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4 new long-lived neurological proboscis insects discovered that lived 100 million years ago

In a study published in Cretaceous Research, a group of researchers from the Russian Academy of Sciences announces the discovery of four new species, and its four new genera, of extinct insects found fossilized in amber.

These are four insects with proboscis that fed by sucking from the first flowers of angiosperms almost 100 million years ago. They were found in pieces of amber from the Upper Cretaceous in northern Myanmar. The researchers included them in the group of Paradoxosisyrinae, a subfamily of sisirids (sisyridae).

According to Russian researchers, these insects used their proboscis to suck nectar from plants. However, in the past scientists had carried out in-depth studies of this organ of Paradoxosisyrinae, understanding that it was shorter than other species of insects, which led them to suck less nectar from the flowers and that most likely contributed to the evolutionary failure and to the extension of the neurotters (Neuroptera) to a long proboscis.

Precisely the discovery of these four new species of Paradoxosisyrinae in amber expands the knowledge we can now have of this group of insects and probably also corroborates the hypothesis described above. One of the species has been called Buratina truncate , in honor of Buratino, the Russian analogue of Pinocchio.

This flying insect was covered, like the other newly discovered species, with many hairs, a condition that is observed today in today’s pollinators. It is precisely these hairs that allow pollen grains to be transported with more agility.

However, precisely because of the problem described above related to the proboscis, the insects of the Paradoxosisyrinae group could suck nectar only from shallow flowers. The other three species classified are Sidorchukatia gracilisProtosiphoniella anthophila and Khobotun elephantinus.

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Deep learning allows us to identify blood cancer cells in milliseconds

A device capable of detecting cancer cells in seconds was developed by a group of researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles and NantWorks, a private US company.

The possibility of detecting cancer cells in the blood practically in real-time could allow them to be extracted in time, which would help prevent the spread of the disease.

The study, published in Nature Scientific Reports, explains how the technique that is based on two technologies works: artificial intelligence based on deep learning (deep learning), used to classify and generally analyze the data obtained, and time stretch (temporal extension) photonic.

The latter is an ultra-fast measurement technology invented by scientists from the Californian University that sees the use of ultra-short laser flashes to capture trillions of data points per second, a speed 1,000 times faster than today’s fastest microprocessors.

In addition to these two basic technologies, the method also uses a third technology called image flow cytometry. Cytometry is the science that measures the characteristics of cells and in flow cytometry of images these characteristics are measured by a laser for image acquisition while the cells themselves flow one at a time through a vector fluid.

Yueqin Li, a doctoral student and first author of the study, explains the system: “We optimized the design of the deep neural network to manage the large amounts of data created by our temporal extension cytometer, improving performance both the software and the tool.”

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Red wine facilitates bacterial diversification of the intestinal microbiome

A further study confirms the positive qualities of red wine. This time it’s a team of researchers at King’s College London who made the discovery.

In fact, researchers have found that those who regularly drink moderate amounts of red wine have a greater diversity regarding the intestinal microbiome, which in itself is a sign of better bowel health. They also found a link between red wine drinkers and lower levels of obesity and bad cholesterol.

The researchers analyzed the effects of beverages such as beer, cider, red or white wine and other alcohol on the intestinal microbiome. The dataset they analyzed was for 916 UK female twins. They discovered that those who drank red wine had a more diversified microbiome than those who drank white wine or other beverages.

The intestinal microbiome is one of the most important factors for human health and among those most analyzed at the research level. Even the slightest imbalances, for example between the amounts of “good” microbes compared to “bad” microbes, can lead to different pathologies, weight gain or high cholesterol.

The researchers found that regular consumers of red wine had a greater number of different bacterial species in their intestines than non-consumers of this drink. The researchers also considered various factors including age, weight, diet and socioeconomic status of the participants.

The reason, according to the researchers, is due to the polyphenols present in red wine, chemical substances, which among other things are also present in different types of vegetables and fruit, which show various beneficial properties, primarily antioxidants. These are substances that can act as “fuel” for bacteria within the body.

In any case, we speak of moderate quantities of wine, as Caroline Le Roy, first author of the study, well explains: “Although we observed an association between the consumption of red wine and the diversity of intestinal microbiota, drinking red wine rarely, for example once every two weeks, it seems to be sufficient to observe an effect. If today you have to choose an alcoholic beverage, red wine is the one to choose as it seems to potentially have a beneficial effect on you and your intestinal microbes, which in turn can also help [to manage] the weight and risk of diseases heart. However, it is advisable to consume alcohol in moderation.”

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Retinitis pigmentosa: augmented reality can help

Augmented reality could be used to facilitate the lives of people with sight problems. The peculiar characteristics of this new technology, in fact, can be used to improve mobility and to ensure that people with sight problems can navigate better in their environment.

This is what was stated by a group of researchers from the University of Southern California School of Medicine after analyzing various patients with retinitis pigmentosa, an eye disease that can cause significant vision problems. The results they obtained during the first experiments they performed with glasses adapted for augmented reality saw an improvement in the mobility of patients with this disease by 50%.

As Mark Humayun and Charlotte Ginsburg, two of the researchers who conducted the study, specify, this is a different approach than other attempts to exploit technologies such as augmented reality: the latter, in this case, is used to improve, not for replace, the natural senses. For example, glasses adapted to augmented reality can project different bright colors on the patient’s retina, colors that can correspond to obstacles of various kinds.

The same glasses can perform a complete rendering of the 3D structure of a room practically in real-time. The same rendering is translated into a semi-transparent colored visual overlay that highlights the edges and lines of potential obstacles with bright colors. The same technology, as reported in the press release, can already work on commercially available augmented reality devices.

During the experiments, patients with retinitis pigmentosa wore glasses for augmented reality, equipped with the aforementioned software, while they traveled a real path with obstacles. Analyzing the number of times the patients clashed with obstacles and the time taken to complete the pathway, the researchers noted that the patients who benefited from augmented reality enjoyed some improvement.

In particular, they had a 50% lower number of collisions against obstacles, a fairly clear improvement.

“Through the use of RA, we aim to improve the quality of life for visually impaired patients by increasing their confidence in performing basic tasks, ultimately enabling them to live a more independent life,” says Anastasios N. Angelopoulos, one of the researchers who participated in the study.