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Applying cold water is the best first approach for treating burns on children

Cooling the newly burned part of a child’s body with running water is the best method to reduce the chances of the following skin grafts and surgical procedures in general according to a new study published in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

This is very clearly stated by Bronwyn R. Griffin, a researcher at the Centre for Research on Children’s Health at the University of Queensland (Australia) who published the study: if a child gets burned, the first treatment should be 20 minutes of cold running water. The latter, in fact, proves to be more effective and its usefulness lasts up to three hours after the injury.

The study made use of data from children who suffered burns and who received, once they entered the emergency room, initial therapy with 20 or more minutes of cooling down with water. This initial approach reduced the likelihood of the need for a skin graft by more than 40%. In addition, this approach was linked to a reduction in the likelihood of hospitalization (by 35.8%) and a reduction in the likelihood of surgery (by 42.4%).

This is also important because healing more quickly involves a lower risk of scars remaining on the body.

The same study points out that the first treatment with running water was also better than the alternatives represented mostly by treatment with aloe, gel, butter or egg whites, for example.

“Whether you are a parent or a paramedic, it is highly recommended that you administer 20 minutes of cold running water to a child’s burn. This is the most effective way to reduce the severity of tissue damage from all thermal burns,” Griffin reports.

Bacteria engineered to save bees from viruses and pests

Bacteria genetically modified to protect bees from the deadly tendency that is characterizing them and that is worrying not only the scientific world. Even in the United States, honey bee colonies are decreasing so much that, during last winter, beekeepers had to give up more than 40% of their colonies, the highest rate since surveys began 13 years ago.

Nancy Moran, Professor of Integrative Biology, is working with colleagues to engineer particular strains of bacteria to be introduced into the bowels of honeybees. These bacteria act as “biological factories”: they trigger the immune system of bees to protect themselves from the deformed wing virus, one of the two main causes of their collapse together with varroa mites, parasites of bees. These two conditions very often come together: the more the mites feed on bees, the more the virus spreads, which makes bees increasingly vulnerable to various pathogens in the environment.

This is a method that is not as complex as it might appear: the engineering of bacteria in the laboratory, once the method is completed, is not at all prohibitive, just as it is not prohibitive to inoculate them into the body of bees by causing them to spread into colonies. The implication of such a method is direct, as Moran herself states. It is also the first time that the bee microbiome has been genetically engineered to improve bee health.

During the tests, bees with the engineered bacterium in their bodies showed a 36.5% higher probability of surviving after 10 days than control bees. At the same time, Varroa mites feeding on bees treated with the engineered bacterium were about 70% more likely to die by day 10 than mites feeding on control bees.

BTW, on the topic of bees, please check out this article:

Why Vegans Don’t Eat Honey (And You Shouldn’t Either)

New device uses waste electricity from plants and communicates via satellite

A device that collects electricity from cultivated fields and sends information about the same crops via low-power satellite signals was created by the Dutch company Plant-e and Lacuna Space. It is a project carried out as part of Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES), a project of the European Space Agency.

The device can provide information on soil and air humidity and temperature, important information for farmers to keep crops under control. The electricity needed to operate these devices comes from the fact that plants produce organic matter through photosynthesis.

This process, however, does not use all this organic matter to grow plants: part of it is stored in the soil through the roots. Right under the soil, bacteria break it down and release electrons as a sort of “waste.”

The device is capable of collecting these electrons to assimilate that small level of electrical current in order to function and transmit signals.

There is talk of a “new era in sustainable satellite communications,” as Rob Spurrett, the CEO of the company that created the device, defines it. He suggests that the device itself could be used in those regions of the world that are difficult to reach, where there is not a good supply of electricity and an Internet connection and where it is not possible to use solar energy.

New mesoSPIM microscopes promise visualization of brain tissue into individual neurons

New microscopes, known as mesoSPIM and able to recover the smallest details of brain tissue to visualize individual neurons, were presented in a study published in Nature Methods.

These new microscopes can provide new information about the organization of the brain and its structure, as well as that of the spinal cord, useful information for restoring movement after paralysis or for analyzing the neural networks involved in cognition in unprecedented ways.

MesoSPIM can create high-resolution images and are faster than existing microscopes. In addition, new open-source initiatives, bringing together the best European neuroscience laboratories sharing their skills, are spreading these new microscopes worldwide.

MesoSPIM are light-plate microscopes that optically “cut” the specimen with a beam of light. Through this optical section, it is possible to capture image fragments without damaging the sample and therefore without making real cuts on it.

These “slices” of images are then combined to reconstruct the three-dimensional image, which can be a whole organ or a small sample. In addition, MesoSPIM scans can perform scans much faster than standard light-plate microscopes and can also perform direct visualizations.


See also:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41592-019-0554-0

http://mesospim.org/

Image source:

http://mesospim.org/assets/images/design/mesoSPIM-V5-overview-1600.jpg