Antimicrobial silicone created at KTU

 

Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) laboratories often serve as birthplaces of unique products, such as antimicrobial silicone invented by a KTU PhD student Aiste Lisauskaite and her supervisor Dr Virginija Jankauskaite. The researchers believe that the new product will be extremely useful both for household and medical purposes.

 

Landscapes derived solely from aeolian processes are rare on Earth because of the dominance of subaqueous processes. In contrast, aeolian-derived landscapes should typify Mars because of the absence of liquid water, the long exposure times of surfaces, and the presence of wind as the default geomorphic agent. Using the full range of available orbital and Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity images, wind-formed features in Gale Crater were cataloged and analyzed in order to characterize the aeolian landscape and to derive the evolution of the crater wind regime over time. Inferred wind directions show a dominance of regional northerly winds over geologic time-scales, but a dominance of topography-driven katabatic winds in modern times.

Conceptual diagram showing a nanofiber mesh incorporating vitamin B12 and its application to treat a peripheral nerve injury.

 

A NIMS-Osaka University joint research team developed a mesh which can be wrapped around injured peripheral nerves to facilitate their regeneration and restore their functions. A research team consisting of Mitsuhiro Ebara, MANA associate principal investigator, Mechanobiology Group, NIMS, and Hiroyuki Tanaka, assistant professor, Orthopaedic Surgery, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, developed a mesh which can be wrapped around injured peripheral nerves to facilitate their regeneration and restore their functions. This mesh incorporates vitamin B12 -- a substance vital to the normal functioning of nervous systems -- which is very soft and degrades in the body. When the mesh was applied to injured sciatic nerves in rats, it promoted nerve regeneration and recovery of their motor and sensory functions. The team is currently considering clinical application of the mesh to treat peripheral nerve disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).

A large sample of native arsenic.

A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in Chile has found that some people living in a part of the Atacama Desert have evolved over time for survival despite drinking water that contains 100 times the suggested maximum safe limit of arsenic as set by the World Health Organization. In their paper published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, the team describes a genetic study they conducted of the people in the area and what they found.

How can we minimise the pollutants in Europe’s bodies of water and provide a near-natural habitat for plants and animals? UFZ/André Künzelmann

 

The European Water Framework Directive (WFD) is due to be revised by 2019. The necessary work process is already in full swing and scientific research is providing important input. In a recent study under the auspices of the UFZ, an international team of researchers formulated recommendations designed to improve the monitoring, assessment and management of pollutants. The study was recently published in the journal Science of the Total Environment. The European Water Framework Directive has been in force since 2000. Its purpose is to ensure that rivers, lakes, coastal waters and groundwater achieve a ‘good status’ by 2027. This means that bodies of water should contain only minimal pollutants and should provide a near-natural habitat for plants and animals. Crucially, the European Water Framework Directive looks at bodies of water without regard to international borders – in the case of rivers, from source to estuary. “This is globally unique in this form. It’s the reason why many countries regard the European Water Framework Directive as an ideal model,” says environmental chemist Dr. Werner Brack from the UFZ.

(Fotolia) Surgical technique marks the start of a new chapter in the removal of benign tumours from the auditory nerve

A vestibular schwannoma is a benign tumour consisting of connective tissue and nerve tissue. It is still not known what causes it. 1 – 2 people in every 100,000 develop this type of tumour, which usually presses on the vestibular nerve and at the same time damages the auditory nerve. Up until now it has not been possible to remove the tumour and simultaneously restore the patient's hearing. This is exactly what Christoph Arnoldner of the Department of Ear, Nose and Throat Diseases at MedUni Vienna/Vienna General Hospital and Christian Matula (Department of Neurosurgery at MedUni Vienna/Vienna General Hospital) have now succeeded in doing for the very first time in Austria. This operation is also very rare worldwide.

David Weiner, Ph.D.

Scientists at The Wistar Institute and Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. have devised a novel DNA vaccine approach through molecular design to improve the immune responses elicited against one of the most important cancer antigen targets. Study results were published in the journal Molecular Therapy.

 

Cancer immunotherapy approaches, designed to harness the body’s natural immune defenses to target and kill cancer cells, are showing great promise for cancer treatment and prevention. DNA vaccines can induce immunity through the delivery by an intramuscular injection of a sequence of synthetically designed DNA that contains the instructions for the immune cells in the body to become activated and target a specific antigen against which an immune response is sought. This approach has proven effective in generating strong immunity against some infectious diseases as well as clearing neoplasia in patients with tumors caused by viral infection. The recent identification of tumor-associated antigens, or proteins that are specifically expressed by tumor cells and not by normal cells, has sparked the development of DNA vaccine approaches against some of these promising targets.

fotograf Jana Weiss

 

A study from Stockholm University have now established what was previously suspected, that the high levels of brominated flame retardants measured in cats are from the dust in our homes. The study has been published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. The study shows that cats are exposed to chemicals found in electronics and furniture, chemicals that become dust and can adversely affect health. It is the first time that this connection has been verified. In a previous study, the researchers demonstrated that brominated flame retardants were found in higher concentrations in the blood of cats that had developed Feline hyperthyroidism (hyperthyroidism in cats) compared to healthy cats. Now, new measurements of healthy cats establish their dust exposure. Paired samples were taken from the same household, i.e. they took both dust samples and blood samples at the same time.

 

Xylella fastidiosa in olive tree

Expert ecologists at the UK-based Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) have devised a scientific model which could help predict the spread of the deadly Xylella fastidiosa which is threatening to destroy Europe’s olive trees. The CEH scientists have created a model which is able to qualitatively and quantitatively predict how the deadly bacterial pathogen may spread as well as offer guidance on how buffer zones should be arranged to protect uninfected olive trees. The research, published in the journal Biological Invasions, highlights how Xylella fastidiosa is influenced by a range of insects – including spittlebugs – and the rate to which these vectors contribute to the potential spread of the disease across Europe and beyond.

 

Scienzaonline con sottotitolo Sciencenew  - Periodico
Autorizzazioni del Tribunale di Roma – diffusioni:
telematica quotidiana 229/2006 del 08/06/2006
mensile per mezzo stampa 293/2003 del 07/07/2003
Pubblicato a Roma – Via A. De Viti de Marco, 50 – Direttore Responsabile Guido Donati

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