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Boosting levels of antioxidant may help resist age-related decline

NAC, used in emergency-room toxic crises, boosts glutathione. Could NAC also help resist aging-related toxins?
October 28, 2016

The chemical structure of glutathione, an antioxidant that may help resist the toxins that are an underlying cause of aging. (credit: Graphic courtesy of Oregon State University)

Researchers at Oregon State University have found evidence in a rat study* that levels of glutathione, which helps resist the toxic stresses of everyday life, decline with age, and this sets the stage for a wide range of age-related health problems, they suggest.

The new study, published in the journal Redox Biology, also highlighted a compound called N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), which is used in… read more

A deep-learning system to alert companies before litigation

"The average cost per lawsuit: at least about $350,000"
October 27, 2016

(credit: Intraspexion, Inc.)

Imagine a world with less litigation.

That’s the promise of a deep-learning system developed by Intraspexion, Inc. that can alert company or government attorneys to forthcoming risks before getting hit with expensive litigation.

“These risks show up in internal communications such as emails,” said CEO Nick Brestoff. “In-house attorneys have been blind to these risks, so they are stuck with managing the lawsuits.”… read more

Ultra-low-power transistors could function for years without a battery

“If we were to draw energy from a typical AA battery based on this design, it would last for a billion years." --- Sungsik Lee, PhD, in the journal Science
October 25, 2016

Schematic cross-section of an Indium-gallium-zinc-oxide thin-film transistor [inset: schematic illustrations of atomic structures for less compensated (LC) and more compensated (MC) IGZO films, respectively) (credit: Sungsik Lee and Arokia Nathan/Science)

Devices based on a new ultra-low-power thin-film transistor design by University of Cambridge engineers could function for months or even years without a battery, by operating on scavenged energy from their environment — ideal for the Internet of Things and for wearable or implantable electronics.

The transistors can be produced at low temperatures and can be printed on almost any material, such as glass, plastic, polyester fabrics, and paper.

Similar to… read more

‘Bits & Watts’: integrating inexpensive energy sources into the electric grid

October 25, 2016

Bits & Watts initiative (credit: Stanford University)

Stanford University and DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory launched today an initiative called “Bits & Watts” aimed at integrating low-carbon, inexpensive energy sources, like wind and solar, into the electric grid.

The interdisciplinary initiative hopes to develop “smart” technology that will bring the grid into the 21st century while delivering reliable, efficient, affordable power to homes and businesses.

That means you’ll be able to feed extra power from… read more

Will AI replace judges and lawyers?

October 25, 2016

(credit: iStock)

An artificial intelligence method developed by University College London computer scientists and associates has predicted the judicial decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) with 79% accuracy, according to a paper published Monday, Oct. 24 in PeerJ Computer Science.

The method is the first to predict the outcomes of a major international court by automatically analyzing case text using a machine-learning algorithm.*

“We don’t… read more

‘Atomic sandwich’ computing material uses 100 times less energy

Could lead to reduction of the forecast 50 percent of global energy consumption by electronics by 2030
October 21, 2016

New magnetoelectric multiferroic material achieves room-temperature multiferroic properties at room temperature (credit: Julia A. Mundy/Nature)

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists have developed a new “magnetoelectric multiferroic*” material that could lead to a new generation of computing devices with more computing power while consuming a fraction of the energy that today’s electronics require.

Electronics could be half of our total global energy consumption by 2030

“Electronics are the fastest-growing consumer of energy worldwide,” said Ramamoorthy Ramesh, associate laboratory director for energy technologies at Lawrence… read more

Will we kill (or contaminate) microbial life on Mars?

“This has implications for plans for sample return from Mars and for future human missions.” --- NASA astrobiologist Chris McKay, PhD
October 20, 2016

These dark, narrow, 100 meter-long streaks called recurring slope lineae flowing downhill on Mars are inferred to have been formed by contemporary flowing water. Recently, planetary scientists detected hydrated salts on these slopes at Hale crater, corroborating their original hypothesis that the streaks are indeed formed by liquid water. The blue color seen upslope of the dark streaks are thought not to be related to their formation, but instead are from the presence of the mineral pyroxene. (credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)

Recent evidence of water, complex organic molecules, and methane in the Martian environment, combined with findings from the 1976 Viking mission, have led to the conclusion that existing microbial life on Mars is a possibility that must be considered, according to the authors of a paper in the journal Astrobiology (open-access until November 15, 2016).

Coauthors Gilbert V. Levin, Arizona State University, Tempe, and Patricia Ann Straat, National Institutes of… read more

Bendable electronic color ‘paper’ invented

October 19, 2016

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have developed the basis for a new electronic 'paper.' Chalmers' logotype shows how the RGB pixels can reproduce color images. The magnification shows which pixels are activated to create the image. (credit: Kunli Xiong)

Chalmers University of Technology researchers have developed the basic technology for a new kind of reflective electronic “paper” that is micrometer-thin and bendable. It can display all colors displayed on an LED display, but with one tenth the energy required with a Kindle tablet.

The technology is based on electrically controllable optical absorption of a conducting polymer, which is used to modulate the reflected… read more

Zapping deep tumors with microwave-heated photosensitizer nanoparticle

Inexpensive new nanoparticle generates toxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) for targeted attack of cancer cells
October 18, 2016

Figure Explaining the New Method ft

Physicists at The University of Texas at Arlington have invented a new photosensitizer  nanoparticle called copper-cysteamine (Cu-Cy) that when heated by microwave energy can precisely zap cancer cells deep in the body .

Photodynamic therapy kills cancer cells when a photosensitizer* nanoparticle introduced into tumor tissue is stimulated by (typically) near-infrared light, generating toxic reactive oxygen species (ROS), such as singlet oxygen, by photoexcitation. However, near-IR light cannot penetrate… read more

Engineers reveal fabrication process for revolutionary transparent graphene neural sensors

October 14, 2016

A blue light shines through a transparent. implantable medical sensor onto a brain. The invention may help neural researchers better view brain activity. (credit: Justin Williams research group)

In an open-access paper published Thursday (Oct. 13, 2016) in the journal Nature Protocols, University of Wisconsin–Madison engineers have published details of how to fabricate and use neural microelectrocorticography (μECoG) arrays made with transparent graphene in applications in electrophysiology, fluorescent microscopy, optical coherence tomography, and optogenetics.

Graphene is one of the most promising candidates for transparent neural electrodes, because the material has a UV to IR transparency of more… read more

Mars-bound astronauts face brain damage from galactic cosmic ray exposure, says NASA-funded study

May encounter Alzheimer's-like long-term memory deficits, anxiety, depression and impaired decision-making --- will they even remember the trip?
October 14, 2016

An (unshielded) view of Mars (credit: SpaceX)

A NASA-funded study of rodents exposed to highly energetic charged particles — similar to the galactic cosmic rays that will bombard astronauts during extended spaceflights — found that the rodents developed long-term memory deficits, anxiety, depression, and impaired decision-making (not to mention long-term cancer risk).

The study by University of California, Irvine (UCI) scientists* appeared Oct. 10 in Nature’s open-access Scientific Reports. It follows one last year… read more

Zapping undifferentiated stem cells with light to prevent tumors

Stain, shine, kill
October 14, 2016

A light-activated dye turns on reactive oxygen species (ROS)-mediated cell death in undifferentiated pluripotent stem cells, which could make stem cell therapies safer by preventing tumors. (credit: American Chemical Society)

Pluripotent stem cells (PSC) could be the key to a host of regeneration therapies because they can differentiate (develop) into basically any tissue type. But some PSCs in a culture dish can remain undifferentiated, and those could form teratomas — a type of tumor — if transplanted into patients.

Now a new light-based technology could remove this risk, Korean researchers report in an open-access paperread more

Berkeley Lab announces first transistor with a working 1-nanometer gate

Breaks through the 5-nanometer quantum tunneling threshold; may allow for Moore's law to continue
October 11, 2016

Schematic of a transistor with a molybdenum disulfide channel and 1 nanometer carbon nanotube gate. (credit: Sujay Desai/Berkeley Lab)

The first transistor with a working 1-nanometer (nm) gate* has been created by a team led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) scientists. Until now, a transistor gate size less than 5 nanometers has been considered impossible because of quantum tunneling effects. (One nanometer is the diameter of a glucose molecule.)

The breakthrough was achieved by creating a 2D (flat) semiconductor field-effect transistor using… read more

First human clinical trial for nicotinamide riboside

Vitamin safely boosts levels of important cell metabolite NAD+, which is critical for cellular energy production and protection against stress and DNA damage
October 11, 2016

(credit: iStock)

In the first controlled clinical trial of nicotinamide riboside (NR), a newly discovered form of Vitamin B3, researchers have shown that the compound is safe for humans and increases levels of a cell metabolite called NAD+ that is critical for cellular energy production and protection against stress and DNA damage.

Levels of NAD+ (first discovered by biochemists in 1906) diminish with age, and it has… read more

Coming soon: a 3-D computer model of a cell

Heralds a new era for biological research, medical science, and health
October 7, 2016

The image from co-author Arthur Olson's lab at the Scripps Research Institute shows a preliminary model of mycoplasma mycoides. Modeling by Ludovic Autin and David Goodsell, rendering by Adam Gardner. (credit: The Scripps Research Institute)

Advances in molecular biology and computer science may soon lead to a three-dimensional computer model of a cell, heralding a new era for biological research, medical science, and human and animal health, according to the authors of a paper recently published in the Journal of Molecular Biology.

“Cells are the foundation of life,” said Ilya Vakser, professor of computational biology and molecular biosciences and director of… read more

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