Cosmic cancer threatens manned Mars mission

Exploring deep space or colonizing Mars could be far more difficult than previously believed, according to new research looking at cancer-causing cosmic rays.
Health scientist Frank Cucinotta teamed up with Eliedonna Cacaoat, of the University of Las Vegas, to investigate the effect of cosmic rays. In the study, published in the journal Nature, the team examined results of previous studies into tumors in mice and found that the animals were twice as susceptible to cancer in deep space than previously thought, according to RT.

After 15 years in a vegetative state, nerve stimulation restores consciousness

A 35-year-old man who had been in a vegetative state for 15 years after a car accident has shown signs of consciousness after neurosurgeons implanted a vagus nerve stimulator into his chest. The findings reported show that vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) -- a treatment already in use for epilepsy and depression -- can help to restore consciousness even after many years in a vegetative state according to Science daily .

 The outcome challenges the general belief that disorders of consciousness that persist for longer than 12 months are irreversible, the researchers say.

By stimulating the vagus nerve, we show that "it is possible to improve a patient's presence in the world," says Angela Sirigu.

The vagus nerve connects the brain to many other parts of the body, including the gut. It's known to be important in waking, alertness, and many other essential functions. To test the ability of VNS to restore consciousness, the researchers, led by Sirigu and clinicians lead by Jacques Luauté, wanted to select a difficult case to ensure that any improvements couldn't be explained by chance. They looked to a patient who had been lying in a vegetative state for more than a decade with no sign of improvement.

Tackling the canine obesity crisis

When it comes to man's best friend, science may finally have solved the mystery of their gluttony - some Labradors, it seems, are genetically predisposed to being hungry.

That's according to scientists who were discussing their ongoing mission to improve our favourite pets' health at the British Science Association Festival in Brighton, according to BBC.

Several research teams in the UK are on a mission to improve canine health.

Millions of new genes in human microbiome

A new study of the human microbiome -- the trillions of microbial organism56s that live on and within our bodies -- has uncovered millions of previously unknown genes from microbial communities in the human gut, skin, mouth, and vaginal microbiome, allowing for new insights into the role these microbes play in human health and disease.

The study, triples the amount of data previously analyzed in this project, and is the largest human microbiome study ever.

The results are a significant jump in the amount of information available to scientists. This publication provides new insight into the changes in our microbiome over time and could lead to a greater understanding of the genetic differences that are unique to an individual's microbes.

More evidence of water on Mars

River deposits exist across the surface of Mars and record a surface environment from over 3.5 billion years ago that was able to support liquid water at the surface. A region of Mars named Aeolis Dorsa contains some of the most spectacular and densely packed river deposits seen on Mars.

These deposits are observable with satellite images because they have undergone a process called "topographic inversion." where the deposits filling once topographically low river channels have been exhumed in such a way that they now exist as ridges at the surface of the planet.

With the use of high-resolution images and topographic data from cameras on orbiting satellites, B.T. Cardenas and colleagues identify fluvial deposit stacking patterns and changes in sedimentation styles controlled by a migratory coastline. They also develop a method to measure river paleo-transport direction for a subset of these ridges.

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