🧱 Cheap DNA Mixing, Promising Alzheimer’s Drug, Language Barrier in Science
LEGO robot revolutionises DNA mixing, breakthrough Alzheimer’s drug shows promise, and non-native English speakers struggle with reading scientific papers.
LEGO DNA Mixer
Researchers have found a way to use a LEGO robot as a gradient mixer to create DNA origami nanostructures. This ingenious innovation replaces expensive rate-zone centrifugation with off-the-shelf LEGO kits. Testing showed that the robot could mix and separate the required materials with the same efficiency as commercial versions.
An experimental drug, a monoclonal antibody called donanemab, can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Among patients who started taking it at the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s, 47 per cent had no disease progression after one year, compared with 29 per cent who took a placebo. Although the drug does not provide as much benefit to people at later stages, the results are very encouraging, according to neurologists.
Language Barrier for Researchers
Researchers whose first language is not English can spend twice as long reading an English-language scientific journal article as native speakers. For a PhD student working on their thesis, that can mean spending up to 19 additional working days per year just reading papers. Non-native speakers also need more time to prepare conference presentations in English. Many of them avoid such commitments.
Hopefully, breakthroughs in natural language processing will help scientists around the world.
Illustrations: Elia Kabanov feat. MidJourney.