Bacteria in a pill may one day track your body’s chemistry

In the latest twist on an edible sensor that could one day monitor disease, scientists have created a pill-size device that can detect bleeding deep inside a pig’s digestive tract—and relay that information via a wireless signal to a cellphone. If researchers can modify the sensor to pick up other chemicals—and shrink the pill—they could one day create a multipurpose readout of gut health.

To make their sensor, engineers and biologists turned to a bacterium commonly sold as a probiotic in Europe. They genetically engineered it to detect the blood chemical heme by injecting several genes: one that triggers in the presence of heme, and another that makes the cell glow when triggered—enough to light up a detector and produce a wireless signal.

They packaged the 44 million copies of bacteria—along with a battery, light detector, and other electronics—into 10-millimeter-by-30-millimeter pills, which they fed to three pigs. Only pigs with blood in their guts triggered the sensor, the researchers report today in Science.

Other devices have already been created to detect gases in the gut and remotely control sensors using magnets. By picking up on the body’s chemicals and containing several versions of the bacterium, a “super” sensor could one day provide information about cancer, ulcers, or other conditions, the researchers notet. Such a supersensor could be a long time coming, other researchers say. For now, the team is trying to shrink this pill by two-thirds by reducing the power demands and the battery size.

Source: Science Magazine.

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YSF Committee 2018/2019

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YSF Committee 2018/2019

May we proudly present the newly appointed YSF Management Team 2018/2019 (pictured above). Do show support to YSF in achieving our vision to prosper and share the love and passion for science amongst the young generation.

Please do not hesitate to approach any member of the committee if you wish to write an article/quiz or contribute ideas for our Science For Thought newsletter, or if you are interested in giving a talk. Also, we are always open to accept any suggestions or comments on improvement!

Check out more info regarding our members via PTET YSF18

50 years ago, starving tumors of oxygen proposed as weapon in cancer fight

Starve the tumor, not the cell

Animal experiments demonstrate for the first time that transplanted tumors release a chemical into the host’s bloodstream that causes the host to produce blood vessels to supply the tumor.… If such a factor can be identified in human cancers … it might be possible to prevent the vascularization of tumors. Since tumors above a certain small size require a blood supply to live, they might by this method be starved to death. — Science News, May 4, 1968

Update

By the 1990s, starving tumors had become a focus of cancer research. Several drugs available today limit a tumor’s blood supply. But the approach can actually drive some cancer cells to proliferate, researchers have found. For those cancers, scientists have proposed treatments that open up tumors’ gnarled blood vessels, letting more oxygen through. Boosting oxygen may thwart some cancer cell defenses and promote blood flow — allowing chemotherapy drugs and immune cells deeper access to tumors.

source: Sciencenews

A message from the New YSF president 18/19

Assalamualaikum and hello all,

sabrina

It is of great pleasure to present the first newsletter published by the YSF committee of 18/19. In this edition of Science For Thought, the articles revolve around the theme of Psychology – from disorders to behaviours, the articles can surely increase knowledge and awareness amongst our youth.

My utmost gratitude goes to the dedicated editorial team who have put their heart and soul into this newsletter which takes ample time to research, write, edit and finally compile such captivating articles. Our vision is to share the love for Science and motivation to write amongst PTET students, and for YSF to continue to prosper and grow in popularity in the future.

On behalf of the whole YSF committee, I would like to sincerely thank our readers who have shown support by subscribing to the mailing list. I hope you would be satisfied with the outcome and wholeheartedly enjoy reading it as much as the team has enjoyed making it. Thank you and do stay tuned to our upcoming newsletter with more interesting articles to come!

We welcome any of our readers to contribute any forms of writings, drawings or interesting news with us through email and also any feedback and suggestions that our readers would like to read about.

Thank you for supporting us.

Kind regards,
Siti Norsabrina Binti Mohammad Shafie.
President of YSF 2018

Science for Thought March/April 2018 Edition is out!

Science for thought #2 2018

Click here for the newsletter.

Greetings, fellow YSF readers! This issue of Science For Thought is brought to you by the newest team of YSF18/19. It is such an honour to be given the opportunity to take part in the creation of Science For Thought’s March/April Edition. I want to give the readers my
sincerest apologies for posting the newsletter so late in the month as we were still adjusting to the new life of 6th form and thank you very much for your patience.

As the new Chief Editor, I would like to thank my editorial team for putting in effort and working with me to produce this month’s Science For Thought issue. I would also like to
thank our seniors who helped us tremendously and also Cg Rohaini for the excellent guidance.

We welcome our readers to voice out your opinions on our newsletter and leave suggestions on how we can improve. Without further ado, we hope that you will enjoy our second edition of Science For Thought 2018.

On behalf of YSF Editorial Team

LAW TZE SHAN
CHIEF EDITOR
MAR/APR 2018

 

Water may have killed Mars’ magnetic field

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Mars’ missing magnetic field may have drowned in the planet’s core.

An excess of hydrogen, split off from water molecules and stored in the Martian mantle, could have shut down convection, switching the magnetic field off forever, planetary scientist Joseph O’Rourke proposed March 21 at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.

Planetary scientists think magnetic fields are produced by the churning of a planet’s molten iron core. Convection relies on denser materials sinking into the core, and lighter stuff rising to the surface. The movement of iron, which can carry a charge, generates a strong magnetic field that can protect a planet’s atmosphere from being ravaged by solar wind (SN Online: 8/18/17).

But if lighter material, like hydrogen, settles close to the iron core, it could block dense material from sinking deep enough to keep convection going, said O’Rourke, of Arizona State University in Tempe.

“Too much hydrogen and you can shut down convection entirely,” he said. “Hydrogen is a heartless killer.”

O’Rourke and his ASU colleague S.-H. Dan Shim suggested the hydrogen could come from water locked up in Martian minerals. Near the hot core, water would split into hydrogen and oxygen. The oxygen would form compounds with other elements and stay high in the mantle, but the hydrogen could sit atop the core and effectively suffocate the dynamo.

The question is whether Mars’ minerals would have had what it took to deliver the hydrogen at the right time. Mars’ crust is rich in the mineral olivine, which does not bond well with water and so is relatively dry.

In the planet’s interior, pressure forces olivine to transform into the minerals wadsleyite and ringwoodite, which hold more water. Deeper still, the mineral turns into bridgmanite and becomes dry again. For a time, that bridgmanite layer could act as a buffer against water, allowing the core to keep convecting. But as the mantle cooled, the bridgmanite layer would shrink and eventually disappear, O’Rourke’s study suggests.

Whether Mars’ interior ever had that saving layer of bridgmanite depends on how big its core is — a property that may be tested by NASA’s InSight Mars lander, launching on May 5, O’Rourke said. Mars did have a magnetic field more than 4 billion years ago. Scientists have struggled to explain how it vanished, leaving the planet vulnerable to solar winds, which probably stripped away its atmosphere and surface water (SN: 12/12/15, p. 31).

If hydrogen shut down the planet’s generator, it would have had to act fast. Previous observations suggest the magnetic field disappeared relatively rapidly, over 100 million years.

Another theory by James Roberts of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Md., suggests a large impact could have shut down the dynamo by heating the outermost core, which would have kept it from sinking.

“It’s actually a similar idea to O’Rourke’s,” Roberts says. It may take many more sophisticated Mars missions to figure out what really happened.

Source : Science News

PTET Science for Thought newsletter utilises digital approach to journalism

Exclusive coverage by the fellas at New Brunei Daily, as part of His Majesty’s visit to PTET last month.

As part of one of the co-curricular activities organised by students of Pusat Tingatan Enam Tutong (PTET), a student committee known as the Youth Science Forum (YSF) share their innovative ideas and scientific knowledge through a series of articles published in their yearly school newsletters called ‘Science for Thought’. The newsletter takes on a greener approach to news publications, as their stories are promoted digitally on their school website.

Continue reading “PTET Science for Thought newsletter utilises digital approach to journalism”

His Majesty listens to YSF showcase

Tuesday, 20.2.2018

The New Brunei Daily (NBD) did an extensive review for the YSF as part of the visit. 

The PTET Youth Science Forum (YSF) was honoured to have been selected to present to His Majesty about our achievements over the past years. Everyone involved was awe struck by how much His Majesty wished to know more about the forums, the newsletters (going digital) as well as summary of our previous endeavours (Science Outreach with primary school students and also the annual symposiums).

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Science for Thought January/February 2018 is out! 

We would like to apologise for publishing this only after the 28th of February due to other complications. February had been a hectic month with lots of things and events happening.  Thank you for understanding.

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Click here for the newsletter.

This will be the last newsletter published by the current YSF committee and will soon be taken over by the next YSF committee of 2018/2019. I hope with this, our beloved readers would be able to enjoy one last newsletter from us. We would like to express our gratitude for always keeping up and supporting us.

As usual, we have prepared a quiz for everyone to enjoy and try out!

This newsletter features a very special interview with the high achievers of the latest ‘A’ level Examination of 2017. We would like to emphasise this area in hopes that every other future ‘A’ level exam takers would gain something from reading about it.

Stay tuned and look forward to what our next batch of YSF committee of 2018 has to offer! 

Thank you, everyone.

Kind regards,

PTET YSF team 2017/2018