Okay, here’s a roundup of a few things that caught my eye over the past week:
… [A]fter decades of research, the fabled cure for the common cold could be on its way in the form of a nasal spray called SynGEM, which is the brainchild of a Dutch biotechnology company. … After successful tests on mice and rats (yes, they get colds too), 36 human volunteers at London’s Imperial College are now trying out the spray, which is hoped to kill off a cold before you’ve even had time to buy that family pack of tissues. … “It’s very hard to find a vaccine that would work against all or a treatment that could work for them all. But I think we’re on the verge of it, I really do,” Peter Openshaw, Professor of Experimental Medicine at Imperial College London, told the Daily Mail.
I’ll believe it when I see it! But it would be very nice if this panned out.
About two-thirds of patients enrolled in a UAB study of marijuana-derived Cannabidiol oil for seizure treatment experienced major improvements in symptoms, according to a presentation this weekend at the annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society. … After one month of treatment with the oil, which contains traces of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, 68 percent of patients experienced a 25 percent reduction in the frequency of seizures, according to a press release. More than half of them experienced more than a 50 percent reduction in the number of seizures and 9 percent became seizure free over the course of the study.
I hope this pans out, too!
Steve Jacobsen, a researcher at Northwestern University in Illinois, said a part of Earth’s core called the mantle could contain several oceans’ worth of water. .. The underground oceans are unlikely to resemble any lakes or seas found on the surface of the planet, with the water bound within rocks which soak up the liquid like a sponge. This means it is unlikely to be home to any large organisms that are known to science. However, tiny microbes might just be able to survive in the hidden oceans. … Some scientists believe there is a “biotic fringe” in Earth’s core, which Live Science described as a “boundary where current knowledge predicts that no living cells persist” because the temperature and pressure are too high.
Well, it’s not like discovering REAL aliens. But it would be cool! Given the extremophile bacteria we already know about, I wouldn’t bet against this.
Europe has been trying to land on Mars since 2003, but none of the attempts have gone exactly according to plan. A couple of months ago, the ExoMars Schiaparelli landing demonstrator crashed onto the planet’s surface, losing contact with its mothership. However, the mission was partially successful, providing information that will enable Europe and Russia to land its ExoMars rover on the Red Planet in 2021. … Now European research ministers have finally agreed to give the mission the outstanding €400m it needs to go ahead. With the best of human endeavour, we must learn, try again and not give up. As leader of the international Panoramic Camera team on the rover, which will among other things provide surface geological and atmospheric context for the mission, I am one of many scientists working very hard to make it work. PanCam is one of nine state-of-the-art instruments which will help us analyse subsurface samples.
Good luck to them!
And this last one is not “good news” or even exactly news, but it’s pretty snazzy: