UCLA scientists make cells that enable the sense of touch

Researchers at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA have, for the first time, coaxed human stem cells to become sensory interneurons — the cells that give us our sense of touch. The new protocol could be a step toward stem cell–based therapies to restore sensation in paralyzed people who have lost feeling in parts of their body.

Mixing State of Black Carbon from Biomass Burning Differs Evidently in Different Combustion Phase

As a short-lived climate forcer, black carbon aerosols in the atmosphere play a vital role in climate change by absorbing solar radiation and altering the formation, lifespan and albedo of clouds. It also provides "seed" for haze formation in urban/regional scale. In northern China, open biomass burning (OBB), such as straw burning after harvesting, is one of important sources of refractory black carbon (rBC). OBB emits both soot particles and substantial amount of semi-volatile organic matters, both of which will undergo a very complicated mixing and evolution processes in the atmosphere to change their ability to form cloud condensation nuclei.

Quantifying the Greenhouse Gas Footprint of Crop Cultivation

"Climate-smart” crop cultivation, characterized by a low greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint, low synthetic nitrogen consumption, and simultaneously high yields (Figure 1), is an approach in agriculture for implementing the Paris Agreement as part of mitigating climate change. The GHG footprint is an index used to indicate the climate change impact potential exerted by crop production. It is therefore crucial to accurately quantify the GHG footprints of crop cultivation systems. However, severe problems or drawbacks in the quantification of GHG footprints still exist, which has limited the applicability of the GHG footprint in crop cultivation.

Despite city tree benefits, Calif. urban canopy cover per capita lowest in U.S.

Trees in California communities are working overtime. From removing carbon dioxide and pollutants from the air, intercepting rainfall and increasing property values, California's 173.2 million city trees provide ecosystem services valued at $8.3 billion a year. However, according to a recent study, more benefits could be realized if the Golden State's urban forests didn't have the lowest canopy cover per capita in the nation.

Less Fat, More Hair, Young Skin

Caloric restriction diets have been associated with various health benefits, but their effects on the skin have not been previously demonstrated. Research conducted at the University of São Paulo (USP) in Brazil shows that controlling calories helps mice live longer, although it reduces the reserves of fat in adipose tissue needed to keep the body warm.

Nature Communications: A Specific Protein Regulates the Burning of Body Fat to Generate Heat

Scientists at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III (CNIC) have identified a protein that holds promise as a target for therapies to reduce obesity. Drs. Guadalupe Sabio and Nuria Matesanz have demonstrated that MKK6 controls the conversion of fat stores, known as white fat, into brown fat, in which lipids are burned to maintain body temperature and reduce obesity. The study is published today in  Nature Communications.

Group Tests Topical Treatment Strategy for Fighting Skin Cancer

Researchers at the University of São Paulo (USP), in Brazil, are testing a technique in mice that combines low-intensity electric current with a formulation containing nanoencapsulated chemotherapy to treat skin cancer. 

Cigarette smoke curbs lung's self-healing

Smoke from cigarettes blocks self-healing processes in the lungs and consequently can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Researchers at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, partner in the German Center for Lung Research (DZL), and their international colleagues have reported this in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Dream of energy-collecting windows is one step closer to reality

Discovery could lower cost and expand possibilities for building-integrated solar energy collectionResearchers at the University of Minnesota and University of Milano-Bicocca are bringing the dream of windows that can efficiently collect solar energy one step closer to reality thanks to high tech silicon nanoparticles.The researchers developed technology to embed the silicon nanoparticles into what they call efficient luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs). These LSCs are the key element of windows that can efficiently collect solar energy. When light shines through the surface, the useful frequencies of light are trapped inside and concentrated to the edges where small solar cells can be put in place to capture the energy.The research is published today in Nature Photonics, a peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the Nature Publishing Group.

East Greenland ice sheet has responded to climate change for the last 7.5 million years

Using marine sediment cores containing isotopes of aluminum and beryllium, a group of international researchers has discovered that East Greenland experienced deep, ongoing glacial erosion over the past 7.5 million years.The research reconstructs ice sheet erosion dynamics in that region during the past 7.5 million years and has potential implications for how much the ice sheet will respond to future interglacial warming.The team, made up of researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, University of Vermont, Boston College and Imperial College London, analyzed sediments eroded from the continent and deposited in the ocean off the coast, which are like a time capsule preserving records of glacial processes. The research appears in the Dec. 8 edition of the journal, Nature.