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Discovery could lead to more powerful graphene-based organic electronic devices

February 23, 2015

A material made of semiconducting polymer placed on top of graphene conducts electric charge extremely well and may enable new electronic devices. This work was featured on the cover of the journal Advanced Functional Materials. (Credit: David Barbero)

In a landmark experiment that may lead to more efficient organic electronic devices, researchers at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory discovered that applying a thin film of semiconducting polymer material to a single layer of graphene allowed for transporting electric charge better than when placed on a thin layer of silicon.

“Our results are among the first to measure the charge transport in these… read more

23andMe granted authorization by FDA to market first direct-to-consumer genetic test

Limited to Bloom Syndrome and autosomal recessive disorders
February 23, 2015

(credit: 23andMe)

23andMe, Inc., a personal genetics company formerly forced by the FDA to halt sales of its direct-to-consumer Personal Genome Service, has now been granted authority by the FDA to market the first direct-to-consumer genetic test under a regulatory classification for novel devices.

The new permission is limited to Bloom Syndrome and autosomal recessive disorders.

The approval came in… read more

Injected into the body, self-healing nanogel acts as customized long-term drug supply

February 23, 2015

MIT-Self-Healing-Gels

MIT chemical engineers have designed a new type of self-healing hydrogel that can be injected through a syringe to supply one or two different drugs at a time.

In theory, gels could be useful for delivering drugs for treating cancer, macular degeneration, or heart disease because they can be molded into specific shapes and designed to release their payload in a specific location over a… read more

A potential breakthrough in using electrical pulses to treat deadly glioblastoma brain tumors

February 20, 2015

Irreversible electroporesis  destroys a cerebral lesion while leaving nearby important vessels and organs unharmed (credit: URMC)

Based on successful results in an experiment with a Labrador retriever using a novel treatment for glioblastoma brain cancer, the National Cancer Institute yesterday (Feb. 19) awarded  Scott Verbridge, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering and mechanics at Virginia Tech , a $386,149 research grant to take a related medical procedure a step closer to using on humans.

The team’s findings from the experiment… read more

Attacking Alzheimer’s with ultrasound

Opening the blood-brain barrier allows the body to remove plaque in the hippocampus
February 20, 2015

plaque size in the hippocampus

For the first time, researchers have reversed some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease* in mice using magnetic resonance (MR) imaging-guided focused ultrasound.

As KurzweilAI reported in 2012, Sunnybrook Research Institute scientists used MR imaging-guided focused ultrasound to temporarily open the blood-brain barrier (BBB), allowing for more effective delivery of drugs to the brain. The method uses a microbubble contrast agent.… read more

The coming revolution in alternative proteins

February 20, 2015

(credit: FutureFood 2050)

Are you ready for cricket-flour energy bars and “steaks” constructed from strips of lab-grown animal muscle fibers?

Some of us may not have a choice. Feeding the rapidly expanding world population will require 470 million tons of annual meat production by 2050, an increase of more than 200 million tons from current annual levels, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).… read more

An ingredient in olive oil that appears to kill cancer cells

February 20, 2015

(credit: iStock)

A Rutgers nutritional scientist and two cancer biologists at New York City’s Hunter College have found that an ingredient in extra-virgin olive oil kills a variety of human cancer cells without harming healthy cells.

The ingredient is oleocanthal, a compound that ruptures a part of the cancerous cell, releasing enzymes that cause cell death.

Paul Breslin, professor of nutritional sciences in the … read more

This radical air-filter design could help Beijing and L.A. residents breathe easily

February 20, 2015

PM capture by PAN3

Stanford’s Yi Cui and his students have turned a material commonly used in surgical gloves into a low-cost, highly efficient air filter that could be used to improve facemasks and window screens, and maybe even scrub the exhaust from power plants.

Finding himself choked by smog from produced by automobiles and coal power plants on trips to China, Yi Cui, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at… read more

New paper-like material for lithium-ion batteries could boost electric vehicle range

February 19, 2015

Scanning electron microscope image silicon nanofibers after etching, under high magnification (Credit: UCR)

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering have developed a novel paper-like material for lithium-ion batteries.

It has the potential to boost by several times the specific energy, or amount of energy that can be delivered per unit weight of the battery.

This paper-like material is composed of sponge-like silicon nanofibers more than 100 times thinner than human hair. It could be used in… read more

Could dark matter cause some mass extinctions and geologic upheavals?

February 19, 2015

NGC 4565, an edge-on spiral galaxy. The stars, dust and gas are concentrated into a thin disc, much like the one in our Milky Way galaxy. (Credit: Jschulman555)

In Earth’s path around and through our Galaxy’s disc, dark matter may perturb the orbits of comets and lead to additional heating in the Earth’s core, both of which could be connected with mass extinction events, according to a research finding by New York University Biology Professor Michael Rampino.

Writing in an open-access paper published today, Feb. 19, in Monthly Notices ofread more

Scientists find ‘strongest’ natural material

February 19, 2015

A scanning electron microscope image of limpet teeth (credit: University of Portsmouth)

Limpet teeth might be the strongest natural material known, with biological structures so strong (3.0 to 6.5 GPa tensile strength) they could be copied to make future cars, boats, and planes, a new study by researchers from the University of Portsmouth has found.

The research was published (open access) Wednesday Feb. 18 in the Royal Society journal Interface.

“Until now, we thought that spider… read more

New algorithms locate where a video was shot from its images and sounds

Could help recognize locations of missing people or terrorist executions in the future
February 18, 2015

sample frames2

Researchers from the Ramón Llull University (Spain) have created a system capable of geolocating some videos by comparing their images and audio with a worldwide multimedia database, for cases where textual metadata is not available or relevant.

In the future, this could help to find people who have gone missing after posting images on social networks, or even to recognize locations of terrorist executions by organizations such as ISIS.… read more

New molecular shape for electronic circuits discovered

February 18, 2015

SISSA CNR-IOM3

Corannulene — a carbon molecule with molecular shape similar to fullerene (C60) — has properties that could be ideal for building molecule-size circuits, a team of scientists from SISSA, the University of Zurich, and the University of Nova Gorica in Slovenia has found in theoretical studies.

Imagine taking a fullerene sphere and cutting it in half like a melon. What you get is a corannulene (C20H10)… read more

An ‘in silico’ method of predicting effectiveness of cognitive enhancers

February 17, 2015

pathway activation profile2

The Biogerontology Research Foundation (BGRF) has used gene expression data to evaluate activated or suppressed signaling pathways in tissues or neurons of the mouse brain that has been cognitively enhanced with nootropic drugs.

Currently used cognitive enhancers are those that are widely available, rather than optimal for the user, the researchers note. These include drugs typically prescribed for treatment of ADHD (e.g., methylphenidate) and sleep… read more

Gold nanotubes image and destroy cancer cells in three ways

February 17, 2015

Pulsed near infrared light (shown in red) is shone onto a tumour (shown in white) that is encased in blood vessels. The tumour is imaged by multispectral optoacoustic tomography via the ultrasound emission (shown in blue) from the gold nanotubes. (credit: Jing Claussen/iThera Medical, Germany)

Leeds scientists have shown that gold nanotubes can fight cancer in three ways: as internal nanoprobes for high-resolution photoacoustic imaging, as drug delivery vehicles, and as agents for destroying cancer cells.

The study, published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, details the first successful demonstration of the biomedical use of gold nanotubes in a mouse model of human cancer — an alternative to existing chemotherapy and… read more

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