All Science stories

Finding the right antidepressant with genetic testing

The problem: Prescribing antidepressants involves a bit of trial and error: Between 40% and 60% of patients don’t respond to the first antidepressant they’re prescribed. Studies have shown that genetics account for up to 42% of variations in how patients with similar symptoms respond differently to the same medication.

Recruiting viruses to cut carbon emissions

The problem: Climate change is thawing out permafrost. When the preserved microbes within the permafrost wake up, they begin breaking down the dead plant matter around them, releasing more carbon into the atmosphere.

The solution: Scientists at Ohio State University are researching if viruses could stop the vicious cycle.

Quantum bits that correct their own errors

Quantum computers run a lot of calculations simultaneously, which results in a lot of errors. One way to correct errors is to add more qubits — the quantum version of a bit — that essentially check each other’s work. But the most advanced quantum computers have roughly 1,000 qubits, a fraction of what’s needed to reduce errors enough for quantum computers to be effective.

What’s larger than the Large Hadron Collider?

The problem: CERN’s Large Hadron Collider hasn’t made many major discoveries since the Higgs boson in 2012. One breakthrough many scientists were hoping for was in the area of dark matter and dark energy, which could explain the behaviour of the 95% of the universe that isn’t covered by existing theories of physics.

The solution: Build a bigger particle collider. 

NASA builds a new tool to pop open a jar of space dirt

Lids get stuck. Sometimes it’s a pickle jar, and sometimes it’s a container full of dust from a 4.5 billion-year-old asteroid. That latter is what NASA faced last fall when it recovered the canister from a space rock named Bennu. NASA uses sterile environments so samples don’t get contaminated by Earth air, but none of the tools approved for the locked-down boxes could remove the final two of 35 fasteners.

So...why are they putting chips in people's brains?

If you don’t trust Elon Musk to stick stuff into your brain, the good news is he’s not your only option.

What happened: Musk’s Neuralink implanted its first chip into a human brain. The company has not made a formal announcement, but Musk posted on X that the recipient is “recovering well” with “promising neuron spike detection,” presumably referring to activity between the cells that send messages throughout the body.

Programming mRNA to seek and destroy cancer

COVID-19 vaccines gave mRNA research a big boost, and scientists have been exploring how it might be used to prevent and treat other diseases. But that’s trickier when it comes to cancer: things that kill cancer cells are generally pretty bad for all cells, and your fatty tissues deliver RNA throughout your body, instead of targeting it.

mRNA unlocks potential cancer treatment

Taking a page out of a vaccine developer’s playbook, a Boston biotech company is making major strides towards a breakthrough cancer treatment. 

Driving the news: More than three years after the messenger RNA (mRNA) molecule gained popularity for its role in COVID-19 vaccines, Strand Therapeutics will test a cancer-fighting mRNA treatment that can more precisely treat cancerous tumours, according to WIRED.

Using AI and quantum computing to invent new batteries

Vehicle and device batteries are driving huge demand for lithium. Since it is a non-renewable resource, scientists are looking for ways to replace or use less lithium, but with so many combinations of materials, it can be hard to know what’s worth exploring.

Scientists make breakthrough on antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Bacteria can naturally develop antibiotic resistance, but it’s thought that a spike in these strains is caused by overuse of antibiotics, as well as misuse by patients. But a team of researchers was able to show that a new class of antibiotics was able to break through that protection.