By Lori Melton
Scientific breakthroughs are constantly happening all over the world as researchers work hard to make life-altering discoveries that benefit our planet and its people. With a greater emphasis placed on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) in the classroom, tomorrow’s scientists are being prepped to make their own scientific discoveries.
Scientists Grew Vegetables in a Greenhouse in Antarctica
Researchers at Germany’s Neumayer Station III planted and harvested their first crop of vegetables that were cultivated without earth, daylight or pesticides as part of a project to potentially help astronauts grow food on other planets. The experiment ultimately yielded 8 pounds of salad greens, 18 cucumbers and 70 radishes inside the high-tech greenhouse while outside temperatures plunged below -20 degrees Celsius.
Boston Researchers Reverse Aging in Mice
A new study shows Boston researchers led by Dr. David Sinclair and his team at Harvard Medical School’s Center for the Biology of Aging boosted NAD levels in blood vessels of old mice with incredible results. NAD is a molecule humans need to live. As people age, NAD levels in cells decrease, which leads to DNA damage and diseases of aging. The blood vessels in the study mice became “young” again and the mice can run from 50 percent to two times as far on a treadmill without tiring.
Human trials of NAD booster are reportedly underway in Boston and Sinclair hopes to get FDA approval of a pill people could take. Sinclair said, “We’re absolutely talking about increasing the quality of life, preventing cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s” and added, “Just a single pill that they take every morning and it rejuvenates their internal organs and their systems so that you don’t just feel young, but you actually are young.”
Robotic Fish Can Help Study Ocean Life
MIT researchers published a paper in Science Robotics about creating a Soft Robotic Fish (SoFI) that can study and monitor ocean life. It is designed to communicate via acoustic sounds instead radio frequency and its shape (which looks like a fish) looks less conspicuous underwater than other oceanic robotic instruments. It has fins and a tail for easier underwater navigation. Researchers are ultimately hoping to use SoFi to monitor and study ocean populations, identify problems and find ways to protect our oceans.
Sight Restoration From Stem Cell Treatments
Two UK-based patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – a common cause of blindness – regained the ability to read and recognize faces after receiving experimental stem cell treatment. The breakthrough comes via a study from the London Project to Cure Blindness, a collaboration between Professor Pete Coffey of University College London and Professor Lyndon da Cruz, a retinal surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital.
Scientists implanted a patch of stem cells over the damaged portions of the patients’ eyes, which restored their vision. These incredible results could potentially lead to a cure for AMD, though further trials and studies need to be done to make sure no adverse effects arise from treatment.