Neanderthals in Siberia belonging to two different groups, one from Europe

A team of paleoanthropologists confirms, through a study published in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, that the Neanderthals living in Siberia, or at least a part of them, came from various European populations.
At least one of the two important groups of Neanderthals living in southern Siberia had in fact emigrated from Eastern Europe.

The origins of the Siberian Neanderthals, or rather the place from which they emigrated, have never been known. The research team examined some of the tools and bones found in the Chagyrskaya Cave, a cave near the Alkaid Mountains in Russia that hosted Neanderthals in the past.
The morphological analyses of the 3D models of the instruments, which the researchers carried out using special scanners, showed that these instruments made of stone had many characteristics in common with other instruments made by groups of the Micoquien culture, composed of people from Central and Eastern Europe.

Specifically, these instruments resembled those found at sites in Bavaria, including those of the Sesselfelsgrotte cave.
In addition to analysing the stone instruments, researchers also made DNA analyses of the bones found in the same Siberian cave and established the migration route of the Siberian Neanderthals. The latter must have travelled through Europe, first through Croatia and then in the North Caucasus, until they reached the Altai mountains.

DNA analysis also showed that the Neanderthals living in the Chagyrskaya cave differed from the group of Neanderthals whose remains were found in the Denisova cave, another place in Siberia.
This difference confirms that the Neanderthals of Denisova had almost no connections with the cultures of Micoquien and confirms that the different groups of Neanderthals who emigrated to Siberia are at least more than one.
The study was carried out by an international team also composed of scientists from the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU).

Posted in Scientific News | Comments Off on Neanderthals in Siberia belonging to two different groups, one from Europe

Finally A Good Review On Manscaped!

If you watch Shark Tank regularly, you may have seen the episode where Manscaped got featured. Manscaped is a product for men to shave below the belt, and it doesn’t come cheap: if you get the main package they offer, it’ll run you about $90. But some people say it’s worth it. One such publication is OUTWITTRADE.COM, which has published a thorough review of Manscaped here. They are not overly positive on it though. They say that you should take your time when you use the product, and and on and off button is a pain to use. They had also collected some reviews from other people, who like it overall.

Posted in Scientific News | Comments Off on Finally A Good Review On Manscaped!

Half the world’s beaches could disappear by 2100 due to erosion.

The natural phenomenon of beach erosion will worsen in the near future and may have more serious consequences than thought according to a study published in Nature Climate Change.
According to researchers, up to half of the world’s beaches could disappear by the end of the century due to the continuous rise in sea level caused by global warming climate change.

Sandy beaches are not few and cover up to 33% of the world’s coastline. As well as being popular meeting places, especially during the summers, they are also important on an environmental level because they act as a “buffer” protecting the coast and coastal ecosystems in general from the force of the waves and the erosion continuously brought by the sea.

The erosion of the world’s beaches will be accelerated not only by the rise in sea level but also by the growing population and wild urbanization that increasingly sees the construction of buildings of all kinds along the coast, right down to the beaches.
The study was carried out by scientists from the Joint Research Centre, an office set up by the European Commission. The researchers analyzed the data collected during 35 years of observation by satellites of the coast.

They combined these data with 82 years of climate forecasting and sea level rise data. By performing complex simulations, including storm events that could accelerate beach erosion itself, the researchers came to the above conclusion, which was in some ways very worrying.
However, they also came to the conclusion that limiting greenhouse gas emissions could prevent as much as 40% of the erosion predicted in these models.

In particular, the health levels of rivers and watercourses must be taken into account: these systems are characterised by an important action, that of transporting sediments which in turn act as material for restoring and maintaining the sand level of beaches.

Posted in Scientific News | Comments Off on Half the world’s beaches could disappear by 2100 due to erosion.

Scorpion fluorescence: scientists may find out what it’s for

Past studies have shown that scorpions emit a strange blue-green fluorescence when lit by dim moonlight or ultraviolet light. Since it is not known how scorpions themselves exploit this strange characteristic, some researchers have written a new study, the results of which were published in the Journal of Natural Products, finding that these animals emit a fluorescent substance from the exoskeleton, which could protect them from parasites.

In relation to the strange blue-green fluorescence of scorpions, discovered about 60 years ago, scientists have made some assumptions in the past. Some have speculated that this change in colour protected them from sunlight, while others have traced this to the increased chance of finding companions in the dark.
Also in the past, two fluorescent compounds, β-carbolin and 7-hydroxy-4-methylcoumarin, substances identified in the hard outer shell of scorpions or in the exoskeleton, had been discovered.

Researcher Masahiro Miyashita, together with members of his team, then re-analyzed these animals to find out if there were other substances inside their bodies.
After extracting samples from the exoskeletons of scorpions of the species Liocheles australasiae, the researchers discovered the presence of a phthalate ester, a substance that had previously shown antifungal or antiparasitic properties in other organisms.

This led the researchers themselves to suspect that this substance could help animals protect their bodies from parasite infections.
In addition, this substance, compared to the two compounds already identified in scorpion in the past, seems to contribute less to its fluorescence.

Posted in Scientific News | Comments Off on Scorpion fluorescence: scientists may find out what it’s for

Fish oil supplements associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease

Regular intake of fish oil-based supplements may be linked to a lower risk of death from all causes and cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke, according to a press release accompanying a new study published in The BMJ.
Fish oil has become a popular dietary supplement in many countries due to the presence of omega-3 fatty acids, substances that can help prevent cardiovascular disease.

To confirm this association, a team of researchers from China and the United States used a database of subjects from the United Kingdom, one of the countries where fish oil supplements are quite widespread.
The database counted more than half a million people, men and women aged 40 to 69 years, without cardiovascular disease or cancer. The follow-up lasted from 2006 to 2010. The researchers also used hospital records to consider possible hospitalizations or deaths.

Almost a third of the subjects then reported taking fish oil supplements regularly, at least at the beginning of the follow-up.
The researchers found that a regular intake of fish oil supplements could be associated with a 13% lower risk of all-cause mortality, a 16% lower risk of cardiovascular disease mortality, and a 7% lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

The association between the use of fish oil and cardiovascular disease was higher in people with hypertension. The results remained unchanged even after analyzing various risk factors such as age, gender, lifestyle, age, any medications used and use of other supplements.
The results can be explained, according to the researchers, in the fact that omega-3 fatty acid supplements show beneficial effects on blood pressure, cholesterol level and heart rate, things that naturally have a protective effect against the onset of cardiovascular disease.

As with any observational study, it is not possible to establish a direct cause, but the researchers themselves believe that a habitual use of fish oil may be associated with a lower risk of mortality for all causes and a lower risk of contracting cardiovascular disease.

Posted in Scientific News | Comments Off on Fish oil supplements associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease

3D printing of capillaries and vascular system very faithful thanks to new material

A new material could allow the realization, through 3D printing, of artificial tissues more similar to human vascular structures, according to a statement referring to a new study published in Nature Communications.
Researchers at the University of Nottingham and Queen Mary University in London have in fact discovered a method to print graphene oxide in 3D using a protein which can organize itself into tubular structures that seem to replicate, more or less faithfully, several important properties of the same vascular tissue.

Professor Alvaro Mata explains the results of the study: “This work offers opportunities for biofabrication by allowing the simulated top-down 3D bioprinting and self-assembly of synthetic and biological components from the bottom upwards in an orderly manner at the nanoscale. We are biofabricating micro-scale capillaries that, like fluid structures compatible with cells, have physiologically relevant properties and the ability to resist flow. This could enable the recreation of vascularization in the laboratory and could have implications in the development of safer and more efficient drugs, which means that treatments could potentially reach patients much more quickly.

By controlling how graphene oxide binds to the protein, this assembly can be guided on very small scales to print frameworks with very complex geometries and up to 10 um resolution.
A good step towards laboratory replication of very important areas of human tissue and organs in general, as Yuanhao Wu, the study’s principal researcher, suggests.

Posted in Scientific News | Comments Off on 3D printing of capillaries and vascular system very faithful thanks to new material

New robotic prosthesis allows hand and finger movements with thought

One of the main problems with robotic hand implants is sending the command from the patient’s brain to the hand and fingers, through the muscles or nerves, to make the necessary movements.
It is an obstacle that seems to be solved by a new project carried out by researchers at the University of Michigan who have developed a system to control with extreme precision a robotic hand that responds to the patient’s thoughts.

The interface is based on a series of small muscle grafts that amplify the nerve signals that leave the brain. The interface has already been tested on robotic prostheses and seems to have been successful after translating the signals from the brain into real movements with a stable level of precision over time.
Current robotic prostheses work mostly by recording electrical signals from the muscles. This means that the patient has to contract the muscles in the forearm to control the fingers. This is not possible for all patients: in some of them, the muscles may be damaged or completely missing and patients cannot do the necessary push-ups to start the input.

In addition, if the person’s arm sweats, swells or the prosthesis moves, the signal is no longer accurate and the device needs to be recalibrated so much so that in the end many amputees decide that it is not worth it.
The new devices are based on nerves. They also transmit the commands of the brain along the arm. However, implanting wires into the nerves to capture their electrical signals is not efficient because the nerve signals are weak.

It has therefore been thought in the past to increase these signals from the nerves by connecting them to the muscles. In practice, the weak nerve signals have been redirected to another muscle in the body. But even this approach has in many ways proved to be unsuccessful.
Researchers at the University of Michigan, led by Paul Cederna, have therefore thought of an alternative approach, namely to equip the nerves with their own small muscles.

They connected the nerves of the arm to pieces of muscle tissue collected from the thigh, creating a new set of finger muscles inside the forearm. In the study, published in Science Translational Medicine, researchers describe the first tests with this new robotic prosthesis in which wires are inserted through the skin into alternative muscle grafts.

During testing, the device seemed to be able to easily pick up electrical signals. Using computer algorithms, the researchers were able to translate electrical signals into expected movements during tests in which patients moved a virtual hand on the screen or through a commercially available prosthesis called LUKE.
Now researchers are trying to compact this interface by remodeling it so that no wires protrude through the skin and optimizing its functions.

Posted in Scientific News | Comments Off on New robotic prosthesis allows hand and finger movements with thought

Nuclei of half-destroyed planets from stars detectable by radio telescopes

There are stars that, after burning all their “fuel,” turn into so-called “white dwarfs” but project their outer layers outward before performing this transformation. This material, projected at very high speed, destroys nearby objects and also strongly damages the planets by removing the outer layers of the latter in addition to the atmospheres.

According to a study by researchers at the University of Warwick, published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, the remaining nuclei of these planets can “survive” for a necessary time, from 100 million to a billion years, so that they can be detected by our telescopes.

This is not an absolute novelty: already in the early 90s, Alexander Wolszczan of Pennsylvania State University discovered one of these planets around a pulsar using a method to detect radio waves emitted by the star.

Researchers at the University of Warwick intend to improve this method to detect the magnetic field that forms between a white dwarf and a planetary nucleus in orbit around it. The magnetic field can, in fact, form a unipolar inductor circuit in which the remaining nucleus of the planet acts as a conductor thanks to the fact that inside the nucleus there are more than anything metallic compounds.

This is a real circuit whose radiations are emitted as radio waves that can be detected by terrestrial radio telescopes. Among other things, an effect of this kind has already been noted between Jupiter and one of his moons, Io.

According to Dimitri Veras, one of the authors of the study, “There is a weak point to detect these planetary nuclei: a nucleus too close to the white dwarf would be destroyed by tidal forces and a nucleus too far away would not be detectable. Also, if the magnetic field is too strong, it would push the core into the white dwarf, destroying it. Therefore, we should only look for planets around the white dwarf ones with weaker magnetic fields at a distance of about 3 solar rays, the distance Mercury-Sun.”

In any case, finding the only nucleus of a “naked” planet would represent a very important discovery that would help to discover the history of star systems as well as allowing you to take a look at the future history of our solar system and specifically of our planet which should not be very different.

Posted in Scientific News | Comments Off on Nuclei of half-destroyed planets from stars detectable by radio telescopes