Hot healing tricks
The rise in your body temperature when you fall sick is actually good for you. It can speed up your body’s fight against infections, wounds and even tumours. Biologists have now shown that a particular protein called ‘Nuclear Factor kappa B’ (NF-κB) speeds up its work when the body’s temperature goes even few degrees higher than normal thus making our defence system fight better.
How do two closely related species identify mating calls? Especially if it is a frog and the mating season is quite noisy. Scientists looked into the brains of two related species of African frogs and found two special subsets of neurons associated with mating calls. They found that the subtype called ‘fast-trill neurons’ were long-lasting and showed slower responses in X.laevis frog than in its relative X. petersii, allowing the former to produce longer, lower-pitched calls and impress its mate.
Let’s keep it in the dark
Not just people, even chemical crystals can be two-faced. Scientists from Japan have demonstrated that crystals of zinc sulfide (ZnS), which are highly brittle when exposed to light, actually turn flexible and display high plasticity when kept in the dark. The researchers say that inorganic semiconductors made from these materials could help in making better flexible electronics in the future.
Space in memory
Space travel and cosmic radiation have been found to cause brain damage and memory impairment. A study from University of California has reported a new drug that can help prevent this damage. The team exposed mice to high levels of simulated space radiation and treated one group with the new drug called PLX5622. The treated group of mice performed well on memory tasks, almost similar to healthy mice. NASA and SpaceX can now send humans to space without hurting their brains.
New treatment for asthma?
In a study involving 200 people, scientists have shown that a new antibody called dupilumab is more effective than the currently used prednisone in treating severe asthma. They found that dupilumab blocks two specific proteins responsible for the inflammation of airways without any side effects. Dupilumab was able to increase lung function and the researchers hope that it will soon help developed a new treatment for severe asthma.