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New study allows brain and artificial neurons to link up over the web

Brain-digital interface concept illustration (stock image). Credit: © knowhowfootage / Adobe Stock Brain functions are made possible by circuits of spiking neurons, connected together by microscopic, but highly complex links called synapses. In this new study, published in the scientific journal Nature Scientific Reports, the scientists created a hybrid neural network where biological and artificial…

Environmental oxygen triggers loss of webbed digits

African clawed frog (stock image). Credit: © Nathan / Adobe Stock Free fingers have many obvious advantages on land, such as in locomotion and grasping, while webbed fingers are typical of aquatic or gliding animals. But both amphibians and amniotes -- which include mammals, reptiles, and birds -- can have webbed digits. In new research…

Higher concentration of metal in Moon’s craters provides new insights to its origin

The Moon (stock image). Credit: © David Woods / stock.adobe.com Life on Earth would not be possible without the Moon; it keeps our planet's axis of rotation stable, which controls seasons and regulates our climate. However, there has been considerable debate over how the Moon was formed. The popular hypothesis contends that the Moon was…

Seeing is believing: Effectiveness of facemasks

Woman wearing face mask (stock image). Credit: © Jedsada Naeprai / stock.adobe.com Currently, there are no specific guidelines on the most effective materials and designs for facemasks to minimize the spread of droplets from coughs or sneezes to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19. While there have been prior studies on how medical-grade masks perform, data…

Newer variant of COVID-19-causing virus dominates global infections

Coronavirus illustration (stock image). Credit: © dottedyeti / stock.adobe.com Research out today in the journal Cell shows that a specific change in the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus virus genome, previously associated with increased viral transmission and the spread of COVID-19, is more infectious in cell culture. The variant in question, D614G, makes a small but effective change…

COVID-19 causes ‘hyperactivity’ in blood-clotting cells

Illustration of platelets and red blood cells (stock image). Credit: © SciePro / stock.adobe.com Changes in blood platelets triggered by COVID-19 could contribute to the onset of heart attacks, strokes, and other serious complications in some patients who have the disease, according to University of Utah Health scientists. The researchers found that inflammatory proteins produced…

Researchers identify multiple molecules that shut down SARS-Cov-2 polymerase reaction

Coronavirus illustration (stock image). Credit: © dermatzke / stock.adobe.com SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus causing the global COVID-19 pandemic, uses a protein called polymerase to replicate its genome inside infected human cells. Terminating the polymerase reaction will stop the growth of the coronavirus, leading to its eradication by the human host's immune system. Researchers at Columbia Engineering…

Asteroid impact, not volcanoes, made the Earth uninhabitable for dinosaurs

Illustration of dinosaurs and asteroid (stock image). Credit: © lassedesignen / stock.adobe.com Modelling of the Chicxulub asteroid impact 66 million years ago shows it created a world largely unsuitable for dinosaurs to live in. The asteroid, which struck the Earth off the coast of Mexico at the end of the Cretaceous era 66 million years…

Researchers use 3D modeling to decode aerial undulation’s role in flying snake glides

Paradise tree snake (stock image). Credit: © Alessandro / stock.adobe.com When the paradise tree snake flies from one tall branch to another, its body ripples with waves like green cursive on a blank pad of blue sky. That movement, aerial undulation, happens in each glide made by members of the Chrysopelea family, the only known…

Major new paleoclimatology study shows global warming has upended 6,500 years of cooling

Glacier collapse (stock image). Credit: © volki / stock.adobe.com Over the past 150 years, global warming has more than undone the global cooling that occurred over the past six millennia, according to a major study published June 30 in Nature Research's Scientific Data, "Holocene global mean surface temperature, a multi-method reconstruction approach." The findings show…

Why some words may be more memorable than others

Abstract concept illustration, letters in brain (stock image). Credit: © JEGAS RA / stock.adobe.com Thousands of words, big and small, are crammed inside our memory banks just waiting to be swiftly withdrawn and strung into sentences. In a recent study of epilepsy patients and healthy volunteers, National Institutes of Health researchers found that our brains…

A cosmic mystery: ESO telescope captures the disappearance of a massive star

Very Large Telescope complex (stock image). Credit: © CPO / stock.adobe.com Using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT), astronomers have discovered the absence of an unstable massive star in a dwarf galaxy. Scientists think this could indicate that the star became less bright and partially obscured by dust. An alternative explanation is that…

To find giant black holes, start with Jupiter

Illustration of black hole, warped spacetime (stock image). Credit: © vchalup / stock.adobe.com The revolution in our understanding of the night sky and our place in the universe began when we transitioned from using the naked eye to a telescope in 1609. Four centuries later, scientists are experiencing a similar transition in their knowledge of…

One-time treatment generates new neurons, eliminates Parkinson’s disease in mice

Astrocytes illustration (stock image). Credit: © Kateryna_Kon / stock.adobe.com Xiang-Dong Fu, PhD, has never been more excited about something in his entire career. He has long studied the basic biology of RNA, a genetic cousin of DNA, and the proteins that bind it. But a single discovery has launched Fu into a completely new field:…

One-time treatment generates new neurons, eliminates Parkinson’s disease in mice

Astrocytes illustration (stock image). Credit: © Kateryna_Kon / stock.adobe.com Xiang-Dong Fu, PhD, has never been more excited about something in his entire career. He has long studied the basic biology of RNA, a genetic cousin of DNA, and the proteins that bind it. But a single discovery has launched Fu into a completely new field:…

Mystery of solar cycle illuminated

Sun's surface (stock image; elements furnished by NASA). Credit: © lukszczepanski / stock.adobe.com Solar activity fluctuates in a rhythm of about eleven years, which is reflected among other things in the frequency of sunspots. A complete magnetic period lasts 22 years. Scientists have long been puzzling over what causes this cycle. It must be related…

Sled dogs are closely related to 9,500-year-old ‘ancient dog’

Sled dogs (stock image). Credit: © murmakova / stock.adobe.com Sledge dogs are much older and have adapted to Arctic conditions much earlier than previously thought. In a new study from the QIMMEQ project, researchers from the University of Copenhagen show that ancestors of modern sledge dogs have worked and lived with humans for over 9,500…

Driving bacteria to produce potential antibiotic, antiparasitic compounds

Bacteria illustration (stock image). Credit: © Paulista / stock.adobe.com Researchers have developed a method to spur the production of new antibiotic or antiparasitic compounds hiding in the genomes of actinobacteria, which are the source of drugs such as actinomycin and streptomycin and are known to harbor other untapped chemical riches. The scientists report their findings…

Dolphins learn foraging skills from peers

Dolphins (stock image). Credit: © Dmitry Kokh / stock.adobe.com Dolphins can learn new skills from their fellow dolphins. That's the conclusion of a new study reported in the journal Current Biology on June 25. The findings are the first to show that dolphins are not only capable of learning new ways to catch prey, but…

Why are plants green?

Leaves in sunlight (stock image). Credit: © Olivier Le Moal / stock.adobe.com When sunlight shining on a leaf changes rapidly, plants must protect themselves from the ensuing sudden surges of solar energy. To cope with these changes, photosynthetic organisms -- from plants to bacteria -- have developed numerous tactics. Scientists have been unable, however, to…

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