Friday, October 10, 2014

The Friday Five

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

1. We are one step closer to helping paralyzed people walk again. Neuroscientists in Switzerland are using electronics to restore movement in paralyzed rats – so far, these rats have been able to take 1,000 computer-controlled steps. 


2. The AIDS epidemic gained notoriety in the 1980s, but by using genetics and historical records, scientists have traced the “epidemic ignition” of the HIV virus back to the 1920s in the Congo (called Kinshasa at the time). An excellent piece describing the study is here.

3. Having trouble recognizing the smells coming from the kitchen? Or the flower garden? It could mean your number is up. A new study published in PLoS ONE has found a link between olfactory dysfunction and death.

If something stinks, at least take comfort that you can smell since loss of this sense is a predictor of death!
4. Does anything really ever “touch” another thing? Physics says NO! Watch this remarkable video addressing this “touchy” subject:


5. Ever wonder why most people instinctively tilt their head to the right when leaning in for a smooch? Find out the answer to that as you learn “The Scientifically Best Way to Kiss”:


Science quote of the week:

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.” –Richard P. Feynman

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

Wenger N, Moraud EM, Raspopovic S, Bonizzato M, DiGiovanna J, Musienko P, Morari M, Micera S, & Courtine G (2014). Closed-loop neuromodulation of spinal sensorimotor circuits controls refined locomotion after complete spinal cord injury. Science translational medicine, 6 (255) PMID: 25253676

Pinto, J., Wroblewski, K., Kern, D., Schumm, L., & McClintock, M. (2014). Olfactory Dysfunction Predicts 5-Year Mortality in Older Adults PLoS ONE, 9 (10) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0107541

Faria, N., Rambaut, A., Suchard, M., Baele, G., Bedford, T., Ward, M., Tatem, A., Sousa, J., Arinaminpathy, N., Pepin, J., Posada, D., Peeters, M., Pybus, O., & Lemey, P. (2014). The early spread and epidemic ignition of HIV-1 in human populations Science, 346 (6205), 56-61 DOI: 10.1126/science.1256739

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