Bioengineering

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How speech and semantics are handled in the brain are subjects that have been well-studied, the past few years. However, the specific neural activity associated with how words are understood has not been completely defined yet.

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Research has found that women are more likely to be at a higher risk of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) than men are. Scientists have suggested the condition is associated with the deletion of the UTX gene. This gene is located on the X chromosome, and the loss of even one of its copies can result in the development of AML. However, this theory does not explain why men are not affected by the UTX-related disease as often as women are.

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A recent paper in Nature has reported the first steps towards the technology to create embryos from cells that are not those of the egg or sperm variety. This procedure has been done to demonstrate the biological cues by which single stem cells divide into those that ultimately form embryos and placentas. The results of this research can be termed as artificial blastocysts or ‘blastoids’, as the scientists referred to them as.

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Iridescence, or the bright, shiny effects that may appear to color-shift based on various viewing angles, could seem like a human-made invention. However, there are numerous examples of iridescence in nature, from butterfly wings to the patterns on peacocks’ wings. It is probably easy to assume that the bacteria owe their appearance to complex pigments naturally developed during the course of evolution. However, the molecules that produce iridescence have this property due to their conformation, in relation to each other, and not individual structure or energy states.

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Many people may be aware that the human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause cervical cancer by promoting oncogenes. Oncogenes are DNA sequences that can increase the risk of a cell becoming a tumor progenitor. HPV is not the only pathogen that can boost the risk of cancer in human cells. There are other viruses or retroviruses that can trigger different oncogenes in different cells. A prominent example is HTLV-1, which infects human T-cells.

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CRISPR/Cas9 has become the most prominent form of potential gene therapy for various conditions. However, the concept is still associated with issues that need to be addressed, before it can be applied to conventional medical settings.

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Synthetic biology is the study of the interdisciplinary fields of engineering and biology. It was described by the UK Royal Society as “an emerging area of research that can broadly be described as the design and construction of novel artificial biological pathways, organisms or devices, or the redesign of existing natural biological systems.”

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Periplaneta americana, commonly known as the American cockroach, is the most dreaded house pest of them all. Why? It is almost impossible to kill. This unique survival mechanism has inspired scientists to create robots mimicking these roaches. But, what makes them so adaptable to the environment that they cannot be destroyed easily? Their genes!

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Even though the process of ageing differs among individuals (based on their lifestyles and environment), it is inevitable and irreversible for all of them. Chronological age can be measured according to birth date, each year, but experts have adjudged this method to be inaccurate while determining true biological age.

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Many forms of cancer have been treated using systemic radiotherapeutics, which can destroy cancer cells, their ability to replicate or both. However, these drugs may also attack other, healthy tissues on their way to the target tumour, which results in severe side-effects for the patient and explains why radiotherapy can have such a profound negative effect on the body during a course of this treatment. Therefore, medical scientists and researchers have been working for some time to develop these therapies so that they attack cancer cells with much more accuracy and specificity.

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Cancer drugs are becoming impressively diverse in terms of their numbers and biological functions. This level of pharmaceutical development has arisen in response to the many types and subtypes of cancer that we are aware of.

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Tinnitus is a condition in which the patient is subject to a consistent level of ‘phantom’ ringing or buzzing in the ears. It is not clear what causes it, although environmental and occupational factors have been implicated in the development of the condition.

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You may have heard phrases such as ‘real’ or ‘biological’ age, and how it may actually differ from your actual ‘chronological’ age.

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Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the patient’s ability to produce insulin is negated by their body’s own protective processes, often from an early age. As with type 2 diabetes, it can require chronic medical treatment from the point of diagnosis in order to avoid severe, even life-threatening, disease events.

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The first cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) were registered in Africa’s Sudan and Congo, and since then it has spread by contamination and human-to-human transmission to several parts of West Africa and surrounding regions. Hailing from the Filoviridae family, the disease is incurable and, most often, fatal.

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According to the Global Burden of Skin Disease, skin conditions were ranked fourth in leading causes of disability, globally, and was the 18th leading cause of DALYs (disability-adjusted life year). Another serious condition sweeping nations is melanoma, a type of skin cancer affecting more than 85,000 individuals per year in the US alone.

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The management of type 1 diabetes mellitus is an extensive, cumbersome process for patients as it involves rigid schedules and maintenance with regard to administering insulin injections regularly. As of 2017, according to the National Diabetes Statistics Report, more than 30 million people around the world are suffering with diabetes, a tenth of that affecting the American population.

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Remember Dolly the sheep, the first mammal born as a product of cloning? That was in 1996. A few years after that the rhesus macaque, Tetra, was created by a simpler technique called ‘embryo splitting’. Over the last decade, the exponential growth of technology in areas of bioengineering and medicine has led researchers to revisit the idea of developing cloned mammals for the purpose of research and therapy.

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Obesity is a serious public health problem that is taking hold of the vast majority of countries in the developed world. For example, approximately 4 of every 10 adults in America is obese. Obesity may have a considerable negative impact on quality of life, as it can impede normal independent movement and exercise. It may also lead to chronic health problems such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic liver failure.

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Owing to the persistence of issues such as infertility and failure to conceive, aspects of female fertility have been studied in the past, and are still being researched extensively. Recently, scientists at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge, UK, along with other German experts, discovered that epigenetics and a protein called MLL2, can attempt to solve the issue of fertility by helping in maintaining the fertilizable egg cells’ freshness and stasis.

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