Wood Ants Make Defensive Cocktails Against Microbes Animals Chemistry 

Wood Ants Make Defensive Cocktails Against Microbes

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore Wood ants are natural mixologists, concocting their own defensive cocktails, a new study finds. They protect themselves from infection by mixing self-produced acid with resin collected from trees to create a potent antimicrobial. “This is an unusual case where insects combine plant defenses with their own chemical defenses to produce a potent antimicrobial substance,” says Michel Chapuisat, of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, who is the senior author of the study. We sanitize our homes using cleaners such as alcohol and bleach to protect ourselves from…

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Dichroa febrifuga, a medicinal herb that has been historically used to treat fever, is named for its active ingredient, febrifugine. By Keith Edkins (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons Biology Chemistry 

Malaria Drugs: Herb Garden to Medicine Cabinet

By Bill Sullivan, PhD @wjsullivan We live on a lush planet filled with over 290,000 species of plants. Herbs are a particular type of plant that lack a wooden stem, and humans have often sampled them in hopes of finding a new food or flavoring. Sometimes ingestion of an herb produces unwanted effects, such as death. But other herbs have medicinal qualities, such as the alleviation of fever.  An Old and New Malaria Drug Dichroa febrifuga is one of the most important herbs in traditional Chinese medicine, used for millennia…

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Trojan horse cancer treatment Biology Chemistry Health 

New Cancer Treatment from a DNA “Trojan Horse”

By Emily Rhode @riseandsci In ancient Greece, a clever disguise and a bit of greed was all it took to defeat the city of Troy. Now, scientists from Ohio State University have taken a trick straight out of Greek mythology to win an important battle against drug resistance in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cancer cells. The scientists crafted a cancer-fighting Trojan horse by making folded DNA and filling the tiny pockets with anti-cancer drugs. The DNA Trojan horse was then able to sneak into drug-resistant cancer cells and unload its…

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coffee Animals Biology Chemistry 

Living on Nothing but Coffee?

By Bill Sullivan, Ph.D. @wjsullivan Can you imagine living on nothing but coffee? Some of us would probably like to at times, if not for the taste then for the buzz the caffeine brings. Caffeine makes us feel more alert because it structurally resembles a molecule called adenosine. The longer we stay awake, the more adenosine accumulates in our brains, binding to the receptors that induce the sleepy feeling we all get after a long day. Adenosine is the body’s way of signaling to the brain that it has had…

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