Weekly News Bites: Hot Jupiters, microbe maps, and hibernation during surgery

Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are a new planet that orbits a dying star, a map of all the airborne microbes, and the potential to protect our organs by hibernating during surgery.

A new “hot Jupiter” that revolves around an old, dying sun was discovered by the Okayama Planet Search Program. This is a rare finding as the planet is orbiting a dying star that may engulf it, says scientists involved with the program such as the Tokyo Institute of Technology

Did you know that there are microbe communities floating in the air all around us? A team from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University has mapped out clusters of bacteria all around the world, creating the first airborne microbiome map. The scientists could see that human activity changed the structure of microbes in the air with more pathogenic bacteria in the air around cities.  

High blood pressure could be causing stress rather than the other way around, says research from Shanghai Jiao Tong University. The scientists analyzed eight studies which contained more than 700 000 people in Europe and found that blood pressure had “significant causal effects” on neuroticism.

Most vaccines need to be kept in cold temperatures, both during storage and transport. This can cause problems when many vaccines are needed but the country receiving or producing them doesn't have robust cold-chain facilities. Researchers from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.) and Mynvax Laboratories are moving forward with Phase 1 and 2 trials for their “warm vaccine” that can be kept at 37°C.

Animals can go into a hibernation state to protect themselves from different factors, e.g. cold or lack of food in the winter. Researchers from RIKEN found that activating “Q neurons” in mice could induce this hibernation. The team tested it during surgery and found that the internal organs were as protected as if the mice had undergone hypothermia which is used to reduce blood flow during surgeries. This could have future applications for humans by putting us into “hibernation” during surgeries or long space flights.