Weekly News Bites: Bioink, answering a monstrous question, and looking for dark matter

Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are bioprinting organs and tissues, settling a debate on a monster, and shedding light on dark matter.

Bioprinting can be used to create living tissues and organs but the bioinks used often need to be hardened using damaging UV light or chemicals. To avoid this, Korea Institute of Science and Technology has developed a new safer bioink that hardens using the patient’s own body temperature. The team created a 3D printed scaffold that promoted bone and tissue regeneration in a rat.

Hormonal birth control can have numerous side effects other than preventing pregnancy, which can be unpleasant or even dangerous to some women. University of the Philippines Diliman looked at reducing the amount of hormones in these contraceptives and found that a 92% lower dose of hormones could still provide effective contraception. This varied for estrogen vs progesterone contraceptives but is a promising indicator that doctors can better optimize doses.

Research from the University of Tokyo may have settled a longstanding debate about whether an ancient “monster” was a vertebrate or invertebrate. The scientists used 3D imaging techniques to observe the “Tully monster” and found structures only seen in invertebrates, indicating that the Tully monster was on the spineless side.

We are pretty sure that dark matter exists… but have never seen it! Scientists try to indirectly see it through interactions with other objects including researchers from the University of Hong Kong that observed light that is warped around galaxies, called gravitational lensing to look for dark matter particles.

A study by the National University of Singapore (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine found confiding with peers online to be effective for easing mental health symptoms. Sometimes we are not able to see people face-to-face or are too embarrassed/anxious to talk to someone when we are feeling low. NUS found that online sharing with peers allowed people to more freely discuss their feelings resulting in a drop of depression or anxiety symptoms by up to 40% in the study participants.