even the toughest microbes can’t grow on it.
Check out more of this nature-inspiring-technology story at Not Exactly Rocket Science.
(pitcher plant illustration by SpaceHunterZorg)
Scan Your Food For Bacteria With Your Cell Phone
Have you ever been tempted to order steak tartare but decided against it for fear of getting sick? This little cell phone scanner can take a look at it for you and let you know if it does in fact harbor any E. coli bacteria.(Details) www.neverfail.co
In Zero-G Static Electricity Walks On Water
Astronaut Don Pettit demonstrated the laws of static electricity on Space Station with the help of a water dropper and grandma’s sweater maker: knitting needle.
Para aquellos que tienen gatos y alguna vez se preguntaron, como desactivarlos… :)
“How to deactivate a cat”
For those that are like “what?” it is instinct for a cat to stop moving when picked up by the scruff of the neck, as that’s how a mother cat gets her kittens places.
Did you saw the video? Well, now imagine that the pills really do exist (or really close to that.). The video is about NZT (thallanylzirconio-methyl-tetrahydro-triazatriphenylene), a fictional drug that is able to unlock your full brain potential making you smarter. Pretty cool, ah? / ¿Vieron el video? Bueno, pues ahora imaginen que la píldora realmente exista (o algo muy parecido.). El video trata sobre NZT (thallanylzirconio-methyl-tetrahydro-triazatriphenylene), un medicamento ficticio que es capaz de activar todo el potencial cerebral, haciéndote más inteligente. ¿Súper nítido, no?
It turns out that Hilary Roberts for the Vancouver Sun, tell us about an interesting article: “Discovery could lead memory-enhancing pill out of realm of science fiction”. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston found that suppressing a molecule called PKR in the brains of mice improved the rodents’ memory function and learning abilities. / Resulta que Hilary Roberts para el Vancouver Sun, nos habla de un artículo interesante: “Discovery could lead memory-enhancing pill out of realm of science fiction”. Los investigadores de Baylor College of Medicine en Houston encontraron que la supresión de una molécula llamada PKR en los cerebros de ratones mejora de la función de la memoria y su capacidad de aprendizaje.
Researchers injected an inhibitor into some of the mice’s stomachs, finding the inhibitor worked to suppress PKR, he said. The success of the injections suggest an ingestible form of the memory-enhancing drug would likely work as well. / Los investigadores inyectaron un inhibidor en los estómagos de los ratones, encontrando que el inhibidor logró suprimir el PKR. El éxito de las inyecciones sugiere que una forma ingerible de la droga para mejorar la memoria es muy probable que funcione.
And the pill could, in theory, work on anyone, giving someone with normal brain functionality a superhuman memory, Costa-Mattioli said. But it’s not what he hopes comes from his lab’s discovery. / Y la píldora podría, en teoría, funcionar en cualquiera, dandole a alguien con una funcionalidad normal del cerebro una memoria sobrehumana, dijo Costa-Mattioli. Pero no es lo se espera que provenga del descubrimiento de su laboratorio.
Perhaps this future drug might not be as good as the NZT, but certainly at some point will be the closest. In fact, they are considering using it against neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s. But do not worry; there are already drugs that do not make you smarter, but they increase your concentration. These are currently used to treat ADHD, but also used by some students to cheat, forcing themselves to study without distractions before an important exam. It should be noted that the practice is not recommended because of the different side effects. But, Hey! relax; we still have that Think Gum® for the necessary motivation before every mental effort. / Quizás ésta futura droga no sea tan buena como el NZT, pero de seguro en algún momento será lo más cercano. En realidad, se considera usar la misma en contra de condiciones neurodegenerativas como el Alzheimer. Pero, no se preocupen, ya existen drogas que aunque no te hacen más inteligentes, si aumentan tu concentración (Vyvanse, Adderall, Ritalin, etc.). Éstas son actualmente utilizadas para tratar el ADHD, pero también por algunos estudiantes para hacer trampa y estudiar sin distracciones antes de un importante examen. Cabe recalcar que no es una práctica recomendada debido a los distintos efectos secundarios. Pero, Ey! relajados, aún tenemos Think Gum® para obtener esa necesaria motivación antes de cada esfuerzo mental.
This is the area I would like to work in a near future. Interesting finding. / En esta área es que me gustaría trabajar en un futuro cercano. Un hallazgo interesante.
Cell aging hack could be a breakthrough for longevity research
Humans have long sought the trick to being able to live forever, and more than a few disreputable corporations are willing to tell you that they’ve found the solution. A new paper in Nature, while limited in its scope, details some exciting findings in mice, and their implications for human immortality. Darren Baker of the Mayo Clinic was studying a protein called p16, a tumor inhibitor but also a marker that, when present in a cell, signals that the cell is at its replication limit. Unfortunately, the slowed down cells don’t just die and get flushed away, but instead linger and release inflammatory proteins.
Baker’s team, led by himself and Mayo Clinic gerontologist Jan van Deursen, started by engineering a mouse strain that aged unnaturally fast. When they inactivated p16 and other senescence-linked genes in embryonic mice, aging proceeded normally.
It hinted at the importance of cellular senescence, but wasn’t so convincing as if the mice had senesced over the course of their lives, then been treated. To accomplish this, Baker and van Deursen designed a fast-aging mouse strain that would, upon receiving a drug trigger, expel p16-producing cells from fatty tissues, muscles and eyes.
When the mice were given the drug, muscle wasting stopped. Cataracts didn’t grow. Health was maintained until their hearts, which were unaffected by the senescence-clearing hack, gave out.
Senescence “appears to be relevant,” said Sierra. “It plays a role in age-related diseases.”
The scientists have been careful to note the limits of their research and their findings, but the results are still promising and worthy of follow-up.
Buenas Noticias. Esperemos que continúe el desarrollo en ésta área. / Good News. Let us hope continuing development in this area.
Parkinson’s disease is a debilitating condition where dopamine-producing cells (dopamine is a chemical messenger in the brain) in a region of the brain called the substantia nigra die off. This region of the midbrain is important to basic movments, and the symptoms include tremors and shaking (like Michael J. Fox).
Although we still don’t know why they die, it’s long been a goal to try and replace these damaged neurons with healthy ones. Stem cells, you say?
Oh yeah, we’re all over that, as reported in Nature this week:
In a series of experiments, the team gave animals six injections of more than a million cells each, to parts of the brain affected by Parkinson’s. The neurons survived, formed new connections and restored lost movement in mouse, rat and monkey models of the disease, with no sign of tumour development. The improvement in monkeys was crucial, as the rodent brains required fewer working neurons to overcome their symptoms.
On the prospect of future human trials, Dr Studer said: “We now have the right cells, but to put them into humans requires them to be produced in a specialised facility rather than a laboratory, for safety reasons. We have removed the main biological bottleneck and now it’s an engineering problem.”
(via guardian.co.uk, image of dopamine-producing neural stem cells from Sonja Kriks/Lorenz Studer)
The Planetary Society developed the two-phase LIFE – Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment – to investigate the transpermia hypothesis, the idea that a living organism might survive a journey through space to Earth inside a meteorite. / La Sociedad Planetaria desarrolló en dos fases LIFE - Experimento de Vuelo Interplanetario Viviente (siglas en inglés) - para investigar la hipótesis de Transpermia, la idea de que un organismo vivo puede sobrevivir a un viaje por el espacio a la Tierra dentro de un meteorito.
This is an excellent initiative created by The Planetary Society and that it will travel aboard the Russian mission returning to the planet from the Martian moon Phobos. It will carry into space the following five organisms to see if they return safely to Earth. / Esta es una excelente iniciativa creada por La Sociedad Planetaria y que viajará a bordo de la misión Rusa con regreso al planeta desde la luna marciana Phobos. La misma, llevará al Espacio los siguientes cinco organismos, para ver si regresan a salvo a la Tierra.
Water Bears (Tardigrades)
Conan The Bacterium (Deinococcus radiodurans)
Average Bacteria (Bacillus subtilis)
Old Salty (Haloarcula marismortui) [Archaeon]
Fire Eater (Pyrococcus furiosus) [Archaeon]
Es uno de los experimentos de los cuales espero ansioso por los resultados. / One of the experiments which I look forward to the results.
New laser will tear the fabric of space.
Plans are underway in Europe to build a new laser which would be the most powerful in the world. The laser will be 200 times more powerful than the current top lasers, and would be equivalent to the power received by the Earth from the sun focused onto a speck smaller than a tip of a pin.
Contrary to popular belief, a vacuum is not devoid of material but in fact fizzles with tiny mysterious particles that pop in and out of existence, but at speeds so fast that no one has been able to prove they exist.
The Extreme Light Infrastructure Ultra-High Field Facility would produce a laser so intense that scientists say it would allow them to reveal these particles for the first time by pulling this vacuum “fabric” apart.
They also believe it could even allow them to prove whether extra-dimensions exist.
The £1 billion project is due to be completed by the end of this decade.