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Scientists trying to investigate mechanisms at work in Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases have a new tool. A transgenic variety of zebrafish, which is transparent in the early stages of its life, called the "MitoFish" enables them to see how brain diseases disturb the transport of mitochondria, the power plants of the cell -  within individual neurons of living animals.


Economics messes everything up.  Just about the time we figure out a new way to make all boats rise, the boats don't play along.

So it goes with the Mediterranean diet, which went from food fad to inclusion in the UNESCO Olympus of the World heritage list and saw lots and lots of research grant money dumped into extolling its virtues, as kind of a cure-all for obesity.  And people listened.


Chemists have been using
the SPring-8 synchrotron at the Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute
to get a detailed look at enzymes that could help power the green economy. 

One option for powering clean, environment friendly vehicles is to run them on hydrogen fuel rather than carbon-based fuels. Cheap catalysts to prepare hydrogen gas (H2) are a necessity if this future "hydrogen economy" is to become a reality.

Current man-made catalysts are based on platinum, a rare and precious metal. However, living cells contain enzymes called hydrogenases, based on the abundant metals nickel and iron, which can do the same job. Chemists are very interested in figuring out how these natural catalysts work and trying to mimic them.


If we will need climate-resistant corn and other food production plants sooner rather than later, applying a genetic-analysis method used to study and prioritize the genes in humans could improved the likelihood of finding critical genes in food production plants.

These genes control quantitate traits in plants, such as how the plants grow and when they flower. This method can be used to study how food production plants respond to drought, heat and other factors, giving scientists a greater chance at improving crops' resistances to harsh weather and environments.


The combined power of ESA's Herschel space observatory and the ground-based Keck telescopes mean hundreds of previously unseen starburst galaxies have been characterized, revealing extraordinary high star-formation rates across the history of the Universe. Starburst galaxies give birth to hundreds of solar masses' worth of stars each year in short-lived but intense events. By comparison, our own Milky Way Galaxy produces the equivalent of only one Sun-like star per year, on average.


Even in deep space, atoms feel the the cosmic microwave background left over by the Big Bang. The cosmos is filled with electromagnetic interactions that show atoms they are not alone. Stray electric fields, like from a nearby electronic device, will also slightly adjust the internal energy levels of atoms, a process called the Stark effect.

Even the universal vacuum, presumably empty of any energy or particles, can very briefly muster virtual particles that buffet electrons inside atoms, further shifting their energies; this form of self-interaction is known as the Lamb shift.