Published News Biological Science

An unexpected new lung function has been found - they make blood

Researchers have discovered that the lungs play a far more complex role in mammalian bodies than we thought, with new evidence revealing that they don't just facilitate respiration - they also play a key role in blood production. 



In experiments involving mice, the team found that they produce more than 10 million platelets (tiny blood cells) per hour, equating to the majority of platelets in the animals' circulation. This goes against the decades-long assumption that bone marrow produces all of our blood components.


The brain sets a unique learning rate for everything we do, by self

Each time we get feedback, the brain is hard at work updating its knowledge and behavior in response to changes in the environment; yet, if there's uncertainty or volatility in the environment, the entire process must be adjusted. A Dartmouth-led study published in Neuron reveals that there's not a single rate of learning for everything we do, as the brain can self-adjust its learning rates using a synaptic mechanism called metaplasticity.


From decapitation to consciousness: how one nerve connects body, brain, and mind

The relationship between mind, brain, and body has kept philosophers and scientists busy for centuries. Some of the first interesting – albeit gruesome – experiments on the role of the body in human consciousness considered life after decapitation. 

The Conversation


Scientists have created an artificial organ that can pump out cancer-fighting T-cells

Scientists have developed an artificial thymus, an organ crucial to the human immune system, that could produce special cancer-fighting T-cells in the body on demand.



T-cells are white blood cells that naturally combat disease as part of our immune system, but these artificially engineered versions would be targeted at specific forms of cancer, potentially giving our natural defences a boost in attacking the disease.


Squid and octopus can edit and direct their own brain genes

Octopuses and squid have confirmed their reputation as Earth-bound “aliens” with the discovery that they can edit their own genetic instructions.



Unlike other animals, cephalopods – the family that includes octopuses, squid and cuttlefish – do not obey the commands of their DNA to the letter.


A brand new type of insulin-producing cell has been discovered hiding in the pancreas

Researchers have found a brand new type of insulin-producing cell hiding in plain sight within the pancreas, and they offer new hope for better understanding - and one day even treating - type 1 diabetes.


‘Undead’ genes come alive days after life ends | Science

Genes remain turned on days after animals die. Researchers may be able to parlay this postmortem activity into better ways of preserving donated organs for transplantation and more accurate methods of determining when murder victims were killed.


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