June 15, 2021


Scientists induced hallucinations in mice to learn more about human psychosis

Enlarge / A computer game that induces mice to experience hallucination-like events could be a key to understanding the neurobiological roots of psychosis, according to a study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

J. Kuhl

People suffering from psychotic episodes often experience both visual and aural hallucinations, due in part to the neurochemical dopamine; antipsychotics block dopamine receptors in the brain. But little is known about precisely how brain circuits change in response to elevated dopamine levels. The humble mouse might be able to help. An increase in dopamine in the brain can trigger auditory hallucinations in

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Africa’s oldest human burial and 5 other top space and science stories this week

This virtual reconstruction shows the position of a fossil in a burial pit. The toddler was laid to rest 78,000 years ago on a pillow in a cave in eastern Kenya. This is thought to be the oldest human burial ever found in Africa.

This is a skeletal mount of Homotherium serum from Friesenhahn Cave, on display in the Texas Memorial Museum in Austin.

This is the second lower molar of a modern human found in Bacho Kiro Cave in Bulgaria that was associated with tools from Initial Upper Palaeolithic about 45,000 years ago.

This photo captures the Ewass Oldupa

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India, Brazil and the human cost of sidelining science

A COVID care centre in New Delhi. India has been recording 400,000 cases and more than 3,500 deaths a day from COVID-19.Credit: Imtiyaz Khan/Anadolu Agency/Getty

Last week, Brazil’s total death toll from COVID-19 passed 400,000. In India, the pandemic is taking around 3,500 lives every day and has prompted a global response, with offers of oxygen, ventilators, intensive-care beds and more. Although these two countries are thousands of miles apart, the crises in both are the result of political failings: their leaders have either failed or been slow to act on researchers’ advice. This has contributed to an unconscionable

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Controversial ‘Chimera’ Embryos Made by Scientists Are Part Human, Part Monkey

If you could cross a monkey with a human, what might that creature tell us? We are beginning to find out.

In a pioneering and controversial experiment, scientists successfully created just such a hybrid: a chimeric combination of monkey and human cells, existing together in a living embryo that otherwise would never have been conceived by nature alone.


Ethically fraught science? Yes. Mad science? No.

While research into human-animal hybrids has a long and questionable history, in recent years researchers have pursued chimeric organisms to probe questions of biology that stand to offer significant gains in fields such as regenerative

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For the first time, scientists have created embryos that are part human and part monkey

Scientists have created embryos for the first time that are part human and part monkey, according to a new study released in the journal Cell on Thursday. 

The team of scientists who collaborated on the study stated the embryos were created as research for new ways to produce organs for organ transplants. However, the research has been controversial within the science community, with some bioethicists debating the ethics behind the creation.

“My first question is: Why?” Kirstin Matthews, a fellow for science and technology at Rice University’s Baker Institute, told NPR. “I think the public is going to be

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Scientists find deep-sea bacteria that are invisible to the human immune system

Bacteria collected from more than a mile below the surface of the Pacific Ocean may have just blown one of immunology’s longest-held assumptions clean out of the water.

The bacteria are so alien to humans that our immune cells do not even register that they exist, making them completely invisible to our immune systems.

This totally contradicts one of the classic tenets of immunology — that the human immune system evolved to be able to sense every single microbe so it could catch the infectious ones.

“The idea was that the immune system is a generalist, it doesn’t care

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