Infamous murderer Jack the Ripper’s identity finally revealed?

This week, an amateur detective named Russell Edwards claimed to have discovered the identity of arguably the most infamous serial killer in living history, Jack the Ripper. Continue reading

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Scientists achieve direct brain-to-brain communication in humans

A team of neuroscientists from Harvard Medical School (USA), Starlab Barcelona (Spain) and Axilum Robotics (France) have achieved a world-first: direct brain-to-brain communication in humans. The messages were sent over a distance of 8,000km (5,000 mi) from a person in France to the recipient in India, and did not require any invasive surgery to be performed. The paper has been published in PLOS ONE. Continue reading

Is the Universe a hologram?

How do we know that what we’re seeing in the world around us is real and not merely an illusion? To apply the analogy that writers from The Register used (link), imagine characters on a television show could talk to us – their surroundings would seem like a real 3D world to them, when really it is a 2D image projected onto the television screen. Therefore there has been a theory established known as the Holographic Principle, which states that the space around us is a 2D structure “painted” on the cosmological horizon. We use cosmological horizons to set the scale and size of the observable universe. Continue reading

Sound waves may hold potential to diagnose whether tumour will spread

Scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA), Pennsylvania State University (University Park, PA), and Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA) have collectively published a paper on cell separation using sound waves. The study initially focused on separating tiny plastic beads varying from 7.3 to 9.9 microns in diameter, resulting in 97% sorting accuracy. They then moved on to separating white blood cells (20 microns) and MCF-breast cancer tumour cells (12 microns), achieving 71% accuracy. The potential for this tool holds great significance in the medical field as finding tumour cells in the blood indicates the spreading of a tumour. When a tumour is about to spread, some cells migrate into the blood via a process called extravasation and travel to another site in the body. Continue reading

New blood test holds the potential to diagnose all types of cancer

Researchers from The University of Bradford in the UK have developed a new blood test which utilises the damaging properties of UVA (Ultraviolet) light to potentially detect all types of cancer.

Early diagnosis is more difficult in certain types of cancer such as melanoma, colon cancer and lung cancer; consequently lowering the survival rates. This is usually because the symptoms themselves do not clearly show until the later stages of the disease, meaning that treatment is more often complicated and intense than if there had been a diagnosis earlier on. The new blood test could therefore prove to be an invaluable diagnostic tool if the future trials prove to be as accurate as these early results. Continue reading

Biological signatures of mutated cells could be the key to tracing the origin of cancer in patients

A new tool, currently in development by researchers at Stanford University, can detect fatty acids produced by mutated cancer cells. These fatty acids are produced via the reassembling of glucose and glutamine that has been ingested. The metabolism of these molecules are regulated in normal cells via proto-oncogenes; genes which code for proteins that help to regulate cell growth and differentiation. Mutated proto-oncogenes are called oncogenes, and these cause an increase the amount of glucose and glutamine metabolised, and subsequently have the capability to cause cancer. Continue reading

A new target: Tuberculosis

After the World Health Organisation’s success in eradicating Smallpox and its ongoing efforts to reduce such diseases as malaria and polio to the same fate, it has set its sights on another target: Tuberculosis (TB). The WHO recently released a plan in which TB will be completely eradicated from 33 countries around the world. These 33 countries currently have low prevalence of the disease and include 20 European countries and 7 North American countries. By 2035, the aim is to have less than 10 new cases per million people, and by 2050 complete elimination is planned (less than 1 new case per million people).

  Continue reading

Direct comparison of the sun’s damaging effects on skin

Although it has now been over two years since the publication of this study in the New England Journal of Medicine (April 2012) [link], the importance of its subject has no less declined. Summer is upon us once more, and it is vital to wear sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun. This 69 year old man was a truck driver for 28 years; the left side of his face being exposed to the sun via the window and the other sheltered. The exposed side of his face aged 20 years faster than the right side as a result of no sunscreen having been applied throughout his career. The result is shocking but hopefully serves as a warning to those hesitant about wearing sun protection.