Monthly Archives: July 2015

A (not so) Missing Link – Between the Brain and the Immune System

Newly-discovered lymphatic vessels, shown in red, were almost invisible behind larger blood vessels, shown in green (University of Virginia)

Newly-discovered lymphatic vessels, shown in red, were almost invisible behind larger blood vessels, shown in green (University of Virginia)

“They’ll have to change the textbooks.”

Scientists don’t hear this very often (if ever), but that’s the remark that came in response to a new discovery that the brain is connected to the immune system by vessels that no one knew existed.

The connection could change how neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis are understood and treated.

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Massive Measurement – Calculating the Size of Supermassive Black Holes

NGC 1097 observed in optical  light (ESO/R. Gendler)

NGC 1097 observed in optical light
(ESO/R. Gendler)

Astronomers recently measured the mass of a supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy located approximately 45 million light-years away.

They used a new technique and one of the highest observatories in the world – the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). In the process, they expanded the set of tools needed to understand how black holes influence galaxy formation.

The heart of a galaxy
Supermassive black holes are gargantuan – millions of times the mass of the Sun. Astronomers now believe that there’s a supermassive black hole at the center of every large galaxy. Some studies have found that their mass is correlated to the mass and to the orbital speeds of the galaxies that surround them.

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