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Revealed: Why smartphone batteries explode

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The entire internal working of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries that leads to their overheating and exploding, has finally been revealed by scientists, according to a report published by Nature communications.

According to scientists, understanding how Li-ion batteries fail and potentially cause a chain reaction is important for improving their design and make them safer to use and transport.

Speaking on the experiment to study the Lithium batteries, Donal Finegan from University College London (UCL) said, “We combined high energy synchrotron X-rays and thermal imaging to map changes to the internal structure and external temperature of two types of Li-ion batteries as we exposed them to extreme levels of heat.”

The scientists exposed the battery shells to temperatures in excess of 250 degrees Celsius, and then looked at the effects of gas pockets formation, venting and increasing temperatures on the layers inside two distinct commercial Li-ion batteries

The battery with an internal support remained largely intact up until the initiation of thermal runaway, at which point the copper material inside the cell melted indicating temperatures up to 1,000 degrees Celsius.

This heat spread from the inside to the outside of the battery causing thermal runaway.

In contrast, the battery without an internal support exploded causing the entire cap of the battery to detach and its contents to eject.

Prior to thermal runaway, the tightly packed core collapsed, increasing the risk of severe internal short circuits and damage to neighbouring objects.

“Hopefully from using our method, the design of safety features of batteries can be evaluated and improved,” said corresponding author Paul Shearing, also from UCL.

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New Target For Parkinson’s Therapy Identified

The study revealed that, inside cells, alpha-synuclein binds to mitochondria, where cardiolipin resides

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The reason that Parkinson’s disease develops is not known. Wikimedia commons

Researchers have discovered one of the factors behind nerve cell death in Parkinson’s disease, unlocking the potential for new treatment to slow the progression of this fatal neurodegenerative disorder.

The researchers found that cardiolipin — a molecule inside nerve cells — helps ensure that a protein called alpha-synuclein folds properly. Misfolding of this protein leads to protein deposits that are the hallmark of Parkinson’s disease.

“Identifying the crucial role cardiolipin plays in keeping these proteins functional means cardiolipin may represent a new target for the development of therapies against Parkinson’s disease,” said Scott Ryan, Professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.

“Currently there are no treatments that stop nerve cells from dying,” Ryan added.

ALSO READ: Testing Tears May Help In Early Diagnosis Of Parkinson’s Disease

These deposits are toxic to nerve cells that control voluntary movement. When too many of these deposits accumulate, nerve cells die, the researchers said.

For the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers used stem cells collected from people with the disease. The team studied how nerve cells try to cope with misfolded alpha-synuclein.

10 million people living worldwide suffer from Parkinson;s disease Pixabay
10 million people living worldwide suffer from Parkinson’s disease. Pixabay

“We thought if we can better understand how cells normally fold alpha-synuclein, we may be able to exploit that process to dissolve these aggregates and slow the spread of the disease,” Ryan said.

The study revealed that, inside cells, alpha-synuclein binds to mitochondria, where cardiolipin resides. Cells use mitochondria to generate energy and drive metabolism.

ALSO READ: Progression of Parkinson disease could be slowed with exercise

Normally, cardiolipin in mitochondria pulls synuclein out of toxic protein deposits and refolds it into a non-toxic shape, the researchers added.

The researchers found that, in people with Parkinson’s disease, this process is overwhelmed over time and mitochondria are ultimately destroyed.

“As a result, the cells slowly die. Based on this finding, we now have a better understanding of why nerve cells die in Parkinson’s disease and how we might be able to intervene,” the researchers noted. (IANS)

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Stem Cells May Help To Stay Strong In Old Age

For the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers investigated the number of mutations that accumulate in the muscle's stem cells (satellite cells)

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Stem cells
As we grow older, our muscular function declines. So, according to the researchers, this discovery may result in new medication to build stronger muscles even when in old age. Pixabay

Researchers have found how an unexpectedly high number of mutations in the stem cells of muscles impair cell regeneration.

For the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers investigated the number of mutations that accumulate in the muscle’s stem cells (satellite cells).

ALSO READ: Treating blindness with stem cell therapy

“What is most surprising is the high number of mutations. We have seen how a healthy 70-year-old has accumulated more than 1,000 mutations in each stem cell in the muscle, and that these mutations are not random but there are certain regions that are better protected,” said co-author Maria Eriksson, professor at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet.

Stem cells
The study was performed using single stem cells cultivated to provide sufficient DNA for whole genome sequencing. Pixabay

The mutations occur during natural cell division, and the regions that are protected are those that are important for the function or survival of the cells. Nonetheless, the researchers were able to identify that this protection declines with age.

ALSO READ: Scientists have grown Human Cells inside Pig Embryos with goal of growing Livers, other Human Organs in Animals

“We can demonstrate that this protection diminishes the older you become, indicating an impairment in the cell’s capacity to repair their DNA. And this is something we should be able to influence with new drugs,” said Eriksson.

“We achieved this in the skeletal muscle tissue, which is absolutely unique. We have also found that there is a very little overlap of mutations, despite the cells being located close to each other, representing an extremely complex mutational burden,” the researcher noted. (IANS)

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New Research Suggests Modern Apples Evolved from Kazakhstan 10,000 years ago

The birth of the modern apples ultimately led to 7,500 varieties of the fruit

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Silk Road
Modern Day Apples evolved from Kazakhstan. Wikimedia
  • The latest research suggests that the modern apples originated from Kazakhstan
  • The study was carried out by researchers from Boyce Thompson Institute in the United States
  • It was the genetic exchange from traders who used the Silk Road that the modern apples emerged in Kazakhstan

US, August 17, 2017: A new study suggests that the modern apples that are so crisp, yet so juicy, actually originated from Kazakhstan 10,000 years ago.

The study by researchers at Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) in the US reveal that during the back and forth traveling by traders on the Silk Road, the genetic exchange occurred that led to the emergence of modern day apples in Kazakhstan’s mountainous regions. Malus Domestica is the scientific name for our modern domesticated apples.

The Silk Road connected the East to the West. Hence, it led to an exposure of knowledge and ideas. Researchers hypothesize that this exchange of ideas resulted in the birth of the tasty Malus Domestica.

Lead Author of the study and Professor at Boyce Thompson Institute, Zhangjun Fei, explains his team’s study which is published in the journal Nature Communications.

ALSO READ: Fruits responsible for larger Brain size in Primates: Researchers

To carry out the study, the team of researchers sequenced 117 different apples and compared their genomes. These included the wild species extracted from Europe, North America, Central and East Asia.

The birth of the modern apples ultimately led to 7,500 varieties of the fruit. Interestingly, the quality of the fruit changed as from region to region as it first traveled from the East to the West. When the apples returned to go back to the west, the dropped seeds on the way helped the growth of trees in wild places.

M Sylvestris was dominant in the Apple’s growth. It’s ancestor, M Sieversii is found predominantly in Kazakhstan.

Our modern day apples have well-balanced sugar and higher organic acid contents. Hence, it is no wonder now that Apple is one of the favorite fruits for many people.

– prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394


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