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Fast time and the aging mind

July 21, 2013

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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

Companies discover untapped brain power: autistics

July 21, 2013

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Companies are discovering the untapped brain power of a group long thought ill suited to the office: adults on the autistic spectrum. Joshua Kendall, author of America’s Obsessives, reports at The Daily Beast on one Danish man’s mission to employ the seemingly unemployable — and successful famous “obsessives”* (think Jefferson and Heinz) in American history.

While the 1% of the population with ASDs may have considerable difficulty navigating… read more

Education online: the virtual lab

July 21, 2013

OSL_OpenUniversity

Universities around the world are rushing to partner with the major MOOC companies in a move that many believe could revolutionize higher education, Nature News reports.

But for many people working in education, MOOCs do not yet take the revolution far enough. Practical skills have to be acquired through experience. They require the hands-on, problem-solving activities that have traditionally been the domain of laboratory courses,… read more

A faster Internet via machine learning

July 21, 2013

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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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AI tutor, college degrees planned for Udacity online courses: Sebastian Thrun

July 20, 2013

Sebastian Thrun

Udacity cofounder and CEO Sebastian Thrun says Udacity is planning to develop AI “that sits there, watches you learn, and helps you pick the right learning venue or task, so you’re more effective and have more pleasure,” he told MIT Technology Review. It should be available in at least a year, he said.

Thrun also said San Jose State University is offering coreread more

Daydreaming simulated by computer model

July 19, 2013

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Scientists have created a virtual model of the brain that daydreams like humans do.

Researchers created the computer model based on the dynamics of brain cells and the many connections those cells make with their neighbors and with cells in other brain regions.

They hope the model will help them understand why certain portions of the brain work together when a person daydreams or is mentally… read more

An injectable ‘smart sponge’ for controlled drug delivery

July 19, 2013

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Researchers have developed a drug delivery technique for diabetes treatment in which a sponge-like material surrounds an insulin core.

The sponge expands and contracts in response to blood sugar levels to release insulin as needed. The technique could also be used for targeted drug delivery to cancer cells.

“We wanted to mimic the function of healthy beta-cells, which produce insulin and control its release in a… read more

Mathematical models target disease with drug choice based on your DNA

July 19, 2013

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Medicines that are personally tailored to your DNA are becoming a reality, thanks to the work of U.S. and Chinese scientists who developed statistical models to predict which drug is best for a specific individual with a specific disease.

“Traditional medicine doesn’t consider mechanistic drug response,” said Rongling Wu, director of the Center for Statistical Genetics and professor of public health sciences within the division of biostatistics and… read more

‘Intelligent knife’ tells surgeon if tissue is cancerous in 3 seconds

July 19, 2013

intelligent_knife

Scientists have developed an “intelligent knife” (iKnife) that can tell surgeons immediately whether the tissue they are cutting is cancerous or not.

In the first study to test the iKnife invention (based on “rapid evaporative ionization mass spectrometry (REIMS)) in the operating theater, iKnife diagnosed tissue samples from 91 patients with 100 per cent accuracy.

It instantly (within 3 seconds) provided information that normally takes up… read more

‘Impossible’ material made by Uppsala University researchers

Ultra-adsorbing Upsalite material has the highest surface area for an alkali earth metal carbonate
July 19, 2013

uppsalite

A novel material with “world-record-breaking” surface area and water adsorption abilities has been synthesized by researchers from Uppsala University, Sweden.

The results are published in PLOS ONE (open access).

The magnesium carbonate material, named “Upsalite,” will reduce the amount of energy needed to control environmental moisture in the electronics and drug formulation industry as well as in hockey rinks and ware houses, the researchers… read more

New mode of cellular communication discovered in the brain

Glial cells provide protective proteins and genetic information to neurons
July 18, 2013

neuron-exosome

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) researchers have discovered a new form of communication between neurons and neighboring of a specific type of glial cells: a transfer of protein and genetic information, protecting neurons from stressful growth conditions.

Oligodendrocytes, a type of glial cell, serve several functions.

They form an insulating myelin sheath around the axons of neurons. If this support becomes unavailable, axons can… read more

Elastic electronics: best stretchable gold conductors yet

Flexible electronics offer a wide variety of possibilities, from bendable displays and batteries to medical implants that move with the body
July 18, 2013

flexible electronics

Networks of spherical nanoparticles embedded in elastic materials may make the best stretchy conductors yet, engineering researchers at the University of Michigan have discovered.

“Essentially, the new nanoparticle materials behave as elastic metals,” said Nicholas Kotov, the Joseph B. and Florence V. Cejka Professor of Engineering. “It’s just the start of a new family of materials that can be made from a large variety of nanoparticles for… read more

Steering stem cells with magnets

Magnets could be a tool for directing stem cells’ healing powers to treat conditions such as heart disease or vascular disease
July 18, 2013

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By feeding stem cells tiny particles made of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles, scientists at Emory and Georgia Tech can then use magnets to attract the cells to a particular location in a mouse’s body after intravenous injection.

The type of cells used in the study, mesenchymal stem cells, are not embryonic stem cells. Mesenchymal stem cells can be readily obtained from adult tissues such as… read more

Would you use eye-tracking instead of passwords?

July 18, 2013

The prototype was built to simulate an ATM screen. In this scenario, users followed the highlighted dots with their eyes and the technology tracked their unique eye movements.

Biometric authentication technology systems for fingerprint, eye, and face recognition have failed to go mainstream to replace the unreliable password system.

University of Washington engineers are trying to figure out why. They found in a recent study, funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, that one of the reasons face- and eye-recognition systems haven’t taken off is because the user’s experience often isn’t factored into… read more

‘Neural dust’ brain implants could revolutionize brain-machine interfaces and allow large-scale data recording

July 17, 2013

Neural dust

In a potential neuroscience breakthrough, University of California Berkeley scientists have proposed a system that allows for thousands of ultra-tiny “neural dust” chips to be inserted into the brain to monitor neural signals at high resolution and communicate data highly efficiently via ultrasound.

The neural dust design promises to overcome a serious limitation of current invasive brain-machine interfaces (BMI): the lack of an implantable neural interface system that remains… read more

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