Successful Grafting of Human Tissue Into Monkeys With Damaged Retinas

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An untreatable genetic disease, retinitis pigmentosa (RP), may soon have a cure. Scientists have been able to successfully grow eye tissue in a lab and then transplant it into monkeys. Not only did the cells survive post-transplant, but they were able to integrate with the recipient’s eye cells, forming connections across which information could potentially flow. (Here).

RP is a group of genetic diseases which involves the loss of cells in the retina (the light-sensitive tissue in the eye which contains photoreceptors).

The study first began with researches from Japan growing retinal tissue from human stem cells. These tissues were then transplanted into rodents that did not have retina degeneration. To their surprise, the tissue matured and formed layers of photoreceptors and light-sensitive cells. The researches then recreated the experiment on monkeys with retinal degeneration with the same success.

The success of these studies demonstrates the clinical feasibility of retina transplantation and the optimization of transplantation strategies for future clinical applications. (Here).

 

 http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/1…

 http://www.popsci.com/retina-cells-grown…

 

 

 

Science is Here to Help Your Studying

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With finals just around the corner, here are some science-based study tips.

Study When Sleepy:
It has been found that studying right before bed can help us remember the material better. During sleep, the brain strengthens new memories. This means there’s a higher chance of remembering what we just reviewed the next day.

The study can be read in full here.

Take a Break:

If you have a lot to study, break it up into small sections and take a break between sessions. This is called Spaced Repetition. When you see fellow students in the library reviewing notes and text books for hours upon end they are doing what’s called Binge and Purge. They binge study (like many of us binge watch episodes on Netflix) and they purge all the information they retained onto the exam. However, spaced repetition is a lot more effective. It can “increase knowledge by up to 50 percent, and strengthen retention for up to two years.” (Here).

Move:

Moving around and studying in different locations helps the brain form new associations with the same material.

Caffeine is Your Friend:

Many studies have found that caffeine keeps us alert, especially while studying. So hit up the local coffee shop while studying.

 

Good Luck!

– Taylor

 

 

Dawn of a post-antibiotic era?

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Hello everyone,

I’ve read a couple articles recently about a new strand of bacteria called mcr-1. This bacteria is quite worrisome due to its immunity to polymyxin drugs and how easily transferable it is, even to non-related bacteria. I’ve summarized the articles below and I’ll post the links to them.

 

While doing routine testing of food-market bound animals, scientists discovered a gene in bacteria that lives on pigs which gives Escherichia coli (E. Coli) resistance to polymyxin drugs (medicine used as a last resort if modern antibiotics are ineffective or are contraindicated). These drugs have been in use for about sixty years and have been able to maintain their effectiveness due to their seldom use. This new gene is called mcr-1 and is easily transferable, even among unrelated bacteria. Experts are saying this could be the dawn of a post-antibiotic era. Common infections that used to be easily treatable could, once again, become incurable and even fatal. The researchers are now recommending against using the same antibiotics to treat both humans and farm animals as this could increase the speed of antibiotic resistance.

 

 http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/…

 http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-med…

Introduction (First Post)

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Hello everyone,

My name is Taylor Neil, and as you can see, this is my first blog post. I’ve never really blogged before, but since Harvard offers me this opportunity, I figured I’d give it a shot.

I’m concentrating in Biology as a pre-med, but I also have interests in politics, history, and non-medical related science, so you can expect to see a variety of topics posted here.

I don’t have a lot to say at the moment, but I’ll be posting more thorough and interesting entries on the aforementioned topics soon.

– Taylor

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