Relieving Anxiety with Tailored Oxytocin Treatments

Want a hug?

🧪 Researchers have been testing ways to deliver oxytocin into the bloodstream to help relieve anxiety in people.

💞 Oxytocin is known as the love hormone because of its release when people are socially bonding, helping you “feel good” about a situation.

🔮 After observing intravenous, nasal spray, and nebulizer methods, they found the pathways through which the human body delivers each method. Then, each were analyzed for their efficacy.

Tailored delivery methods

🥰 By tailoring delivery methods to individuals, oxytocin treatments should become more effective. Good thing, too – with everyone in isolation, it will be harder to get so many hugs. 💜

🌺 What do you think? How do you activate YOUR oxytocin? How are you bonding with others during isolation?

Original Research:

What is a Graphical Abstract?

Graphical abstracts are helpful complements to traditional abstracts. They provide additional context for all readers, but especially for people who are visual thinkers. (like me!)

Why are scientific abstracts so hard to write?

Abstracts are boring! They are written with a lot of jargon and complicated sentences, due to science tradition and increasing complexity in experiments. You can make them much more useful, interesting, and memorable by including GRAPHICAL abstracts with them in articles.

Check out this example: A Crystallization Robot for Generating True Random Numbers Based on Stochastic Chemical Processes

The graphical abstract shows highlights of the study

This works just like a traditional abstract. It relates the highlights in a different way, though, allowing for more connections to be made by the audience and resulting in a clearer understanding.

If you want readers to understand your science better, then the graphical abstract is a helpful tool to have available. It even gives you a head start on finding relevant imagery for a presentation!

👀 Have you written or read an article with a graphical abstract? What do you think?

If you are looking for a professional editor to make your article memorable, you can use my contact form to start that conversation.

What Do Editors Do?

What do editors do? Proofreading, right?

😮 That really depends on which editor you are asking! Knowing the different types of editors will help you figure out the best assistance for your latest project.

So, what do editors do?

🔮 Developmental/substantive editing: This is the big picture work that takes your work from an initial concept to thoughtfully presented content. This includes re-structuring, re-writing, integrating research, and adding/removing entire topics.

🔬 Technical/fact reviewing: Reviewers will fact-check, provide context for topics, and ensure mathematical/scientific formulas, concepts, and connections make sense.

📍 Copy editing & proofreading: Even though these are the more “obvious” types of editing, they still deserve an explanation! Proofreaders will check details like spelling, grammar, and punctuation. They work the most with style guides.

⚡ Then there are acquisition editors, content/line editors, indexers, assignment editors, curators, and others as well. Curious about these? They may be the subjects of a future post!

If you are looking for a professional editor to help with your scientific articles, blog posts, and other publications, you can use my contact form to start that conversation.

New Finding Confirms Super Rapid Forming of Earth

Traditional theories held that the Earth’s core and mantle formed over tens of millions of years due to gradual, random collisions between large bodies. New research supports a rapid-accretion model for Earth, which means that this pivotal formation stage lasted only about five million years instead.

A match made in the heavens

The iron isotope composition of various meteorites was measured at the finest-ever precision by researchers. They found one type with an isotope composition that is essentially indistinguishable from the bulk of the Earth’s mantle.

That match came from a group of meteorites called CI chondrites. These carbonaceous chondrites are believed by scientists to best represent the bulk solar system composition when the Sun and planets were forming – the “cosmic dust” of our solar system.

One type of meteor matches the Earth’s bulk. The same type also matches the cosmic dust, present only during a specific phase of our solar system’s creation that spanned five million years. That match suggests the planetary formation process was much faster than previously realized.

Terrestrial planet formation was previously thought to take tens of millions of years

Previous models held that the rocky, inner planets of our solar system took form in many stages over tens of millions of years:

  1. Bodies of a few hundred kilometers condense and form rapidly.
  2. The swirling cosmic dust kickstarts gas-assisted accretion of millimeter-sized particles onto those bodies.
  3. The gases dissipate, leaving many Mars-sized planetary embryos.
  4. Embryos collide with each other, combining and becoming larger, but also ejecting bits of material back into space – some come back later as meteorites.
  5. Some of the embryos become large enough to form iron cores.
  6. Water and other oxidizing elements are delivered to the cores, possibly from the outer solar system as the gaseous planets form and shift.
  7. The cores oxidize, but they continue to collide with each other, getting larger but still ejecting pieces that would become meteorites.
  8. These proto-planets use up most of the material around the Sun and become large enough to dominate their orbits.
  9. With fewer collisions and activity, their mantles cool enough for planetary crusts to form.

The cosmic dust settles

Instead of a gradual process of embryos colliding over tens of millions of years, the researchers found that the Earth’s core formed and oxidized within a 5-million-year span, as the cosmic dust settled.

A wide mix of compositions and meteor types would be expected if collisions occurred over longer time spans. The planet’s formation would have to occur rapidly to explain how the iron isotope composition is only comparable to one type of meteorite.

Original Study Citation:

Schiller, M., Bizzarro, M., & Siebert, J. Iron Isotope Evidence for Very Rapid Accretion and Differentiation of the Proto-Earth. Sci. Adv. 6, eaay7604 (2020). 

Technical Writing: Not Just About Writing!

Gee Abraham, science and technical writer and editor. Communicating content clearly by adding context and reducing jargon.

How can you write less to communicate a topic better? 🤷‍♀️

I wrote an article on LinkedIn recently explaining my tips to do just that – Check it out here:

Technical Writing: Not Just About Writing!

▶ While you’re on LinkedIn, make sure to follow or connect with me to get updates!


Hydrogen Storage Capacity of Mischmetal Boosted with New Alloy Development

Scientists have increased the hydrogen capacity of mischmetal (German: mischmetall “mixed metal”) to 2.1 wt% with the development of a new lanthanum-nickel based alloy. It was manufactured using a process of arc melting followed by ball milling, inducing a nanostructure that fostered more efficient reactions than similar rare-earth alloys. While this material currently lags behind other hydrogen storage methods (>9 wt% for cryo-compressed H2, 7.6 wt% for Mg based hydrides), mischmetal and other metal hydrides are worth exploring due to their high theoretical hydrogen capacity and ease of storage and transport.

Meena et al., a group of scientists at University of Rajasthan and Malaviya National Institute of Technology (MNIT) in Jaipur, India, reported results in the recent issue of Journal of Materials Research and Technology. They synthesized an alloy of 6 rare-earth metals (La23Nd7.8Ti1.1Ni33.9Co32.9Al0.65) via arc melting and then ball milled the ingot to produce a 52 nm average particle size. After several cycles of heating and cooling, with and without hydrogen environments, the metal hydride had fully formed at an equilibrium pressure of 2 bar. The resulting alloy was found to have a higher volume and lower density, with a 31 nm average particle size confirming hydrogenation had occurred.

Hydrogen absorption/desorption process

Results showed that the hydrogen activation process caused “pulverization” of the alloy, mostly occurring during the first few heat-cool cycles and then decreasing in effect. This damage presented as micro cracks in the sample, which could provide clues about the material’s durability with more tests.

A key step in manufacturing mischmetal as a hydrogen storage material is the ball milling process. The sample material was obtained by melting and re-melting the 6 rare-earth metals together in an arc melting furnace. The resulting alloy ingot was annealed for one week at 900 ºC to produce a uniform microstructure; it was transformed into a nanostructure via a ball mill that bombarded it with grinding balls for 10 hours. This produced the 52 nm average particle size which was the starting point for the hydrogen absorption tests.

Historically, mischmetal production is merely one step in a tedious process to extract rare-earth metals from minerals. After mining the ore, a series of chemical reactions filters out impurities, producing a mischmetal that can then be further processed to separate the individual rare-earth metals. Isolating the elements is slow and incremental; the process depends upon slight variations in solubility, but it inspired a similar procedure used later by Marie Curie in her discovery and isolation of radioactive elements. Now, mischmetal has another use as a key component of promising clean fuel technologies.

Original Citation:

Meena et al., Synthesis and Hydrogen Storage of La23Nd7.8Ti1.1Ni33.9Co32.9Al0.65 Alloys. Journal of Materials Research and Technology, 2018; DOI: