Science News

Gecko-Inspired Designs for Bypass Surgeries?

A lizard adaptation to the jungle may soon appear in an altered form in operating rooms. Gecko feet are covered with a complex landscape of ridges that allow them to cling to various materials at the microscopic level. Inspired by this observation in nature, MIT researchers have devised a waterproof adhesive bandage for patching up internal injuries and surgical wounds. MIT Professors Robert Langer and Jeff Karp described their work in the Feb 11 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Cry of the Monkey: Can't Say You Weren't Warned.

"Fire on the roof, dial 911!" someone yells at the top of their lungs. This urgent cry,while usually causing panic and confusion, also generates awareness of present danger. Humans have become adept at warning each other through recognizable calls of alarm. Klaus Zuberbühler and colleague Kate Arnold of the University of St. Andrews have found that monkeys combine calls to make them meaningful in the same way that humans do.

New Avenue to Eradicating the #1 killer Cancer

Researchers from the University of Florida have found that a protein known as Bc12 (found in high levels in lung cancer patients who smoke) actually helps cancer cells in the lungs to resist chemotherapy and to live much longer than they normally would, following subjection to chemotherapy. The study, published in the February 29 edition of the journal Molecular Cell explains how the protein does this by blocking the ability of healthy cells to repair themselves following damage by radiation or chemicals (such as nicotine).

Drugs like aspirin may reduce the incidence of breast cancer

Aspirin-like drugs may have a role in treating breast cancer, according to a review of multiple studies published in the March issue of the International Journal of Clinical Practice. This finding offers hope in an age when it is expected that one in eight women will be diagnosed with the disease. Ian Fentiman of London's Guy's Hospital found that the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen, may reduce the incidence of breast cancer by up to 20 percent.

Larvae of Sand Dollars Stave Off Predators by Self-Cloning

A study published in the March 14 edition of the journal Science documents the latest discovery about sand dollars. Scientists have previously known that sand dollar larvae can clone themselves and split into two new sand dollars, but no one had connected such an act to a survival technique. Biologists at the University of Washington now have evidence that four day-old sand dollar larvae create clones of themselves within 24 hours of being exposed to fish mucus, a signal that predators are present.

Ocean bacteria bend the rules of photosynthesis

Plant biologist Arthur Grossman and colleagues of the Carnegie Institution in Stanford, CA released surprising findings that put a new spin on one of the oldest and most important molecular pathways on earth. Two billion years ago, bacteria evolved that were capable of consuming atmospheric carbon dioxide to produce energy while releasing oxygen gas as a byproduct in a process known as photosynthesis.