Category Archives: Science

Top New Science Podcasts: Lack Of Clinical Trial Reporting, Gut Microbe Links To Chronic Disease

Science Magazine PodcastsThough a law requiring clinical trial results reporting has been on the books for decades, many researchers have been slow to comply. Now, 2 years after the law was sharpened with higher penalties for noncompliance, investigative correspondent Charles Piller took a look at the results. He talks with host Sarah Crespi about the investigation and a surprising lack of compliance and enforcement.

Also this week, Sarah talks with Brett Finlay, a microbiologist at the University Of British Columbia, Vancouver, about an Insight in this week’s issue that aims to connect the dots between noncommunicable diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer and the microbes that live in our guts. Could these diseases actually spread through our microbiomes?

Study: “Probiotic Drink” Developed That Thwarts Antibiotic Resistance

From a Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News online article:

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News logo“We were able to show that if you can stop the plasmid from replicating, then most of the bacteria lose the plasmid as the bacteria grow and divide. This means that infections that might otherwise be hard to control, even with the most powerful antibiotics available, are more likely to be treatable with standard antibiotics.”

journal.pone.0225202.g001
Fig 1. Anticipated exploitation of pCURE as a probiotic treatment for at-risk individuals. Before treatment, plasmids carrying antibiotic resistance genes are shown as purple circles. After treatment, target plasmids are replaced by pCURE (green circle) which could be engineered to later “self-destruct”. Note that not all gut bacteria carry resistance plasmids but pCURE can enter all Enterobacteriaceae as well as other bacteria. Reduced resistance levels in the gut decrease the chance of treatment failure when infections elsewhere in the body (eg lungs or urinary tract) arise from gut bacteria.

 

Researchers headed by a team at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. have developed a probiotic drink containing genetic elements that are designed to thwart antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in gut bacteria at the genetic level. The drink targets small DNA elements called plasmids that carry antibiotic resistance genes, and which are able to replicate independently and spread between bacteria. By preventing these plasmids from replicating, the antibiotic resistance genes are displaced, effectively resensitizing the bacteria to antibiotics.

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Top Science Podcasts: Orbiting A Black Hole, Parrots And Online Media Consumption (Nature)

Nature PodcastsListen to the latest from the world of science, brought to you by Benjamin Thompson and Nick Howe. This week, observations of objects orbiting a black hole, and rethinking how we measure screen-time.

In this episode:

00:45 Observing the centre of the galaxy

Researchers have uncovered a population of dust-enshrouded objects orbiting the supermassive black hole at the centre of the galaxy. Research Article: Ciurlo et al.

06:34 Research Highlights

A London landmark’s height lends itself to a physics experiment, and generous behaviour in parrots. Research Highlight: An iconic structure in London moonlights as a scientific toolResearch Highlight: Parrots give each other gifts without promise of reward

09:00 The human ‘screenome’ project

To understand the effects of online media consumption, researchers argue that the way it’s measured needs to change. Comment: Time for the Human Screenome Project

17:26 News Chat

A decline in human body temperature, and a new report on research culture. News: Not so hot: US data suggests human bodies are cooling downNews: Stressful, aggressive, damaging: huge survey reveals pressures of scientists’ working lives

 

Weather Science: NASA Launches “IMPACTS” Campaign To Study East Coast Winter Storms

This winter, NASA is sending a team of scientists, a host of ground instruments, and two research aircraft to study the inner workings of snow storms. The Investigation of Microphysics Precipitation for Atlantic Coast-Threatening Snowstorms, or IMPACTS, field campaign will be the first comprehensive study of East Coast snowstorms in 30 years.

Music credit: “Snowfall” by Andy Blythe [PRS], Marten Joustra [PRS], “Snow Blanket” by Benjamin James Parsons [PRS] from Universal Production Music

Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Scientific Visualization Studio
Katie Jepson (USRA): Lead Producer, Narrator
Ellen T. Gray (ADNET): Lead Writer
Jacquelyn DeMink (USRA): Lead Animator
Kathryn Mersmann (USRA): Project Support
LK Ward (USRA):Project Support
Aaron E. Lepsch (ADNET): Technical Support

This video is public domain and along with other supporting visualizations can be downloaded from NASA Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio at: https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/13519

New Science Podcasts: Two People In An MRI Machine; Wisdom & Culture Lab (ScienceMag)

scimag_pc_logo_120_120 (2)Getting into an MRI machine can be a tight fit for just one person. Now, researchers interested in studying face-to-face interactions are attempting to squeeze a whole other person into the same tube, while taking functional MRI (fMRI) measurements. Staff Writer Kelly Servick joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about the kinds of questions simultaneous fMRIs might answer.

Also this week, Sarah talks with Igor Grossman, director of the Wisdom and Culture Lab at the University of Waterloo, about his group’s Science Advances paper on public perceptions of the difference between something being rational and something being reasonable.

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The 1980’s: Science Center Construction Boomed – New Age “Museums”

From a CityLab.com online article:

The first of these urban amenities arose in the 1960s, but it was in the 1980s and ‘90s that the construction of science centers truly boomed. Inspired by historic World’s Fair exhibitions, industrial and natural history museums, and the sci-fi dreams of their early founders, science centers had a hands-on mission distinct from that of most museums—to engage rather than display. They offered levers you could pull, gyroscopes you could spin, lab experiments you could conduct. 

Citilab logoThe science center is an adolescent among museum types, one whose main growth spurt was in recent memory. Over the past 40 years, they went from a sparse to a ubiquitous presence, now found in almost every major city. Their emergence stretched the ontological essence of the museum: They present not objects, but concepts. Many science centers define themselves explicitly this way and possess slim to no permanent collections.

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Top New Science Podcasts: Multiple Missions To Mars, Electric Cars & Dengue Fever Prevention (Nature)

Nature PodcastsIn this episode of the podcast, Nature reporter Davide Castelvecchi joins us to talk about the big science events to look out for in 2020. We’ll hear about multiple missions to Mars, a prototype electric car, efforts to prevent dengue, and more.