Friday, August 29, 2014

The Friday Five

Highlighting some of the coolest science news we’ve seen lately.

1. Big news in regenerative medicine this week: scientists have grown the first working organ in a lab (a functional thymus was generated from reprogrammed fibroblast cells).

2. It sounds fishy, but zebrafish are helping scientists study potential mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s disease.

Zebrafish are excellent model systems that help scientists learn about development and disease

3. Another interesting development for Alzheimer’s disease this week. Studies have revealed that infusing the blood of young mice into older mice reverses some of the aging process. Physicians will soon be testing if blood plasma from people under 30 can alleviate the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

Sorry, Barnabas, but drinking the blood does not work.
4. Better science, better pizza. Scientists set out to “quantify the pizza baking properties and performance of different cheeses”, and the results are described here. Have they found the perfect combination of cheeses? I look forward to trying…

5. Time for a coffee break? No doubt you are familiar with the trademark “coffee ring” that results from spilled coffee, which decorated many of the journal articles I read back when we used to print them out. Based on this study, the video below shows coffee particles in action, forming that characteristic ring.

Science quote of the week:

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less” --Marie Curie

Contributed by:  Bill Sullivan
Follow Bill on Twitter: @wjsullivan

Villeda SA, Plambeck KE, Middeldorp J, Castellano JM, Mosher KI, Luo J, Smith LK, Bieri G, Lin K, Berdnik D, Wabl R, Udeochu J, Wheatley EG, Zou B, Simmons DA, Xie XS, Longo FM, & Wyss-Coray T (2014). Young blood reverses age-related impairments in cognitive function and synaptic plasticity in mice. Nature medicine, 20 (6), 659-63 PMID: 24793238

Yunker, P., Still, T., Lohr, M., & Yodh, A. (2011). Suppression of the coffee-ring effect by shape-dependent capillary interactions Nature, 476 (7360), 308-311 DOI: 10.1038/nature10344

Ma, X., Balaban, M., Zhang, L., Emanuelsson-Patterson, E., & James, B. (2014). Quantification of Pizza Baking Properties of Different Cheeses, and Their Correlation with Cheese Functionality Journal of Food Science DOI: 10.1111/1750-3841.12540

Bredenkamp, N., Ulyanchenko, S., O’Neill, K., Manley, N., Vaidya, H., & Blackburn, C. (2014). An organized and functional thymus generated from FOXN1-reprogrammed fibroblasts Nature Cell Biology DOI: 10.1038/ncb3023

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