Mobiles Track Malaria and Mice Learn New Squeaks
Tracking Malaria with Mobile Phones
For the first time, anonymous mobile phone data has been used to discover how human travel patterns contribute to the spread of malaria. The same model could be also be used to track diseases like influenza.
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health,
Science, mapped the locations of calls and texts from 15 million mobile phones in Kenya over a 12 month period.
This information was combined with data charting cases of malaria, enabling the team to identify factors that contribute to outbreaks such as, for instance, journeys to high-risk outback areas. Co-author Caroline Buckee explains how she will build on this work...
Dust Spirals Shed Light on Stellar Evolution
New features of stellar evolution have been observed by astronomers at the University of Bonn, using the ALMA Array telescope in Chile.
The radio telescope is made up of many smaller telescopes working together, giving vastly more detailed images of stellar objects than previously available. Using the telescope, the researchers were able to study the outer shell of dust and gas a star throws off in its later life, during a so-called 'thermal pulse'. The team unexpectedly found a spiral structure of dust and gas connecting the star to its shell, which allowed the team to find far out more about how the star behaved before, during and after the creation of the outer shell than they previously expected.
Matthias Maercker, a co-author
of the paper published in
Nature explained the importance of this work.
Keeping Lungs Alive
Medical engineers have designed a device that can not only keep donor lungs alive for longer, outside of the donor's body, but also enable more thorough checks and even some improvement for partially damaged lungs for transplant.
Normally, lungs are transported at a cold temperature to slow down the effects of metabolism and oxygen starvation outside the body. This new system puts, or perfuses, a blood-like solution through the lungs, at body-temperature to keep the lungs viable for 10 hours, several hours longer than previous systems.
a co-author of the Lancet paper and a member of one of the several German institutions involved in the study described the device's potential for longer term storage in laboratory trials...
Male Mice Mimick Squeaks
And finally, it was thought that mice lack the ability to learn new vocalisations, or to put it more simply, learn a new squeak. That is, until now.
published this week in PLoS ONE by researchers at the Duke University Medical Centre, have found parts of the brain in mice that controls copying a sound, a behaviour thought to be unique to humans and songbirds. The researchers found that male mice could learn to match vocal pitch of another mouse, mimicking its squeak. The co-author Erich Jarvis explains why...
This study shows that we could use mice as a model to find out more about speech disorders affected by vocalisation, such as Autism.