Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Medicine of the (near) future, I hope

Here’s a neat little item about a complicated therapy involving gene therapy to reverse some kinds of paralysis.

The animals regained use of their front paws after the gene therapy had been switched on for two months.

Dr Emily Burnside, one of the researchers, said: “The rats were able to accurately reach and grasp sugar pellets.

“We also found a dramatic increase in activity in the spinal cord of the rats, suggesting that new connections had been made in the networks of nerve cells.”

The researchers hope their approach will work for people injured in car crashes or falls.

Prof Elizabeth Bradbury told the BBC: “We find this really exciting, recovery of this type of function, because for spinal injured patients their highest priority is to get their hand function back.

Here’s another that could potentially help lots of people: Scientists develop material that could regenerate dental enamel

[U]nlike other tissues of the body, enamel cannot regenerate once it is lost, which can lead to pain and tooth loss. These problems affect more than 50 per cent of the world’s population and so finding ways to recreate enamel has long been a major need in dentistry.

The study, published in Nature Communications, shows that this new approach can create materials with remarkable precision and order that look and behave like dental enamel.

Finally, not a futuristic story, but here’s a feel-good story I bet you wouldn’t see coming:

The city of Melbourne assigned trees email addresses so citizens could report problems. Instead, people wrote thousands of love letters to their favorite trees.

“My dearest Ulmus,” the message began.

“As I was leaving St. Mary’s College today I was struck, not by a branch, but by your radiant beauty. You must get these messages all the time. You’re such an attractive tree.”

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