Short Science, November 2, 2014

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 November, 2014, 4:15am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 November, 2014, 4:15am

Mini-stomachs grown from stem cells

Scientists using stem cells have built the world's first "mini-stomachs" - tiny clusters of human gastric tissue that could spur research into cancer, ulcers and diabetes. Called gastric organoids, the lab-dish tissue comprises buds of cells that were "a miniature version of the stomach", the researchers said. They were made from stem cells which were coaxed into developing into gastric cells, according to the study, published in Nature. AFP


A sweet way to reverse memory loss

A component of chocolate has been found to reverse age-related memory loss in healthy adults aged 50-69. The rejuvenating effect can be traced to increased blood flow in a specific region of the brain, say the researchers. This is the first direct link that age-related forgetfulness is caused by changes in a specific part of the brain. It is also the first piece of evidence that memory decline can be reversed by a change in diet. The Guardian


Swiss firm's 'invisible' solar energy modules

A Swiss research and development company has discovered a way to make white solar energy modules that can blend with a building's "skin" to become virtually invisible. The Swiss Centre for Electronics and Microtechnology said the white solar modules had no visible cells and connections. The problem with the common blue-black solar modules, built to maximise sunlight absorption, is their "visually unaesthetic" appearance. AFP


Capturing asteroid 'a waste of money'

Nasa's goal to snag an asteroid is a distraction from the effort to send humans to Mars, a top asteroid expert says. In a commentary in the journal Nature, planetary scientist Richard Binzel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology calls Nasa's Asteroid Redirect Mission "a multibillion-dollar stunt". A National Research Council report in June offered multiple routes to get to Mars - including the asteroid-snagging plan. MCT