Fluorescence Microscopy: New 2-D Images Can Detect Cancer Risk

Portuguese researchers have developed a new method which uses images of a protein in cells to quantify...

A New Cause For Mental Disease

Astrocytes, the cells that make the background of the brain and support neurons, might be behind...

R.I.P Portuguese Science

Portuguese government shuts down half of the research units in the countryThe Portuguese funding...

Schistosomiasis- New Urine Test Could Help Millions

Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease that infects 243million people worldwide, and kills about...

User picture.
picture for Helen Barrattpicture for Johannes Koelmanpicture for Steve Davispicture for flower 5picture for Michael Whitepicture for T. Ryan Gregory
Catarina AmorimRSS Feed of this column.

After many years as a scientist (immunology) at Oxford University I moved into scientific journalism and public understanding of science. I am still at Oxford Uni but now I write about any bio... Read More »

Bacteria have lived for millions of years in our planet where, with an impressive capability to adapt, they now colonize virtually every environment, including us. But as tiny one-cell organisms they had to learn to work together to be powerful enough to act on the environment and other organisms. And now, new research has discovered that their evolution is triggered exactly by these interactions, as scientists from Centre for Environmental Biology at the University of Lisbon in Portugal and the Institute Pasteur in Paris show that bacteria’s genes for secreted proteins - the ones that mediate the interactions with the outside - evolve faster than any others in the genome. 

Adverse childhood experiences, such as being raised in poverty, can be detrimental for cognitive development often leaving children struggling in school and trapped forever in a cycle of hardship. But a study is now suggesting a innovative (and easy) way to help.

Researchers have discovered that females with multiple sexual partners can be more fertile than those that are monogamous, and this because of an “overproduction” of sons.  The study,  published as a provisional article but already one of the most accessed in BCM Evolutionary Biology, helps to explain a puzzle haunting evolutionary biologist for decades: why so many females chase multiple sexual partners in a mating season, when this is costly and dangerous, and one is enough to fertilize all her eggs.

The recent discoveries that α-Synuclein(α-Syn), a central player in Parkinson´s disease (PD) brain destruction, can not only pass from one neuron to another but also exist outside neuronal cells, has led to a rethink of the disease. A study investigating α-Syn effects out of the cell has found that the protein can interfere with the normal functioning of the hippocampus, the brain area for memory and learning, what might start explaining the cognitive and memory problems seen in so many PD patients.