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Imaging nanoparticles in action, scientists discover nanoscale tidal waves

The hidden effects of nanoparticles on human health seen at unprecedented atomic resolution
April 29, 2013

EM image of gold nanorods in liquid indicate the presence of high-resolution features. The gold lattice spacing of 2 Angstroms (.2 nm) can be identified in the image. Scale bar, 7 nm. (Credit: Madeline J. Dukes et al./Chemical Communications)

The macroscopic effects of certain nanoparticles on human health have long been clear to the naked eye. What scientists have lacked is the ability to see the detailed movements of individual particles that give rise to those effects.

Now, scientists at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have invented a technique for imaging nanoparticle dynamics with atomic resolution as these dynamics occur in a liquid… read more

Harnessing the energy of 2,000 suns

April 29, 2013


The Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation has awarded scientists a $2.4 million (2.25 million CHF) grant to develop an affordable photovoltaic system capable of concentrating solar radiation 2,000 times and converting 80 percent of the incoming radiation into useful energy.*

The system would also provide desalinated water and cool air in sunny, remote locations where they are often in short supply.

The prototype HCPVT system… read more

E-tattoo monitors brainwaves and baby bump

April 29, 2013


In February, KurzweilAI introduced “temporary electronic tattoos,” which are foldable, stretchable electrode arrays that can non-invasively measure neural (EEG) signals. Now. researchers led by Todd Coleman at the University of California, San Diego, have now optimized the placement of the electrodes to pick up more complex brainwaves, New Scientist reports.

The researchers demonstrated this by monitoring P300 signals in the forebrain. These appear when… read more

New imaging technology could reveal cellular secrets

Georgia Tech researchers have combined two biological imaging technologies (AFM and NMR) to learn how good cells go bad
April 29, 2013

This image illustrates the concept for a new type of technology that combines two biological imaging methods - atomic force microscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance - to create a new way to study cancer-cell metastasis and other disease-related processes (credit: Xin Xu/Purdue University)

What causes a cell to metastasize into a cancerous tumor? To find out, Corey Neu, an assistant professor in Purdue University‘s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, and colleagues have combined an atomic force microscope (AFM) and a nuclear magnetic resonance system.

An AFM uses a tiny vibrating probe called a cantilever with a tip that travels over the surface of a… read more

Alzheimer’s researchers creating ‘designer tracker’ to quantify elusive brain protein, provide earlier diagnosis

April 26, 2013

Dual channel fluoresecence microscopy of Alzheimer’s disease brain reveals presence of extracellular Abeta- (red) and intracellular tau- (green) bearing lesions.  Figure courtesy of Kristen E Funk, PhD.

By using computer-aided drug discovery, an Ohio State University molecular biochemist and molecular imaging chemist are collaborating to create an imaging chemical that attaches predominantly to tau-bearing lesions in living brain.

Their hope is that the “designer” tracer will open the door for earlier diagnosis — and better treatments for Alzheimer’s, frontal temporal dementia and traumatic brain injuries like those suffered by professional athletes, all… read more

A noninvasive avenue for Parkinson’s disease gene therapy

Nanoparticles bypass the blood-brain barrier to treat Parkinson's disease
April 26, 2013

Glial cell derived neurotrophic factor structure (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Researchers at Northeastern University in Boston have developed a gene therapy approach that may one day stop Parkinson’s disease (PD) in it tracks, preventing disease progression and reversing its symptoms.

The novelty of the approach lies in the nasal route of administration and nanoparticles containing a gene capable of rescuing dying neurons in the brain.

Parkinson’s is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder caused… read more

Researchers bypass the blood-brain barrier, widening treatment options for neurodegenerative and central nervous system disease

April 26, 2013


The first known method to permanently bypass the blood-brain barrier*, using mucosa, or the lining of the nose, has been demonstrated by researchers in the department of Otology and Laryngology at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Harvard Medical School and the Biomedical Engineering Department of Boston University.

The method opens the door to new treatment options for those with neurodegenerative and CNS disease.… read more

Discovery yields supertough, strong nanofibers

April 26, 2013


University of Nebraska-Lincoln materials engineers have developed a structural nanofiber that is both strong and tough, a discovery that could transform everything from airplanes and bridges to body armor and bicycles.

“Whatever is made of composites can benefit from our nanofibers,” said the team’s leader, Yuris Dzenis, McBroom Professor of Mechanical and Materials Engineering and a member of UNL’s Nebraska Center for Materials and Nanoscience.… read more

Discovery of wound-healing genes in flies could mitigate human skin ailments

April 26, 2013

Puncturing a Drosophila embryo with the enzyme trypsin activates genes throughout the epidermis that help in wound healing, shown in green. Credit: Rachel Patterson, UC San Diego

Biologists at UC San Diego have identified eight genes never before suspected to play a role in wound healing that are called into action near the areas where wounds occur.

Their discovery, detailed this week in the open-access journal PLOS ONE (open access), was made in the laboratory fruit fly Drosophila. But the biologists say many of the same genes that regulate biological processes in the… read more

Robot hands gain a gentler touch

April 26, 2013

Designed by researchers in the Harvard Biorobotics Laboratory at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, this sensor (pictured), called TakkTile, is intended to put what would normally be a high-end technology within the grasp of commercial inventors, teachers, and robotics enthusiasts (credit: Leif Jentoft/Harvard University)

Researchers at the HarvardSchool of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed an inexpensive but sensitove tactile sensor for robotic hands.

Designed by researchers in the Harvard Biorobotics Laboratory at SEAS, the sensor, called TakkTile, is intended to put what would normally be a high-end technology within the grasp of commercial inventors, teachers, and robotics enthusiasts.

TakkTile takes… read more

Potential diabetes breakthrough

Harvard researchers discover hormone that spurs beta cell production
April 26, 2013


Researchers at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) have discovered a hormone that holds promise for a dramatically more effective treatment of type 2 diabetes, a metabolic illness afflicting an estimated 26 million Americans.

The researchers believe that the hormone might also have… read more

World’s most human-like android head

April 26, 2013


Dr. Dmitry Itskov, founder of the 2045 Initiative and Global Future 2045 congress (GF2045), announced Thursday that he will unveil Dr. David Hanson’s latest android, the Dmitry Avatar-A head — the “world’s most human-like android head” — at the GF2045 congress, scheduled for June 15–16 at Lincoln Center in New York City.

The new android, a robotic replica of Itskov’s head, is being created by… read more

Bringing people back from the dead

April 25, 2013


A doctor says people can be revived several hours after they have seemingly died, BBC News reports. Should this change the way we think about death?

“While 45 minutes is absolutely remarkable and a lot of people would have written her off, we now know there are people who have been brought back, three, four, five hours after they’ve died and have led remarkably good quality lives,”… read more

3D printer makes tiniest human liver ever

April 25, 2013


Lab-grown livers have come a step closer to reality thanks to a 3D printer loaded with cells, New Scientist reports.

Created by Organovo in San Diego, California, future versions of the system could produce chunks of liver for transplant.

The mini-livers that Organovo made are just half a millimeter deep and 4 millimeters across but can perform most functions of the real thing.… read more

Diamond shows promise for a quantum Internet

Crystal could be used to connect distant quantum networks
April 25, 2013

quantum internet

Today’s Internet runs on linked silicon chips, but a future quantum version might be built from diamond crystals, Nature News reports.

Physicists report in Nature that they have entangled information kept in pieces of diamond 3 meters apart, so that measuring the state of one quantum bit (qubit) instantly fixes the state of the other — a necessary step for exchanging quantum information over large distances.… read more

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