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Friday, February 23, 2024

This Week in Science: 1/13 – 1/21

Our hands wrinkle for no real reason

Research conducted by Gary Lewin at the Max Debruck Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin-Buch, Germany and recently published in PLOS ONE, uncovered the reason that our hands become wrinkled and soggy from water. The research suggests that finger wrinkling from soaking up too much water is actually not a mammalian adaptation, as previously suggested, but rather an incidental response to feeling warm water for a prolonged period.



Promising new drug for PTSD patients

Findings of a new drug published in the journal Cell indicate that certain inhibitors may improve treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patients. In this preclinical study, researchers tested on mice whether HDACis (inhibitors that activate genes involved in learning and memory) could help the brain to permanently reduce the effect of old traumatic memories. The research suggests that drugs with HDACis in combination with the regular exposure-based therapies can improve treatment for suffering PTSD patients.



Process behind heart arrhythmias discovered

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Calgary and Libin Institute, Canada, discovered the process behind arrhythmias. For decades, the scientific community has known the heart defect causes irregular heartbeats and often results in fainting and sometimes death. However, the physiological process remained unknown. These findings were recently published in the journal Nature Medicine. The researchers discovered that a channel sensitive to calcium in the heart is responsible for an unusual influx of calcium waves, thereby causing arrhythmias.



Consumption of Vitamin D can reduce MS risk

New research on multiple sclerosis (MS) sheds light on the disease, which affects the central nervous system and causes muscle, vision, balance and thinking problems. Investigators from the Harvard School of Public Health, in collaboration with Bayer HealthCare, recruited 465 patients with early stages of MS. The findings were published online in JAMA Neurology. Patients with sufficient levels of Vitamin D had a 50 percent reduced risk of developing MS symptoms, thereby suggesting that Vitamin D serves to protect against MS.


One of the top ten hottest years

Experts claim 2013 as one of the top ten hottest years mankind has had to bear since 1880, when scientists began to record weather data. Due to ever-increasing temperatures of oceans and land, last year’s temperature increased by 0.62 degrees Celsius, which is above the 20th century’s average. This finding undoubtedly calls for a greater collaborative sustainability effort from all communities.



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