Convulsions can be reduced by removing newly formed neurons in the brain

An innovative approach regarding the fight against epileptic seizures for those people who suffered a head injury was found by a group of researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). According to the researchers, it is possible to slow the progression of epilepsy with a process that sees the removal of newborn neurons.

This is what the researchers discovered by performing experiments on mice. The same researchers believe that the method can also be used successfully in humans. The method could be implemented for all those people who, following an accident or a violent act, suffer brain injuries. In fact, these people have a greater risk of developing seizures.

These occur because the new neurons that are generated after the brain injury do not migrate or develop normally and can therefore contribute to the development of epilepsy.

During the experiments, the researchers systematically removed the neurons that formed during the eight weeks following the lesion in mice. The results showed a 65% reduction in seizures compared to untreated mice.

“We now know that we can remove new neurons after the initial crises. Although we cannot stop the first convulsions, we can try to prevent secondary crises, which is very exciting and can lead to new therapeutic strategies,” says Jenny Hsieh, one of the authors of the study and professor of cell biology and director of Brain Health UTSA Consortium.

Terraforming Mars could be achieved with silica areogel shields

The Martian climate could perhaps be made livable by processes that make its atmosphere more similar to that of the Earth. We are talking about the so-called “terraformation,” a process that was actually taken into consideration only in science fiction.

A new study, conducted by researchers from the University of Harvard, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Edinburgh, gives new hope to the possibility that such a process can actually be implemented. According to the researchers, instead of changing the climate and environmental conditions of the entire planet, a terraforming process could be carried out on a local or regional level.

Circumscribed regions of the surface of the red planet, according to the researchers, could in fact be made habitable with the use of a special material, the silica airgel. One of the effects that this material seems to produce is similar to what we have on Earth in relation to the climate: the greenhouse effect. This material is one of the most insulating ones ever created. It is also 97% porous, which allows a good part of the light not to cross it. Already today it is used in various technological applications such as those implemented for the Mars rovers built by NASA.

Through the use of a screen of silica areogels with a thickness of 2-3 cm, it could be possible to carry out photosynthesis by blocking the dangerous ultraviolet radiation and making sure that the temperatures inside these “greenhouses” can be lowered until the water can become liquid. In essence, only the heat of the sun and no other energy source would be exploited: these are passive materials that do not even require too much maintenance.

According to Robin Wordsworth, a researcher at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard and one of the authors of the study, it is a “regional” approach that could make Mars habitable.

Furthermore, such a method would need materials and technologies that we already possess.

In this way, small and circumscribed “islands” could be created, something that could then make the whole planet or a large part of it habitable in a controlled and scalable way.

A new material for solid state batteries has been discovered

A new material for high-performance solid-state batteries was discovered by a group of researchers at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium. This material could be used in the batteries of the future to make energy storage more efficient as well as charging and discharging.

The thought goes above all to the levels of safety considered not sufficient by many in regards to lithium-ion batteries. These are batteries in which there are liquid organic electrolytes, something that causes the same battery to be subject to fire as these liquids are flammable. The only solution planned to date is the use of a solid electrolyte, however no material is still considered to be up to date in relation to the efficiency that can be had with a lithium-ion battery.

The latter, in fact, in solids are much less mobile and this makes the performance of the battery less efficient especially when it has to be charged or discharged.

Scientists from the Belgian Institute have discovered a new material that could be a new candidate. We talk about LiTi2 (PS4) 3 or LTPS, a material that shows a higher diffusion coefficient than those already tested for solid-state batteries.

The study, published in Chem, describes this material and its unique crystalline structure that could open up new perspectives in the entire sector relating to lithium-ion conductors and, in general, solid-state batteries.