cells, tissues and organs

RoboEars

© ACS

© ACS

The story

I come across a lot of science news stories (as you can imagine) and  have noticed that journalists are attracted to certain topics – ones that they think have a certain ‘sexy’ appeal to their readers I imagine. Bionic body parts seems to be one of them – conjuring imagery of a future where we are all enhanced by ultra-efficient prosthetic body parts like RoboCop.

One of these stories that hit the press recently was the news that researchers in Princeton have created a ‘bionic’ ear. More

The value of water

The story

All Earth's water, liquid fresh water, and water in lakes and rivers. Credit: Howard Perlman, USGS

As human population grows and pollution levels rise, our demand for clean water increases but its supply dwindles. How long will it be before our planet cannot provide its population with enough clean water to survive?
Some would say that this is already happening..

Japanese design company, Takram, was asked to design a water bottle that could be used to used to ensure that we could get enough daily water to survive if the worst case scenario become reality. But they went one step further and designed a set of cyborg organs, the Hydrolemic System, that could be used to reduce water loss from the body in order to keep intake down to a minimum.

The video shows how they would work.

More

Cell alchemy

Credit: Karin Pierre, Institut de Physiologie, UNIL, Lausanne.

The story

Researchers in California have successfully converted mouse skin cells into brain cells, eliminating the need for stem cells.

It is hoped that the same procedure could be carried out on human cells, bringing the possibility of stem cell therapy for conditions such as Alzheimer’s closer to reality.

This is a great story to use in a GCSE lesson on stem cells. Students could discuss why this is a better alternative to using those from embryos.

Weblinks

BBC news story

Great stem cell teaching resources from the Learn Genetics website.

 

Fertility treatments

A couple of links and short lesson ideas based on recent news stories to use in lessons on fertility treatments.

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Easter eggs-periments

Image: Joy Stovall @wikipedia commons

Time for another seasonal post.  It’s nearly Easter so you may wish to have a go at some egg-based science experiments this week.

Teaching ideas

For an interesting spin on a lesson on chemical reactions you could try making a ‘naked egg’, that is an egg without its shell. More

Mending broken hearts

The story

Hope has arrived in the UK – hope that is for the thousands of people who suffer from heart failure.

You may have seen the British Heart Foundation’s new campaign on TV recently

More

The light fantastic

The story

The Nikon Small World competition first began in 1974 and the results from the latest batch of entries were announced this week.  This annual event seeks out the latest and greatest photomicrographs (photographs taken using a light microscope). More

Hot news for chilli-heads


The story

Britain is home to a new world-record breaker.

The Infinity chilli developed by Fire Foods in Lincolnshire is the world’s hottest chilli More

Would you make a good goalie?

The World Cup is finally over and to celebrate – one last football-related teaching idea:  What does it take to be a great goalie?

Nerves of steel, lightning-fast reactions times and perfect hand-eye coordination are top of my list. So the World’s top goalkeepers must have a great nervous system. More

Big beaks help cool birds down

Image: Jon Hanson

The story:

Two scientists have collaborated in a study that suggests that the size of a bird’s beak is linked to the temperature of its natural environment.

We already know that a bird’s beak is adapted for the food it eats and sometimes to attract a mate, but now it looks like it is also a good way of regulating temperature.  More

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