Latest Science Tidbits #3

Understanding antibiotic resistance

Dated: 15 August 2017

Read More: Understanding antibiotic resistance

Original Source (if any): N.A

Reference Material (if any):

  1. Antibiotics Disrupt Coordination between Transcriptional and Phenotypic Stress Responses in Pathogenic Bacteria

Researchers from Boston College has uncovered new insights into how bacteria respond to stress by using Streptococcus pneumoniae. Antibiotic is a form of stressor and understanding how bacteria respond is key to figuring out why they become antibiotic resistant.

It turns out when faced with a common threat or stress such as nutrient deprivation, the bacteria mount a highly organized response. However, when faced with antibiotics, the response was highly disorganized, demonstrating that the organism has a hard time with this kind of stressor.

With the use of RNA sequencing and transposon insertion sequencing, the researchers were able to determine that genes rely on collaboration that enables the organism to mount a successful response. When dealing with a new stress, the gene collaboration was nearly ineffective.

This discovery will allow us to stress bad bacteria out and eradicate them.

Author’s Take:

I want to applaud the efforts of these researchers. I for one is very concern with the rising antibiotics resistance.

A tiny fraction of oceans could meet world’s fish demand

Dated: 14 August 2017

Read More: Tiny fraction of oceans could meet world’s fish demand

Original Source (if any): Seafood for Thought


A study by scientists from UC Santa Barbara and researchers from Nature Conservancy, UCLA, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that nearly every costal country has the potential to meet its own domestic seafood needs through aquaculture.

To determine aquaculture’s global potential, the researchers identified areas where the conditions of the oceans are suitable enough to support farm by using parameters such as ocean depth, temperature, and the biological needs of 180 species of finish and bivalve mollusks, such as oysters and mussels. They also ruled out places that would conflict with other use of the oceans such as high shipping zones and marine protected areas, and excluded ocean depths that exceed 200 meters. Not all possible political and social constraints are also considered.

This will allow for the flexibility to think about and doing the best way for conservation, economic development and other uses.

Author’s Take:

I like to eat seafood but I’m also concern about the environmental fallout. Let’s say we over exploit a certain species of fish just to feed the demand. That will be bad for the whole ecosystem. By implementing aquaculture properly and taking advantage of the available space, I believe it is sustainable and more environmentally friendly.

New way of making hair grow by activating stem cells

Dated: 14 August 2017

Read More: New way to activate stem cells to make hair grow

Original Source (if any): UCLA scientists identify a new way to activate stem cells to make hair grow


UCLA researchers found a new way to activate stem cells in hair follicle to make hair grow.

What the researchers found was the hair follicle stem cell metabolism is different from other cells in the skin. When these stem cells consume glucose, they process it to produce a metabolite called pyruvate. This pyruvate is either sent to their mitochondria or converted to another metabolite called lactate.

When the researchers observed this, they went to investigate what if the amount of pyruvate sent to the mitochondria is reduced, will it cause the stem cells to produce more lactate, which will then activate the cells and make hair grow faster.

The researchers were able to confirm the increase in lactate production accelerated hair growth in mice model.

Author’s Take:

This is definitely good news for those who are suffering from heavy hair loss.

Latest Science Tidbits #2

Bacteria have baggage and that may be a key to fighting superbugs

Dated: 8 August 2017

Read More: Even bacteria have baggage, and understanding that is key to fighting superbugs

Reference Material (if any):

  1. History of antibiotic adaptation influences microbial evolutionary dynamics during subsequent treatment

Bacteria are able to adapt, survive and grow in the presence of antibiotics. This is well understood and many studies have looked into how bacteria evolve to single drug. But new research showed that how different adaptation history to antibiotic resistance lead to unique evolutionary dynamics of multi-drug resistance.

Researchers Yen and Papin demonstrated using populations of the human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa where adaptation to one drug, followed by adaptation to a different drug, lead different final resistance level compared to the reverse order.

The experiments were done in the test tube-like setting, and further work and clinical studies will be needed to test the clinical applicability of these history-decedent effects.

In this era where new antibiotics are rare, exploiting the bacteria’s past may be a major breakthrough.

Author’s Take:

I myself is pretty concern with the rise of antibiotic resistance and tend to get pretty upset when I see people abuse antibiotics. I see it as because of their irresponsibility, the rest of humanity suffers, myself included.

Brains of adult mice restored with youthful plasticity

Dated: 8 August 2017

Read More: Youthful plasticity restored to brains of adult mice

Reference Material (if any):

  1. Arc restores juvenile plasticity in adult mouse visual cortex

The brain ages like the rest of the organs in the body, impacting its ability to learn, remember, and adapt.

Scientists from University of Utah Health reported that they are able to rejuvenate the plasticity of visual cortex of the mouse brain, increasing its ability to change in response to experience by augmenting the expression of neuronal protein, Arc.

However, further research are needed to understand precisely how manipulating Arc books plasticity. More tests will also be needed to see if Arc is involved in regulating the plasticity of other neurological functions mediated by other brain structures such as learning, memory, or repair.

Author’s Take:

I am personally is interested in this research as I myself is getting older with each passing day and I still want to maintain my mental sharpness and cognitive capabilities.

Single touch heals organs with breakthrough device

Dated: 7 August 2017

Read More: Breakthrough device heals organs with a single touch

Original Source (if any): Researchers Develop Regenerative Medicine Breakthrough

Reference Material:

  1. Topical tissue nano-transfection mediates non-viral stroma reprogramming and rescue

Researchers from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Ohio State’s College of Engineering have developed a new technology called Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT). This technology allows the generation of any cell type for use in treatment of injured tissue, or restore function of aging tissues.

The technology relies on two major components. The first is a nanotechnology-based chip designed to deliver cargo to the cells. The second is the design of specific biological cargo for the cell conversation.

Mice and pigs were used in these experiments where the researchers were able to reprogram skin cells to become vascular cells in badly injured legs that lacked blood flow. Active blood vessels appeared in the injured leg within a week and the leg was saved by the second week.

According to Dr. Chandan Sen, who is the director of Ohio State’s Center for Regenerative Medicine & Cell Based Therapies and also the executive director of Ohio State’s Comprehensive Wound Center, “This is difficult to imagine, but it is achievable, successfully working about 98 percent of the time. With this technology, we can convert skin cells into elements of any organ with just one touch. This process only takes less than a second and is non-invasive, and then you’re off. The chip does not stay with you, and the reprogramming of the cell starts. Our technology keeps the cells in the body under immune surveillance, so immune suppression is not necessary.”

As TNT does not need any laboratory-based procedures, may be implemented at the point of care, and is non-invasive, clinical trials are planned to start next year to test the technology in humans.

Author’s Take:

This is definitely very exciting. However, like all sudden new breakthrough, more research is needed. I think I am concern about the potential for mistakes during the treatment. Here is a video from OSU Wexner Medical Center: Breakthrough Device Heals Organs with a Single Touch