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Nov 30, 2018

A ‘party drug’ with potential to be the next blockbuster antidepressant is edging closer to the mainstream, but it could set you back $9,000

Posted by in categories: media & arts, neuroscience

  • Once dismissed as a “party drug,” ketamine is emerging as a potential alternative treatment for depression.
  • A growing list of academic medical centers now offer the drug, including Columbia University, which began offering ketamine to patients with severe depression this fall.
  • Ketamine works differently from common antidepressants like Celexa or Prozac and has been called “the most important discovery in half a century.”
  • Pharmaceutical companies, including Allergan and Johnson & Johnson, are also working on developing blockbuster antidepressants inspired by ketamine.

Ketamine, a drug once associated with raucous parties, bright lights, and loud music, is increasingly being embraced as an alternative depression treatment for the millions of patients who don’t get better after trying traditional medications.

The latest provider of the treatment is Columbia University, one of the nation’s largest academic medical centers.

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Nov 30, 2018

Life on Earth Could Have Started Thanks to a Simple Ingredient We Use Every Day

Posted by in categories: chemistry, energy

If classic monster movies and old science experiments are to be believed, life begins with a spark.

Not everybody is convinced by this kind of origin story, so the search continues for sources of energy capable of transforming a prebiotic soup into a life-generating dish. Maybe the secret ingredient isn’t anything more shocking than a pinch of salt.

A new study led by researchers from the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) at Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan has turned their attention to common old sodium chloride as a potential conduit for the chemical energy required for early biochemistry.

Continue reading “Life on Earth Could Have Started Thanks to a Simple Ingredient We Use Every Day” »

Nov 30, 2018

NASA Will Announce Its 1st Commercial Partners for the Return to the Moon Thursday

Posted by in category: space travel

NASA has chosen a set of companies to partner on moon exploration, and the winners will be announced tomorrow (Nov. 29).

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Nov 30, 2018

New research could fine-tune the gene scissors CRISPR

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics

The introduction of the gene editing tool CRISPR in 2007 was a revolution in medical science and cell biology. But even though the potential is great, the launch of CRISPR has been followed by debate about ethical issues and the technology’s degree of accuracy and side effects.

However, in a new study published in Cell, from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research have described how Cas12a, one of the CRISPR technologies, works at the molecular level. This makes it possible to fine-tune the gene-editing process to achieve specific desired effects.

“If we compare CRISPR to a car engine, what we have done is make a complete 3D map of the engine and thus gained an understanding of how it works. This knowledge will enable us to fine-tune the CRISPR engine and make it work in various ways—as a Formula 1 racer as well as an off-road truck,” says Professor Guillermo Montoya from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research.

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Nov 30, 2018

Astronomers calculate the total amount of starlight ever produced in the observable universe

Posted by in category: space

The universe has been making stars for a good 13 billion years or so, and a natural question to ask might be “how many stars have existed in that time?” But now astronomers have taken it several steps further and asked “how much light has been emitted in that time?” Using a new measurement method, the team has apparently managed to quantify all the starlight every produced in the observable universe – and the result is a figure that’ll make your eyes water.

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Nov 30, 2018

Brilliant iron molecule could provide cheaper solar energy

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

For the first time, researchers have succeeded in creating an iron molecule that can function both as a photocatalyst to produce fuel and in solar cells to produce electricity. The results indicate that the iron molecule could replace the more expensive and rarer metals used today.

Some photocatalysts and are based on a technology that involves containing metals, known as . The task of the complexes in this context is to absorb solar rays and utilise their energy. The metals in these molecules pose a major problem, however, as they are rare and expensive metals, such as the noble metals ruthenium, osmium and iridium.

“Our results now show that by using advanced molecule design, it is possible to replace the rare metals with iron, which is common in the Earth’s crust and therefore cheap,” says Chemistry Professor Kenneth Wärnmark of Lund University in Sweden.

Continue reading “Brilliant iron molecule could provide cheaper solar energy” »

Nov 30, 2018

Are you using NASA land processes data?

Posted by in category: space

Looking to download LP DAAC products directly from Data Pool for your research project via a script but unsure how to login using your NASA Earthdata account?

Check out newly released Python and R scripts for downloading files directly from the NASA Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC) Data Pool. The Python and R scripts show you how to configure a connection to download data directly in Python/R from an Earthdata Login-enabled server, specifically the LP DAAC Data Pool.

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Nov 30, 2018

Good News Is on the Way for Blood Cancer Patients

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Scientists at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology will hear about new blood cancer drugs this weekend.

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Nov 30, 2018

Infections could trigger cardiovascular disease

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

New research examines the risk of heart attack and stroke after an infection, concluding that infections may trigger coronary events.

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Nov 30, 2018

Syfy’s Nightflyers asks whether humanity deserves to be saved

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, genetics, neuroscience, space travel

Showrunner Jeff Buhler has built a fascinating world around Martin’s story seeds, starting by setting the action within the foreseeable future, rather than in an incomprehensibly distant one. The invented technologies here are particularly intriguing, like the genetic modifications first officer Melantha Jhirl (Jodie Turner-Smith) has to make her better suited for space travel, or the cybernetics technician Lommie (Maya Eshet) uses to interface with machinery. Given the state of real-world technological developments in genetic engineering and research into brain-machine interfaces, the series feels plausible and grounded, even though it’s set in a spacefaring future.


The 10-episode space series adapts a 40-year-old George R.R. Martin novella.

Continue reading “Syfy’s Nightflyers asks whether humanity deserves to be saved” »