Alzheimer's disease reversed in mouse model

A team of researchers have found that gradually depleting an enzyme called BACE1 completely reverses the formation of amyloid plaques in the brains of mice with Alzheimer's disease, thereby improving the animals' cognitive function. The study raises hopes that drugs targeting this enzyme will be able to successfully treat Alzheimer's disease in humans, according to Science Daily.

One of the earliest events in Alzheimer's disease is an abnormal buildup of beta-amyloid peptide, which can form large, amyloid plaques in the brain and disrupt the function of neuronal synapses. Also known as beta-secretase, BACE1 helps produce beta-amyloid peptide by cleaving amyloid precursor protein (APP). Drugs that inhibit BACE1 are therefore being developed as potential Alzheimer's disease treatments but, because BACE1 controls many important processes by cleaving proteins other than APP, these drugs could have serious side effects.

New scanning technique reveals secrets behind great paintings

Researchers in the US have used a new scanning technique to discover a painting underneath one of Pablo Picasso's great works of art, the Crouching Woman (La Misereuse Accroupie).

Underneath the oil painting is a landscape of Barcelona which, it turns out, Picasso used as the basis of his masterpiece, according to BBC.

The new x-ray fluorescence system is cheaper than alternative art scanning systems - and it is portable, making it available to any gallery that wants it.

'Extraordinary' fossil sheds light on origins of spiders

An "extraordinary" spider "cousin" trapped in amber for 100 million years is shaking up ideas about the origins of spiders.

The ancient creature had a tail, unlike its modern relatives.

It belongs to a group of arachnids (spiders, scorpions and the like) that were related to true spiders, according to BBC.

Researchers say it's possible - but unlikely - that the animal might still be alive today in the rainforests of southeast Asia.

New malleable 'electronic skin' self-healable, recyclable

Researchers have developed a new type of malleable, self-healing and fully recyclable "electronic skin" that has applications ranging from robotics and prosthetic development to better biomedical devices, according to Science Daily.

Electronic skin, known as e-skin, is a thin, translucent material that can mimic the function and mechanical properties of human skin. A number of different types and sizes of wearable e-skins are now being developed in labs around the world as researchers recognize their value in diverse medical, scientific and engineering fields.

Viruses -- lots of them -- are falling from the sky

An astonishing number of viruses are circulating around the Earth's atmosphere -- and falling from it -- according to new research from scientists. according to Science Daily.

The study marks the first time scientists have quantified the viruses being swept up from the Earth's surface into the free troposphere, that layer of atmosphere beyond Earth's weather systems but below the stratosphere. The viruses can be carried thousands of kilometres there before being deposited back onto the Earth's surface.

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