Commodities: Strange But True: Beery Comet, Hair-Raising Finding, Poop & Naked Mole Rats

Sat Oct 24 22:47:00 2015 EDT


(RTTNews) - Science is exciting, and there's a lot going on in the field of scientific research. From a surprising discovery of alcohol in a comet to a bizarre finding about naked mole rats, here are some interesting news stories that made headlines this week.

Sweetest and Booziest Comet

Comet Lovejoy, in keeping with its name, has been found to release large amounts of ethyl alcohol as well as glycolaldehyde, a type of sugar, into space, according to a team led by Nicolas Biver of the Paris Observatory, France. This is for the first time ethyl alcohol, the same type in alcoholic beverages, has been observed in a comet, according to the researchers who observed Lovejoy's atmosphere when it passed closest to the sun on January 30, 2015.

Want to know how much alcohol Lovejoy, formally cataloged as *C/2014 Q2, releases?

It releases as much alcohol as in at least 500 bottles of wine every second during its peak activity, said Nicolas Biver.

*C/2014 Q2 is the fifth comet to have been discovered by Terry Lovejoy, an Australian amateur astronomer and astrophotographer, in 2014.

Oestrogen-filled Poop And Naked Mole Rats' Parenting Behavior...

There are a number of interesting facts about naked mole rats, which are natives to East Africa.

That they eat their poop, don't feel pain, never get cancer despite having a 30-year lifespan and are eusocial mammals, leading a specialized lifestyle of colony living - with 1 queen, 1 to 3 breeding males and subordinates, which engage mainly in colony maintenance and caring for the queen's litter of pups - are some already known facts about these underground animals.

New research has found that the parenting behavior of subordinate naked mole rats is boosted when they feed on the faeces of the queen mole rat, which contains oestrogen compound oestradiol, when the queen is pregnant.

The findings are published in Nature, an international weekly journal of science.

A Hair-raising Finding...

Two FDA-approved oral drugs - Jakafi and Xeljanz - that inhibit the Janus kinase (JAK) family of enzymes, promoted rapid and robust hair growth in mice when directly applied to the skin, according to a study conducted by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center.

Jakafi is approved for bone marrow disease while Xeljanz is approved for rheumatoid arthritis.

In the study, mice treated topically for five days with one of the above two JAK inhibitors sprouted new hair within 10 days. However, there was no new hair growth on untreated control mice in the same time period.

The hair growth was possible as JAK inhibitors when applied on the skin were able to rapidly awaken the resting hair follicles out of dormancy, according to the researchers.

... So can the JAK inhibitors be used to restore hair growth in male or female pattern baldness?

Well, no definitive conclusions can be drawn at this point as more research is needed.

Deadly Clothes...

A number of toxic chemicals are released into our environment by industries like distilleries, sugar, textile, electroplating, pesticides and pharmaceuticals, to name a few. That is a known fact.

But did you know that there is a load of toxic chemicals in the clothes we wear too?

An analysis of 60 garments from Swedish and international clothing chains has tentatively identified over 100 chemicals and confirmed more than 40. The hazards posed by the identified substances were primarily skin sensitization and irritation, but also reproduction toxicity, and proved or suspected carcinogenicity, according to Giovanna Luongo, PhD in Analytical Chemistry at Stockholm University.

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