Manuka Honey Could Help to Clear Deadly Bacteria Which Cause Cystic Fibrosis:
Manuka flower – CC 2.0. Avenue
Combining Manuka honey with a common drug was able to help clear a bacterial infection that’s drug-resistant and occasionally lethal. Furthermore, the addition of the honey seemed to ameliorate harmful side effects of the drug, as well as significantly reduce the necessary dosage used in the treatment. Manuka honey, made in Australia and New Zealand from bees browsing on the Leptospermum scoparium tree, is long known to have wide-ranging medicinal properties, but more recently has been identified for its broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity. Now scientists have found that manuka honey has the potential to kill a number of drug-resistant bacterial infections such as Mycobacterium abscessus—which usually affects patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) or bronchiectasis. In a study conducted in the UK, scientists found that the introduction of Manuka honey and the antibiotic amikacin to treat cystic fibrosis lowered the potential for severe side effects and cut down on symptoms of the disease. Amikacin is an expensive antibiotic but supplementing with Manuka honey has proven to be more effective while using less of the drug. Overall, scientists are extremely optimistic about this new finding and see promise for a possible cure for cystic fibrosis.
Earliest land animals had fewer skull bones than fish, restricting their evolution:
Early tetrapod. Credit: Science Photo Library / Alamy Stock Photo; image ID (2G70HK2). Original artist: Mark Garlick.
The skulls of tetrapods had fewer bones than extinct and living fish, limiting their evolution for millions of years, according to a recent study. Tetrapods evolved from fish and were the earliest land animals with limbs and digits; the ancestors of everything from amphibians to humans. When scientists at the University of Bristol in Barcelona and College of London analyzed fossil skulls of animals across the transition from an aquatic to a terrestrial environment, they discovered that tetrapods had more complex connections between their skull bones than fish. Rather than promoting the diversification of life on land, these changes to skull anatomy actually restricted the evolution of tetrapod skulls. The authors of this research found that tetrapods having fewer skull bones than fish made the organization of their skulls more complex. Furthermore, the same pattern limb bone structures as well. Oddly enough, this species group which gave rise to many of our modern animals seems counterintuitive to the development of land animal anatomy, bringing into question how aquatic animals developed from hybrid land/sea animals toward exclusively land dwellers.
An AI can decode speech from brain activity with surprising accuracy:
Artificial intelligence takes one step closer to noninvasively decoding what we hear and intend on saying from brain activity data. ANDRIY ONUFRIYENKO/MOMENT/GETTY IMAGES
A recently made artificial intelligence can decode words and sentences from brain activity with surprising but still limited accuracy. Using only a few seconds of brain activity data, the AI guesses what a person has heard. It lists the correct answer in its top 10 possibilities up to 73 percent of the time, researchers found in a preliminary study. Developed at the parent company of Facebook, Meta, the AI could eventually be used to help thousands of people around the world unable to communicate through speech, typing, or gestures, researchers report on August 25 at arXiv.org. That includes many patients in minimally conscious, locked-in, or “vegetative states” which is now generally known as unresponsive wakefulness syndrome. The tool uses physical differences in brain structure, brain activity, the context of the activity being done, and speech patterns to guess what someone is trying to say. While the machine itself is expensive and the study hadn’t nailed down a more comprehensive definition of language decoding the AI seems promising. There are also many concerns for dealing with patients who are non-verbal and decoding what they are thinking so we can understand them. Even so, there is a growing hope to help people with speech problems or those who can’t speak for themselves to have a voice.