Thursday 26 October 2023

Last Week in Science (26th Oct 2023)


 

In the ambers it was first mined,

One disease to save from the other,

We now have a vaccine to save the child.



Malaria, a mosquito-borne disease, has been a global health concern since ancient times. Infections were particularly prevalent in the African continent until recently. In 2019, the first malaria vaccine, known as RTS,S or Mosquirix, was approved for use in Africa. After four years of implementation, this vaccine has demonstrated a remarkable reduction in early childhood mortality rates and a decrease in severe malaria cases among children who received the full three-dose regimen.


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To where only a few birds fly by.

Organisms that there survive,

Are extremophiles.



Humans struggle to thrive at altitudes higher than 2000 to 3000 meters above sea level. Mountaineers often require several months to acclimate to the high-altitude conditions of mountains like Mount Everest, which has a peak height of 8000 meters.


In a remarkable discovery, well-preserved remains of a mouse were unearthed at an astonishing altitude of 6000 meters. Initially met with skepticism, this observation gained credibility as additional mouse remains were subsequently found. The potential for mammals, such as mice, to endure in oxygen and food-deprived environments holds the promise of broadening our knowledge of surviving in extreme climatic conditions.


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For ice cream and milkshakes,

Most of us crave.

Even after knowing the stakes.


Fatty foods hold a unique place in our brains. In a recent study, volunteers were given milkshakes with varying levels of fat and asked to indicate how much they would be willing to pay for a glass of each milkshake. The study revealed that the brain region responsible for processing rewards showed increased activity when participants consumed high-fat shakes. However, given our existing understanding of the genuine cravings for both sugar and fat, what novel insights did their findings provide?

The researchers assessed the texture of the milkshakes, which involved using pig tongues (a detail that can be omitted). They discovered that it was the smoothness, specifically the increase in smoothness with higher fat content, that influenced the preference for milkshakes or oil-rich gravies. Notably, the same volunteers were unaware of this experiment.


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References:

First-malaria-vaccine-slashes-early-childhood-deaths

Mice-thrive-6700-meters-higher-any-mammals-were-thought-able-live

Milkshake neuroscience: how the brain nudges us toward fatty foods



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