The month of November 2021, which has just ended, can be chosen for the return to Europe as the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic, or for the discovery of the Omicron variant. But this is not the only news from last month. Hopes for treatments against depression or paralysis, preservation of nature, here are 10 reasons to have faith in science … and in the future.
5 good news that gives hope for health and nature conservation
Deep brain stimulation, a new way to treat depression?
A source of hope for patients with depression who do not respond to current treatments: at the University of California, San Francisco, researchers have implanted a device capable of detecting the brain wave responsible for the depressive disorder in a 36-year-old patient. By sending a directed electrical impulse to counteract this, the patient’s mood changed: “The first time in five years that I laughed and smiled,” he reports.
A new forest is born 20 km from Paris
Some 233,400 tree seedlings began to be planted on November 25 at the site of the future Pierrelaye-Bessancourt forest, about twenty kilometers northwest of Paris. Ultimately, this forest should have a million trees and have an area of 1,340 hectares, spread over seven municipalities in Val-d’Oise.
Ecuador expands the area of the Galapagos reserve
The second largest protected area in the world is expanding! The president of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, announced the expansion of almost 50% of the maritime reserve area of the Galapagos archipelago, on the sidelines of COP26 in Glasgow. This unique biodiversity reserve, established in 1998, covers an area of 130,000 km2. It will be increased by 60,000 km2.
Discovery of a new patient capable of eliminating HIV naturally
They are called “elite controllers”: those patients who can control and reduce the virus that causes AIDS without the need for antiviral treatment. Among them, a team from the American Ragon Institute, belonging to the Massachusetts General Hospital and MIT and Harvard universities, has just identified the second person who no longer has HIV genetic material, a 30-year-old Argentine diagnosed. 2013.
An exploit confirming that naturally shedding the virus is certainly rare but possible, giving researchers hope of replicating this immune control in other HIV-positive patients.
Drug for paralysis works in mice
“There is currently no treatment for spinal cord injury and it is a big problem,” says Professor Samuel Stupp of Northwestern University. In an article in the journal Science, his team presents a treatment that facilitates cell regeneration and prevents paralysis in mice whose spine has been cut, allowing them to walk again after four weeks of treatment. The researchers hope to submit it to the US Drug Agency, the FDA, next year to propose human trials.
5 great stories and great scientific discoveries
Veterinarian poses four artificial legs for martyred dog
This is the story of a miraculous woman: Monika, a Russian dog, was discovered dying in a forest in Krasnodar, in southwestern Russia, in December 2020. “No one knows what happened to her. Some volunteers believe that someone cut their legs out of cruelty, ”explains veterinarian Sergei Gorchkov. After an online mobilization and a 4,000 km flight, he was able to benefit from a complex operation: the placement of four titanium prostheses, and finally he regained mobility.
The vet Sergei Gorshkov and Monika after their operation. Credit: Rostislav NETISOV / AFP
The beneficial role of grandmothers proven by science
It’s official: grannies are good for you! A study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, examines the brains of grandmothers for the first time in the presence of photos of their grandchildren (or other children). The results show that they have a strong instinct to protect their grandchildren and that they are biologically well equipped to adhere to them.
A wolf observed in Calvados (Normandy), a novelty in 100 years
The animal was photographed on November 19 near Bayeux. “The experts of the loup-lynx network at national level told us that it was wolf without making any reservation”, on the basis of “mainly photos”, explains Nathalie Pfeiffer, coordinator of the network loup-lynx for Normandy in the ‘French Office of Biodiversity (OFB). “The presence of the wolf in Calvados is the first in more than a century,” said the prefecture.
The resurrection of wildlife on the Thames
In 1957, some areas were so polluted that the waters of the Thames were declared “biologically dead.” A report published by the Zoological Society of London concludes that it is home to many more animals today. In fact, researchers have identified thousands of seals, seahorses, waders and … three new species of sharks, one of which is in danger of extinction!
How our brain activities are synchronized when we share happy stories
A team from the East China Normal University found that when sharing happy stories, the brain activities of the narrator and the brain activities of the listener are strongly synchronized, more than when this emotional communication is based on sad or neutral content. Results to look out for the next time you share a passion, story, or … good news from this article with someone!
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