Hidden Galaxies Found, Long-Term Impact of CO2 Emissions, Meditation/Exercise Cuts Depression

Posted February 10th, 2016 at 4:00 pm (UTC-5)
2 comments

This is an artist's impression of the galaxies found in the "Zone of Avoidance" hidden behind the Milky Way. (ICRAR)

This is an artist’s impression of the galaxies found in the “Zone of Avoidance” hidden behind the Milky Way. (ICRAR)

Astronomers Spot Never Before Seen Galaxies behind Milky Way

An international team of scientists was able to find hundreds of nearby galaxies that had been hidden by the dust and stars of the Milky Way galaxy and were able to gain new insight into a mysterious astronomical anomaly some 150 million light years away.

Writing in a new study published by the Astronomical Journal, the group says a third of the 883 galaxies they found behind our home galaxy have never been seen before.

“The Milky Way is very beautiful of course and it’s very interesting to study our own galaxy but it completely blocks out the view of the more distant galaxies behind it,” according to study lead author Professor Lister Staveley-Smith, from the University of Western Australia, as quoted in a press release.

The scientists say their discovery may also help explain the Great Attractor, which is described as a region of space that seems to be pulling ours and hundreds of thousands of other galaxies towards it with a gravitational force that’s tens of thousands of times more powerful than that of the Milky Way.

This visualization shows a running five-year average global temperature, as compared to a baseline average global temperature from 1951-1980. (NASA GISS)

This visualization shows a running five-year average global temperature, as compared to a baseline average global temperature from 1951-1980. (NASA GISS)

Focus Needed on Long Term Effects of Climate Change

A group of scientists have written a new analysis in the journal Nature Climate Change that examines the long term impacts of carbon emission and climate change.

Peter Clark, an Oregon State University paleoclimatologist, the lead author of the article, says that the carbon being emitted into the atmosphere today will remain there for thousands of years.

“How much climate change will occur as a result of an increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is not a short-term question, it’s a long-term question,” Clark said to VOA Science World.

Considering the long time scales of the carbon cycle and of climate change, the analysis says that the target must be zero – or even negative carbon emissions – as soon as possible.

Cross section of the human liver. (Department of Histology, Jagiellonian University Medical College)

Cross section of the human liver. (Department of Histology, Jagiellonian University Medical College)

Alcohol Allows Influx of Bad Bacteria Into Liver

Scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, who conducted research with mice and laboratory samples, have found that not only can alcohol directly damage liver cells but it can also cause further harm by allowing intestinal bacteria into the liver.

Writing in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, the scientists say that the bacterial infestation can promote alcohol liver disease.

“Alcohol appears to impair the body’s ability to keep microbes in check,” said the study’s senior author Bernd Schnabl, MD, at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “When those barriers breakdown, bacteria that don’t normally colonize the liver end up there. Strategies to restore the body’s defenses might help us treat the disease.”

The researchers found that the absence of an antimicrobial gene called REG3G can increase the development of alcohol-induced liver disease.

In their experiments, the researchers found that the REG3G gene in mice safeguarded them from alcoholic fatty liver disease, a disorder that can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, a disease that replaces healthy tissue with scar tissue and can often be fatal.

Two Yoga class participants assume a cross-legged, palms up meditation position. (CDC/Creative Commons)

Two Yoga class participants assume a cross-legged, palms up meditation position. (CDC/Creative Commons)

Mind and Body Exercise Can Decrease Depression

A new study from researchers at Rutgers University in New Jersey finds that a combination of meditation and aerobic exercise can help reduce depression.

A group of male and female student volunteers, some with a diagnosis of depression and others who were mentally healthy, completed a twice weekly eight week program that included a half-hour of focused attention meditation, followed by a half-hour of aerobic exercise.

Published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, the study found a specially designed combination of mental and physical training (MAP) reduced the symptoms of depression in the student volunteer group by 40 percent.

Along with its work with the student volunteers, the researchers provided the same MAP training to young and formerly homeless mothers who lived at a residential treatment facility.

According the researchers, these women initially displayed symptoms of severe depression and high anxiety levels.

But after eight weeks of mind/body training, they said that their depression and anxiety had lessened, they felt more motivated, and were able to have a more positive focus on their lives.

Rick Pantaleo
Rick Pantaleo maintains the Science World blog and writes stories for VOA’s web and radio on a variety of science, technology and health topics. He also occasionally appears on various VOA programs to talk about the latest scientific news. Rick joined VOA in 1992 after a 20 year career in commercial broadcasting.

2 responses to “Hidden Galaxies Found, Long-Term Impact of CO2 Emissions, Meditation/Exercise Cuts Depression”

  1. […] Hidden Galaxies Found, Long-Term Impact of CO2 Emissions, Meditation/Exercise … An international team of scientists was able to find hundreds of nearby galaxies that had been hidden by the dust and stars of the Milky Way galaxy and were able to gain new insight into a mysterious astronomical anomaly some 150 million light years away. Read more on Voice of America (blog) […]

  2. Donald Frank says:

    We don’t have enough solid organs for transplantation; not enough kidneys, livers, hearts, lungs. When you get a liver and you have three people who need it, who should get it? We tried to come up with an ethically defensible answer. Because we have to choose.