Weekly News Bites: The first skeletons, myths and monsters, and cancer cell detection

Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are jellyfish-like fossils, mythic diseases, and a transistor that can detect cancer cells.

The discovery of 500 million-year-old fossils can help scientists determine when skeleton-creating creatures first appeared. Yunnan University and Oxford University researchers unearthed these well-preserved Gangtoucunia Aspera fossils which resembled jellyfish in the Yunnan province in China.

In case we needed another reason to cut back on alcohol, a study by Seoul National University Hospital found that moderate or heavy drinking was linked to an increased risk of stroke for people in their 20-30s. The study followed 1.5 million people using the Korean national health database who self-reported their drinking habits.

The “monsters” that scared our ancestors could be linked to misunderstood health conditions, allowing us to look into their perspective on life. Scientists from University of the Philippines – Diliman College of Science explain that instead of curses or supernatural beings, Filipinos may have suffered from illnesses like glaucoma or psoriasis and that the terrifying Aswang may be linked to a neurodegenerative disorder.

Tokyo Medical and Dental University researchers have invented a transistor (an electrical circuit activated by changes in pH) to help detect cancer cell markers in a non-invasive way. Rather than biopsies and numerous different tests this transistor coated in cancer cells picks up the biomarkers that are present on circulating tumor cells in the blood.

Brain fog linked to COVID-19 can appear no matter how severe the illness according to an upcoming report by University of Santo Tomas, the University of the Philippines Manila & St. Luke’s Medical Center. Brain fog is characterized by trouble with memory and attention and is a common symptom of COVID-19.