On 14 February, nine National University of Singapore (NUS) researchers hopped onboard a vessel to start a 37-day expedition to explore an understudied area nestled in the Pacific Ocean known as the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ). Flat and deep — reaching down between 4,000 to 6,000 metres below the surface — the CCZ is often referred to as an abyssal plain.
The CCZ is characterised by polymetallic nodule fields which contain commercially valuable metals such as manganese, cobalt, nickel, copper, and rare earth elements, formed over millions of years. The expedition is part of Keppel-NUS Corporate Laboratory’s research, and it was led by Keppel Corporation’s subsidiary, Ocean Mineral Singapore (OMS) - the only Singapore company awarded an exploration contract for polymetallic nodules by the International Seabed Authority. The team aimed to conduct environmental studies and surveys for the collection of these polymetallic nodule deposits in an environmentally friendly way. This is the second such expedition involving NUS researchers to CCZ.
Polymetallic nodules contain cobalt, copper, nickel, manganese and other valuable ores which are used in electronics and green technologies, such as electric cars, wind turbines and solar panels.Mr Aziz Merchant, Director of OMS, said, “Keppel is committed to sustainable urbanisation and we are pleased to partner NUS in conducting feasibility studies to ensure that deep-sea mineral collection can be conducted with minimal disruption to the environment.”
L’ultimo numero della rivista Research*eu è ora disponibile in formato PDF, accessibile e gratuito.
La biodiversità rende possibile la vita: ci nutre, fornisce innumerevoli benefici per la salute e offre addirittura molte opportunità di lavoro e crescita economica (turismo, tecnologie verdi, sforzi di conservazione, ecc.). Sia che si tratti di un immacolato litorale sabbioso dall’acqua chiara e cristallina, di una brughiera brontiana selvaggia e battuta dal vento, di una foresta pluviale tropicale che pullula di vita o addirittura del parco locale in fondo alla via, gli esseri umani vivono all’interno di una relazione simbiotica complessa e sempre più fragile con la natura e la biodiversità che ci circonda.
Prima che la COVID-19 scuotesse il mondo, la tutela della biodiversità, la conservazione e, ovviamente, i cambiamenti climatici erano costantemente al centro dell’agenda globale. Una volta terminata la crisi attuale, tali questioni riacquisteranno molto probabilmente rilevanza. Forse verranno alla luce anche nuovi punti di vista di dibattito e analisi su questi argomenti che non godevano prima di una così alta considerazione, perché senza alcun dubbio, quando si sarà depositato il polverone della crisi attuale, molti scienziati, responsabili politici e cittadini potrebbero tutti essere troppo contenti per discutere della misura in cui la nostra attuale relazione con l’ambiente naturale abbia contribuito all’aumento e alla proliferazione della pandemia.
Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) found quasi-periodic flickers in millimeter-waves from the center of the Milky Way, Sagittarius (Sgr) A*. The team interpreted these blinks to be due to the rotation of radio spots circling the supermassive black hole with an orbit radius smaller than that of Mercury. This is an interesting clue to investigate space-time with extreme gravity.
“It has been known that Sgr A* sometimes flares up in millimeter wavelength,” tells Yuhei Iwata, the lead author of the paper published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters and a graduate student at Keio University, Japan. “This time, using ALMA, we obtained high-quality data of radio-wave intensity variation of Sgr A* for 10 days, 70 minutes per day. Then we found two trends: quasi-periodic variations with a typical time scale of 30 minutes and hour-long slow variations.”
Astronomers presume that a supermassive black hole with a mass of 4 million suns is located at the center of Sgr A*. Flares of Sgr A* have been observed not only in millimeter wavelength, but also in infrared light and X-ray. However, the variations detected with ALMA are much smaller than the ones previously detected, and it is possible that these levels of small variations always occur in Sgr A*. The black hole itself does not produce any kind of emission. The source of the emission is the scorching gaseous disk around the black hole. The gas around the black hole does not go straight to the gravitational well, but it rotates around the black hole to form an accretion disk.
Uno studio firmato in collaborazione con esperti del Policlinico di Milano ha rivelato una differenza fondamentale tra tessuti sani e malati: si apre la strada a un possibile trattamento per contrastare la degenerazione dei muscoli distrofici
Nella distrofia muscolare i pazienti perdono progressivamente la capacità di utilizzare i muscoli e quindi di compiere i movimenti (persino quelli più elementari). Questo accade perché i muscoli danneggiati dalla malattia vanno incontro alla formazione di 'cicatrici' (fibrosi muscolare) che riducono l'elasticità e la capacità di contrarsi, e si riempiono di cellule adipose, vero e proprio grasso che si infiltra e a sua volta ostacola il movimento. Ora un nuovo studio ha scoperto che nelle persone sane esiste una popolazione di cellule del muscolo che impedisce l'accumulo di questo grasso: un risultato che migliora la conoscenza della patologia e che potrebbe aprire la strada a un possibile trattamento per le distrofie muscolari.
Zampa: “Il progetto ha l’obiettivo di contrastare la povertà educativa nel settore dell’apprendimento a distanza”
Apprendimento ed educazione a distanza: da queste due esigenze nasce il protocollo “CRESCERE SENZA DISTANZA. Cosa ci insegnano le esperienze dei ragazzi con patologie croniche sull’apprendimento a distanza”, siglato da Ministero della Salute, Ministero dell’Istruzione, Fondazione Zancan e Impresa Sociale ‘Con i bambini’.
Il Protocollo è rivolto a bambine e bambini ospedalizzati, e successivamente dimessi, che in questo periodo di emergenza sanitaria da Coronavirus e di sospensione delle attività didattiche hanno l’accresciuta necessità di una risposta efficace ai bisogni educativi. Costretti a recarsi in ospedale per le terapie ma al tempo stesso impediti a frequentare la scuola per l’obbligato distanziamento sociale, vivono una condizione che, di fatto, rischia di amplificare le differenze e le disuguaglianze nell’accesso all’istruzione e all’educazione. Dunque, una sofferenza doppia.
It is highly likely that children can transmit the new coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, but several factors suggest that children are unlikely to be the main drivers of the pandemic. Opening up schools and kindergartens is unlikely to impact COVID-19 mortality rates in older people, according to a systematic review that spanned 47 publications and was conducted by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. The paper is published in the scientific journal Acta Paediatrica.
Globally to date, there are around five million confirmed cases of COVID-19, and more than 300,000 deaths from the disease. Many countries have implemented lockdowns to stop the spread of the disease, and closed kindergartens and schools. Opening up schools and kindergartens raises questions about the role of children in COVID-19 transmission. Now, a paper published in Acta Paediatrica summarises the findings of a systematic literature review on the current knowledge of COVID-19 transmission in children.
The ongoing situation and school closures as result of Covid-19 have a number of different implications for the education sector. Dr Emily Mann and Dr Jackie Shinwell of Northumbria University’s Healthy Living Lab explored the impact of the coronavirus crisis in terms of learning loss in this blog for Schools North East.
Since the World Health Organisation declared the Covid-19 outbreak as a global pandemic on 11 March 2020, the UK government announced school closures for all children, with the exception of vulnerable children and children of key workers, from 20 March 2020 and introduced social distancing measures on 23 March 2020, to reduce the spread of the virus. Most children have now been at home for seven weeks, approximately the same length of time of the school summer holidays. The UK government has recently announced that schools may extend their opening to nursery, reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils in England from June 1st..
We acknowledge that the safeguarding of children and the health of children, teachers and all school staff are paramount, however we will not debate the public health considerations regarding the proposed reopening of schools. Instead, we will reflect on the impact of school closures, particularly for disadvantaged children, and, drawing on our research on holiday provision and summer learning loss, will consider the potential implications for research informed short-, mid- and long-term strategies to address this issue.
Hundreds of new links have been found between people’s DNA and the heart’s electrical activity, according to a study of almost 300,000 people led by researchers at Queen Mary University of London and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
The results could one day lead to advanced screening methods to discern who is at greatest risk of developing disease, and could help reveal new genetic targets for research and drug development. Over the past 10 years, researchers have identified many genetic factors that contribute to—or protect against—the onset of specific heart diseases. However, it has been difficult to find genetic factors associated with arrhythmias - one of the most common forms of heart disease where the heart beats abnormally.
The team of scientists from more than 140 institutions looked at data from 293,051 people across the world, studying their individual genomes and their measurements on an electrocardiogram - one of the oldest and most widely used heart diagnostic tests.
A new review discusses the findings from over 40 studies on coronavirus immunity and what they could mean for the Covid-19 pandemic.
Written by top UK virologists, the article discusses the existing knowledge about immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses, and how this could be used to inform virus control strategies. The review, which is free to read in the Journal of General Virology (JGV), collates the available scientific evidence in a number of key areas, including how long immunity to coronaviruses lasts and the prospect of antibody testing.
In the review, Professors Paul Kellam and Wendy Barclay from Imperial College London examine what is so far known about immunity to coronaviruses including SARS, MERS and the four strains of seasonal coronaviruses that circulate in humans every winter. The article goes on to suggest that SARS-CoV-2 could become the fifth seasonal coronavirus with epidemics of the virus occurring over the next several years.
Scientists from the UK, Europe and the USA, including experts from the University of Birmingham, have published a vitamin D consensus paper warning against high doses of vitamin D supplementation.
According to the study, there is currently insufficient scientific evidence to show vitamin D can be beneficial in preventing or treating Covid-19. Its authors advise that the population adhere to Public Health England guidance on supplementation.
Following unverified reports that high doses of vitamin D (higher than 4000IU/d) could reduce the risk of contracting Covid-19 and be used to successfully treat the virus, the new report published in the journal BMJ, Nutrition, Prevention and Health, investigated the current scientific evidence base on the vitamin and its use in treating infections. Vitamin D is a hormone, produced in the skin during exposure to sunlight, and helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, which are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.