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When humans sustain an injury like a cut our first instinct is to ensure it doesn’t get infected. We make sure it’s clean and as it heals, a scar takes its place. Scars are part of life, or at least that’s what we’ve been led to believe, and it’s the human body’s way of forming a barrier between the wound and the dirty outside world. But what if scars weren’t as helpful as well all think? What if scars are actually preventing an even more incredible form of healing? What if humans could actually regenerate body parts?

It sounds pretty wild, but that’s exactly what researchers led by James Godwin, Ph.D., of MDI Biological Laboratory are trying to figure out. The researchers just published a new paper in the journal Developmental Dynamics that focuses on the differences between mammals and a very special species of salamander called the axolotl.

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Axolotls are severe endangered in the wild but they still exist in captivity. They’re incredible creatures with the unique ability to regenerate a wide range of body parts. Sure, some salamanders and other lizards and amphibians are capable of regenerating something like a tail, but the axolotl takes that ability and turns it up to the extreme. Axolotls are capable of regenerating a tail, leg, and skin, but they’re also able to grow new lungs, ovaries, spinal cords, and even a fresh brain or heart if needed.

In studying what happens to a wound on a molecular level in both axolotls and mice, which are mammals that don’t possess such robust regenerative abilities, the scientists discovered something very interesting. They found that the immune cells that trigger a response after an injury, called macrophages, are the critical link to exploiting an animal’s ability to regrow body parts. More specifically, Godwin demonstrated that when an axolotl had too few of these immune cells to react to an injury, a missing body part couldn’t be regrown and a scar appeared instead.

In mice as well as humans, macrophages trigger scarring rather than regeneration, but it may be possible to change that. “Our research shows that humans have untapped potential for regeneration,” Godwin said in a statement. “If we can solve the problem of scar formation, we may be able to unlock our latent regenerative potential. Axolotls don’t scar, which is what allows regeneration to take place. But once a scar has formed, it’s game over in terms of regeneration. If we could prevent scarring in humans, we could enhance quality of life for so many people.”

Diving even deeper into the immune response, the researchers found that signaling from a specific type of protein seems to be responsible for the specific response of the macrophages. The team found that the responses in axolotl and mice tissue were “unexpectedly divergent,” which suggests that if we could actually modify that signaling we may be able to trigger regeneration in mice tissue and, eventually, in humans.

“We are getting closer to understanding how axolotl macrophages are primed for regeneration, which will bring us closer to being able to pull the levers of regeneration in humans,” Godwin explains. “For instance, I envision being able to use a topical hydrogel at the site of a wound that is laced with a modulator that changes the behavior of human macrophages to be more like those of the axolotl.”

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Naabiae Nenu-B is a Medical Health Student and an SEO Specialist dedicated to flushing the web off fake news and scam scandals. He aims at being "Africa's Best Leak and Review Blogger" and that's the unwavering stand of Xycinews Media.

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E-Games

Super Mario World Is Now Playable In Widescreen

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Gif: Super Mario World Widescreen

Software engineer and SNES ROM hacker Vitor Vilela has led a team which has created and released Super Mario World Widescreen, a download that lets you play Nintendo’s Super Mario World—first released in 1990—on modern widescreen displays.

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Crucially SMWW keeps the game’s original 8:7 pixel aspect ratio, meaning that no matter how wide you stretch the display, “the screen you will see is like how would you see on a real TV screen connected to the SNES, except expanded to the widescreen resolution!”

Super Mario World is now available in widescreen

Left: playing SMW using a regular widescreen mod | Right: playing SMW on this custom widescreen release
Screenshot: Kotaku

While standard 16:9 and 16:10 monitor resolutions are supported, Vilela is also working on some other, funkier aspect ratios, like 2:1 and even 21:9 for anyone with an ultrawide monitor.

It’s available here, but before you go rushing to download it, there’s some stuff you need to know. Firstly, the download link is just for SMWW, and doesn’t contain a ROM of Super Mario World itself. You’ll have to find that…elsewhere.

And secondly, you’ll also need to download the emulator bsnes_hd, since the only way SMWW was made possible was because bsnes_hd allowed Vilela to increase the game’s horizontal resolution by 96 pixels, from 256×224 to 352×224. bsnes also allows many other SNES games to run in widescreen as well, though not to the same level of tailored perfection as we’re seeing here (as you can see in the comparison screenshot above, simply running SMW in bsnes has some framing issues).

You can check out a trailer below:

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Technology

Get free AirPods with Apple’s 2021 Back to School sale

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School is just now ending in many states around the country, but that didn’t stop Apple from kicking off its back-to-school sale this week. If you’re in the market for a new device ahead of the coming school year, Apple is giving away a free pair of AirPods with your purchase of any eligible computer or tablet. This includes the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, 24-inch iMac, Mac Pro, Mac mini, iPad Pro, and iPad Air, which leaves you with plenty of options.

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If you decide to take advantage of the promotion, all that you need to do is head to Apple’s Back to School landing page, select your Mac or iPad of choice, and proceed with the checkout process. After you’ve decided which model you’re going to choose, you’ll reach a page where you can add AirPods with a charging case (normally $159.99) to your order free of charge.

If you’d prefer to have a wireless charging case, you can upgrade for $40, and you’d rather get a pair of AirPods Pro, it’s going to cost you $90. You can also opt not to take the free AirPods at all, but even if you don’t need the wireless headphones, they’d probably make a solid gift.

In addition to the AirPods offer, Apple is also giving current and newly accepted college students and their parents, as well as teachers and staff, 20% off AppleCare+ for the products they buy.

It’s also worth noting that all new Apple devices come with three-month free trials to both Apple Arcade and Apple TV+. For quite some time, Apple was giving consumers a free year of Apple TV+, but as we learned earlier this week, the company actually wants people to start paying for the streaming service at some point. Therefore, all of the initial free trials from 2019 that have been extended multiple times will finally be ending in July. Furthermore, eligible devices activated July 1st, 2021 or later will qualify for offers of 3 months free Apple TV+, so if you want a full year (as well as some free AirPods), you might want to place your order soon.

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Everyone’s binge-watching this raunchy new Netflix comedy right now

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For anyone in the US who’s been going through Schitt’s Creek withdrawals and could use a hilarious new comedy from our neighbor to the north, especially as an antidote of sorts to the pandemic and all kinds of other negative news in the world right now, rejoice — Netflix has you covered, in the form of a raunchy sitcom from Catherine Reitman.

Season 5 of her show Workin’ Moms just got added to Netflix in the US a few days ago, and already it’s one of the most-watched Netflix shows, having rocketed up the streamer’s ranks of what’s popular across the service at any given moment. Reitman, the daughter of famed Hollywood director Ivan Reitman, not only stars in the series but she always writes and directs, and as of the time of this writing the series is currently the #4 most-viewed TV show on Netflix in the US. Originally broadcast in Canada via the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), this comedy is built around the following, according to Netflix’s summary: “Maternity leave is over, and it’s time for these four moms to return to work while navigating kids, bosses, love, and life in modern-day Toronto.”

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Reitman will already be familiar to American audiences thanks to acting in such productions as It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Friends With Benefits, and Knocked Up. Her Workin’ Moms cast also includes Dani Kind, Juno Rinaldo, and Jessalyn Wanlim.

As far as how much of the show is available on Netflix right now, subscribers can stream all five available seasons of the show. Reitman recently took to Instagram to confirm that Season 6 of the show is a go, it having been renewed by CBC. In terms of when that means we can expect it to make its way to Netflix — don’t expect it before 2022, probably mid-year.

Check back here this weekend, meanwhile, for our latest complete rundown on what’s hot and being binged the most right now across all the major streaming services, from Netflix to Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, and more. Our list comes, as always, from the team at the streaming search engine service Reelgood, which regularly shares with a BGR a snapshot of what shows and movies are the most popular on a weekly as well as monthly basis among its millions of users.

Reelgood, by the way, is a great service to be aware of, if you’re not already and if you’re a streaming power-user. It aims to be a one-stop-shop that makes finding shows and movies to watch convenient, especially since it gets a little hard to keep track of which service has this or that new TV show — and since they’re all constantly adding and removing content pretty regularly.

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