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Ultra-high-resolution movies of live 3D biomolecules now possible with new microscope

October 23, 2014

A single HeLa cell in metaphase, imaged by lattice light sheet microscope. Growing microtubule endpoints and tracks are color coded by growth phase lifetime Credit: Betzig Lab, HHMI/Janelia Research Campus, Mimori-Kiyosue Lab, RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology)

A new imaging platform called a “lattice light sheet” developed by Nobel laureate Eric Betzig and colleagues at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus is a significant leap forward for light microscopy. It captures high-resolution images rapidly and minimizes damage to cells, so it can image the three-dimensional activity of molecules, cells, and embryos in fine detail over longer periods than was previously possible, according to… read more

Will cosmic rays threaten Mars One, other deep-space astronaut projects?

October 23, 2014

Artist's rendition of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter at the moon. The CRaTER telescope is seen pointing out at the bottom right center of the LRO spacecraft. (Credit: Chris Meaney/NASA)

Crewed missions to Mars such as Mars One may face dangerous levels of cosmic rays (energetic particles), according to a new paper in the journal Space Weather by University of New Hampshire (UNH) scientists.

This is due to a recent highly abnormal and extended lack of solar activity, resulting in extremely low densities and magnetic field strengths in the solar wind.

This results in a serious reduction in the… read more

New 3D printing algorithms speed production, reduce waste

October 23, 2014

New software algorithms reduce the time and material needed to produce objects with 3-D printers. Here, the wheel on the left was produced with conventional software and the one on the right with the new algorithms. (Credit: Purdue University photo/Bedrich Benes)

Purdue University researchers have developed two software algorithms for trimming time and material, reducing 3D-printing time by up to 30 percent and the amound of support material by up to 65 percent.

The new PackMerger algorithm works by printing a project in segments that can fit into the printing tray and later be glued together.

Maximum packing density

The algorithm determines how to pack the most elements… read more

Paralyzed man walks, thanks to pioneering cell transplanation

October 22, 2014

BBC | Watch Darek Fidyka walk with the aid of a frame

Darek Fidyka, who was paralyzed from the chest down following a knife attack, can now walk, using a frame, thanks to a pioneering cell transplantation treatment developed by scientists at University College London (UCL) and applied by surgeons at Wroclaw University Hospital, Poland.

The technique, developed by UK research team leader Professor Geoff Raisman, Chair of Neural Regeneration at the UCL Institute of Neurology, involved implanting … read more

‘Let’s create the OS of life’

October 22, 2014

OS Fund

On Monday, Bryan Johnson, the Braintree founder who bootstrapped and then sold the company to eBay for $800M, announced he used his own capital to launch a $100M “OS Fund.”

The fund’s charter is to invest in entrepreneurs, scientists, and inventors who aim to benefit humanity by rewriting the operating systems of life, Johnson says.

OS Fund

As Fortune reports,… read more

Transparent graphene-based sensors open new window into the brain

October 21, 2014

A blue light shines through a clear implantable medical sensor onto a brain model. See-through sensors developed by UW-Madison engineers, should help neural researchers better view brain activity. (Photo credit:  Justin Williams research group)

University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers have developing invisible implantable medical sensor microarrays to allow for seeing brain tissue hidden by implants.

The researchers chose graphene because it allows the electronic circuit elements to be transparent across a large spectrum — from ultraviolet to deep infrared. “It is soft and flexible, and a good tradeoff between transparency, strength and conductivity,” says Zhenqiang (Jack) Ma, a professor of electrical and computer engineering… read more

‘Hidden brain signatures’ of consciousness in vegetative state patients discovered

October 21, 2014

Brain networks in two behaviourally-similar vegetative patients (left and middle), but one of whom imagined playing tennis (middle panel), alongside a healthy adult (right panel) (Credit: Srivas Chennu)

Scientists in Cambridge, England have found hidden signatures in the brains of people in a vegetative state that point to networks that could support consciousness — even when a patient appears to be unconscious and unresponsive. The study could help doctors identify patients who are aware despite being unable to communicate.

Although unable to move and respond, some patients in a vegetative state are able to carry out tasks such… read more

Beyond LEDs: brighter, new energy-saving flat-panel lights based on carbon nanotubes

October 20, 2014

This image shows a planar light source device from the front. (Credit: N.Shimoi/Tohoku University)

Scientists from Tohoku University in Japan have developed a new type of energy-efficient flat light source, based on carbon nanotubes, with very low power consumption of around 0.1 Watt-hours of operation — about a hundred times lower than that of an LED.

In the journal Review of Scientific Instruments, the researchers detail the fabrication and optimization of the device, which is based on a phosphor screen and single-walled carbon nanotubes… read more

A tiny ultrasound-powered chip to serve as medical device

October 20, 2014

Stanford engineers can already power this prototype medical implant chip without wires by using ultrasound. Now they want to make it much smaller. (Credit: Arbabian Lab / Stanford School of Engineering)

Stanford engineers are developing a way to send power — safely and wirelessly — to “smart chips” in the body that are programmed to perform medical tasks and report back the results.

The idea is to get rid of wires and batteries, which would make the implant too big or clumsy.

Their approach involves beaming ultrasound at a tiny device inside the body designed to do three things:… read more

Hagel orders formation of military Expeditionary Ebola Support Team

October 19, 2014

USAMRIIDsoldiers

On Sunday (Oct. 18), U.S. Secretary of Defense  Chuck Hagel ordered his Northern Command Commander, Gen. Chuck Jacoby, to “prepare and train a 30-person expeditionary medical support team that could, if required, provide short-notice assistance to civilian medical professionals in the United States.”

The team will consist of 20 critical care nurses, five doctors trained in infectious disease, and five trainers in infectious disease protocols.

Team members will… read more

Bio-inspired ‘nano-cocoons’ trick cancer cells into accepting drug delivery

A less-toxic DNA-based drug delivery system
October 17, 2014

This image illustrates how the nano-cocoon system works. (Credit: Zhen Gu)

Biomedical engineering researchers have developed a drug delivery system consisting of nanoscale “cocoons” made of DNA that target cancer cells and trick the cells into absorbing the cocoon before unleashing anticancer drugs.

The work was done by researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“This drug delivery system is DNA-based, which means it is biocompatible and less toxic to patients… read more

How to build layered 3D graphene-based materials

October 17, 2014

Electron microscopy images of the porous graphene-based structure created by diffusion driven layer-by-layer assembly (Credit: Kyoto University)

Researchers from the Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) at Kyoto University have developed a novel but simple technique called “diffusion driven layer-by-layer assembly” to construct graphene into porous three-dimensional structures for applications in devices such as batteries and supercapacitors.

Their study was recently published in the journal Nature Communications.

The problem they addressed is the difficulty of piecing together graphene sheets into useful larger structures. The researchers… read more

How teachers’ myths about the brain are hampering teaching

October 17, 2014

Photographs of the left and right midsagittal sections of Einstein’s brain with original labels (Falk et al., 2013), reproduced here with permission from the National Museum of Health and Medicine, Silver Spring, MD. The red circles indicate two breaches on each<br />
hemisphere of Einstein’s corpus callosum that have different shapes, which may have been introduced when the two hemispheres were<br />
separated in 1955.

Teachers in the UK, Holland, Turkey, Greece and China were presented with seven “neuromyths” and asked whether they believe them to be true.

A quarter or more of teachers in the UK and Turkey believe a student’s brain would shrink if they drank less than six to eight glasses of water a day, while around half or more of those surveyed believe a student’s brain is only 10 per… read more

Why your hospital may be unable to prevent spread of Ebola

October 17, 2014

Ebola particle (credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

Challenging reassurances by CDC director Tom Frieden, M.D. Thursday in congressional testimony, a group of infectious disease experts has suggested that conventional U.S. medical centers are unprepared and ill equipped to manage Ebola, in an open-access article published Thursday in Annals of Internal Medicine.

The authors recommend that a national network of specialized containment and treatment facilities tied to biosafety level-4 laboratories or airport… read more

Precision control of 3D printing of metals at specific microscale locations and crystal-structure orientations

October 16, 2014

ORNL researchers have demonstrated the ability to precisely control the structure and properties of 3-D printed metal parts during formation. The electron backscatter diffraction image shows variations in crystallographic orientation in a nickel-based component, achieved by controlling the 3-D printing process at the microscale. (Credit: ORNL)

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have demonstrated a additive manufacturing method for controlling the structure and properties of metal components at the microscale with precision unmatched by conventional manufacturing processes.

“We can now control local material properties, which will change the future of how we engineer metallic components,” said Ryan Dehoff, staff scientist and metal additive manufacturing lead at the Department of Energy’s… read more

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