Inspiring Science- Top Picks 02.05.17

As a science enthusiast I’m constantly looking for articles and blog posts that reaffirm my love for science. This weekly search leads me to some extraordinary science and my ‘Top Picks’ have become a regular feature on my blog. Here are my favourites from this week:

Plastic-eating caterpillar could munch waste, scientists say.

Scientists at the University of Cambridge have discovered a species of caterpillar that can degrade the type of plastic commonly used in food packaging and carrier bags. Naturally these plastics can take over 100 years to fully decompose but the larvae of the Galleria mellonella moth can munch a hole through a plastic bag in under an hour. Impressive right?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39694553

10 Ways That Running Changes Your Mind and Brain.

This article by Christian Jarrett provides a very nice overview of some of research examining the effects of running on the brain. Whether you partake in a casual jog, interval training or run a marathon it certainly seems like running can have big impacts on cognitive ability, emotional resilience and even how your brain in wired. Perhaps that marathon isn’t such a bad idea after all.

https://digest.bps.org.uk/2017/04/19/10-ways-that-running-changes-your-mind-and-brain/

Gene Therapy Against HIV: Fighting The Virus In Disguise.

Here is the winning entry from the British Society of Gene and Cell Therapy science writing competition. A great blog post by Bernadeta Dadonaite on what HIV is, how it attacks our cells and what science is doing to overcome it. Yet another amazing application of CRISPR. You can read more about the exciting field of gene and cell therapy in my blog posts here.

https://www.bsgct.org/gene-therapy-against-hiv-fighting-the-virus-in-disguise/

Could Parkinson’s disease start in the gut?

Despite traditionally being described as a disease of the brain, recent research suggests that the cause of Parkinson’s disease could in fact start in the gut and spread to the brain via the vagus nerve. Scientists studied the incidence of Parkinson’s in patients who had part of their vagus nerve removed compared with that of the general public and found that those with part of their vagus nerve removed had a 40% less chance of developing the disease. When coupled with the GI symptoms that can accompany Parkinson’s such as constipation, this could provide a preliminary hypothesis as to the cause of this debilitating disease.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170426183129.htm

As always, let me know what you thought about my top picks in the comments or on Twitter and please feel free to send me any articles that piqued your interest this week!

For more inspiration, why not check out my previous ‘Top Picks’!

Inspiring Science- Top Picks 24.04.17

Inspiring Science- Top Picks 10.04.17

Inspiring Science- Top Picks 29.03.17

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