98. Preventing AutoImmune Diseases, Touchscreen Friction, Anti-Aging Studies
98. Preventing AutoImmune Diseases, Touchscreen Friction, Anti-Aging Studies
A new type of killer T-cell can stop attacks on healthy tissue | Interesting Engineering (01:14)
- A team of scientists has discovered a brand new form of human T cell that suppresses attacks on healthy tissues, which could lead to treatments for illnesses ranging from lupus to cancer.
- T cells are significant white blood cells in the immune system, playing a crucial role in adaptive immune response by killing diseased or malignant cells
- Studies in mice have shown that some of these cells may also kill T cells responsible for orchestrating autoimmune responses.
- Believed that humans share the same cells but not able to prove it
- The newly discovered class of T cells in the human immune system may be capable of killing other T cells,
- Aid in the healing of infections and reducing autoimmune disorders.
- Stanford researchers evaluated the number of these human cells in patients with autoimmune illnesses like multiple sclerosis, lupus, and celiac disease to see if they are immunological inhibitors.
- Saw that the specific T cells (CD8) were more abundant in patients’ blood than in healthy people’s blood.
- Gathered in regions of the body that had been injured by the autoimmune response like the joints in people with rheumatoid arthritis
- The researchers looked at genetically altered mice that had 50 percent to 75 percent fewer suppressive CD8 cells than normal mice to see how much protection the cells provide against autoimmunity.
- Experienced kidney inflammation after being exposed to viruses that can cause autoimmune illness. (Control did not)
- The paper provides data that these CD8 cells exist in humans, and could indicate that techniques that enhance the number of cells in the body may aid in the treatment of autoimmune diseases.
Tiny ‘skyscrapers’ help bacteria convert sunlight into electricity | TechXplore (05:24)
- The researchers, from the University of Cambridge, used 3D printing to create grids of high-rise ‘nano-housing’ where sun-loving bacteria can grow quickly.
- 3D-printed custom electrodes out of metal oxide nanoparticles that are tailored to work with the cyanobacteria as they perform photosynthesis.
- Developed a printing technique that allows control over multiple length scales, making the structures highly customisable
- They extracted the bacteria’s waste electrons, left over from photosynthesis, which could be used to power small electronics.
- These researchers have found that providing the bacteria with the right kind of home increases the amount of energy they can extract by over an order of magnitude.
- For several years, researchers have been attempting to ‘re-wire’ the photosynthesis mechanisms of cyanobacteria in order to extract energy from them.
- Lead researcher, Dr. Jenny Zhang, stated:
- “There’s been a bottleneck in terms of how much energy you can actually extract from photosynthetic systems, but no one understood where the bottleneck was … Most scientists assumed that the bottleneck was on the biological side, in the bacteria, but we’ve found that a substantial bottleneck is actually on the material side.”
- Dr. Zhang ends it off by talking on cyanobacteria:
- “Cyanobacteria are versatile chemical factories. Our approach allows us to tap into their energy conversion pathway at an early point, which helps us understand how they carry out energy conversion so we can use their natural pathways for renewable fuel or chemical generation.”
Concept Touchscreen Uses Temperature to Create Feel of Friction | Gizmodo (10:34)
- Researchers at Texas A&M have come up with a novel way for touchscreens to feel more than just perfectly smooth by fooling a user’s sense of touch through temperature changes.
- Some theorize a full touchscreen future, but the article argues that being able to feel physical keys with our fingers is an important part of the muscle memory that allows many of us to type at impressive speeds without having to look down and hunt-and-peck on a keyboard.
- The researchers in a recent study, found that by regulating the temperature of the surface of a touchscreen, they can increase or decrease the amount of friction a finger feels like it’s experiencing.
- The sensation of friction can be increased by as much as 50% by increasing a touchscreen’s surface temperature from 23 degrees Celsius to 42 degrees Celsius.
- The actual temperature changes are imperceptible to the user if doing quick motions
- The current prototypes don’t facilitate temperature adjustments in fine detail, but the eventual goal is to be able to manipulate and quickly change the temperature on any region of a touchscreen.
- Changes in friction can fool the brain into thinking it’s feeling physical buttons like keyboards, playback controls, even joysticks and action buttons for gaming.
- There’s a long way to go before this approach becomes a viable way to make virtual touchscreen keyboards easier to interact with.
- Being able to rapidly heat and cool a precise area would be very difficult, but it is a cool first step and idea.
Israeli scientists reverse aging process in human eggs | The Jerusalem Post (14:11)
- A team of researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, managed to successfully identify one of the aging mechanisms that prevent egg cells from successfully maturing.
- Stating they found the aging mechanism, it is reversible and they can “treat it.”
- This is significant with women putting off having kids until later on in life.
- After the age of 35, women’s eggs begin to rapidly deteriorate and in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments become less effective.
- By the time a woman reaches her late 30s, her eggs have accrued enough cellular damage to prevent them from properly maturing or being fertilized.
- Wasserzug-Pash, who conducted the research, discussed this:
- “This research allows us to understand how human eggs age, which is important also for understanding how aging occurs in other areas … We can affect this aging mechanism with drugs and with [medical] intervention. We’ve gone one step forward in being able to help women suffering from age-related infertility. They will suffer less, have to go through fewer difficult procedures, and run into fewer disappointments when it comes to trying to conceive and start a family.”
- The team found that there is a way to prevent this damage from happening, thereby reversing the aging processes at work in egg cells.
- Led on the research, Dr. Michael Klutstein, touches on how they can treat the virus-like sequences that occurs in our genome that affects our DNA & ultimately eggs:
- “If we use drugs that prevent these viruses from operating, and these are just antiviral drugs, then we stop this mechanism from happening and slow down the aging process,”
- Researchers in the lab examined both mice and human egg cells that were taken from several different age groups.
- Along with a control group and a group taking an antiviral drug
- They found, in all cases, the older oocytes, or eggs, that had received the antiviral drug appeared to be younger than the ones that had not been treated.
- The older, 35 to 40 year old eggs, “behaved more like eggs in their 20s.”
- The next step will be to establish the correct protocol for treating human eggs in an IVF setting, as well as ensure that the treatment does not negatively affect the embryo.
Anti-aging molecules safely reset mouse cells to youthful states | New Atlas (19:33)
- The Yamanaka factors at the center of this study are a set of four reprogramming molecules that can reset the molecular clock found in the cells of the body.
- Returning unique patterns of chemicals known as epigenetic markers, which evolve through aging, to their original states.
- New research at the Salk Institute has sought to build on previous research on these factors by demonstrating how these molecules can reverse signs of aging in middle-aged and elderly mice, with no evidence of health problems following the extended treatment.
- Previously used the approach to reverse signs of aging in mice with a premature aging disease, and improve the function of tissues found in the heart and brain.
- The purpose of the new study was to investigate the effects on healthy animals as they approached the latter stages of life
- The mice groups treated with the Yamanaka factors:
- Middle-aged mice from 15 through to 22 months old, equivalent to 50 to 70 years old in humans
- Another group was treated from 12 to 22 months, equal to 35 to 70 years of age.
- Another group received the molecules for just one month, at the age of 25 months, or 80 years old in human terms.
- Not only did the mice exhibit no neurological or blood cell changes, nor signs of cancers, they in many ways resembled more youthful animals.
- Epigenetic patterns typical of younger mice were observed in the kidneys and skin, while the skin cells were able to proliferate and minimize scarring following injury, a capability that typically declines with age.
- Co-corresponding author on the study Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte provides the thoughts on the study’s results:
- “We are elated that we can use this approach across the life span to slow down aging in normal animals … The technique is both safe and effective in mice. In addition to tackling age-related diseases, this approach may provide the biomedical community with a new tool to restore tissue and organismal health by improving cell function and resilience in different disease situations, such as neurodegenerative diseases.”
- From here, the scientists plan to investigate the influence the Yamanaka factors might have on specific molecules and genes, and develop new ways to deliver them.