Scientists Transform Skin Cells into Functioning Liver Cells

The power of regenerative medicine now allows scientists to transform skin cells into cells that closely resemble heart cells, pancreas cells and even neurons. However, a method to generate cells that are fully mature – a crucial prerequisite for life-saving therapies – has proven far more difficult.

But now, scientists at the Gladstone Institutes and UC San Francisco have made an important breakthrough: they have discovered a way to transform skin cells into mature, fully functioning liver cells that flourish on their own, even after being transplanted into laboratory animals modified to mimic liver failure.

digital illustration of liver inside a man
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The Intriguing Link Between Spicy Food and a Longer Life

People who love chili peppers might be eating their way to a longer life, according to a new study published in The BMJ.

“We know something about the beneficial effects of spicy foods basically from animal studies and very small-sized human studies,” says study author Lu Qi, associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. Some of those preliminary studies have found that spicy food and their active components—like capsaicin, the compound found in chili peppers—might lower inflammation, improve metabolic status and have a positive effect on gut bacteria and weight, he says.
Spicy chili, Salento, Apulia, Italy in March 2014.
via The Intriguing Link Between Spicy Food and a Longer Life | TIME.

Colorectal cancer: A disease of development

Across the globe, as economies grow, so too does the incidence of colorectal cancer. Lifestyle changes are to blame, and in this Nature Video we see how increases in colorectal cancer are affecting many countries around the world, and what this could mean in the future to a world that is still developing.

Memories More Accessible After a Good Night’s Sleep

Sleeping not only protects memories from being forgotten, it also makes them easier to access, according to new research from the University of Exeter and the Basque Centre for Cognition, Brain and Language. The findings suggest that after sleep we are more likely to recall facts which we could not remember while still awake.This image shows a man sleeping with his brain exposed.
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Neuroscience: Crammed with connections

]In a piece of brain tissue smaller than a dust mite, there are thousands of brain cell branches and connections. Researchers from Harvard University in Boston, MA have mapped them all in a new study appearing in Cell. They find some unexpected insights about how the cells talk to each other.