Author Archives: Henry Wright

How Science Helps Men Manscape

Whether men should manscape or not is an interesting question. But in any case, it’s clear that the process of manscaping has been made vastly easier by science, and specifically electric razors. 🙂

A great example of electric razors made specifically for manscaping is Manscaped, a company that was featured on shark tank and has since done a lot of growing. Their product is reasonably well known now, and has been fairly well received. Now imagine if you had to use ordinary razors as people would 200 years ago for such a task. Thank goodness for scientific advancements!

If you’d like to learn about Manscaped, it’s recommended that you have a read through this review of Manscaped. The author there brought and tried out the Manscaped razor as well as asked other men about their experience with the product. The review says that it’s a good product, BUT you still have to be careful and take your time with it.

If you’d like to learn more about how to shave in general, rather than just manscaping specifically, see Gilette’s article: How to Shave Your Face.

Bovine tuberculosis bacteria can survive in amoebas in soil and dung

Bovine tuberculosis bacteria can survive and even grow within small, single-celled organisms that can be found in the soil or in the dung itself according to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Surrey and the University of Geneva.

These single-celled organisms, known as amoebas, would have always been ideal habitats for this bacterium, so much so that it seems to have wanted to grow under these conditions. Over time the bacterium itself has progressed and evolved to infect large animals, including cattle, and to cause bovine tuberculosis.

The bacterium analyzed by researchers is Mycobacterium bovis, a bacterium that can cause bovine tuberculosis. The discovery was made through laboratory experiments: the researchers injected this bacterium into amoebas called Dictyostelium discoideum. Unlike other bacteria, which were digested and generally used as food sources, with Mycobacterium bovis these amoebas seemed to provide them with a kind of habitat. The bacterium not only remained unharmed but continued to survive for days.

Furthermore, researchers noted that the bacteria, once inside the amoebas, used particular genes that they usually use to avoid being killed by the immune cells of the large animals they infect. They used these genes to avoid being digested by amoebas. Inside amoebas, the bacterium, although slower, continued to grow and could replicate even at temperatures of 25° centigrade, which surprised researchers as it was believed that the bovine tuberculosis bacterium could only reproduce at temperatures of at least 37° centigrade.

These discoveries could perhaps help to combat bovine tuberculosis, a disease that infects cattle and can therefore represent a major problem for the whole livestock sector.

Damaged nerves are repairable with polymers and proteins

Damaged nerves may in the future be repairable with special guides made of artificial polymers as described by researchers at the School of Medicine of the University of Pittsburgh. The researchers have created a biodegradable nerve guide, practically a small tube, made of a particular polymer. The tube is filled with proteins that in turn promote the growth of the damaged nerve section.

This means that, with a biodegradable “bridge” like this, there would be no need for any stem cell or donor nerve transplant. In the study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, is described this “nerve guide” made without cells that can “bridge a large 2-inch gap between the nerve stump and its target muscle,” as explained by Kacey Marra, Professor of Plastic Surgery at the aforementioned university and one of the authors of the study.

The problem with damaged nerves lies in the fact that, although they can grow back naturally, they cannot grow back up to a certain length. If the damaged nerve section is too long, the nerve can no longer grow back to its “target.” At this point, the nerve begins to knot and becomes a ball that can also cause pain, a condition called neuroma.

The researchers tested the new nerve guide in the legs of four monkeys and obtained excellent results.

A new Jovian exoplanet (KELT-9b) has been analysed by astronomers: here are its strange features

The so-called warm Jovian planets are among the strangest of all. They are gas giants that revolve around the star much closer than, for example, Jupiter, and because of this, they have a much higher surface temperature. Now researchers have looked more closely at the atmosphere of the planet KELT-9b, one of the warm Jovians with the hottest atmosphere ever.

The new observations confirm the strangeness of this type of planet. The planet has a mass of almost three times that of Jupiter and orbits around its star, about 670 light-years away from us, so close that it takes only a day and a half to make a complete revolution, the one that the Earth makes in a year around the Sun. For this reason, the planet is “stuck”: it always has only one face facing the star while on the opposite side there is eternal night.

Using data from the Spitzer Space Telescope, the researchers realized that the heat of the atmosphere on the “diurnal” side of this planet is so high that even the molecules can’t remain intact. For example, hydrogen gas molecules are torn apart and are unable to reform until the atoms that make them up are on the “night” side. On this side, the slightly lower temperature allows these atoms to reform the molecules.

The dayside has such an extreme temperature that these planets are the only ones with such characteristics, as the researchers explain in their study published in Astrophysical Journal Letters. KELT-9b was discovered in 2017 thanks to Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT), a program that used two robotic telescopes, one from Arizona and another from South Africa.

An interesting characteristic of this planet is that the temperature on its nightside was barely lower than the temperature on its dayside. This represented a characteristic that surprised the researchers themselves because usually such planets, which always have the same side facing the star, present considerable differences in temperature between one side and the other, something that does not appear in this case. Probably there is a continuous flow of heat that, thanks to strong winds, is constantly facing the dayside towards the night side.

Rimegepant, a new drug for migraine headache, shows promise in the second study

A new drug for migraine, Rimegepant, is promising, according to the researchers, in treating the symptoms of acute headache and in general to reduce the pain of migraines by working on a specific protein, CGRP.

With a large-scale study, then published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, therefore, give new hope to all those people with acute migraine for whom the existing drugs did not have the desired effects, as specified by Richard B. Lipton, first author of the study.

Migraine is in fact a fairly widespread pathology (it is estimated that it affects 12-14% of people worldwide) and many of the people who suffer it regularly are severely damaged even in their daily activity.

To date, many people suffering from migraines take triptan drugs (including the latter including sumitriptan, elecrtanetan and rizatriptan) that work on serotonin receptors, which in turn narrows blood vessels reducing inflammation.

However, triptan drugs do not have the same effects for all people and can produce unpleasant side effects. Furthermore, these drugs cannot be taken by those people who already suffer from cardiovascular diseases.
Instead, the new study evaluated the effects of rimegepant. Some of the study participants had to take a rimegepant tablet during a migraine attack while others had to take a placebo tablet.

After two hours of taking the researchers noted a significant statistical difference: 19.6% of patients taking rimegepant were pain-free compared to 12% of the placebo group. Furthermore, the side effects were minimal and only a few people had nausea and urinary tract problems.

The drug works on receptors for a small per protein called CGRP. This is one of the proteins released during migraine attacks and is thought to be one of the pain makers. The trial was sponsored by Biohaven, a company that produces remegepant and of which Lipton himself is a shareholder.