Finding the right peptide can be a real challenging process of elimination, TIME unveils their annual Best Inventions list for 2018, and the FDA pursues a long-range plan to outlaw menthol cigarettes.

Tracking Peptides in Cell Soup

(NIH Director’s Blog, 11/15/2018, Dr. Francis Collins)

If you think this soup looks unappealing for this year’s Thanksgiving feast, you’re right! If you were crazy enough to take a sip, you’d find it to be virtually flavorless—just a salty base (red) with greasy lipid globules (green) floating on top. But what this colorful concoction lacks in taste, it makes up for as a valuable screening tool for peptides, miniature versions of proteins that our bodies use to control many cellular processes. William Wimley, an NIH-supported researcher at Tulane University, New Orleans, has stirred up the soup and will soon add some peptides. These peptides aren’t made by our cells, though. They’re synthesized in the lab, allowing Wimley and team to tweak their chemical structures and hopefully create ones with therapeutic potential, particularly as smart-delivery systems to target cells with greater precision and deliver biological cargoes such as drugs

How We Chose the 50 Best Inventions of 2018

(Time, 11/15/2018, Andrew Myers)

I love a good list! Who doesn’t? Every year, TIME highlights the Best Inventions that are making the world better, smarter and even a bit more fun. To assemble their 2018 list, Time solicited nominations across a variety of categories from their editors and correspondents around the world, as well as through an online application process. Then TIME evaluated each contender based on key factors, including originality, creativity, influence, ambition and effectiveness. The result: 50 groundbreaking inventions that are changing the way we live, work, play and think about what’s possible. Read and enjoy.

F.D.A. Will Still Allow Sales of Flavored E-Cigarettes, but Will Seek a Menthol Cigarette Ban

(NY Times, 11/15/2018, Sheila Kaplan and Jan Hoffman)

The US Food and Drug Administration said this week that it would allow stores to continue flavored e-cigarettes but only from closed-off areas that are inaccessible to minors. At the same time, the agency moved to outlaw two traditional tobacco products that disproportionately harm African Americans: menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. The proposed menthol ban would be the most aggressive action the FDA. has taken against the tobacco industry in nearly a decade, and it was notable given the Trump administration’s business-friendly approach to regulatory issues. If it clears the usual federal regulatory hurdles, a process which could take at least two years, the menthol ban could make a significant dent in cigarette sales. Menthol cigarettes account for about 35 percent of cigarette sales in the United States.

 

—Compiled by Social Media Specialist Jillian Scola