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A hydrogel that destroys superbugs and drug-resistant biofilms

Novel antimicrobial hydrogel prevents antibiotic-resistant microbes from forming on wounds, medical devices and implants
January 28, 2013

Biofilm after treatment (credit: IBN)

The first-ever antimicrobial hydrogel that can break apart biofilms and destroy multidrug-resistant superbugs upon contact has been developed by researchers from the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) and IBM Research.

Tests have demonstrated the effectiveness of this novel synthetic material in eliminating various types of bacteria and fungi that are leading causes of microbial infections, and preventing them from developing antibiotic resistance.

This… read more

Electrical brain stimulation helps people learn math faster

May 20, 2013

TRNS-NIRS

A harmless form of brain stimulation called transcranial random noise stimulation (TRNS) can help you learn math faster, researchers report.

“With just five days of cognitive training and noninvasive, painless brain stimulation, we were able to bring about long-lasting improvements in cognitive and brain functions,” says Roi Cohen Kadosh of the University of Oxford.

The enhancements to the speed of calculation- and memory-recall-based arithmetic learning held for a… read more

Living power cables discovered

Multicellular bacteria transmit electrons across relatively enormous distances
October 26, 2012

Electrifying_microbial_filaments

A multinational research team has discovered filamentous bacteria that function as living power cables that transmit electrons thousands of cell lengths away.

The Desulfobulbus bacterial cells, which are only a few hundreds of a nanometer long each, are so tiny that they are invisible to the naked eye. And yet, under the right circumstances, they form a multicellular filament that can transmit electrons across a distance as large as 1 centimeter… read more

Future quantum computers with machine learning could attack larger sets of data than classical computers

July 31, 2013

universe

Seth Lloyd of MIT and his collaborators have developed a quantum version of machine learning — a type of AI in which programs can learn from previous experience to become progressively better at finding patterns in data. It would take advantage of quantum computations to speed up machine-learning tasks exponentially, Nature News reports.

Data can be split into groups — a task that is at the core… read more

We may all be Martians, says geochemist

It's likely that life came to Earth on a Martian meteorite; conditions suitable for the origin of life may still exist on Mars
August 30, 2013

mars_nasa_image

New evidence has emerged that supports the long-debated theory that life on Earth may have started on Mars.

Speaking at the at the annual Goldschmidt conference on Thursday, Professor Steven Benner from The Westheimer Institute for Science and Technology told geochemists that an oxidized mineral form of the element molybdenum, which may have been crucial to the origin of life, could only have been available… read more

New web-based model for sharing research datasets could have huge benefits

October 15, 2012

(Credit: iStockphoto)

A group of researchers have proposed creating a new web-based data network to help researchers and policymakers worldwide turn existing knowledge into real-world applications and technologies and improve science and innovation policy.

Researchers around the world have created datasets that, if interlinked with other datasets and made more broadly available, could provide the needed foundation for policy and decision makers. But these datasets are spread across countries, scientific disciplines… read more

Optogenetics illuminates pathways of motivation and depression through brain

November 20, 2012

optogenetic fluorescence

Karl Deisseroth, MD, PhD, a professor of bioengineering and of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University, and postdoctoral scholar Melissa Warden, PhD, have isolated the neurons that carry the split-second decisions to act, from the higher brain to the brain stem. In doing so, they have provided insight into the causes of severe brain disorders such as depression.

In organisms… read more

Why glial cells should be included in the BRAIN initative

October 2, 2013

23 week fetal brain culture astrocyte, a type of glial cell (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Glia, the non-neuronal cells that make up most of the brain, must not be left out of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, says R. Douglas Fields, chief of the Nervous System Development and Plasticity Section at NIH, in Nature News.

“A major stumbling block is the project’s failure to consider that although the human brain contains roughly 100 billion neurons, it… read more

Blocking the sun: study looks at costs of 6 geoengineering schemes

September 5, 2012

599px-The_Earth_seen_from_Apollo_17

As the planet warms and the world continues to emit greenhouse gases at a searing pace, some argue that geoengineering ideas are rapidly becoming attractive, if not downright necessary, IEEE Spectrum reports.

In other words, hack the planet.

One of the two main categories of geoengineering is solar radiation management, or SRM. (The other is the direct removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.)… read more

NASA rover finds old streambed on Martian surface

September 28, 2012

streambed_scalebar

NASA’s Curiosity rover mission has found evidence a stream once ran vigorously across the area on Mars where the rover is driving.

There is earlier evidence for the presence of water on Mars, but this evidence — images of rocks containing ancient streambed gravels — is the first of its kind.

Scientists are studying the images of stones cemented into a layer of conglomerate… read more

Woman with quadriplegia feeds herself chocolate using mind-controlled robot arm

December 21, 2012

bmi-pittsburgh-sm

Reaching out to “high five” someone, grasping and moving objects of different shapes and sizes, feeding herself dark chocolate.

For Jan Scheuermann and a team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC, accomplishing these seemingly ordinary tasks demonstrated for the first time that a person with longstanding quadriplegia can maneuver a mind-controlled, human-like robot arm in seven dimensions (7D) to consistently… read more

New graphene-based supercapacitors rival lead-acid batteries

August 5, 2013

graphene_ionic_1

Monash University researchers have developed a completely new strategy to engineer graphene-based supercapacitors (SC), making them viable for widespread use in renewable energy storage, portable electronics and electric vehicles.

SCs are generally made of highly porous carbon impregnated with a liquid electrolyte to transport the electrical charge. Known for their almost indefinite lifespan and the ability to re-charge in seconds, the drawback of existing SCs… read more

Engineered red blood cells could carry therapeutic or diagnostic payloads

July 3, 2014

Human red blood cells supported on a glass slide (credit: Whitehead Institute)

Whitehead Institute scientists and associates have modified red blood cells (RBCs) to carry a range of valuable therapeutic and diagnostic payloads — such as drugs, vaccines, and disease-detecting imaging agents  — for delivery to specific sites throughout the body.

“We wanted to create high-value red cells that do more than simply carry oxygen,” says Whitehead Founding Member Harvey Lodish, who collaborated with Whitehead Member… read more

The ‘Internet of cars’ is approaching a crossroads

June 27, 2013

vehicle2vehicle

Wireless vehicle networks could make driving safer, more efficient, and less polluting, but the cost of deployment will be significant, MIT Technology Review reports.

This week, officials from the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, DC, will see the technology in action, in a demonstration organized by experts from the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute and various communications equipment and car manufacturers.… read more

Fast time and the aging mind

July 21, 2013

688px-MontreGousset001

The apparent velocity of time is a big fat cognitive illusion and ,,, there may be a way to slow the velocity of our later lives, Richard A. Friedman, a professor of clinical psychiatry and the director of the psycho-pharmacology clinic at the Weill Cornell Medical College, writes in The New York Times. …

If you want time to slow down, become a student again.… read more

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