Communication between the neurons – the elementary cells of the brain – has been conventionally understood, using mechanisms as synaptic transmission, axonal transport, etc. A team of scientists has identified a new, unknown process of neural communication which seems to leap wirelessly from neurons – even when they are severed. The transportation medium may be a set of electromagnetic waves which have been identified to be active during sleep in the cortex and the hippocampus. It looks like new science.
The theory of lithopanspermia proposes the natural exchange of organisms between solar system bodies through meteorites. This has become recently an active field of researches. This paper, based on latest findings from over 62,000 meteorites found on earth (The Meteoritical Society, 2020) describes the complete process of biological organisms transport back-and-forth between the Earth and Mars.
Million of people are giving a try to a vegan diet during the month of January 2020. Researchers at the University of Oxford are running a pilot experiment to assess the value of veganism for the environmental impacts aspect. Veganism is considered better for the planet than other diets. A 2018 Science study has quantified the today’s food supply chain impact at the global scale – feeding 7.6 billion people : meat and dairy contribute about 60 percent of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emission, and provide only 18 percent of our calories. The alternative of veganism starts to gain some momentum, and some coaching is available on the Vegan Society Web Site.
Fossil hunters have been digging up remains of extinct species on Earth for centuries. Now the work is about to begin on Mars. Using hyper-spectral imaging spectroscopy from the surface of a Mars crater (Jezero crater) where a paleolake has been identified, a team of scientists reached the conclusion that the carbonate signal they detected may indicate the presence of microscopic bio-signatures like the ones from stromatolites (fossils of cyanobacteria, single cell microbe). This finding may confirm the possibility for some primitive life activity on Mars four billion years ago. The next space mission to Mars (Mars Rover 2020) will land in this crater to confirm (or not) this detection in February 2021.
Analysis of ejected material from Enceladus, one of Saturn’s Moon, has identified nitrogen and oxygen-bearing compounds. These components are identical with the ones which produces amino-acids, through chemical reactions. Amino-acids are considered as building blocks of life on Earth.
Stress-related diseases like major depression is causing visible alterations on the individual’s genome. A recent study demonstrated that stress and adversity can cause mtDNA amount and telomeric length reversible changes. One possible hypothesis linking stress/adversity to molecular changes could be through the hypothalamic pituitary axis.
Madame Blavastky explained to her students that : “The fourth cavity of the brain is the Pituitary Body, which corresponds with Manas-Antaskarana, the bridge to the Higher Intelligence; it contains various essence. The pituitary Body is the organ per se of the psychic plane.” (Collected Writings, Vol. XII, p. 697)
A global analysis of cumulative human impacts on threatened species on the distribution of 5,457 terrestrial vertebrates show that impacts to species are widespread, occurring across 84% of Earth’s surface. Almost one-quarter of assessed species are impacted across >90% of their distribution, and approximately 7% are impacted across their entire range.
Mme Blavatsky wrote (The Theosophist, Vol. VII, N° 76, January 1886) : ” Evolution starts to mold future humanities within the lower scales of being. Therefore, by killing an animal, or even an insect, we arrest the progress of an entity towards its final goal in nature – MAN ; and to this the student of occult knowledge may say that it not only retards the evolution of that entity, but arrests that of the next succeeding human and more perfect race to come.”
Sleep increases chromosome dynamics that clear out DNA damage accumulated during waking hours. A new study shows that sleep can heal DNA damage induced by many causes, including radiation, oxydative stress, . . . According to current state-of-the-art, sleep process is still far from being understood : “Nevertheless, the core cellular function of sleep is unknown, and there is no conserved molecular marker to define sleep across phylogeny“, “. . . however, why sleep has evolved and which fundamental ancestral functions it regulates, remain enigmatic.“
Identifying consciousness in the physical realm is one of the strongest push from the scientific community, in order to validate the materialistic model. This article talks about a new initiative to narrow down the landscape of possibilities :
“Now a new project currently under review hopes to close in on some answers. It proposes to draw up a suite of experiments that will expose theories of consciousness to a merciless spotlight, in the hope of ruling out at least some of them. If all is approved and goes according to plan, the experiments could start this autumn. The initial aim is for the advocates of two leading theories to agree on a protocol that would put predictions of their ideas to the test. Similar scrutiny of other theories will then follow.
All the signs are you’re alive: you respond to stimuli, you’re using energy, your cells are reproducing. Yet plenty of things around you obviously aren’t alive, despite ultimately being made of the exact same atoms. Physics or biology alone can’t explain the difference, and in the first of a new occasional series of “Big Questions”, physicist-turned-biologist Paul Davies marries concepts from the cutting edge of both disciplines to come up with a big answer – one that takes us outside the bounds of the laws of nature as we know them.
A genome study (Genome-Wide-Association-Study) run for more than fifteen years and involving millions of individuals came to the conclusion that the entire genome may be involved in the design of specific human traits.
Defining the boundary between living and non-living organism is a difficult matter in science. Conventionally, viruses are regarded as the boundary between the two because although, they have nucleic acids (DNA or RNA), they are very simple and unable to survive outside a host (infected cell). However, scientists have now discovered viruses that are far more complex, which makes them able to do many of the functions attributed to living organisms. This discovery is interesting because it blurs the supposed line separating living from non-living, and may point to the idea that life is an intrinsic property of matter.
A number of discoveries and researches have opened up the possibility of making babies without the use of egg or sperm from the parents. A bioengineer of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yue Shao, published in 2017 his findings when he was still at the University of Michigan that the cells he was working with seemed to have assembled themselves into what appeared to be early-stage human. A year before that, Japanese researchers in Kyoto University were able to produce mice babies from eggs that were made from adult skin cells.
This has important implications on the possibility of having babies for people who are infertile. Coupled with growing research on the possibility of letting the fetus grow outside the body using artificial sacs, a new way of reproduction seems no longer remote.
Hank Greely, a bioethicist and lawyer at Stanford University in California, said, “My guess is this would be a major way of having babies 100 years from now.”
A team of researchers from the University of Washington found that genes continue to be active in mice and zebra fish even days after their death. This research was triggered by a previous finding that genes in human cadavers were still active more than 12 hours after death. What they noted was that the gene activity after death was not sputtering but rather they became more active after death. In the case of zebra fish, “548 genes retained their function for four whole days after the animals had died before showing any signs of winding down.” This finding raises the question on when really is the time of death. It also has implications on the state of the organs after death when they are being considered for transplant.
What surprised researchers was the fact that the genes which were activated after death were those which were active during the formation of the embryo and which become inactive during one’s lifetime.
Estonia plans to test the DNA structure of 100,000 residents and give advice regarding their predispositions to certain diseases so that they could adopt healthier lifestyles and take preventive measures.
“We want to invest in preventing or delaying the onset of common chronic diseases by using genetics to identify people at high risk,” says Jevgeni Ossinovski, Estonia’s minister of health and labour.
The country plans to do it eventually for the entire population.