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New research published published online in Cell Reports on December 12, 2013 (open access) with the nematode C. elegans suggests that combining mutants can lead to radical lifespan extension.

Scientists at the Buck Institute combined mutations in two pathways well known for lifespan extension and report a synergistic five-fold extension of longevity — these worms lived to the human equivalent of 400 to 500 years — introducing the possibility of combination therapy for aging and the maladies associated with it.

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A hand-held spectrometer pioneered by Toronto-based TellSpec that can determine exactly what is in the user’s food and display it on his or her smartphone.

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My end of 2013 post, fresh from the oven: Of course but Maybe, (a 2013 take in ten points)

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Researchers have discovered a cause of aging in mammals that may be reversible: a series of molecular events that enable communication inside cells between the nucleus and mitochondria.

As communication breaks down, aging accelerates. By administering a molecule naturally produced by the human body, scientists restored the communication network in older mice. Subsequent tissue samples showed key biological hallmarks that were comparable to those of much younger animals.

“The aging process we discovered is like a married couple — when they are young, they communicate well, but over time, living in close quarters for many years, communication breaks down,” said Harvard Medical School Professor of Genetics David Sinclair, senior author on the study. “And just like with a couple, restoring communication solved the problem.”

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Researchers in Germany have hijacked a natural mini-motor to do their miniscule medical work: the sperm.

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Building a motor small enough to move a single cell can be terribly tricky. That’s why researchers in Germany have decided to instead hijack a natural mini-motor: the sperm.

Why sperm, you ask? As described in New Scientist,

Sperm cells are an attractive option because they are harmless to the human body, do not require an external power source, and can swim through viscous liquids.

But sperm don’t inherently go where you want them to go. Thus the scientists used some clever nano-engineering to rein them in.

Scientists put bull sperm cells in a petri dish along with a couple dozen iron-titanium nanotubes. The tubes act like those woven fingertraps—sperm can swim into them but can’t back themselves out. Using magnets, scientists can then steer the swimmers in the direction of their choosing. It’s like a remote-control robot where the sperm start the engines and the researchers provide the navigation.

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The existence of the Higgs boson particle was confirmed, a strong case for human-caused climate change was released, and scientists analyzed the oldest-known human DNA

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From the confirmation of long-sought elementary particles to the discovery of a lost lake on Mars, 2013 has been an exciting year in science. But did it live up to expectations?

Researchers confirmed the existence of the Higgs boson particle in March, made a strong case for human-caused climate change in September and analyzed the oldest-known human DNA in December. They explored the site of a former lake on planet Mars, and speculated that perhaps fresh water still flows on the Red Planet.

Last year, LiveScience reached out to scientists in different fields and asked them for their science wishes for 2013. To find out if any of the advances of this year made those wishes come true, we re-contacted those same researchers. Here’s what they had to say.

 

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Is God Dying?: Scientific American

Posted: December 19, 2013 by Wildcat in Uncategorized

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The decline of religion and the rise of the “nones

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Since the early 20th century, with the rise of mass secular education and the diffusion of scientific knowledge through popular media, predictions of the deity’s demise have fallen short, and in some cases—such as in that of the U.S.—religiosity has actually increased. This ratio is changing. According to a 2013 survey of 14,000 people in 13 nations (Germany, France, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Israel, Canada, Brazil, India, South Korea, the U.K. and the U.S.) that was conducted by the German Bertelsmann Foundation for its Religion Monitor, there is both widespread approval for the separation of church and state, as well as a decline in religiosity over time and across generations.”

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