Family News

Family News Archeologists Hagay Hamer and Oriah Amichai sifting finds at the "Cave of Horror" in the Judean Desert. Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority
Ancient scroll found in Israel ‘cave of horror’

The BBC has reported that fragments of a biblical scroll and other relics have been found in what officials call an “historic discovery” in desert caves in Israel.

The dozens of pieces of parchment were written in Greek, with just the name of God appearing in Hebrew.

The scroll is believed to have belonged to Jewish rebels who fled to the hills following a failed revolt against Roman rule in the 2nd Century.

They were found during an operation to prevent caves in the area being looted.

It is the first such find of its kind since the early 1960s when similar fragments and some 40 skeletons were discovered at the site which became known as the Cave of Horror.

The newly found remnants contain verses from the books of Zechariah and Nahum, which form part of writings known as the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets.

Israel Antiquities Authority’s (IAA) director Israel Hasson said the scroll and other relics found there were “of immeasurable worth for mankind”.


Lifestyle factors can significantly impact likelihood of dementia

Prof Sean Kennelly of Tallaght University Hospital has said up to half of all dementia cases worldwide could be prevented by addressing lifestyle risk factors through the course of people’s lives, The Irish Times has reported.

Research has shown that in early life, education and other social factors help to lower risk but that in midlife, issues such as alcohol consumption, obesity, high blood pressure and hearing loss significantly increase a person’s likelihood of developing dementia. In later life, physical inactivity, social isolation, depression and smoking are among the biggest risk factors.


Scientists grow tear glands and make them cry

Miniature organoids that function like human tear glands have recently been grown in a lab and are capable of producing tears. It’s believed this development could be transplanted into people and used to treat dry-eye disease.

Tear glands lubricate the eyes by producing a protein-rich fluid. This liquid helps to remove dust and bacteria to keep the eye clean and healthy. However, it’s long been understood that some people can’t produce enough of this.

Hans Clevers and a team at the Hubrecht Institute in Utrecht in the Netherlands believe they may have found a way to treat such people.

They created the organoids by taking cell samples from tear gland tissue. Adult stem cells were isolated from these and treated with a cocktail of proteins to help them grow into tear glands.

“Adult stem cells are already specialised and they know what to make – we just have to encourage them with growth factors,” Hans Clevers said. “This happens within a matter of two or three days: you see small cystic structures appearing that grow into the organoids.”