180 articles from THURSDAY 26.8.2021

New material aids in neural stimulation using light

The ability to target and stimulate neurons brings a host of benefits including better understanding brain function and treating neurological diseases. Currently, state-of-the-art microelectrode arrays (MEAs) can stimulate neurons with high precision, but they lack cell-type specificity and require invasive implantation that can result in tissue damage—think stimulators used to help patients...

Ultrafast electron microscopy leads to pivotal discovery

Everyone who has ever been to the Grand Canyon can relate to having strong feelings from being close to one of nature's edges. Similarly, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have discovered that nanoparticles of gold act unusually when close to the edge of a one-atom thick sheet of carbon, called graphene. This could have big implications for the...

Comparing the pathogen numbers in backyard and commercial composts

Compost—organic material that is added to soil to help plants grow—is widely used by gardeners because it improves soil health and reduces the amount of organic waste in landfills. Although several studies have looked at commercial composts, very few have investigated backyard compost samples. In a new study, researchers have measured the number of pathogens in both types of compost.

A new model for group decision-making shows how 'followers' can influence the outcome

From small committees to national elections, group decision-making can be complicated -- and it may not always settle on the best choice. That's partly because some members of the group do research on their own, and others take their cues from the people around them. A new mathematical framework predicts that decision-making groups have a critical threshold of people who get their information from...

Study confirms virus variants reduce protection against COVID-19

A laboratory study finds that blood serum drawn from people previously vaccinated or naturally infected show 'significantly reduced' defense against two variants of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Researchers said that their findings emphasize the importance of vaccinations combined with maintaining public health measures to cut off the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Old habit-controlling neurons may also help the brain learn new tricks

In a study of rodents, scientists discovered that a part of the brain traditionally thought to control typing the old sequence may also play a critical role in learning the new one. The results suggest that this process involves a delicate balance in the activity of two neighboring neural circuits: one dedicated to new actions and the other to old habits.

Growth-promoting, anti-aging retinal at the root of plant growth too

What do frog eggs have in common with 'anti-aging' creams? Their success depends on a group of chemical compounds called retinoids, which are capable of generating and re-generating tissues. A new study in plants shows that retinoids' tissue-generating capacities are also responsible for the appropriate development of roots.

Highly conductive and elastic nanomembrane for skin electronics

Skin electronics require stretchable conductors that satisfy metal-like conductivity, high stretchability, ultrathin thickness, and ease of patternability, but it is challenging to achieve these characteristics simultaneously. The researchers developed a new float assembly method to fabricate a nanomembrane that satisfies all these requirements simultaneously. The exceptional material properties...

Your sense of smell may be the key to a balanced diet

When we smell food, we are more likely to eat -- but new findings suggest eating food also impacts our sense of smell, which could bias what we eat next. Imaging shows that brain's response to odors similar to a recent meal is less 'food-like' than its response to a different food odor. Interplay between smell and food intake may have evolutionary benefit in helping humans diversify diet

Discovery of two-phase superconductivity in CeRh2As2

The phenomenon of superconductivity, providing current transmission without dissipation and a host of unique magnetic properties arising from macroscopic quantum coherence, was first discovered over a century ago. It was not understood until 1957, after which it quickly became clear that superconductors could in principle exist with a wide variety of the fundamental characteristic often referred...

Researchers use stem cells to make insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells

The human body can be genetically inclined to attack its own cells, destroying the beta cells in the pancreas that make insulin, which helps convert sugar into energy. Called Type 1 diabetes, this disorder can occur at any age and can be fatal if not carefully managed with insulin shots or an insulin pump to balance the body's sugar levels.

Environmental pollution may contribute to racial/ethnic disparities In Alzheimer’s disease risk

Fine particle pollution may be one reason why Black women have double the risk of developing Alzheimer's than white women, suggests new research. Data shows that older people are more likely to develop dementia if they live in locations with high PM2.5, and African American populations are more likely to live in neighborhoods near polluting facilities. Even when controlling for other risk factors,...