Science | World Science News part 1

Science that has made the news around the world…


Genes linked to increased eating disorder risk


Scientists from the University of Iowa and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have isolated two gene mutations associated with enhancing the risk of developing an eating disorder. Their studies found that both genes interact in the same signaling brain pathway and that the two mutations produce the same biological effect. This leads to the possibility of enhancing understanding and targeting novel therapeutics for combating eating disorders. In essence, the study established that such mutations, that decrease the activities of a protein that turns on gene expression, increased the risk of developing eating disorders.

“Memory Extinction” gene identified

Ever wanted to permanently forget a bad memory? Well, according to new scientific findings, you may be able to swallow a pill to literally erase all your troubles! Scientists at MIT have located Tet1, a critical gene in the process of replacing old memories with new ones. Furthermore, the researchers believe that finding a way to amplify this gene’s activity could produce new treatments that tackle addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Reducing societal aging more beneficial than cancer research  

Investing in delaying aging would result in 11.7 million more healthy adults over the age of 65 in 2060, significantly higher than the most successful predictions for cancer or heart disease research. Scientists from Harvard, Columbia, USC, the University of Illinois at Chicago and other well-renowned academic institutions concluded that reducing age-related diseases by simply 1.25 percent would produce great benefits over the long-term, in contrast to treating fatal conditions, even though the initial results would be limited.

Only 3 hours to prevent mental fragility in teenagers

A study conducted by the University of Montreal reduced mental health incidences by 25-33% over 24 months in 509 British youths. Students taking part in the study attended two 90-minute group therapy sessions, in which their risk of developing mental health or substance abuse problems was evaluated using a renowned personality scale. The scale is used to measure factors strongly correlated with the onset of behavioral issues, namely, high impulsiveness was indicated as increasing the incidence of severe conduct problems five-fold. Researchers also measured hopelessness, anxiety sensitivity and sensation seeking.

Earliest conclusive evidence of a comet exploding in earth 

Illustration Terry Bakker

The first definitive proof of a comet striking Earth, which  obliterated all surrounding life forms, has been discovered by a team of scientists from South Africa. Following numerous chemical analyses of a black pebble, which had been found years earlier by an Egyptian geologist, Professor David Block, Wits University, and his team have made the exciting discovery of original comet matter, something which has never before been found on Earth. Remarkably, the modern analyses showed that the specimen was not an unusual meteorite, as initially thought, but, rather, that it represented the primary first-hand specimen of a comet nucleus.


Sofia Popov

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