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3Episodes
Category: Science & Medicine

A fun take on the latest science news with enough data to sink your teeth into. Lagrange Point goes beyond the glossy summary and gets in depth with the research from across the world.

January 28, 2019

Episode 311 - Stellar deaths, black holes, white dwarf accomplices and crystal stars

What happens when a star dies? We can investigate what is left behind at the scene of the crime to piece together the final moments of a star. Some become white dwarfs so cold and cool they crystallize with thick oxygen and carbon skins. Others collapse in on themselves becoming supernova in a catastrophic core collapse. But sometimes in complex binary systems there is an accomplice that pushes the star over the edge, into supernova territory. Plus super massive black holes can devour passing stars, but sometimes they have a little help.

  1. Pier-Emmanuel Tremblay, Gilles Fontaine, Nicola Pietro Gentile Fusillo, Bart H. Dunlap, Boris T. Gänsicke, Mark A. Hollands, J. J. Hermes, Thomas R. Marsh, Elena Cukanovaite, Tim Cunningham. Core crystallization and pile-up in the cooling sequence of evolving white dwarfs. Nature, 2019; 565 (7738): 202 DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0791-x
  2. Graham ML et al. Delayed Circumstellar Interaction for Type Ia SN 2015cp Revealed by an HST Ultraviolet Imaging Survey. The Astrophysical Journal, 2019
  3. Dheeraj R. Pasham, Ronald A. Remillard, P. Chris Fragile, Alessia Franchini, Nicholas C. Stone, Giuseppe Lodato, Jeroen Homan, Deepto Chakrabarty, Frederick K. Baganoff, James F. Steiner, Eric R. Coughlin, Nishanth R. Pasham. A loud quasi-periodic oscillation after a star is disrupted by a massive black hole. Science, Jan. 9, 2019; DOI: 10.1126/science.aar7480
January 21, 2019

Episode 310 - Glial cells and Neurons, putting a stop to degenerative neurological conditions

A brain injury like a stroke or a neuro degenerative condition like Huntingdon's or Parkinson’s disease can be a long and arduous ordeal. It can be difficult to diagnose and there are no clear treatments, but scientists are working hard to solve it. We find out about the important role Glial cells play in supporting neurons and how things can go wrong if they are disrupted. We also find out about ways to use the abundance of Glial cells to make new neurons. Plus we get a better understanding of cell death and repair and the roll proteins can play in slowing down those processes to give your brain time to recover.

  1. Mikhail Osipovitch, Andrea Asenjo Martinez, John N. Mariani, Adam Cornwell, Simrat Dhaliwal, Lisa Zou, Devin Chandler-Militello, Su Wang, Xiaojie Li, Sarah-Jehanne Benraiss, Robert Agate, Andrea Lampp, Abdellatif Benraiss, Martha S. Windrem, Steven A. Goldman. Human ESC-Derived Chimeric Mouse Models of Huntington’s Disease Reveal Cell-Intrinsic Defects in Glial Progenitor Cell Differentiation. Cell Stem Cell, 2018; DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2018.11.010
  2. Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. (2018, December 20). Parkinson's disease protein buys time for cell repair. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 5, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181220080000.htm
  3. Penn State. (2018, November 5). New gene therapy reprograms brain glial cells into neurons. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 5, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181105122433.htm
January 14, 2019

Episode 309 - Mysterious signals from outside our galaxy!

Space is filled with incredibly strange objects, from black holes to neutron stars. In the right conditions these strange stellar objects create incredibly powerful radio bursts which give radio astronomers a treasure trove of data. From the WOW! Signal to Pulsars we recap the history of strange space signals, and we look at the modern hunt for Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) and how the CHIME observatory in Canada is shedding light on this mystery.

  1. CHIME FRB Collaboration. Observations of fast radio bursts at frequencies down to 400 megahertzNature, 2019 DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0867-7
  2. CHIME FRB Collaboration. A second source of repeating fast radio burstsNature, 2019 DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0864-x
  3. Mann, Adam (28 March 2017). "Core Concept: Unraveling the enigma of fast radio bursts"Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A114 (13): 3269–3271. Bibcode:2017PNAS..114.3269Mdoi:10.1073/pnas.1703512114PMC 5380068PMID 28351957.
January 7, 2019

Episode 308 - Farewell to phantom limb pain, and better prostheses

 Having a traumatic injury, serious infection or cancer is bad enough let alone if you have to have an amputation. But once that amputation has occurred how do you make life easier for the amputee? Prostheses are helpful, but they can require retraining your brain and lack the sense of touch. Plus phantom limb pain can make life painful and frustrating. This week we find out about surgical and biomedical treatments to help improve prostheses and give amputees better quality of life.

References:

  1. Bowen, J. B., Ruter, D., Wee, C., West, J., & Valerio, I. L. (2019). Targeted Muscle Reinnervation Technique in Below-Knee Amputation. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 143(1), 309-312. doi:10.1097/prs.0000000000005133
  2. Cheesborough, J., Smith, L., Kuiken, T., & Dumanian, G. (2015). Targeted Muscle Reinnervation and Advanced Prosthetic Arms. Seminars in Plastic Surgery, 29(01), 062-072. doi:10.1055/s-0035-1544166
  3. Nathanaël Jarrassé, Etienne de Montalivet, Florian Richer, Caroline Nicol, Amélie Touillet, Noël Martinet, Jean Paysant, Jozina B. de Graaf. Phantom-Mobility-Based Prosthesis Control in Transhumeral Amputees Without Surgical Reinnervation: A Preliminary Study. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, 2018; 6 DOI: 10.3389/fbioe.2018.00164
  4. Arizona State University. (2018, November 7). New prosthetic hand system allows user to 'feel' again: The Neural-Enabled Prosthetic Hand (NEPH) system marks first time bidirectional prosthesis can be used in home setting. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 5, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181107093757.htm