SciTech Briefs

Autism detection is quicker, easier

A team from the Children’s National Health System, along with other researchers, have discovered that head circumference and head tilting reflex can identify autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children between nine and 12 months old.

Previously, there has been no form of screening for children this young. Traditionally, ASD is identified in children between two and four years of age through the use of the M-CHAT questionnaire that must be completed by parents.

The new screening technique gives physicians a quick, easy way to determine which infants are at risk of developing ASD, which can lead to quicker treatment of the disease.

Source: Science Daily

Nanoparticles to deliver more drugs

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, including assistant professor of chemistry Jeremiah Johnson, have developed new methods for building nanoparticles so that they can deliver more drugs.

Previously, building a nanoparticle involved first designing the carrier particle and then attaching the drugs to be delivered. Since one drug could be integrated inside of the particle and another drug could be attached to the outside, these nanoparticles were only capable of delivering up to two drugs. Johnson’s method involves the design of building blocks that already contain drugs.

Source: Science Daily

Rat oesophagi are transplanted

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden along with Paolo Macchiarini, the director of the Advanced Center for Translational Regenerative Medicine at Karolinska Institutet, have developed a new method for transplanting oesophagi.

The team created the regenerated oesophagi by removing all the cells from the oesophagi of rats and leaving the scaffolding, which encompasses structure and chemical properties. Bone marrow cells were then added to the scaffolding and within three weeks were observed to adhere to the scaffold and show organ-specific characteristics. These tissues were used to replace segments of the esophagus in rats.

Source: Science Daily

New moon forming around Saturn

New studies led by Carl Murray of Queen Mary University of London suggest that a new moon might be forming around Saturn. Images taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on April 15, 2013 show an arc around the outside edge of Saturn’s rings that is 20 percent brighter than surrounding matter.

Scientists now believe the arc is a mass of ice, at most half a mile wide, that could be a new moon. The researchers named the mass Peggy and plan to study it in more detail in 2016 when Cassini is closer to the potential moon.

Source: The Huffington Post