Enceladus Reveals The Chemical Energy Required By Life Forms


Scientists believe that their instruments have found evidence of elemental hydrogen on Enceladus, Saturn’s moon.

Saturn’s moon, Enceladus, has long captured the imagination of scientists with its icy sheath of water on its surface. As such, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has been exploring the ringed planted and its system of moons for over a decade. Now, scientists believe that their instruments have found evidence of elemental hydrogen. This is a key source of chemical energy for primitive life. A new study on the matter was published in the Science journal.

Enceladus Has The Base Compounds Needed for Alien Life Forms

Recently measured plumes of water shooting up from cracks in the surface of Enceladus have scientists intrigued. They believe this to be evidence of liquid water underneath its surface. Also, it could mark the presence of geothermal energy or vents that keep that water full of energy and nutrients. One of the main signatures of these potential nutrients is elemental hydrogen, which provides the necessary chemical energy.Cassini recently passed through one of these plumes, measuring the elements floating above the icy moon. The tests proved positive, adding more to the pile of evidence leading toward the potential for alien life on one of Saturn’s many satellites.

Jonathan Lunine of Cornell University, a study co-author, was quoted as saying:

“Combined with our knowledge that there’s an ocean under Enceladus, that it’s salty, that it contains organics and mineral interactions . . . it really completes the case for the ocean being habitable or being able to sustain life.”

Many biologists believe that the first life on Earth evolved around hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor. There, primitive bacteria fed on hydrogen cyanide and still do. It was only much later in the evolutionary scale that things like photosynthesis came to have a role in providing energy for living organisms.

The parallels are fascinating for scientists. As such, pressure is reportedly growing in the academic community for additional, more extensive missions to Saturn and Jupiter’s moons to look for life.

Image Source: Wikimedia

New Skull Cap May Offer New Chance For Brain Tumor Patients

ness skull cap

According to a clinical trial, a new skull cap device could help improve the survival chances of brain tumor patients.

According to a clinical trial, a new skull cap device could help improve the survival chances of brain cancer patients. It could do so as it shocks the tumor with low-intensity electric fields. Nonetheless, this therapy would also have to combine with an oral chemotherapy.

The new clinical trial study results were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting. This new skull cap device is produced by Optune and works as follows. It is capable of continuously delivering alternating electric fields to the affected brain part. According to the researchers, this can have an anticancer effect as it helps block cell division.

This New Skull Cap Could Improve And Prolong Glioblastoma Survival Rates

The trial study involved patients diagnosed with the aggressive cancer type named glioblastoma. For the trial, they were randomly assigned to one of two treatment methods. A first was based on the Optune skull cap combined with a chemotherapy treatment. The other offered solely the chemo method.

Then, the research team monitored the patients and reported their median overall survival rates. Those that used the Optune cap had a 21-months such rate. In contrast, chemo-only patients had a 16-months median overall survival one.

Median survival rates presented, in general, an overall improvement even on the 1 to 5-years time frame. After a year, the team reported a 43 percent cap survival rate, compared to 31 percent for patients with just chemo. 5 years later, the percentages had fallen to 13 percent versus 5 percent, but the Optune results still stand.

 “Now, we see a meaningful improvement in survival at two years and beyond. With the combination of Optune a temozolomide, one out of seven patients is living longer than 5 years.”

This is according to Dr. Roger Stupp, a Neurological Surgery Professor part of Northwestern University.

Image Source: Flickr

Deep Breaths Help Us Calm Down

deep breaths

Deep breaths are the ones that calm our brain activity.

Remember when you were so angry that you wanted to punch somebody. When you feel that way the best thing you can do to calm down is to take deep breaths. A new research shows that deep breaths can calm your nerves in a few seconds.

This new study focused on showing the effects of deep breathing when it comes to our feeling. In order to conduct this study, researchers analyzed mice. They observed a connection between the nerve cells and breathing. Deep breaths were the ones that calmed the brain activity.

Less than 400 nerve cells are responsible for the connection between our brain activity and breathing. Once the researchers removed those nerve cells from the mice they observed that the mice were very calm and that they breathed normally.

Scientists mentioned that their research could, someday, help people that suffer from panic attacks, anxiety, and stress. Their findings were published in the journal Science. Breathing is involuntary, an unconscious action that we do in order to stay alive. Animals and human inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide after they used the oxygen to create energy.

People have been taking deep breaths when they feel angry or anxious for a long time. This research just showed the connection between the activity of the brain and deep breaths. Panic attacks, for instance, make a person to take fast, short breaths. This causes the person to feel even more panicked.

This research was conducted by scientists from Stanford University School of Medicine. They observed that our breathing can control the way we feel. When we are angry we tend to breathe faster and to inhale less oxygen. The interesting fact is that the brain is the ones that control the breathing. So, if we manage to make our brain to control the breathing in such a way for us to take deep breaths in the moments when we feel angry, we are more likely to calm down easily.

The problem is that people who suffer from a panic attack have a hard time controlling their breathing. Despite this fact, people who suffer from anxiety should consider doing this simple “treatment”. Deep breaths can make a person feel calm and relax in almost any situation.

What is your opinion about this study? Did you ever use this method of calming down?

Image source: Flickr

Playing Tetris Could Prevent Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Tetris and post-traumatic stress disorder

Researchers believed that they found a way of preventing post-traumatic stress disorder.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can be experienced by everybody. After a traumatic event, people can develop distress and anxiety. This can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. A new study shows that there might be a way of preventing PTSD.

Tetris And The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

This research shows that the game Tetris can help people prevent PTSD. If people play Tetris in the first few hours after the stressful event, they are less likely to develop anxiety. PTDS is caused by intrusive memories from the event that consolidate in a person’s mind.

A game of Tetris can help people remove the intrusive memories from their mind. This study was conducted by Swedish researchers from Krolinska Insitute. The leader of the study, Emily Holmes, mentioned that Tetris needs vision and imagination. Since our brain can do 2 things at the same time, it interrupts the memories from the event.

This “treatment” showed efficiency only before the appearance of the post-traumatic stress disorder appeared. People who already have this problem can’t treat it with this game. The researchers mentioned that, in order to be efficient, the game needs to be played in the first hours after the traumatic event.

The Effectiveness Of The “Treatment”

Scientists tested this game on 70 patients that were involved in motor accidents. All of them were in a UK emergency room seeking care. Half of these people received a psychological intervention in the first 6 hours after the accident. The other half received the standard care.

The people who received the psychological intervention were asked to play the game while they recalled the traumatic event. After that, the patients were tracked for a week to see if they had flashbacks or memories from the event.

Those who played the game mentioned that they had 62% fewer flashbacks over the week. After this research, scientists believe that post-traumatic stress disorder can be prevented if people receive treatment early on. This is the first study that involves a computer game as a preventive method for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Despite the fact that this research showed potential, scientists mentioned that they need to make more tests before they can confirm that Tetris can prevent post-traumatic stress disorder. One limitation of the study is that it was based on so few participants.

Image source: Pixabay


Extreme Heat Caused By Climate Change

extreme heat

In 2015, the hottest year on record, 2000 people were killed by extreme heat in India.

Climate change is one of the biggest problems, worldwide. It has affected everybody and it is going to continue if action is not taken. A new report shows that climate change can increase the risk of deaths caused by extreme heat.

Despite the fact that nations have agreed to limit the global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, extreme heat events are  still going to occur. The 2 degrees limit is approaching and with it, extreme heat is coming. This new analysis shows that the heat stress is going to double in the most populated cities.

More and more people are going to be affected by the warming weather. Due to this fact, heat-related deaths are going to be more numerous by 2050. The number of heat waves is also going to increase. Growing population numbers are one of the factors that affect the weather. The more people the hotter it gets.

The researchers that conducted this study mentioned that even if the global warming doesn’t reach 2 degrees Celsius, extreme heat waves are going to affect many countries. In 2015, the hottest year until now, extreme heat has caused 2000 deaths in India and more than 1000 in Pakistan. These events are going to happen in 2017 too.

The heat waves are going to be expected in megacities, the ones that have a high level of population and a large population. Scientists also said that the numbers of deaths caused by heat waves are still too many, despite the fact that action is taken.

Researchers stated that heat waves are going to be more frequent in the cities that have experienced this phenomenon. Other cities, which haven’t experience extreme heat, are at risk too. The US is also going to be affected by this issue. Despite the fact that many cities in the US have taken action against climate change, they are going to experience extreme weather condition in the next few years.

Scientists are also predicting more deaths caused by heat. This is because our bodies can’t adapt to the climate so easy. More and more people are dying due to the extreme heat waves. The researchers added that this report should be taken into consideration by state officials in order to confront climate change.

Image source: Wikipedia

Can Human Heart Tissue Be Developed Out Of Spinach Leaves?

human heart tissue

Human heart tissue was developed with the help of spinach leaves

Every day we learn about a new discovery or study that makes us question everything we know about the human body. Now, scientists have managed to develop human heart tissue out of spinach leaves. Apparently, spinach is a superfood.

The spinach leaves have some physical proprieties that helped scientist develop human heart tissue out of them. These leaves have a network of veins. The network of veins is similar to the blood vessels because it goes through the leaves like blood vessels are spread throughout the body.

In order to create human heart tissue, researchers used these leafy veins. Tissue engineers from Massachusetts’s Worcester Polytechnic Institute were the ones that conducted this research. Their study was published in the journal Biomaterials.

They stripped the cells from the leaves. After that, the plant turned translucent. Finally, the researchers seeded human heart tissue in the gaps left behind by the cells. They observed that the human cells were able to beat for almost 3 weeks. Despite the fact that this is not the usual environment for heart tissue, they survived.

It is amazing to see how the human cells are designed to resist so much. Also, it is interesting how plants can help people in other ways than providing food and medicine. The tissue engineers mentioned that their “inspiration” came over lunch. When they studied the spinach leaves, they wanted to see if heart tissue can be developed with their help.

In previous studies, researchers have tried to solve a medical problem: the lack of donor organs. Many have tried to create artificial hearts, but these organs have a problem. The researchers mentioned that it is hard to get blood flow in the cells.

This is when the researchers used the spinach leaves. The scientists “borrowed” the leafy nerves from the spinach instead of creating tiny blood vessels. Cellulose was the material that was left behind after they cleared the cells of the spinach. This plant material is compatible with mammal tissue. Researchers then seeded the cellulose matrix with heart tissue. After only 5 days, the muscle cells started to beat.

Of course, researchers did not create a muscle out of the spinach. Also, they did not put blood in the nerves of the leaves, they put dye. Despite the fact that this is not an actual heart muscle, it could be the begging for a new way of making organs.

Image source: Wikipedia

The Lifestyle of An Amazon Tribe Can Help Us Prevent Heart Disease

Amazon tribe

Scientists also believe that this Amazon tribe could have great genetics that helps them stay away from diseases.

More and more people are suffering from heart conditions nowadays. These heart problems are usually caused by an unhealthy diet and a sedentary lifestyle. People are too busy to work out and they barely have time to prepare meals for the entire day.

These are some of the reasons why the rate of heart diseases is increasing. In order to find out more about how to prevent heart problems, a new study involved an Amazon tribe. The researchers that conducted it discovered that people from this tribe have the healthiest hearts.

This study was conducted by researchers from the Long Beach Memorial center. The research unveiled the fact that primitive-living people in an Amazon tribe have healthier hearts when compared to other individuals. They maintain the health of their hearts with the help of their diet and an active lifestyle.

The Tsimane is the analyzed Amazon tribe.  Researchers were amazed to find that 90% of these primitive people have clear arteries. It means that they have a very low risk of developing heart problems.

When the Tsimane tribe was compared to Americans, it was observed that there is a great difference between these two. First of all, primitive people had a healthier diet and a more active lifestyle. Also, it was observed that a 50-year-old American has the arteries of an 80-year-old Amazonian tribe person. This shows that the risk for heart disease in the US is a lot bigger when compared to the one in Tsimane tribe.

Researchers believe that the reason for which these primitive people have a low rate of heart disease is because of the pre-modern life they have. These people have a primitive life. People from the Tsimane tribe need to hunt for their food. They only eat fresh, unprocessed foods. Scientists also believe that this Amazon tribe could have great genetics that helps them stay away from diseases.

The study managed to show that the modern life is the one that is hurting us. Processed foods, fat, sugar, and a sedentary lifestyle are the reason for which people in developed countries have higher rates of heart issues and health conditions in general.

What is your opinion about this study?

Image source: Flickr

Your Nose Shape Is Caused By Climate, Not Genetics

nose shape

A new study shows that the nose shape is made in such a way to help us adapt to climate.

You probably believed that every part of your body is genetically inherited. Apparently, your nose shape is “designed” by climate, not by your parents. The nose shape is important for helping you condition the air you breathe. This might be the reason why it was made by climate and not genetically inherited.

A new study shows that the nose shape is made in such a way to help us adapt to climate. Despite the fact that sometimes people tell you that you have the same nose as your mother or your father, they are wrong. Your nose shape has an important job in your system and it is made this way to help you adapt to the environment.

This new research was conducted by a team of scientists from Pennsylvania State University. They discovered that the nose shape is different from place to place. People born in cold places have a different nose shape than people who live in warm places.

This is our way to adapt to the climate. The researchers discovered that people who live in warm and humid climates have a wider nose. On the contrary, those who live in cold and dry places have a narrower nose. The findings show that the climate we live in shapes us too, not only genetics do.

“The positive direction of the effects indicates that wider noses are more common in warm-humid climates, while narrower noses are more common in cold-dry climates,” said Mark D. Shriver, Professor at Pennsylvania State University.

The researchers observed that people in cold places need a narrower nose so that they could alter the airflow in order to become warmer and more humidified. Since the air is warmer and more humid there, people who live in warm climates can have a wider nose. They don’t need to alter the air.

Researchers also observed that people who had a narrower nose shape and lived in colder climates were more likely to have more children than those with wider noses. This shows, once again, that every creature on Earth has a way of adapting to the climate.

What is your opinion about this study? Did you know that climate was the one that shaped our noses?

Image source: Wikipedia

Common Painkillers Might Increase The Risk Of Cardiac Arrest

common painkillers

Doctors are advising people who have heart problems to avoid common painkillers.

We all know that some drugs can do more harm than good. This is why people should not take pills without the approval of a doctor. A new research shows that common painkillers might increase the risk of cardiac arrest.

Ibuprofen, for instance, is one of the most common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Studies have shown that this drug can increase our chances of having a cardiac arrest by almost 50%. This means that people who usually take painkillers are more likely to have a cardiac arrest.

Doctors are advising people who have heart problems to avoid common painkillers. They have a higher risk of suffering cardiac arrests when compared to those without heart conditions. There are some drugs that might increase the risk more than others.

“Diclofenac and ibuprofen, both commonly used drugs, were associated with significantly increased risk of cardiac arrest,” mentioned Professor Gunnar Gislason.

NSAIDs are the most common pills people use worldwide. Many of these drugs don’t even need a prescription. Ibuprofen is one of the drugs that can be purchased without a prescription and it is also one of the most dangerous ones.

Doctors mentioned that all these drugs need to be purchased with a prescription. This is because many people believe they are safe if they don’t need a prescription to buy them. Once people believe they are safe, they buy them frequently.

In order to show the effects of common painkillers, researchers analyzed all patients who have suffered a cardiac arrest between 2001 and 2010, in Denmark. They observed that people who used painkillers regularly were more likely to experience cardiac arrest. This shows that NSAIDs are not safe at all and they should be avoided.

People who take diclofenac or ibuprofen are advised to go to their doctor and review the treatment. There are safer painkillers on the market that have almost the same effects without causing so much harm. Also, people who need to take these painkillers should never take more than the daily recommended dosage. All in all, people should use these drugs only when necessary and in small dosage.

What is your opinion about this study? Did you know that common painkillers can increase the risk of cardiac arrest?

Image source: Wikipedia

Two People In Critical Condition After Consuming Toxic Tea

toxic tea

After consuming toxic tea two people were admitted to the hospital in critical condition

Tea is one of the healthiest drinks that you can consume. Many people drink tea on a regular basis in order to treat their diseases. Apparently, tea can actually make you ill. This is the case for two people in San Francisco.

After consuming toxic tea both of them were admitted to the hospital in critical condition. San Francisco Department of Public Health mentioned that these people consumed the same herbal tea that was purchased from a seller in Grant Avenue in Chinatown.

The people that are in critical condition drank this toxic tea in February and March. A woman in her 50s and a man in his 30s were the ones that became ill soon after drinking this herbal tea. The symptoms started to show after less than an hour.

Their symptoms consisted in irregular heartbeats and severe weakness. Due to these severe symptoms, both of them were admitted to the hospital. The leaves for the tea were sold by Sun Wing Wo Trading Co.

What did the Toxic Tea Contain?

After these people were admitted to the hospital, tests were run on the toxic tea. It was discovered that the poison was aconite. This plant-based poison is dangerous because it affects the heart. This substance can be deadly, especially when it is consumed in large quantities.

Normally, the aconite is used in Asian herbal medicine. This can treat many medical conditions. The problem is that it was not processed properly. When this happens the plant is poisonous. There is not cure for aconite contamination. This is why it is so dangerous.

What is going to happen to the toxic tea?

The health department in San Francisco decided to withdraw the products that were consumed by these victims. They also want the shop to help them find the source of the contamination. The health department wants to avoid any other contaminations caused by the toxic tea.

“Anyone who has purchased tea from this location should not consume it and should throw it away immediately,” said Dr. Tomás Aragón, health Officer for the City & County of San Francisco.

Despite the fact that some people might not experience the symptoms of the contamination immediately, they have to go to the hospital, if they start appearing. People are asked to stop consuming this tea, even if they don’t experience any symptoms.

Image source: Pexels