回顧星期天LBS - 自然科學相關時事趣聞 All about 2021 Science

· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English,國際時事跟讀Daily Shadowing

Topic: Ants have the ability to sniff out cancer in humans, study reveals

Ants have the ability to sniff out cancerous cells in humans, a new study has discovered, suggesting they could be used for cancer diagnosis in future.


Researchers from the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) discovered that ant species Formica fusca has a well developed sense of smell.

法國國家科學研究中心(CNRS)的研究人員發現,「黑山蟻」(學名:Formica fusca )這種螞蟻品種,嗅覺非常發達。

It was able to differentiate cancerous cells from healthy cells in humans, thanks to their sense of smell, limited trials revealed. But more clinical tests must be carried out before they could be used in clinical settings like hospitals, the team said.


They suggest that in future, ants could turn out to be better at dogs when it comes to locating cancerous cells in humans.


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Topic: 科學家使用細胞再生技術讓老鼠回春 Scientists Reverse Aging In Mice Using Cell Rejuvenation Technique

Researchers in the US treated healthy mice with a form of gene therapy that refreshed older cells, making the animals more youthful according to biological markers that are used to measure the effects of ageing.


Repeating the trick in humans is far from straightforward, but the findings will fuel interest in radical new therapies that aim to slow or reverse the ageing process as a means of tackling age-related diseases such as cancer, brittle bones and Alzheimer’s.


The scientists drew on previous work by the Japanese Nobel laureate Prof Shinya Yamanaka, who showed that a mixture of four molecules – known as Yamanaka factors – can rewind adult cells into youthful stem cells that are capable of forming almost any tissue in the body.

科學家這一療法借鑑日本諾貝爾獎得主山中伸彌教授先前的研究成果。山中伸彌向世人展示,被稱為「山中因子」的4種分子組合在一起,可以讓成人細胞逆生長為年輕的幹細胞,而幹細胞可以分化成人體的任何組織。Source article: https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1506995 ; https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1508339

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Topic: World’s oldest DNA sequenced from million-year-old mammoths

Teeth from mammoths buried in the Siberian permafrost for more than a million years have yielded the world’s oldest DNA ever sequenced, according to a study published on Wednesday, shining the genetic searchlight into the deep past.


Researchers said the three specimens, one roughly 800,000 years old and two over a million years old, provide important insights into the giant Ice Age mammals, including the ancient heritage of the woolly mammoth.

研究人員表示,這3個樣本,一個約有80萬年歷史,另2個來自超過100萬年前,為現代人瞭解冰河時代猛獁象,包括「真長毛象」(woolly mammoth)的古老傳承,提供重要觀察角度。

The genomes far exceed the oldest previously sequenced DNA - a horse dating between 780,000 to 560,000 years ago.


The mammoths were originally discovered in the 1970s in Siberia and held at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow.


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Topic: Comet from edge of solar system killed the dinosaurs: study 研究:來自太陽系邊緣的彗星讓恐龍滅絕

Sixty-six million years ago, a huge celestial object struck off the coast of what is now Mexico, triggering a catastrophic "impact winter" that eventually wiped out three-quarters of life on Earth, including the dinosaurs.


A pair of astronomers at Harvard say they have now resolved long standing mysteries surrounding the nature and origin of the "Chicxulub impactor."

哈佛大學2位天文學家表示,他們已經解開長久以來關於「希克蘇魯伯衝擊體」(Chicxulub impactor)的本質和來源之謎。

Their analysis suggests it was a comet that originated in a region of icy debris on the edge of the solar system, that Jupiter was responsible for it crashing into our planet, and that we can expect similar impacts every 250 million to 750 million years.


The duo’s paper, published in the journal Scientific Reports this week, pushes back against an older theory that claims the object was a fragment of an asteroid that came from our solar system’s Main Belt.


Source article: https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1435663 ; https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1437161

Topic: Spanking may affect brain development in children

Spanking may affect a child’s brain development in similar ways to more severe forms of violence, according to a new study led by Harvard researchers.


The research, published recently in the journal Child Development, builds on existing studies that show heightened activity in certain regions of the brains of children who experience abuse in response to threat cues.


The group found that children who had been spanked had a greater neural response in multiple regions of the prefrontal cortex (PFC). These areas of the brain respond to cues in the environment that tend to be consequential, such as a threat, and may affect decision-making and processing of situations.


According to the study’s authors, corporal punishment has been linked to the development of mental health issues, anxiety, depression, behavioral problems, and substance use disorders.



Topic: Coffee before exercise increases fat-burning/運動前喝咖啡增加燃脂

If you’re looking to maximize the amount of fat burned in your next workout, think about having a coffee half an hour before you get started – as a new study suggests it can make a significant difference to fat burning, especially later on in the day.


Researchers found that 3 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight can boost the rate of fat burning during aerobic exercise, based on results gathered from 15 male volunteers.


The coffee dose was shown to increase maximal fat oxidation rate(MFO, a measure of how efficiently the body burns off fat)by an average of 10.7 percent in the morning and 29 percent in the afternoon.


This is a study with a fairly small sample of participants, so it’s important not to jump to too broad a conclusion, but the results are clear enough to suggest that there is some kind of association there.



Topic: Study Shows Baldness Can Be a Business Advantage 研究:光頭可成職場優勢

Men with shaved heads are perceived to be more masculine, dominant and, in some cases, to have greater leadership potential than those with longer locks or with thinning hair, according to a recent study out of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.


Some executives say the style makes them appear younger—or at least, makes their age less evident—and gives them more confidence than a comb-over or monk-like pate.


The study found that men with thinning hair were viewed as the least attractive and powerful of the bunch, a finding that tracks with other studies showing that people perceive men with typical male-pattern baldness as older and less attractive. For those men, the solution could be as cheap and simple as a shave.