- Induced pluripotent stem cells, also known as iPS cells, are formed when researchers take adult cells and cause them to turn into stem cells. It has long been thought that iPS cells may be useful for new types of therapies, and now for the first time a Japanese group has used these cells in a clinical trial – they are helping treat a woman with macular degeneration.
- The U.S. is planning to send military personnel to Africa to help contain the Ebola epidemic, and we plan to spend $75 million to help build new hospitals, provide more supplies, and train health care workers.
- The big news of the week: Scotland has voted to remain part of the United Kingdom. Nature News explores what this means for scientists and for research dollars within the country.
- Mother Jones published a long post this week about the problems of China’s reliance on coal, and the push by some to increase the amount of fracking in the country.
- Sugar has long been known to raise blood sugar levels, thereby contributing to glucose intolerance and obesity. So why hasn’t the introduction of artificial sweeteners done more to lower the upward trend in obesity prevalence? A new study suggests that artificial sweeteners may also raise blood sugar by altering the content of the gut bacteria.
- NPR’s Science Friday interviews Dr. Paul Ruggieri, who has just written a book about how money influences healthcare.
- A new device has been developed that can help patients fight infections. The so-called “artificial spleen” can remove bacteria, viruses, and bacterial toxins from blood.
- Caitlin Doughty, a mortician, has just published a book talking about her profession and advocates for a more open, accepting attitude towards death.
- Few treatment options are available for people with a progressive form of multiple sclerosis, but a new global initiative is offering research money for scientists who are focusing on this more serious form of the disease.
- A new projection of population growth estimates that the world will have over 12 billion people by 2100 – more than has been predicted by previous studies. Wired explains where the estimate came from and analyzes what this may mean for the sustainability of our planet.
- President Obama signed an executive order this week that aims to develop a new plan for fighting the increasing problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
- The first ever blood test to diagnose depression has been developed by Northwestern researchers! The test will also indicate whether a patient might do well with cognitive behavioral therapy.
- A study led by NU scientists has identified a new cause of glaucoma: endothelial cells in the eye tend to be stiffer in patients with the disease.
- This past week, NU mechanical engineering professor Ted Belytschko passed away. He developed prototyping methods that are now used to make cars safer.