Clearing away Huntington's, Altruism in the brain and a Fatally Falling Batman
Clearing Away Huntington's Disease
Two proteins have been identified to fight and potentially treat the neurodegenerative condition, Huntington's disease, according to research in the Journal Science.
Patients with the condition have a gene mutation resulting in mis-folded forms of the protein Htt, which builds up in their central nervous system causing the progressive deterioration of involuntary muscle control, and cognitive decline.
But now, Albert La Spada from the University of California, San Diego has found that elevating levels of the proteins PGC1-Alpha and TFEB, helps clear away mutant forms of Htt preventing their build up and resulting neurotoxic effects.
Some like it Hot
Smart materials with the ability to regulate their temperature have been developed by scientists at Harvard University, publishing in the journal Nature.
Modelled on the process of homeostasis in the human body whereby body temperature is maintained at 37 degrees, these homeostatic materials consist of a surface gel layer sensitive to the temperature of its surrounding environment which in response to a drop in temperature, activates the movement of catalyst-containing structures into a second reactant layer where the catalyst initiates an exothermic reaction - causing the release of heat.
When the required temperature is restored, the catalyst is removed and the reaction stops.
Joanna Aisenberg led the team who hope to use the technique to control a wide range of environmental conditions.
How the brain decides altruism
Altruistic Individuals have more grey matter in the region of their brain responsible for empathy.
Writing in Neuron, Yosuke Morishima form the University of Zurich used fMRI techniques to monitor brain activity in human volunteers as they answered questions about splitting money between themselves and others. His team found that the volume of gray matter found a region of the brain known as the temporo-parietal junction and the level of activity there, was a strong indicator of how altruistic an individual would be.
Not Enough of a Caped Crusader
And finally, the cape used by well-known superhero batman to glide from tall buildings, would, in reality, send him crashing to the ground at high speed.
Physics students at the University of Leicester calculated that the 4.7m wingspan of the cape seen in the recent films by Chistopher Nolan, which becomes rigid as an electric current passes through it, isn't big enough to enable the caped crusader to glide to safety when jumping from a building 150m high.
In fact, the team led by David Marshall worked out the hero would hit the ground at 50 mph.
The paper "Trajectory of a Falling Batman" was published in the University of Leicester Journal of Special Physics Topics.