For nearly a decade, photographer Rachel Sussman has been traveling the globe in search of the world's oldest living things. From the Mojave Desert to the Australian Outback to Greenland's icy expanses, she captures portraits of life forms so relentless they've managed to survive eons of planetary change.
Because it's not all our fault: Almost a quarter of US methane emissions come from livestock in the form of burps and farts. Now, a study is looking into ways to reduce that output via selective breeding.
The first experimental drug to boost brain synapses lost in Alzheimer's disease has been developed by researchers at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. The drug, called NitroMemantine, combines two FDA-approved medicines to stop the destructive cascade of changes in the brain that destroys the connections between neurons, leading to memory loss and cognitive decline.
The decade-long study, led by Stuart A. Lipton, M.D., Ph.D., professor and director of the Del E. Webb Center for Neuroscience, Aging, and Stem Cell Research, who is also a practicing clinical neurologist, shows that NitroMemantine can restore synapses, representing the connections between nerve cells (neurons) that have been lost during the progression of Alzheimer's in the brain. The research findings are described in a paper published June 17 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).
The focus on a downstream target to treat Alzheimer's, rather than on amyloid beta plaques and neurofibrillary tangles—approaches which have shown little success—"is very exciting because everyone is now looking for an earlier treatment of the disease," Lipton said. "These findings actually mean that you might be able to intercede not only early but also a bit later." And that means that an Alzheimer's patient may be able to have synaptic connections restored even with plaques and tangles already in his or her brain.
A landmark study by an international group of scientists has concluded that planet Earth is on the brink of a mass extinction event comparable in scale to the one that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. The researchers found that extinction rates are currently 1000 times higher than normal due to deforestation, global climate change, and the depletion of ocean fisheries.
So you've designed the perfect carbon capture process, cheap and easily installed in everything from coal power plants to car exhaust systems. Everything works perfectly, and not a single hydrocarbon escapes its net.
On World Elephant Day we are reminded that poaching is a growing concern across much of Africa. Though attempts at working together to end poaching are being made, DON PINNOCK argues that stockpile sales of old ivory do nothing to curb poaching and instead promote illicit trade.
In this darkly hilarious outtake from his interview for Big Think Mentor, Neil deGrasse Tyson – astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium – warns that the universe is homicidal and we'd better watch our backs.
When jellyfish die they sink to the ocean floor faster than other marine organisms, allowing the oceans to absorb carbon dioxide, new research shows.
The study, published in Limnology and Oceanography, is the first ever to look at how quickly some gelatinous life in the oceans sinks.
This sinking biomass is an important part of the process by which carbon is exported from the ocean surface to the seafloor. Understanding how quickly dead organisms sink means scientists can make better estimates of how much carbon the oceans can absorb in the future.
Around 25 per cent of the carbon dioxide emitted from human activities dissolves into the oceans, where billions of tiny plankton start to transform some of it into organic carbon through photosynthesis.
As larger organisms, like jellyfish and pelagic tunicates – small transparent filter-feeders – eat these plankton, the carbon passes through the food chain until the animals die and sink to the sea floor.
As they sink the carbon is dragged down through the water column, away from the surface waters, where it is either ingested by scavengers, or stored in the deep water. This means more CO2 can be absorbed into the oceans at the surface.
Previous studies had shown that plankton and marine snow – the organic detritus that falls out of the water column – are the main sources of carbon transport to the seafloor. But this study showed jellyfish sink much faster and so may be able to transport even more carbon away from the surface.
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