For the second year in a row, life expectancy in the United States declined due to an opioid crisis. Scientists have high hopes for a new opioid vaccine developed by the US military, that shows promising results in mice and rats.
The pace of progress in science in recent years is remarkable. Mostly, due to the fact that processes which took weeks to complete can now be done in minutes. Therefore, the past year was definitely fruitful for science. Scientists cooperated and even some global scale projects saw the light of day. Splice would like to review the important highlights that made 2017 special.
US military financed research groups are finding new ways of treating severe mental illnesses that resist current therapies. They have developed a new single closed-loop system to detect patterns associated with mood disorders and presented the first map of how mood is encoded inside the brain.
Slowing, stopping, or even reversing aging has always been an ongoing topic in science. Now, scientists used the synthetic compound resveratrol, found naturally in chocolate and other consumables, to turn back the biological clock in senescent cells, causing them to start dividing again.
Researchers from Singapore have developed a highly precise single-cell sorting alternative to the popular FACS that uses focused sound waves instead of harsher electric fields. Their detection mechanism also shrinks the instrument size, reduces its complexity and substantially lessens costs. In addition, it enables more accurate cell sorting and leaves no damage to target cells.
Researchers from Japan have bred genetically engineered chickens that lay eggs carrying interferon beta, a protein known to fight diseases like cancer and hepatitis. The method could eventually cut the cost of producing this important cancer-fighting agent by 90 percent.
The world’s first widespread human testing of a universal flu vaccine against influenza has begun in the UK. Rather than focusing on antibody production, the new vaccine stimulates the immune system to boost influenza-specific T-cells and aims to protect the elderly who are particularly susceptible.
Scientists from Stanford discovered that oxytocin is crucial for newly described brain circuitry involved in social interactions. The finding may offer clues to unlock treatment for social aversion, which could help people with depression, schizophrenia, and autism.
Bioengineers from the Californian Institute of Technology developed DNA robots that can autonomously walk, sort, and work together – all at once. The robots are “programmed” to transport molecules into predetermined locations and may provide many intriguing applications in medicine and nanoengineering.
Researchers developed a new method for transforming adult human skin cells directly into motor neurons without the need for stem cells. The technique has the potential to help researchers better understand diseases of motor neurons and could lead to progress in regenerative medicine.