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Top 10 STEM News – 11th June

Top 10 STEM News – 11th June

Our editors pick of the Top 10 STEM News items form across the world

The first gene therapy for children has just been approved in Europe

In a landmark moment for scientific research, the world’s first gene therapy treatment for children has been given the green light by the European Commission. It’s called Strimvelis, and it treats severe combined immunodeficiency (ADA-SCID) – a rare disorder that can be fatal in a very short space of time for those affected.

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Scientists have created the first water-repellant metal

There are plenty of hydrophobic coatings out there, but scientists have now etched tiny nanostructures onto the surface of metal to make it water-repellant for the first time using lasers.

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The 4 newest elements on the periodic table have just been named

Back in January, officials announced that four new elements had earned a permanent spot on the periodic table, with elements 113, 115, 117, and 118 rounding out the seventh row.

At the time, they all had temporary names and symbols – ununtrium (Uut), ununpentium (Uup), ununseptium (Uus), and ununoctium (Uuo) – but the tyranny of the Uus is finally over, because we now have some shiny new names to get excited about. 

  • nihonium and symbol Nh, for the element with Z =113,
  • moscovium with the symbol Mc, for the element with Z = 115,
  • tennessine with the symbol Ts, for the element with Z = 117, and
  • oganesson with the symbol Og, for the element with Z = 118.

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Physicists confirm there’s a second layer of information hidden in our DNA

Theoretical physicists have confirmed that it’s not just the information coded into our DNA that shapes who we are – it’s also the way DNA folds itself that controls which genes are expressed inside our bodies.

That’s something biologists have known for years, and they’ve even been able to figure out some of the proteins responsible for folding up DNA. But now a group of physicists have been able to demonstrate for the first time through simulations how this hidden information controls our evolution.

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Study finds differences in male, female brain activity when it comes to cooperation

When the researchers asked people to cooperate with a partner, then tracked the brain activity of both participants, they found that males and females had different patterns of shared brain activity.

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Protein with potential to modify brain function, memory in mice and fish

University of Southern California Scientists have developed a protein that can be helpful in modifying the memory in some ways. The protein named GFE3 can help researchers map the brain’s connections and will further help in understanding the how does the inhibitory synapses modulate brain function, according to the Professor at University of Southern California, Don Arnold.

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Autism is not just a disorder of the brain, mouse study suggests

Autism spectrum disorders are generally thought to be caused by deficits in brain development, but a study in mice now suggests that at least some aspects of the disorder — including how touch is perceived, anxiety, and social abnormalities — are linked to defects in another area of the nervous system, the peripheral nerves found throughout the limbs, digits, and other parts of the body that communicate sensory information to the brain.

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Long-term marijuana use changes brain’s reward circuit

Researchers have demonstrated that long-term marijuana users had more activity in the brain’s reward processes when presented with cannabis cues than with natural reward cues.

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Perovskite solar cells surpass 20 percent efficiency

Researchers are pushing the limits of perovskite solar cell performance by exploring the best way to grow these crystals.

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Fish can recognize human faces

A species of tropical fish has been shown to be able to distinguish between human faces. It is the first time fish have demonstrated this ability.

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