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National Institutes of Health (NIH)

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Economist

MIT scientists have found that silent synapses - a type of memory-forming synapse - are present in the adult brain, reports The Economist. The discovery of these silent synapses, explains Prof. Mark Harnett, “is a lever for us to get into understanding learning in adults and how potentially we can get access to make it not degrade over the course of aging or disease.”

Quanta Magazine

Researchers at MIT have found “the brain is not wired to transmit a sharp ‘stop’ command in the most direct or intuitive way,” reports Kevin Hartnett for Quanta Magazine. The brain “employs a more complicated signaling system based on principles of calculus,” writes Hartnett.

The Boston Globe

Researchers at MIT have developed new gene-editing technology that can move large sequences of DNA into the human genome, reports Ryan Cross for The Boston Globe. “The molecular tool gives scientists a new way to completely replace broken genes, paving the way to potential cures for diseases such as cystic fibrosis,” writes Cross.

Scientific American

MIT researchers have found that standard autism diagnostic tests could be “stymieing discovery of sex differences in autism,” reports Ingrid Wickelgren for Scientific American. “To qualify for the study, prospective participants had to take a standard activity-based assessment for autism to confirm their diagnosis,” says Wickelgren. “After testing, half of the 50 girls and women who would otherwise be eligible for the scientists’ study did not meet the test’s criteria for autism.”

US News & World Report

Researchers at MIT have found indoor humidity levels can influence the transmission of Covid-19, reports Dennis Thompson for US News & World Report. “We found that even when considering countries with very strong versus very weak Covid-19 mitigation policies, or wildly different outdoor conditions, indoor — rather than outdoor — relative humidity maintains an underlying strong and robust link with Covid-19 outcomes,” explains Prof. Lydia Bourouiba.

Fortune

MIT researchers have found that relative humidity “may be an important metric in influencing the transmission of Covid-19,” reports Sophie Mellor for Fortune, “Maintaining an indoor relative humidity between 40% and 60% – a Goldilocks climate, not too humid, not too dry – is associated with relatively lower rates of Covid-19 infections and deaths,” writes Mellor.

Time Magazine

A stamp-sized reusable ultrasound sticker developed by researchers in Prof. Xuanhe Zhao’s research group has been named one of the best inventions of 2022 by TIME. “Unlike stretchy existing ultrasound wearables, which sometimes produce distorted images, the new device’s stiff transducer array can record high-resolution video of deep internal organs (e.g. heart, lungs) over a two-day period,” writes Alison Van Houten.

CBS

Scientists at MIT have found that specific neurons in the human brain light up whenever we see images of food, reports Dr. Mallika Marshall for CBS Boston. “The researchers now want to explore how people’s responses to certain foods might differ depending on their personal preferences, likes and dislikes and past experiences,” Marshall.

TechCrunch

Researchers at MIT are working on a system that can track the development of Parkinson’s disease by monitoring a person’s gait speed, reports Kyle Wiggers and Devin Coldewey for TechCrunch. “The MIT Parkinson’s-tracking effort aims to help clinicians overcome challenges in treating the estimated 10 million people afflicted by the disease globally,” writes Wiggers and Coldewey.

Boston.com

Researchers from MIT and Harvard Medical School are investigating how exercise and high-fat diets can alter cells, genes and cellular pathways, reports Abby Patkin for Boston.com. “Their research could eventually help develop drugs that would mimic the effects of exercise and combat obesity,” explains Patkin.

WCVB

Researchers from MIT and Harvard Medical School have conducted a study to see how exercise and high-fat diets can impact cells, reports WCVB. The researchers “say the data could eventually be used to develop drugs that could help enhance or mimic the benefits of exercise,” writes WCVB.

NBC Boston

A new study by researchers from MIT and Harvard Medical School has helped identify the impact of exercise and high-fat diets on cells, reports Darren Botelho for NBC Boston 10. “Years from now, those researchers say the data could lead to a pill that would help not only with weight loss, but with the overall effect from exercise – a better wellbeing,” explains Botelho.

Boston 25 News

Prof. Manolis Kellis speaks with Boston 25 about his team’s work exploring the underlying mechanisms exploring how exercise influences weight loss, findings that could offer potential targets for drugs that could help to enhance or mimic the benefits of exercise. “Such an intervention would be a complete game changer and the reason for that is that the obesity epidemic has led to the U.S. having a decreased life span compared to all other developed countries,” says Kellis.

Smithsonian Magazine

MIT researchers have created a robotic pill that can safely penetrate the mucus barrier in the digestive tract to deliver drugs more efficiently, reports Margaret Osborne for Smithsonian Magazine. “The device’s textured surface clears away the mucus, and the rotating motion erodes the compartment with the drug payload, which slowly releases into the digestive tract,” explains Osborne.

New Scientist

New Scientist reporter Alex Wilkins writes that MIT researchers have developed a robotic pill that can propel itself through mucus in the intestines and could enable some injection-only medications to be taken orally. “The pill is 2.5-centimeters long and 1-centimeter wide – about the size of a large multivitamin ­– and encased in a gelatin capsule that dissolves in stomach acid,” writes Wilkins. “The pH in the lower intestine activates the motor, which is powered by a small battery.”