World's first 3D-printed jet engines, and more science news

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 March, 2015, 6:58am
UPDATED : Monday, 02 March, 2015, 12:10pm

'Love hormone' helps keep drunk rats sober

Love may be intoxicating. But when mixed with alcohol, the hormone that spurs love in humans seems to have the opposite effect: It's downright sobering. A new study by researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia suggests that oxytocin might reduce addictive cravings, including in alcoholism. Oxytocin surges in new mothers, inducing childbirth and breastfeeding. In partnered men, it reduces straying behaviour. It also consistently enhances trust and promotes sociability and fosters nurturing behaviour. But new research finds that, in male rats at least, oxytocin also blunts the inebriating effects of alcohol. It does so by suppressing the activity of receptors in the brain, the study found. TNS


Gut problem? Maybe your food is to blame

Common additives in ice cream, margarine, packaged bread and many processed foods may promote the inflammatory bowel diseases, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, as well as a group of obesity-related conditions, scientists say. In mice, emulsifiers - chemicals added to many food products to improve texture and extend shelf life - can change the species composition of gut bacteria and induce intestinal inflammation. Georgia State University microbiologist Benoit Chassaing, whose study appeared in the journal Nature, said the effects seen in mice "may be observed in humans as well". Reuters


Australia makes first 3D-printed jet engines

Australian researchers have created two jet engines using 3D printing in what is described as a world first that has attracted the interest of major manufacturers and engineering firms. The machines - produced using the template of a gas-turbine engine from French aircraft engine maker Safran, which supplies Airbus and Boeing - demonstrated the potential 3D printing had to produce high-quality products, researchers from Melbourne's Monash University said. "The significance... is the recognition by major manufacturers and engineering companies like Safran and Airbus that the material you can print using 3D metal printing is of aircraft quality," the university's Ian Smith said. 3D printing employs lasers to "print" objects from metals or plastics according to a digital design. AFP