Bacteria keep us healthy – but could they keep us young?

Image Credit - Flickr/Pedro Simoes CC BY 2.0

By Gareth Willmer A study in mice has indicated that the make-up of bacteria in the gut is linked with learning abilities and memory, providing a potential avenue of research into how to maintain cognitive functioning as we age. It’s part of a field of research looking at the link between gut bacteria and ageing … Read more

Elephant genes suppress tumours. Could studying this help us prevent cancer?

Image credit - Virpi Lummaa

The genetics and ageing rate of elephants could hold clues to helping us find better ways to fight cancer and lead healthier, longer lives. In 2015, 1.3 million people died from cancer in the EU, more than one quarter of the total number of deaths across the 28 nations. Despite cancer treatment improving in recent years, the … Read more

Heartbeats and memory suppression – the new tools for controlling fear

Image Credit - Flickr/Franck Michel

Most of us feel afraid when faced with a threat or danger, but people with phobias and anxiety feel overwhelming levels of fear in situations that are relatively harmless. Scientists want to moderate this response by using drugs to wipe out scary memories or by harnessing the power of heartbeats to improve therapy. Usually, people … Read more

How to keep lunar samples safe

Image credit - LUVMI consortium

By Gareth Willmer A lunar rover that can analyse samples in situ and a Europe-wide facility to store extraterrestrial samples will help to protect moon samples from contamination and increase their usability in scientific experiments. In 1969, the Apollo 12 mission retrieved a camera that had been left on the moon by an earlier spacecraft. … Read more

Pushing the bounds of vision could reveal hidden worlds

Image Credit - Amplify project

Nature is complex – often too complex for humans to see. But squint-controlled glasses that let people see 3D thermal images and a camera that can capture the inner workings of high-speed chemical reactions are helping to push the limits of human perception. Human senses have already been highly tuned by millions of years of … Read more

A dishwasher that keeps itself clean: how lasers are changing everyday items

Image credit - ALPhANOV

By Jonathan O’Callaghan At the smallest of scales, science can become rather weird. So weird in fact that metals and other materials can be altered to completely change their properties, such as making them resilient to water or bacteria. This is the cornerstone of new research looking into the hidden world of surfaces, with the … Read more

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