September 17, 2012

Criminals Beware! Your Face Shape Can Be Determined Through DNA – The Daily Orbit

Criminals beware…the boys in blue may soon have a new DNA tool!

High monkeys providing high expectations for a new brain implant!

And runway brides, why more women should run?

All that and more on today’s Daily Orbit!

Hello Orbiters, I’m Emerald Robinson. Welcome to the Daily Orbit! So we’ve talked about the building blocks of life in space, well now NASA engineers are literally working on building “blocks” from alien soil. Scientists are currently testing a method that would use regolith, or extraterrestrial soil, to create a heat shield for returning spacecraft—instead of having to bring one along with them.  NASA says that by eliminating a heavy heat shield at take-off,  astronauts may be able to bring additional equipment or supplies.  This new method would use a robotic device to mix the regolith with a rubbery substance into a mold OR heat a large disc of regolith until the soil elements fuse together.  Tests have been successful so far, but researchers say on a readiness scale of 1 to 9, they’re still at 1. Hey that’s a start!

And criminals beware, your DNA will soon show your face! Researchers have discovered five genes that determine facial shapes.  A research team in the Netherlands looked at 10,000 individuals using MRI, portrait photographs, and a genome-wide association study to search for small variations that occur more frequently in people with certain facial types.  Scientists say in time they may be able to draw a phantom portrait of an individual from their DNA– which could prove very useful in forensic investigations.  Bad boys, bad boys what’cha going to do when they come for you?

No please don’t make me get a shot, I’ll do anything not to have to take it, doctor!  Sound familiar?  Well, if you’re one of those patients who’d risk having the flu to avoid a shot, you’ll be very excited about current research for a new pain free laser -based injection.  This new technology uses a special laser to propel a precise stream of medicine with just the right amount of force, leaving no tissue damage.  Researchers say the jet pressure is higher than the skin’s tensile strength, so the medicine can smoothly penetrate to the right depth without any splash back.  So maybe more people will brave the dreaded flu shot when this laser becomes widely available.

And what do monkeys, cocaine, and improved brain function have in common? Scientists are developing an implant that may help regain lost decision making processes. Using rhesus monkeys, a team of scientists implanted a cybernetic chip into two brain layers important in the decision-making process.  After repeatedly administering cocaine to the monkeys to significantly diminish their decision-making ability, scientists used electrodes from the implant to manipulate the animals neural activity.  The electrodes restored the monkeys memory above the original baseline.  Researchers hope these implants could one day help recover brain functions in victims of dementia or brain trauma.  I just keep seeing jacked-up monkeys partying in my head!

And if you’re having jitters about saying “I do”, then maybe you should just say “I don’t.”  New research suggests that cold feet may predict later divorce.   Psychologists  at UCLA studied 232 newlywed couples over a period of four years. The study found that women who experienced pre-wedding uncertainty described their marriages as less-satisfying and were more likely to end up in a divorce.  Newlywed wives who had doubts before marriage were 2 1/2 times more likely to divorce four years later than those without doubts. Over the course of the study, only 10% of marriages dissolved when it was the man who had pre-wedding jitters as opposed to 18% when the bride was unsure.  So ladies, if you’re not feeling sure when you hear those wedding bells maybe you should take Julia Roberts cue and RUN.

Speaking of running, that’s it for today’s Daily Orbit.  I’m out of here!

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