from the world's big
Olive oil leads to the discovery of a law that applies to atoms, superconductors, and even high energy physics.
- Physicists at the Dutch research institute AMOLF used olive oil in an experiment on light phase transitions.
- The scientists found that light would behave the same way in atoms, superconductors, and high energy physics.
- The discovery can lead to applications in new computing and sensing systems.
An optical cavity formed by two mirrors used in the experiment. Light going through the cavity bounces between the mirrors until leaving to where the transmission is measured. The scientists filled this cavity with olive oil and moved the mirrors at varying speeds.
Credit: Henk-Jan Boluijt (AMOLF)
A mind-blowing explanation of the speed of light<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="Euu2i7vd" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="255dc31e9018d7ec3534938f8156ffc6"> <div id="botr_Euu2i7vd_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/Euu2i7vd-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/Euu2i7vd-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/Euu2i7vd-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div>
Moving the needle forward on psychedelic research.
- Johns Hopkins University's School of Medicine has had a psychedelic research group since 2000.
- Funded by a $17 million donation from a number of private donors, the university will be able to open a new center.
- This comes on the heels of an increasing acceptance of psychedelic research and use.
Progressive psychedelic research<p>LSD, psilocybin, mescaline and a number of other psychedelics have been illegal in the United States for a number of decades. A small trickle of studies have come out in the intervening years showing that they may be effective medical treatments for a number of issues. This has shifted public perception considerably. </p><p>Earlier this year, Denver became one of the first cities in the United States to <a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/denver-decriminalization-of-magic-mushrooms" target="_self">decriminalize magic mushrooms</a> – the mushrooms that have psychoactive makeup of psilocybin. They did this after consulting research which suggested the compounds in mushrooms could be beneficial for treating anxiety and depression experienced by cancer patients.</p><p>A host of these psychedelic substances are still listed as Tier 1 illegal drugs in the United States, which means they're on part with much more harmful drugs like heroin and cocaine. </p><p>The new funding for this facility will help spur a five year research study to find out whether or not psilocybin can also treat alcoholism, PTSD and a few other complex mental conditions.</p><p>Primarily, they're looking to figure out the physiological effects of the drug on the brain and body. This will transfer over when it comes to treating opioid addiction and even Alzheimer's disease.</p><p>In reference to the new organization, Dr. John Krystal, chair of psychiatry at Yale University, stated, "This is an exciting initiative that brings new focus to efforts to learn about mind, brain and psychiatric disorders by studying the effects of psychedelic drugs."</p><p>The center at John Hopkins has been producing some amazing research for years. As they've explored the potential of psychedelics and other recreational drugs for psychiatric problems, they've found evidence to suggest that ketamine and its related compounds <a href="https://bigthink.com/surprising-science/can-ketamine-stop-depression-suicide" target="_self">could help to treat depression.</a></p>
Breaking the psychedelic taboo<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="t2DRACgR" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="c5181247b0c15fae0e3baaa37b0a56ae"> <div id="botr_t2DRACgR_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/t2DRACgR-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/t2DRACgR-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/t2DRACgR-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> <p>The history of abuse related to psychedelics has kept a great deal of researchers at bay for years. Evidence is mounting for claims that psychedelics have a positive effect on treating a host of these mental issues, but experts are still cautious. Psychedelic treatments can't be used in a double blind experiment in the same way most drugs are tested, that is because participants will know right away whether or not they're experiencing the placebo or the real thing.</p><p>Dr. Guy Goodwin, a professor of psychiatry at Oxford mentioned the infamous Leary trials and the debacle that followed in the sixties and beyond.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"It raises the caution that the investigation of hallucinogens as treatments may be endangered by grandiose descriptions of their effects and unquestioning acceptance of their value. Timothy Leary was a research psychologist before he decided the whole world should 'Turn on, tune in, and drop out.' It is best if some steps are not retraced."</p><p>A lot has changed during that time. Messianic inklings and a cultural shift of epic proportions helped swell the psychedelic revolution of the era. If we can somehow incorporate psychedelic research in our modern institutions, we may get a second chance to do it all over again. </p><p>So far 2019 has been a banner year for psychedelic research and access. On top of Denver decriminalization, there was also the vote that decriminalized entheogenic plants in Oakland, California. </p><p>The university announced in a press release:</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"The group's findings on both the promise and the risks of psilocybin helped create a path forward for its potential medical approval and reclassification from a Schedule I drug, the most restrictive federal government category, to a more appropriate level."</p><p>John Hopkins's new center will be able to continue on the research and hopefully push forth the federal government towards a more equitable and fair treatment of psychedelic use and study. </p>
The first human-monkey hybrid has allegedly been created in a Chinese lab.
- Leaked research by Spanish scientists claims that they've created the world's first human-monkey chimera embryo.
- Lead researcher, Juan Carlos Izpisúa has previously worked on pig-human embryos.
- Their intended goal of the study is to use the animals to create organs for human transplant.
Creating human-monkey chimeras<p>The creation of chimeras is relatively straightforward. Scientists inject human embryonic stem cells into an embryo of another species that's only a few days old.</p><p>Izpisúa has experience with this type of research, as he previously tried to <a href="https://bigthink.com/robby-berman/the-early-days-of-organ-farming-are-a-bit-gnarly" target="_self">add human cells into pig embryos.</a> His research with pigs hit a roadblock, which is why he shifted toward experimenting on primate embryos. </p><p>Scientists genetically engineer certain types of animal cells to be disabled so that there is a greater chance for the human stem cells to take hold. This kind of research is not allowed in the United States, the National Institutes of Health states that federal funds cannot be used to create human-monkey chimera embryos. China, on the other hand, has no such law. </p><p>No such human-monkey hybrid has ever been born. The mixed embryos do not progress past one to two weeks of growth inside the lab. In a statement to<em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"> El País</em>, Estrella Núñez, biologist and administrator and Catholic University of Murcia, said that mechanisms have been put in place to halt the growth progress. </p><p>Some ethical concerns that were raised, such as the fear that human stem cells could somehow migrate into the monkey embryo brain. </p><p>Dr. Ángel Raya, of the Barcelona Regenerative Medicine Centre told <em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">El Pais</em>: "What happens if the stem cells escape and form human neurons in the brain of the animal? Would it have consciousness? And what happens if these stem cells turn into sperm cells?"</p><p>Núñez remarked that the human cells would self destruct if they made their way to the brain. </p><p>Additionally, Raya said that, traditionally, scientists have set an agreed-upon destruction date of 14 days' gestation. That is, so the embryo does not have time to develop a human central nervous system.</p>
Implications of the potential research<p>Izpisúa is optimistic about the yet to be published research "We are now trying not only to move forward and continue experimenting with human cells and rodent and pig cells, but also with non-human primates," he says. "Our country is a pioneer and a world leader in these investigations."</p><p>Núñez describes the results as "very promising," and stated that the research is pending peer review in a respected scientific journal. At this point, we won't know the full extent of the experiment until the research is published. </p><p>This news comes in the wake of Japan becoming the<a href="https://bigthink.com/surprising-science/animal-human-embryo" target="_self"> first country to approve of human-animal embryo experiments.</a> The Japanese government intends on letting stem cell researchers conduct experiments with the same goal of one day creating organs that could be transplanted into humans.</p><p>There is still some debate as to whether this is the best method. Pablo Ross, a veterinary researcher at the University of California, Davis, who worked on pig-human chimera experiments, doesn't believe that it makes sense to grow human organs in monkey cells, for instance. </p><p>"I always made the case that it doesn't make sense to use a primate for that. Typically they are very small, and they take too long to develop," he says. </p><p>Ross thinks that the researchers may be after more fundamental scientific questions — the "questions of evolutionary distance and interspecies barriers."</p><p>Research like this can make the public and ethicists alike feel squeamish. Regardless of whether the research turns out to be valid or productive, it is regardless — on its face — still pushing the boundaries of biological and genetic inquiry. </p><p>Although China has had its own <a href="https://bigthink.com/surprising-science/crispr-babies-shorter-lives" target="_self">public relations misstep</a> with scientist He Juankui, who edited the genes of two babies to be resistant to HIV, the country's open laws overall allow for more daring experimentation. </p><p>Transgenic biotechnology will be a revolutionary step in combating a wide range of diseases and disorders. Perhaps even one day it could usher in new expressions of human traits.</p>
Future cancer research may come from studying antler growth.
- Antlers in ruminants (deer, moose, elk and reindeer) can grow up to half a meter in one month.
- Researchers studying their genomes have found how they do it.
- Genes that both activate and turn off cancer are important to this process.
Research findings<p>Geneticist Qiang Qiu and his team, from the Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xi'an, China started their research by mapping out the genes active in 16 live tissue samples from goats, sheep, and deer. Qiu and the research team found that genes responsible for bone formation and embryonic tissue development in the neural crest likely spearheaded the development of bony headgear for ruminants. </p><p>Furthermore they found — the <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/364/6446/1130" target="_blank">study was published in <em>Science</em> on June 21</a> — that while the same mutation responsible for bone formation appeared across various types of deer, not all of them displayed them. For instance, in contrast to regular deer, two separate species of musk and Chinese water deer entirely lack antlers. Regular deer, the researchers found, possessed eight active genes that jumpstarted tumor formation and growth.</p><p>From these findings, Qui states that antler growth is more akin to bone cancer than regular bones. However, in the case of antler growth contrasted to bone cancer, tumors, in this exceptional case, do not grow unchecked but are part of the animal's highly regulated system of genes, which both suppress and inhibit tumor growth. </p><p>Edward D. Davis, an evolutionary paleobiologist at the University of Oregon, states that, "Deer antlers are essentially a controlled form of bone cancer growth." Although he wasn't part of the study, he found the results to be surprising. As tumor-promoting genes are expected in something like antler growth, the involvement of cancer-controlling genes is a surprising find. </p><p>But the surprises didn't stop there. Qiu says that the cancer-suppressing genes also protect against the disease in general. Documented cancer rates in deer are five times less than other mammals. Wang Wen, the study's lead author remarked about the amazing ability of deer to regrow antlers. </p><blockquote>"Deer can completely regenerate an organ. No other mammal has that ability."</blockquote><p>Antlers grow up to one inch per day. Wang's team found nine genes involved with this antler cell growth. There was an additional 19 genes that act as tumor suppressors.</p><p>The two different sets of genes work together to build thriving antler cells without developing into cancer on other parts of the body. Implications from this study could be substantial for future cancer research.</p>
Using cancer mechanics for treatment<p>Professor Yunzhi Peter Yang from Stanford University and Dai Fei Elmer Ker from University of Hong Kong's Institute for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, said that the discovery could help scientists regrow damaged or missing organs, as well as develop new drugs to fight cancer.</p> <p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Studies of deer antlers offer attractive approaches for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. For instance, deer antlers have inspired a commercially promising prosthesis for amputees." </p> <p>This is just the beginning, as the animal's ability to grow "innervated bone with low tumour and infection incidence," could help remedy skeletal defects and affect other bone growth issues.</p>
What does it mean for the future of the cryptocurrency movement and its impact on the environment?
- New study reveals that mining crypto can be use more energy than mine for gold.
- In order to understand the findings, we must first understand what crypto mining is.
- The crypto community is looking for a way to solve these issue.