Wednesday Science News Roundup #27

Below are 10 science news that I found interesting and are related to topics I care about.

Depression linked to reduced arginine levels – People suffering from major depressive disorder, MDD, have reduced arginine levels, a new study from the University of Eastern Finland shows. Arginine is an amino acid which the body uses to produce, e.g., nitric oxide. Nitric oxide, in turn, is a nervous system and immune defence mediator, and it also plays a role in vascular regulation. The global arginine bioavailability ratio, GABR, is an indicator of the body’s arginine levels, and the ratio has previously been used to measure the body’s capacity to produce nitric oxide. Reduced arginine bioavailability is also known to be an independent risk factor of cardiovascular diseases. Science Daily

New stem-cell based stroke treatment repairs damaged brain tissue – A team of researchers at the University of Georgia’s Regenerative Bioscience Center and ArunA Biomedical, a UGA startup company, have developed a new treatment for stroke that reduces brain damage and accelerates the brain’s natural healing tendencies in animal models. They published their findings in the journal Translational Stroke Research. Science Daily

First vaccine in the world developed against grass pollen allergy – Around 400 million people world-wide suffer in some form or other from a grass pollen allergy (rhinitis) — with the usual symptoms such as a runny nose, cough and severe breathing problems. In collaboration with the Viennese firm Biomay AG, MedUni Vienna researchers at the Institute of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research have now shown in a Phase II-b study with 180 patients in 11 European centres, that four injections of the synthetically manufactured vaccine BM32 in the first year and a top-up in the second year of treatment relieve the sufferers’ symptoms by at least 25%. Science Daily

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. Science Alert

Here’s Why Matching Your Diet to Your DNA Is a Waste of Time – Diets have always gone through fads. The grapefruit diet, Atkins, paleo, Whole30 – like a many-headed weight-loss hydra, just as soon as one falls out of favor, another rises in its place. Science Alert

Scientists Just Discovered a Never-Before-Seen Structure in Human Sperm – The sperm’s tail is perhaps one of the most iconic structures among all of the cells in the human body, so it’s odd to think there are still some things we don’t know about it. Science Alert

Household products make surprisingly large contributions to air pollution – In urban areas, emissions from consumer goods such as paint, cleaning supplies and personal care products now contribute as much to ozone and fine particulate matter in the atmosphere as do emissions from burning gasoline or diesel fuel. Science News

Babies can recover language skills after a left-side stroke – A stroke on the left side of the brain often damages important language-processing areas. But people who have this stroke just before or after birth recover their language abilities in the mirror image spot on the right side, a study of teens and young adults shows. Those patients all had normal language skills, even though as much as half of their brain had withered away, researchers reported February 17 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Science News

GM Crops Found To Increase Yields And Reduce Harmful Toxins In 21 Years Of Data – A study looking at 21 years of data on genetically modified crops (GMOs) in the US has found that not only can they increase crop yields, but they can also be good for you. IFLScience

Heavy Drinking Is The Biggest Avoidable Risk Factor In The Onset Of Dementia – An analysis of more than a million dementia patients has found that chronic heavy drinking puts you at serious risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, alcohol use disorders were found to be the biggest avoidable risk factor in the onset of dementia. IFLScience


Journal #303

It’s a mess like big bang.

An intimidating force from the shadows beat me up good.

A series of old and soulful sounds, so heavenly.

But angry at seemingly everything, sick of everything.

Wanting to snap and bite but fully aware it’s all me.

Holding back with as much energy as neutron star;

I go about my day, silent as a mouse stealing food.

Incapable of converting potential energy to kinetic, tasks remain still.

Try big tasks, break it. Try small tasks, feel meaningless and break it.

Dejection; nothing work, no light on this dark road.

Sound the retreat trumpet, enter the world of words and moving pictures.

Words and moving pictures that take me far from reality.

Work it does not.

Remain energy-less and watch the world go by.

Feel guilty for no accomplishment with deadline loom.

And it’s far from over.

Journal #302

A month almost gone, eleven months to go.

It’s still surprising how fast time slip you by.

And during this one month, I have gone through at least two rounds of micro-depressions and two weeks of continuous drive to do design.


I lost interest in almost everything. I don’t feel like going back to work. The only thing I still want to do is to write.

I refuse to give it up because it’s something I can use to express myself with. But it’s a struggle to write something new that excites people everyday.

My documentation of my days simply can’t be any better. I’m nobody fancy and I’m cool with that. But I still try to do my best work by changing things up.

Thus, I decided to write a poem yesterday. It took me at least 45 minutes to write with edit. A friend of mine thought it was good work though he did wondered if I plagiarized it. I showed it to a colleague, she wondered about the same thing.

It’s hard to be original or create something genuine these days. There’s just too much stuff out there. Everyone is copying everyone. So you can’t take things as it is and you have to question everything.

It’s fine really and no hard feelings.

I suppose the world can’t be trusted. Especially if you have shown to be untrustworthy, haven’t proven yourself to the world that you could create decent variations of your work or when people judge that copying is the fastest way out.

Though I wonder is it because these people will do the same when they are the ones doing? Food for thought. After all, it has been said “whoever is doing the judging is feeling insecure themselves.” I’m pretty sure it’s coming right back at me. I’m judging too.

And I know why I lost my interest with everything else.

I keep crashing into reality of work, reality of life with my desires and idealism and I’m the one getting hurt.

I’m still not emotionally strong enough.

Still not mature enough.

And I have skip several days of not drinking coffee. I’m suffering from a caffeine withdrawal.

Right now, everything I see and do is through the emotion and feeling lens. There’s nothing rational today.

Never have when you are dealing with me.

And I’m fucking sleepy…

Journal #301

I wake to a new dawn.

Fill myself with sustenance.

Like a stage crew lurking behind the scene, a being whispers to me endlessly.

Words and descriptions that pull you down like a whirlpool, drowning you.

A dose of ignorance, a dose of focus, I hope the being leave me be.

It disappears into the abyss.

And come back with a vengeance.

It become a black hole.

All joy and energy slingshot out of me as fast as mercury around the sun.

As bleak as end of days, it become a war.

War between the past that is gravity and present that is space.

Hours passed and events a blur but I remain aware and paralyze.

Present triumph.

I accelerate away.

But it lingers ever ready to pounce and pull.

As steadfast as rocket flying through the sky, I finish the day with something accomplish.

However small the accomplishment is.

Wednesday Science News Roundup #21

Below are 10 science news that I found interesting and are related to topics I care about.

Alzheimer’s drug turns back clock in powerhouse of cell – The experimental drug J147 is something of a modern elixir of life; it’s been shown to treat Alzheimer’s disease and reverse aging in mice and is almost ready for clinical trials in humans. Now, Salk scientists have solved the puzzle of what, exactly, J147 does. In a paper published January 7, 2018, in the journal Aging Cell, they report that the drug binds to a protein found in mitochondria, the energy-generating powerhouses of cells. In turn, they showed, it makes aging cells, mice and flies appear more youthful. Science Daily

At least 3 out of 5 people who try a cigarette become daily smokers – At least 61 per cent of people who try their first cigarette become, at least temporarily, daily smokers, suggests an analysis of survey data by Queen Mary University of London. Science Daily

This Common Painkiller Could Be Negatively Affecting Male Fertility – Male fertility could be at a tipping point. Last year, scientists discovered sperm counts in western countries had plummeted by 50 percent in 40 years, and while the reasons behind the decline are complex, many researchers say the phenomenon is due to men’s hormones being disrupted. Science Alert

Britain Now Generates Twice as Much Electricity From Wind as Coal, And That’s a Big Deal – Just six years ago, more than 40 percent of Britain’s electricity was generated by burning coal. Today, that figure is just 7 percent. Science Alert

These Birds of Prey Are Deliberately Setting Forests on Fire – It’s pretty hot in Australia right now. A brutal heatwave that’s incinerated temperature records threatens devastating bushfires – and to make matters worse, authorities have to contend with an ancient breed of flying arsonists that may as well be miniature dragons. Science Alert

Magic Mushrooms Could Treat Depression Without The Emotional Numbing Caused By Traditional Antidepressants – Magic mushrooms could hold the key to alleviating symptoms of depression, particularly in those who have not benefited from more traditional treatments, new research finds. IFLScience

Pharmaceutical Giant Pfizer Pulls Plug On Alzheimer’s And Parkinson’s Drug Research – Pfizer, one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical giants, is going to ditch their research efforts into new drugs to fight against Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. IFLScience

Protein Linked To Alzheimer’s Seen Spreading Like An Infection – For the first time, researchers have observed tau proteins, one of the presumed causes of Alzheimer’s disease, spreading from neuron to neuron in a manner similar to how an infection might advance in tissue. IFLScience

White dwarf’s inner makeup is mapped for the first time – Astronomers have probed the inner life of a dead star. Tiny changes in a white dwarf’s brightness reveal that the stellar corpse has more oxygen in its core than expected, researchers report online January 8 in Nature. The finding could challenge theories of how stars live and die, and may have implications for measuring the expansion of the universe. Science News

CRISPR gene editor could spark immune reaction in people – Immune reactions against proteins commonly used as molecular scissors might make CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing ineffective in people, a new study suggests. Science News

Wednesday Science News Roundup #18

Since science news roundups are done every Wednesday, it is decided the heading becomes: Wednesday Science News Roundup.

Below are 10 science news that I found interesting and are related to topics I care about.

Unexpected side effect to cleaning up urban air discovered – As levels of atmospheric nitric oxide decline rapidly due to air quality regulations, North American cities may soon experience higher levels of airborne organic hydroperoxides, with unknown implications for air quality and human health. Science Daily

Direct amygdala stimulation can enhance human memory for a day – The findings are the first example of electrical brain stimulation in humans giving an event-specific boost to memory lasting until the next day, the scientists say. Science Daily

NASA Has Found A Planetary System With As Many Planets As Our Own – Thanks to a novel artificial intelligence technique in partnership with Google, NASA has discovered a planetary system that has as many planets as our own. It’s the most planets in one system we’ve ever found elsewhere. IFLScience

FDA Just Approved The First-Ever Gene Therapy For an Inherited Disease – In a historic move, the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved a pioneering gene therapy for a rare form of childhood blindness, the first such treatment cleared in the United States for an inherited disease. Science Alert

This Wild New Study Says Mars Didn’t Form Where We Thought It Did – Mars and Earth are widely thought to have formed into planets in the same region of the early Solar System, but if that’s the case, why are their compositions so different? A new study might have the answer. Science Alert

In The First Months Of Pregnancy Natural Killer Cells Actually Nurture The Fetus – Natural killer cells are part of the body’s defense system, ruthless destroyers of invading armies of bacteria or viruses. Yet in the first trimester of pregnancy they show another side, gentle and nurturing. Far from attacking the fetus as a foreign object, as the immune system can sometimes do, they ensure it gets the nutrients it needs to grow. The team that discovered this trait have taken the first steps to harnessing it to combat nutrient starvation of the fetus. IFLScience

Could cognitive interventions be useful in treating depression? – A new study has examined whether cognitive bias modification (CBM) for facial interpretation, a digital health intervention that changes our perception for emotional expressions from negative to positive, might be useful in treating depression. Science Daily

Lyme bacteria survive 28-day course of antibiotics months after infection – Lyme bacteria can survive a 28-day course of antibiotic treatment four months following infection by tick bite, according to a new study using a primate model for the disease. Despite testing negative for Lyme disease, some subjects were infected with Lyme bacteria in heart, brain and other organs. Science Daily

To sleep or not: Researchers explore complex genetic network behind sleep duration – Scientists have identified differences in a group of genes they say might help explain why some people need a lot more sleep — and others less — than most. The study, conducted using fruit fly populations bred to model natural variations in human sleep patterns, provides new clues to how genes for sleep duration are linked to a wide variety of biological processes. Science Daily

These weather events turned extreme thanks to human-driven climate change – For the first time, scientists have definitively linked human-caused climate change to extreme weather events. Science News

Journal #249 – Work was both good and bad, learnt something new

When I went office this morning, I was feeling tired and irritable. That’s even after I started coffee and waited for the caffeine to kick in. So that was definitely not caffeine-deprivation.

So I went through my morning feeling pretty angsty and went about doing my task. I did try my best to control my emotions from going out of control.

In hindsight, I suspect it was actually depression masquerading as irritation as described in this article.

At around lunch time, I decided to go for lunch at Ichiban Sushi for some sashimi. After lunch, I continue about converting the existing implementations to use the new web service and fixing any regressions. However, the server backend keep dying caused by overused threads in the application pool, so it wasn’t really productive.

My colleagues did later find out what was causing the IIS threads to be overused and stuck, preventing the server from responding to further requests. It was due to a problem with the way Linq was used to query the database. We didn’t know about deferred and eager execution, at least in the context of database and entity framework. Eager execution only happens under certain scenarios like when you execute “.ToList()”. While deferred execution seems to be the default operation.

So that is one new thing that I learn about at work today.

The second new thing that I learn about was how SoapUI behave when attempting to download WSDL files that has its XMLNS defined and the system running SoapUI do not have any access to the internet. It turns out SoapUI will throw UnknownHostException. One possible solution was to download the WSDl file.

10 Science News Roundup #16

Here are 10 science news that I find interesting and important to take note.

Harmful effects of being overweight underestimated – The harmful effects of being overweight have been underestimated, according to a new study that analyzed body mass index (BMI), health and mortality data in around 60,000 parents and their children, to establish how obesity actually influences risk of death. Science Daily

Teenage depression linked to father’s depression – Adolescents whose fathers have depressive symptoms are more likely to experience symptoms of depression themselves, finds a new study led by UCL researchers. Science Daily

Scallops’ amazing eyes use millions of tiny, square crystals to see – There’s stiff competition for the most elaborate eyeballs in the animal kingdom, but a mollusk that turns up on dinner plates might be a finalist. Science News

Study Finds No Evidence That Consuming Part Of Your Own Body Can Reduce Postpartum Depression – Whether it’s popping pills like Kim and Kourtney or consuming it raw in a smoothie like actor Gaby Hoffman, eating placenta has been the latest alternative maternity trend to hit the mainstream. But in case you were wondering whether or not it’s a good idea to follow suit, the latest research suggests it’s best to sit this one out. IFLScience

Astronauts Appear To Suffer From Potentially Dangerous “Space Fever” – The health of astronauts in space is, quite obviously, a vital form of research. There’s no point in us rushing to get humans to Mars if all our astronauts get incredibly sick or perish on the way there. Things like muscle atrophy, altered vision, and genetic alteration are all real and very complex issues that still need to be dealt with. IFLScience

This Extreme Diet Reversed Type 2 Diabetes in Up to 86% of Patients – Type 2 diabetes isn’t necessarily for life, with a new clinical trial providing some of the clearest evidence yet that the condition can be reversed, even in patients who have carried the disease for several years. Science Alert

Bats From a Single Cave in China Have All The Building Blocks of a SARS Epidemic – When it struck, the contagion spread fiercely. The deadly severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in South China in 2002 infected thousands, and ultimately killed nearly 800 people. Science Alert

Physicists Have Demonstrated That ‘Impossible’ Tetraquarks Can Exist After All – An exotic kind of particle so mysterious that it was suspected to be impossible has finally been identified by physicists – and not just once, but twice. Science Alert

Teen Brains Find It Hard to Work Out What’s Actually Important – Even when we’re teenagers, our brains still have a lot of developing to do. New research suggests that teenage brains haven’t matured enough to be able to properly recognise and react to the importance of tasks – maybe one excuse to be late with homework. Science Alert

Nations agree to ban fishing in Arctic Ocean for at least 16 years – Nine nations and the European Union have reached a deal to place the central Arctic Ocean (CAO) off-limits to commercial fishers for at least the next 16 years. The pact, announced yesterday, will give scientists time to understand the region’s marine ecology—and the potential impacts of climate change—before fishing becomes widespread. Science Mag

10 Science News Roundup #14

Here are 10 science news that I find interesting and important to take note.

First brain training exercise positively linked to dementia prevention identified – Aging research specialists have identified, for the first time, a form of mental exercise that can reduce the risk of dementia. Science Daily

Heavy drinking, smoking linked to visible signs of aging – Heavy drinking and smoking are linked to visible signs of physical aging, and looking older than one’s years, suggests research published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. Science Daily

The brain’s helper cells have a hand in learning fear – Helper cells in the brain just got tagged with a new job — forming traumatic memories. When rats experience trauma, cells in the hippocampus — an area important for learning — produce signals for inflammation, helping to create a potent memory. But most of those signals aren’t coming from the nerve cells, researchers reported November 15 at the Society for Neuroscience meeting. Science News

Scientists Have Confirmed We Had Our First Ever Insterstellar Visitor Last Month – Astronomers have released the first results from an in-depth study on the suspected interstellar object that flew into our Solar System last month – and the findings are fascinating. IFLScience

Here’s What You Need to Know About That Mysterious Radiation Cloud Over Europe – After weeks of silence and denials, Russia has confirmed that it too has detected evidence of a mysterious radiation cloud floating above much of Europe, observing a dramatic radiation spike above Russia’s Ural Mountains. Science Alert

Deep in The Ocean, There’s a ‘Shadow Zone’ Where The Water Is 2,000 Years Old – The oldest water in the ocean didn’t reach its advanced years by accident. Science Alert

Earth Is Getting Hit by Too Much Anti-Matter, And Nobody Knows Why – Amid the high speed cosmic rays raining down on us from the depths of space are a handful of antimatter particles called positrons. Science Alert

Simple electrocardiogram can determine whether a patient has major depression or bipolar disorder, study finds – A groundbreaking Loyola Medicine study suggests that a simple 15-minute electrocardiogram could help a physician determine whether a patient has major depression or bipolar disorder. Science Daily

How Asian nomadic herders built new Bronze Age cultures – Nomadic herders living on western Asia’s hilly grasslands made a couple of big moves east and west around 5,000 years ago. These were not typical, back-and-forth treks from one seasonal grazing spot to another. These people blazed new trails. Science News

New Study Reveals Stress Can Affect Sperm – Stress is never good for anyone, especially if it is ongoing. It affects various parts of our lives and can eventually become unhealthy. Signs of stress can include symptoms such as sweating, sleepless nights, and even nervous twitching, and can prevent us to from getting on with day-to-day tasks. IFLScience

Journal #228 – Pained


It’s what I have been experiencing much of yesterday and today.

It’s not just physical pain.

It’s mental too.

Depression man, it just hit me again.

How I know?

I felt my energy completely drained. I have no desire to do anything physical. I’m tired the whole day despite sleeping as much as I could. I get so irritable that I decided to just not talk too much if not I will say something wrong. That was yesterday.

So I wrote a poem about it. I tried my best to write one. And I can’t remember when was the last time I wrote one.

And today?

It’s the same.


I spent most of my time binge watching all the tv series that I missed over the week while enduring the pain in my neck and back, which by the way caused dizziness and general discomfort. Half of that binge watching session was spent on my bed instead of my chair.

Then it reached a point where I had enough. So I took a nap that lasted 2 hours.

I still didn’t feel so good.


I went for a short run. 3km to be exact. Felt slightly better.

Although my physical pain has subsided, I still feel lack of energy, general lack fo desire to do anything except binge watching shows or play games or just lay in bed.

Well, I’m not a medical person so I can’t determine what’s wrong with me completely. But I do know one thing. I have always undergone periods of depressive episodes since I was around 15. And recently, I blame it on my neuroticism but personally, I don’t think it’s that simple. There could be something more fundamentally wrong. So I will pay a visit to the psychiatrist again.