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A Dream Interpretation: Tuneups for the Brain

November 11, 2009

Dr. J. Allan Hobson, a psychiatrist and sleep researcher at Harvard, argues that dreaming is a parallel state of consciousness that is continually running but normally suppressed during waking. This is supported by research on lucid dreaming, which has been found to have elements of both rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep and of waking.

Hobson argues that the main function of REM, when most dreaming occurs, is physiological: the brain is… read more

A drug that can help wipe out reservoirs of cancer cells in bone marrow

February 19, 2014

iv_bottle

Cancer drugs that recruit antibodies from the body’s own immune system to help kill tumors have shown much promise in treating several types of cancer. But the tumors often return.

A new study from MIT reveals a way to combat these recurrent tumors with a drug that makes them more vulnerable to the antibody treatment. This drug, known as cyclophosphamide, is already approved by the… read more

A drug that improves endurance

July 17, 2013

Electron microscopy analysis of muscle from Nr1d1−/− mice (with lower Rev-erbα) and WT (wild type, or normal) mice. Black arrows: swollen, less dense mitochondria; white arrowheads, normal mitochondria. Scale bar, 1 μm.  (Credit: Estelle Woldt et al./Nature Medicine)

A drug candidate designed by scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) significantly increases exercise endurance in animal models, an international group of scientists has shown.

These findings could lead to new approaches to helping people with conditions that acutely limit exercise tolerance, such as obesity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and congestive heart failure, as well as the decline of… read more

A Drug-Dispensing Lens

May 22, 2009

Eyenovations has developed contact lenses that can deliver drugs to the eye for a month or more, using a hydrogel lens with a polymer film inside that contains the medication.

Uses include delivery of medicine without relying on frequent eyedrops for patients with glaucoma and for delivering antibiotics following eye surgery.

A durable, low-cost water splitter made of silicon and nickel

New fuel cells can more efficiently generate electricity when the sun isn't shining or demand is high
November 18, 2013

his image shows two electrodes connected via an external voltage source splitting water into oxygen (O2) and hydrogen (H2). The illuminated silicon electrode (left) uses light energy to assist in the water-splitting process and is protected from the surrounding electrolyte by a 2-nm film of nickel. (Illustration: Guosong Hong, Stanford University)

Stanford researchers have developed an inexpensive, corrosion-free device that uses light to split water into oxygen and clean-burning hydrogen.

The goal is to supplement solar cells with hydrogen-powered fuel cells that can generate electricity when the sun isn’t shining or demand is high.

The novel device — a silicon semiconductor coated in an ultrathin layer of nickel — could help pave the way for large-scale production of… read more

A Face-Finding Search Engine

September 18, 2008

Carnegie Mellon University researchers are developing software that could identify a person’s face in a low-resolution video and could be used to identify criminals or missing persons, or could be integrated into next-generation video search engines.

A Fast and Simple Cocaine Detector

March 13, 2006

UCSB researchers have created sensors using specific DNA sequences, combined with off-the-shelf components, that can detect cocaine in the blood and other substances.

The sensor consists of a gold electrode covered in specific strands of DNA. When the target molecule, in this case cocaine, binds to the DNA, it changes conformation. That change increases current flow through the electrode, creating a measurable electronic signal that can be read by… read more

A fast way to measure DNA repair

April 24, 2014

NewsImage_DNArepair

MIT researchers have developed a test that can rapidly assess several DNA repair systems, which could help determine individuals’ risk of developing cancer and help doctors predict how a given patient will respond to chemotherapy drugs.

Our DNA is under constant attack from many sources, including environmental pollutants, ultraviolet light, and radiation. Fortunately, cells have several major DNA repair systems that can fix… read more

A Fast, Programmable Molecular Clock

October 31, 2008
(UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering)

UC San Diego bioengineers have created the first stable, fast, and programmable genetic clock that reliably keeps time by the blinking of fluorescent proteins inside E. coli cells.

To create the clock, UC San Diego scientists genetically engineered a molecular oscillator composed of multiple gene promoters, which turn genes on in the presence of certain chemicals, and genes themselves, one of which codes for a fluorescent protein.… read more

A Fast, Sensitive Virus Detector

January 10, 2007

A sensor that measures the concentration of viruses in minutes could make possible a handheld device that cheaply and quickly spots pathogens.

A faster Internet via machine learning

July 21, 2013

remy_tcp

MIT researchers have developed a computer system called Remy that automatically generates TCP congestion-control algorithms that yield transmission rates two to three times as high as those designed by humans.

TCP (transmission control protocol) is a core protocol governing the Internet that prevents network congestion by regulating the rate at which computers send data, among other functions.

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A faster neuron-activity sensor for charting the brain in real time

July 29, 2013

mouse_neuron_expressing_GCaMP3

Princeton University researchers have created “souped up” versions of the calcium-sensitive proteins that for the past decade or so have given scientists an unparalleled view and understanding of brain-cell communication.

Reported July 18 in the journal Nature Communications, the enhanced proteins developed at Princeton respond more quickly to changes in neuron activity, and can be customized to react to different, faster rates of neuron activity.… read more

A Faster Way to Detect Heart Attacks

May 13, 2008

University of Texas at Austin researchers are testing a “nano-biochip” made of silicon that could detect heart attacks based on the proteins found in a patient’s saliva.

The dime-sized chip, read in a toaster-sized analyzer, could be used concurrently with EKGs in ambulances.

Heart attacks are currently diagnosed by biomarkers in the blood and electrocardiograms. EKGs miss a large number of heart attacks, particularly those with lesser or… read more

A faster, higher-quality way to reprogram cells into stem cells

October 12, 2011

sanger

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute researchers have announced a new technique to reprogram human cells, such as skin cells, into stem cells.

The researchers said their process increases the efficiency of cell reprogramming 100-fold and generates cells of a higher quality at a faster rate.

Until now, cells have been reprogrammed using four specific regulatory proteins. By adding two further regulatory factors —… read more

A fat tummy shrivels your brain

January 10, 2011

Obese individuals had more water in the amygdala,  a part of the brain involved in eating behavior, Antonio Convit at the New York University School of Medicine found in an fMRI study.  He also saw smaller orbitofrontal cortices in obese individuals, important for impulse control and also involved in feeding behavior .

“It could mean that there are less neurons, or that those neurons are shrunken,” says… read more

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