Weekly News Bites: Space bubbles, hair loss from sweet drinks, and a new hope for pig genitalia

Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are how mysterious enormous space bubbles are formed, how drinking sweet drinks might contribute to hair loss, and a synthetic tissue created to give pigs back their erectile function.

Microplastics are now found almost everywhere, including in water supplies. We need to find a way to remove them from water safely. The Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science & Technology (DGIST) has taken on the challenge by developing a polymer that can filter out the pollutants quickly and efficiently. The molecules capture and store the microplastics resulting in clean water. 

Scientists from Tokyo Metropolitan University have explained how Fermi bubbles, massive gamma-ray emitting, balloon-like structures at the center of the MilkyWay, may have been formed. The team theorized that fast winds flowing out from a black hole, and the “reverse shock” going the other direction, provide energy to gas present at the center of the galaxy creating the bubbles.

Researchers from Pohang University of Science and Technology have tested brain-stimulating particles that can give off an electrical impulse. The team inserted these particles into mouse brains and activated them using ultrasound pulses. These particles could have many applications, including helping to alleviate symptoms from neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. 

Genitalia are sensitive and, unfortunately, sometimes have problems functioning from injuries or disease. South China University of Technology has given male pigs a helping hand by developing a synthetic tissue that restored erectile function in pigs with injured penises. The researchers created a structure that is similar to the naturally-occurring tissue which became erect and was tolerated well by the body.

Sugary beverages aren’t good for the waistline or for your teeth but a study by Tsinghua University showed another potential reason to cut down on your sweet drink consumption… hair loss. The study looked at self-reports from men on their lifestyle habits and found that hair loss was more common among men who drank sugary drinks daily. The researchers add, however, that many other factors can also contribute to hair loss.