Weekend Links: Robotic Pants Helping Some People Walk Again, Artificially Grown Mini Brains and More

Weekend links is a collection of interesting science stories from across the web, curated by your friends at the Mass General Research Institute.

Robotic trousers could help disabled people walk again 

(Ioannis Dimitrios Zoulias writing for The Conversation)
Could the answer to mobility problems one day be as easy as pulling on a pair of trousers? A research team led by Bristol University professor Jonathan Rossiter has recently unveiled a prototype pair of robotic trousers that they hope could help some disabled people walk without other assistance. Read More

What Is Gymnema Sylvestre and Can It Kill Sugar Cravings?

(Monica Reinagel writing for Scientific American)
Sweet Defeat is a product that claims to lessen your desire—and therefore your consumption—of sweets. The active ingredient in Sweet Defeat is an herb called gymnema silvestre. It’s been used for centuries in traditional medicine as a treatment for diabetes. In fact, the Hindi name for this herb translates to “destroyer of sugar.” Read More

Simple blood test could read people’s internal clock

(Rosemary Braun writing for The Conversation)
In life, timing is everything. Your body’s internal clock – the circadian rhythm – regulates an enormous variety of processes: when you sleep and wake, when you’re hungry, when you’re most productive. Given its palpable effect on so much of our lives, it’s not surprising that it has an enormous impact on our health as well. The ability to measure one’s internal clock is vital to improving health and personalizing medicine. Read More

“Vampire facials” are massively popular. And — surprise! — potentially dangerous.

(Rebecca Jennings writing for Vox)
Vampire facials aren’t all that new, but you can pretty much narrow down their popularity in the past few years to one woman: Kim Kardashian. In 2013, she Instagrammed a rather shocking photo of her blood-soaked face as a way to promote that night’s episode of Kourtney & Kim Take Miami (RIP), leading to a barrage of news outlets to ask, “Uh, what’s the deal with this weird new skin care thing?” Read More

Why scientists are transplanting artificially grown “brains” into living brains

(Yewande Pearse writing for Massive Science)
“Mini brains,” or brain organoids, the latest development in stem cell technology, are organized 3D cell structures made up of different brain cells, which resemble the complexity of the human brain. Human stem cells can be grown into brain organoids in 40 days, offering neuroscientists an unprecedented opportunity to more accurately model human brain development and disease. Read More

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