Can gut microbes and genes do the job of weight loss surgery?

Scientists have linked post-operative changes in gut bacteria to improvements in metabolic diseases. Image Credit - Sue Sapp (CC BY 2.0)

by Emanuela Barbiroglio Mice that have undergone weight loss surgery experience a change in the composition of their gut bacteria and the functioning of their genes, leading scientists to explore the possibility of mimicking these changes to develop a non-surgical treatment for obesity and liver disease in humans.  Obesity and associated metabolic diseases such as lifestyle-related … Read more

In a picture: ‘Now we know what a black hole looks like’

by Jonathan O’Callaghan The first-ever image of an event horizon – the gravitational boundary of a black hole beyond which light cannot escape – was revealed on 10 April and is the best evidence yet that these phenomena really do exist. It was the result of a global collaboration of hundreds of scientists, using multiple … Read more

Astronomers reveal first-ever image of a black hole

Image credit - EHT Collaboration

by Jonathan O’Callaghan Scientists have revealed the first ever image of a black hole, a major milestone in astrophysics which not only backs up Einstein’s theory of general relativity but also opens up a new era of black hole observations. The image shows the event horizon – the gravitational point of no return beyond which nothing, … Read more

Critical, informed citizens crucial for the EU to stay relevant

Image credit - Ilovetheeu, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

The upcoming European elections will reveal how recent challenges such as immigration, the financial crisis, Brexit and the rise of populist parties will play out in the political arena. But the elections are also providing an opportunity for researchers to understand how to better engage voters and ensure the European Union remains relevant to its … Read more

Gravitational waves helping to expose black holes, dark matter and theoretical particles

Image Credit - LSC/Alex Nitz

Gravitational waves – the invisible ripples in the fabric of space predicted by Albert Einstein – are opening up a new era of astronomy that is allowing scientists to see parts of the universe once thought to be invisible, such as black holes, dark matter and theoretical subatomic particles called axions. Almost 100 years after … Read more

Mining sewage for fertilisers and energy to prevent water shortages

Image Credit - Danilo Pinzon / World Bank (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Transforming the dirty water we flush down the drain into new products, such as clean energy and fertilisers, can help prevent reservoirs from running dry and change the way this valuable resource is viewed. Currently, water use risks leaving half the world facing severe scarcity by 2030 as demand outstrips supply. The linear way our societies … Read more