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New injectable hydrogel encourages regeneration and improves functionality after a heart attack

February 22, 2013

Microscopic images of pig hearts damaged by heart attack show the growth of new heart muscle tissue (Shown in Red, Figure A) after treatment with an injectable hydrogel compared to a heart left untreated (Figure B, right) (credit: Karen Christman/UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering)

University of California, San Diego bioengineers have demonstrated in a study in pigs that a new injectable hydrogel can repair damage from heart attacks, help the heart grow new tissue and blood vessels, and get the heart moving closer to how a healthy heart should.

The gel is injected through a catheter without requiring surgery or general anesthesia — a less invasive procedure for patients.… read more

‘Rain Man’-like brains mapped with network analysis

March 1, 2013

The connectome of brain malformation

Researchers at UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley have mapped the three-dimensional global connections within the brains of seven adults who have genetic malformations that leave them without the corpus callosum, which connects the left and right sides of the brain.

These “structural connectome” maps, which combine hospital MRIs with the mathematical tool known as network analysis, reveal new details about the condition known as… read more

DARPA envisions the future of machine learning

New wutomated tools aim to make it easier to teach a computer than to program it
March 22, 2013


DARPA has launched a new programming paradigm for managing uncertain information called “Probabilistic Programming for Advanced Machine Learning”(PPAML).

Machine learning — the ability of computers to understand data, manage results, and infer insights from uncertain information — is the force behind many recent revolutions in computing.

Unfortunately, every new machine-learning application requires a Herculean effort. Even a team of specially trained machine learning experts makes only… read more

Where is intelligence located in the brain?

April 11, 2012

Brain Structures

University of Illinois scientists have mapped the physical architecture of intelligence in the brain in one of the largest and most comprehensive analyses so far of the brain structures vital to general intelligence and to specific aspects of intellectual functioning, such as verbal comprehension and working memory.

“We found that general intelligence depends on a remarkably circumscribed neural system,” said Neuroscience professor Aron Barbey of the … read more

IBM ‘silicon nanophotonics’ breakthrough integrates optical and electrical circuits

Light pulses can move data at blazing speeds to help solve bandwidth limitations of servers, datacenters and supercomputers
December 10, 2012


IBM announced today a major advance in the ability to use light instead of electrical signals to transmit information for future computing.

The breakthrough technology — called “silicon nanophotonics” — allows the integration of different optical components side-by-side with electrical circuits on a single silicon chip using, for the first time, sub-100nm semiconductor technology.

Silicon nanophotonics takes advantage of pulses of light for communication and provides… read more

Paramount acquires science-fiction novel ‘Nexus’

March 18, 2013


Paramount Pictures has acquired screen rights to Nexus, the science fiction novel by Ramez Naam, to be produced by Mary Parent of Disruption for Darren Aronofsky’s Protozoa.

The author, former CEO of Apex Nanotechnology, is the author of the nonfiction book More Than Human: Embracing The Promise Of Biological Enhancement.

Here’s the plot from Amazon:

In the near future,… read more

How exercise affects the brain

May 21, 2012


Exercise clears the mind. It gets the blood pumping and more oxygen is delivered to the brain. But Dartmouth’s David Bucci thinks there is much more going on.

“In the last several years there have been data suggesting that neurobiological changes are happening — [there are] very brain-specific mechanisms at work here,” says Bucci, an associate professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

From his… read more

Laser beam guides lightning bolts to a ground target

U.S. Army develops Zeus-like weapon
June 28, 2012


Scientists and engineers at the U.S Army’s Picatinny Arsenal are developing a device that can shoot lightning bolts down laser beams to destroy its target.

The Laser-Induced Plasma Channel (LIPC) is designed to take out targets that conduct electricity better than the air or ground that surrounds them.

“Light travels more slowly in gases and solids than it does in a vacuum,” explained George Fischer,… read more

A machine that trains you to feel affection

May 27, 2014

Distributed voxel patterns that best distinguished between tenderness/affection vs. pride within the neurofeedback group, measured across all fMRI sessions. The color range shows voxels present in at least 40% (blue) or above 66% (red-yellow) of the subjects. (Credit: Jorge Moll et al./PLOS ONE)

It’s possible to create brain patterns associated with affection or tenderness toward loved ones, using neurofeedback while being scanned in a functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) machine, researchers at D’Or Institute for Research and Education (IDOR) in Brazil have shown.

The finding, described in PLOS ONE (open access), could open up new possibilities for treatment of conditions such as antisocial personality disorder, the researchers suggest.

An empathyread more

A gene that stimulates growth of new brain cells in adults

Discovery could provide new strategy for treating neurodegenerative disease and memory loss
June 16, 2014

Increased length of the hippocampus dentate girus (DG) for TLX gene overexpressed (Tg or transgenic mice) vs control group (WT, or wild type) (credit: Kiyohito Mura et al./PNAS)

Over-expressing a specific gene could prompt growth in adults of new neurons in the hippocampus, where learning and memory are regulated, City of Hope researchers have found.

The study, which used an animal model, found that over-expression of the TLX gene resulted in smart, faster learners that retained information better and longer.

Understanding the link between this gene and the growth of new neurons — or… read more

Nanoscale capsule kills cancer cells without harming healthy cells

February 8, 2013

Treatment of apoptin nanocapsules resulted in tumor growth retardation from apoptosis (green)

A degradable nanoscale shell to carry proteins to cancer cells and stunt the growth of tumors without damaging healthy cells has been developed by a team led by researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Tiny shells (about 100 nanometers in length, roughly half the size of the smallest bacterium) are composed of a water-soluble polymer that safely delivers a protein… read more

A super-resolution window into the center of a cell

October 11, 2013

Focal adhesions and actin-jpeg

A new microscopic technique that can see tiny structures inside the “control center” of the cell for the first time has been developed by researchers at Queen Mary University of London,

It represents a major advance for cell biologists because it will allow them to investigate structures deep inside the cell, such as viruses, bacteria, and parts of the nucleus in depth.

Recent advances in… read more

Carbon nanotube sensor detects glucose in saliva

May 3, 2013


Painful finger-prick blood tests for diabetics could become a thing of the past, say physicists who have built a sensor that measures glucose in saliva.

Mitchell Lerner at the University of Pennsylvania and associates have developed just such a device, MIT Technology Review reports. Their glucose sensor is essentially a carbon nanotube-based transistor in which the nanotubes are coated with pyrene-1-boronic acid molecules that bind to glucose.… read more

Video gamers capture more information faster for visual decision-making

June 13, 2013


Hours spent at the video gaming console probably train the brain to make better and faster use of visual input, according to Duke University researchers.

“Gamers see the world differently,” said Greg Appelbaum, an assistant professor of psychiatry in the Duke School of Medicine. “They are able to extract more information from a visual scene.”

The study

In… read more

Apple granted patent for head-mounted display

July 9, 2012


Apple was granted a patent for a head-mounted display apparatus on Tuesday.

Titled “Peripheral treatment for head-mounted displays,” it describes how images could be projected to generate a peripheral display that would create “an enhanced viewing experience” for the user.

Apple calls its implementation a head-mounted display (HMD) rather than a head-up display (HUD), and it’s designed to display video information in front of one’s eyes.… read more

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