Weekly News Bites: Mini placentas, a new sauropod, and contrary COVID

Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are growing placenta organoids, a 90-million-year old fossil, and how COVID-19 can cause insomnia, but people were more relaxed during the emergency measures.

Even mild COVID infections may have long-lasting effects, with new research showing that it may be causing sleep problems. Researchers from Phenikaa University surveyed over 1 000 individuals with mild COVID-19 infections, discovering that more than 75% experienced insomnia. This is a much higher percentage than the general population reports.

Contrarily, teenagers in Tokyo may have been getting better sleep during the pandemic. The University of Tokyo found that the Tokyo teens’ brains grew during the first state of COVID emergency, suggesting that they felt less stressed than normal. It shows that being a teenager is stressful when even a pandemic seems to be a good break!

90-million-year-old fossils found by Jiangxi Geological Museum, China University of Geosciences and Jiangxi Geological Survey and Exploration Institute belong to a new species of dinosaur. The Gandititan cavocaudatus was a titanosaurian sauropod, or long-necked dinosaur. This discovery gives some insights into titanosaurs in eastern Asia.

Studying the placenta is important but difficult as it does not have the same structure as animal placentas. Tokyo Medical and Dental University has overcome this hurdle and successfully grown miniature placenta organoids from stem cells. Among other functions, the placenta acts as a barrier and filter for the developing fetus, and so can be useful in studying the effects of drugs and medications.

In other women’s health news, research from Sungkyunkwan University shows the human papilloma virus (HPV) is not only a cause of cervical cancer but might also play a part in heart disease and stroke. According to their study, women with high-risk strains were more likely to die from both. The researchers advocate for closer monitoring of people with high-risk strains of HPV.