The week’s must-reads: Startup Israel takes on Alzheimer’s and 4 other stories
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The week’s must-reads: Startup Israel takes on Alzheimer’s and 4 other stories

How nanotechnology could change the world * David Horovitz on UK Chief Rabbi Mirvis’s ‘oy gevalt’ moment * After Amazon’s Israeli Black Friday, Tiffany Haddish’s Black Mitzvah

Clockwise from top left: British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis (AP/Chris Jackson); An Amazon fulfillment center in Aurora, Colorado (AP Photo/David Zalubowski); Tiffany Haddish in her 2019 Netflix comedy special, ‘Black Mitzvah,’ (Courtesy Netflix); An illustrative image of neurons, or brain cells (whitehoune; iStock by Getty Images).
Clockwise from top left: British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis (AP/Chris Jackson); An Amazon fulfillment center in Aurora, Colorado (AP Photo/David Zalubowski); Tiffany Haddish in her 2019 Netflix comedy special, ‘Black Mitzvah,’ (Courtesy Netflix); An illustrative image of neurons, or brain cells (whitehoune; iStock by Getty Images).

Startup Nation is alive and well in international news. In fact, two of The Times of Israel’s most-read articles this week spotlighted impressive Israeli ingenuity in the fields of medicine and environmental studies.

In the first, Startup Israel editor Shoshanna Soloman tells readers how researchers at the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology and Bar-Ilan University have developed technology they hope will help inhibit the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

She writes that research has previously shown that administering a specific protein, called “neural growth factor,” inhibits damage to the cholinergic mechanisms and slows the disease’s progression. Delivering the protein to the target area is not a simple task, however, because the brain is shielded by the blood-brain barrier from infiltration by bacteria and harmful substances in the blood.

Now, the Technion and Bar-Ilan University researchers say they have created nanoscale silicon chips that could meet this challenge. The chips allow the insertion of the curative protein directly into the brain and its release at the targeted tissue. The world awaits results from upcoming clinical trials.

An illustrative image of neurons, or brain cells (whitehoune; iStock by Getty Images)

Israeli team uses silicon chip to deliver Alzheimer’s-busting protein to brain: In Technion, Bar-Ilan trials, nanochip ferries ‘neural growth factor’ — which combats neurodegenerative diseases — and releases it where needed, overcoming blood-brain barrier

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On the environment beat, writer Sue Surkes shares a story of little bacteria that could make a global difference. She writes that in a remarkable breakthrough that could pave the way toward carbon-neutral fuels, researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have produced genetically engineered bacteria that can live on carbon dioxide rather than sugar.

The extraordinary leap could lead to the low-emissions production of carbon for use in biofuels or food that would also help to remove excess CO₂ from the atmosphere, where it is helping to drive global warming.

Through genetic engineering, scientists have enabled the bacteria to convert CO₂ into organic carbon, substituting the energy of the sun — a vital ingredient in the photosynthesis process — with a substance called formate. After a year, some of the bacteria descendants made the complete switch to CO₂, following evolutionary changes in just 11 genes.

E. coli bacteria. (NIAID/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0)

In possible climate breakthrough, Israel scientists engineer bacteria to eat CO₂: Decade-long research at Weizmann Institute could pave way for low-emissions production of carbon for use in biofuels, food, and help remove excess global warming CO₂ from air

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Two weeks before general elections in the United Kingdom, Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has come out against Labour candidate Jeremy Corbyn in an acknowledged unprecedented intervention into partisan politics.

Founding Times of Israel editor David Horovitz analyzes why Mirvis penned his bombshell oy gevalt op-ed in this era of “a new poison” in England. “The chief rabbi would have realized that his article would cause a furor — though it likely resonated still more than he would have anticipated.”

Illustrative: Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis gives a speech as he attends a Holocaust Memorial Day Ceremony at Central Hall Westminster, January 27, 2015. (AP/Chris Jackson)

‘A new poison’: Why the UK chief rabbi broke the mold to confront Jeremy Corbyn: Aware the Labour leader could walk triumphantly into 10 Downing Street on December 13, Ephraim Mirvis evidently decided silence was not an option

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Move over Black Friday: Amazon is taking over the world, one free-shipped-to country at a time. Culture editor Jessica Steinberg writes that while she initially figured people would order Instant Pots and hard-to-find household items and electronics, she quickly realized that many expat Americans are ordering toilet paper and baby wipes, zipper storage bags, deodorant, lip balm and dry erase markers.

“Huh?” she asks: “Can’t you get all that at a local Shufersal or Super-Pharm?” As she delves deeper into this fascinating world of online sales, she writes, “I had to wonder, was I missing out on some good deals?”

An Amazon fulfillment center processes orders in Aurora, Colorado, May 3, 2018. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

With free shipping to Israel, Amazon has expats filling up their carts again: Americans once despondent over having to settle for what’s on offer locally are now luxuriating in imported toilet paper, scented garbage bags and anything else on offer under $75

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At 40, firecracker top US comedian Tiffany Haddish is finally having her bat mitzvah. The twist? The African-American performer only realized she has Jewish roots — through her Eritrean father — in the past several years.

In an interview with our film writer Jordan Hoffman, Haddish discusses her favorite Hebrew letters and her new Netflix special, “Black Mitzvah.”

Tiffany Haddish in her 2019 Netflix comedy special, ‘Black Mitzvah.’ (Courtesy Netflix)

Tiffany Haddish says ‘She ready’ for onscreen Netflix bat mitzvah: African-American Jewish comedian/actress celebrates her ‘Black Mitzvah’ at 40, in a program streaming from December 3. But while it may be funny, the occasion is no joke for her

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