Space Dust may Transport Life between Worlds

Space dust collisions as a planetary escape mechanism. arxiv.org/abs/1711.01895

Space dust collisions as a planetary escape mechanism. arxiv.org/abs/1711.01895

Life on our planet might have originated from biological particles brought to Earth in streams of space dust, a study suggests. Fast-moving flows of interplanetary dust that continually bombard our planet’s atmosphere could deliver tiny organisms from far-off worlds, or send Earth-based organisms to other planets, according to the research. The dust streams could collide with biological particles in Earth’s atmosphere with enough energy to knock them into space, a scientist has suggested.

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Molecular Guardian defends Cells, organs against excess Cholesterol

Highlights •Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is vulnerable to stresses imposed by excess cholesterol •Nrf1 binds and senses excess cholesterol in ER membrane to protect from such stress •Nrf1-deficient liver massively accumulates cholesterol, resulting in liver disease •Nrf1 protects liver by suppressing inflammation and promoting cholesterol excretion

Highlights •Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is vulnerable to stresses imposed by excess cholesterol •Nrf1 binds and senses excess cholesterol in ER membrane to protect from such stress •Nrf1-deficient liver massively accumulates cholesterol, resulting in liver disease •Nrf1 protects liver by suppressing inflammation and promoting cholesterol excretion

Harvard researchers have illuminated a critical player in cholesterol metabolism that acts as a molecular guardian in cells to help maintain cholesterol levels within a safe, narrow range. Nrf1 senses and responds to excess cholesterol, and could represent a potential new therapeutic target in a multitude of diseases where cholesterol metabolism is disrupted.

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Hibernating Ground Squirrels provide clues to new Stroke Treatments

A team of scientists identified a molecule that may reduce stroke-induced brain damage. Credit: Image courtesy of the NINDS

A team of scientists identified a molecule that may reduce stroke-induced brain damage. Credit: Image courtesy of the NINDS

Multi-step screening process leads to molecule that may protect brain cells. In the fight against brain damage caused by stroke, researchers have turned to an unlikely source of inspiration: hibernating ground squirrels. While the animals’ brains experience dramatically reduced blood flow during hibernation, just like human patients after a certain type of stroke, the squirrels emerge from their extended naps suffering no ill effects. Now a potential drug could grant the same resilience to the brains of ischemic stroke patients by mimicking the cellular changes that protect the brains of those animals.

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A new way to Store Thermal Energy

“What we are doing technically,” Han explains, “is installing a new energy barrier, so the stored heat cannot be released immediately.” In its chemically stored form, the energy can remain for long periods until the optical trigger is activated

“What we are doing technically,” Han explains, “is installing a new energy barrier, so the stored heat cannot be released immediately.” In its chemically stored form, the energy can remain for long periods until the optical trigger is activated

A new phase-change material stores heat in a stable chemical form, then releases it later on demand using light as a trigger. In large parts of the developing world, people have abundant heat from the sun during the day, but most cooking takes place later in the evening when the sun is down, using fuel – such as wood, brush or dung – that is collected with significant time and effort.

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