SciTech Briefs

Diabetes drug could fight cancer

Researchers have discovered that metformin, a drug currently used to treat diabetes, could be used to treat cancer. Clinical trials are already underway to determine how effectively the drug treats various cancers. There are many benefits to the use of metformin as a cancer treatment. Metformin has a strong safety record and only mild side effects — as indicated by its use as a diabetes drug — and it’s inexpensive when compared with many other cancer-fighting drugs. Metformin could potentially treat a wide variety of cancers and even Parkinson’s.

Source: Science Daily

Volcano found under Antarctica

A group of scientists including Doug Wiens, a professor of earth and planetary science at Washington University in St. Louis, has discovered a volcano located a kilometer beneath the ice in West Antarctica. The scientists used a seismograph array to create images of the ice and rock in West Antarctica, and two unusual seismic events prompted a closer investigation of the area. They concluded that the volcano will definitely erupt. It will most likely not break through the ice above it, but could cause large-scale melting of ice in West Antarctica.

Source: Science Daily

Neanderthal virus found in human

Scientists from the U.K. have discovered evidence of ancient Neanderthal viruses in modern human DNA. They compared genetic data from fossils to that of current-day cancer patients; the results suggested that some modern viruses could have originated from diseases present in our ancestors over 500,000 years ago. The team is now researching whether these viruses, part of the HML2 family of viruses, are active in modern humans. Researchers hope that this new discovery will help scientists determine links between ancient viruses and modern diseases such as HIV and cancer.

Source: Science Daily

Young galaxies can offer space insight

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter Array telescope and NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered three primitive galaxies 13 billion light-years from Earth. These galaxies, which are approximately 800 million years old, look as though they are ready to merge into one large galaxy. Astronomers believe this large galaxy, which they are calling Himiko, could eventually evolve into a galaxy like the Milky Way. Astronomers believe that Himiko could provide valuable insight on the formation of the earliest galaxies in the universe.

Source: Science Daily

Eating nuts shown to extend life

Studies at the University of Toronto have related the consumption of nuts with longer survival. The research was based on two long-term studies that investigated the health and lifestyle of approximately 119,000 health professionals for 24 to 30 years. Scientists found that people consuming at least 28 grams of nuts, two to four times a week, were 13 percent less likely to die during the study. People who ate nuts five to six times a week were 15 percent less likely to die, and those eating nuts seven or more times a week were 20 percent less likely to die. The scientists believe that it is too early to say that nuts alone will increase longevity, but they do support the idea that nuts are a strong part of a healthy diet.

Source: Reuters

Electronics may become wearable

Researchers have discovered that polyester yarn can be used to create flexible, solar-powered batteries that could make wearable electronics even more convenient. Current wearable electronics, such as smartwatches and Google Glass, still involve a charger with a cord. Alternatives to this, such as textile batteries, are expensive and impractical for use in wearable electronics. Scientists have discovered, however, that polyester yarn coated with nickel and carbon produces a flexible battery that can be folded and stretched. This material can also be combined with light-weight solar cells, which removes the need to plug in wearable electronics.

Source: The New York Times