science + technology news

Nanotech improves disease detection

March 28, 2003

Nanotechnology could improve medical diagnostics vastly within the next two or three years, say Emory University researchers.

Researchers are developing diagnostic tests for cancer and cardiovascular diseases based on light emission in the presence of specific disease markers. A nanostructure could also recognize a cancer cell, bind to it, and trigger a release of a therapeutic drug.

Kurzweil forecasts ‘the end of handicaps’

March 27, 2003

Northridge, CA — “Seeing machines” that provide real-time, intelligent descriptions of the world and “listening machine” sensory aids that convert spoken language in real-time to a visual display were among forecasts by Ray Kurzweil in a keynote at the California State University of Northridge (CSUN) “Technology and Persons with Disabilities” 2003 Conference.

The keynote, “The End of Handicaps,” focused on “the accelerating pace of technology, the handicaps associated with… read more

Synapse chip taps into brain chemistry

March 26, 2003

Stanford University researchers have developed “artificial synapses” on a silicon chip.

When an electric field is applied, the neurotransmitter is pumped through an internal pipeline, and a little of it squeezes out of the hole, stimulating nearby neural cells.

This could open the way to neural prosthetic implants that combine chemical and electrical stimulation in one implant. These could interact with cells in more subtle and precise ways.… read more

Undercover genes slip into the brain

March 24, 2003

A molecular Trojan horse that can slip past the brain’s defences has proved to be very effective at delivering genes, drugs and other compounds to the brains of primates. It could be used to treat a host of brain disorders, from Parkinson’s to epilepsy.

Bone marrow cells can become heart cells

March 14, 2003

Researchers have detected the first evidence that cells originating in the bone marrow can form new heart tissue in human adults and this suggests the technique could prove useful for mending and regenerating damaged heart tissue.

TEDMED3 to focus on new health tech

March 12, 2003

Richard Saul Wurman is hosting TEDMED3, focused on “the collection of media and technologies that enable individuals to seek and obtain a healthier life through the understanding of information.” It will be held June 11-14, 2003 in Philadelphia.

The conference will cover topics such as:

  • computer graphics & imaging of the human body
  • micro lozenges that record their journey through the body
  • various
  • read more

    Simulating Surgery

    March 11, 2003

    An experimental software system lets surgeons “sketch” several possibilities for bypass operations (based on nuclear magnetic resonance data) and preview the likely results before making a single incision.

    The Liver Chip

    March 5, 2003

    Researchers are building a miniature human liver on a silicon chip as a realistic model of the natural organ. Mass produced, such a chip could be a boon to companies developing drugs for hepatitis and other diseases, and for scientists investigating liver cancer and gene therapy and chemical firms testing the toxicity of new materials.

    Optical trap provides new insights into motor molecules

    February 27, 2003

    The remarkably fuel-efficient motor of the protein kinesin serves as the ideal model for a variety of futuristic nanotechnologies — from nanofactories that would fit inside a computer chip to nanoimplants that could be placed under the skin and deliver minute doses of medication to targeted cells.

    News tip: Walter Purvis

    Anti-aging drugs may change society

    February 27, 2003

    Aging experts cautioned that if scientists succeed in developing therapies to extend human lifespan by decades the event could have profound implications for society.

    Ethical issues would arise if anti-aging interventions were not universally available and there could be problems of overpopulation.

    University Of Michigan Launches Ambitious Exploration Of Inner Space

    February 26, 2003

    University of Michigan researchers will attempt to capture never-before-seen views of the chemical activity inside living cells in real time and 3-D.

    The team will be using synthetic nanoprobes small enough to fit inside a cell without interrupting its normal functions to measure the activity of crucial metal ions like zinc and copper as the cell works. Sophisticated statistical modeling programs will be used to interpret the data.… read more

    Discovering a Secret of Long Life

    February 13, 2003

    Scientists at the California Institute of Technology have discoverd a common mitochrondrial DNA genetic mutation in people who live longer than 100 years. The finding could help advance ways to counteract the ravages of aging.

    Finding Life Away From Earth Will be Tough Task

    February 9, 2003

    Using basic techniques to search for the simplest evidence of ancient life on Earth is the best approach to finding evidence of life elsewhere, according to University of Washington paleontologist Roger Buick.

    Buick said fossil evidence of early life, whether from Earth or somewhere else, could be so tiny that it is at the limits of -– or beyond -– current capabilities in optic microscopic resolution. Those life forms… read more

    Getting a Closer Look at the Eye

    January 24, 2003

    Adaptive optics, originally developed for astronomy (using mirrors to eliminate the visual distortion caused by the earth’s atmosphere), is being used by ophthalmologists to see to see individual cells in the retina.
    It is being combined with optical coherence tomography, which allows doctors to capture images deep inside tissue.

    When the Athlete’s Heart Falters, a Monitor Dials for Help

    January 9, 2003

    Manufacturers are working on wearable heart monitors linked to cellphones that can sound an alert automatically, contacting a doctor, family member or Web site when trouble beckons.

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