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Wireless signals could transform brain-trauma diagnostics

May 16, 2013

University of California, Berkeley researchers have developed a device that uses wireless signals to provide real-time, non-invasive diagnoses of brain swelling or bleeding.

The device analyzes data from low energy, electromagnetic waves, similar to the kind used to transmit radio and mobile signals. It could potentially become a cost-effective tool for medical diagnostics and to triage injuries in areas where access to medical care, especially medical imaging, is… read more

Google escalates the competition in map services

May 16, 2013

New Google maps: search results appear

On Wednesday, Google unveiled a new Google Maps, by far the biggest redesign since it introduced Maps eight years ago, The New York Times reports.

When users who are logged into Google visit Maps, they will see the places they frequently visit highlighted, like restaurants, museums and their home. Google learns the places they go by drawing information from all of Google’s services — including search and… read more

Google Introduces new search tools to try to read our minds

May 16, 2013

(Credit: Google)

Google revealed some new search tools on Wednesday at I/O, its annual developers conference, The New York Times reports. Taken together, they are another step toward Google’s trying to become the omnipotent, human-like “Star Trek” search engine that its executives say they want it to be.

When people ask Google certain questions, it will now try to predict the person’s follow-up questions and answer them, too. Ask… read more

Engineered biomaterial prevents body’s attack on medical implants

May 16, 2013

These images show differences in collagen build-up in two tissue samples. Collagen is labeled in blue. The left image shows a thick collagen wall forming in the presence of a material that’s widely used for implantable devices. In contrast, collagen in the right image is more evenly dispersed in the tissue after the UW-engineered hydrogel has been implanted. (Credit: Lei Zhang/University of Washington)

 

University of Washington engineers have demonstrated in mice a way to prevent failure of implants and prostheses, using a synthetic hydrogel biomaterial that fully resists the body’s natural attack response to foreign objects.

Medical devices such as artificial heart valves, prostheses and breast implants could be coated with this polymer to prevent the body from rejecting an implanted object.

Howread more

Salk scientists develop drug that slows Alzheimer’s in mice

May 15, 2013

Salk scientists developed J147, a synthetic drug shown to improve memory and prevent brain damage in mice with Alzheimer's disease

A drug developed by scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, known as J147, reverses memory deficits and slows Alzheimer’s disease in aged mice following short-term treatment.

The findings may pave the way to a new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease in humans.

“J147 is an exciting new compound because it really has strong potential to be an Alzheimer’s disease therapeutic by slowing disease progression… read more

Brain frontal lobes not sole center of human intelligence

May 15, 2013

brain_lobes

The frontal lobes in humans vs. other species are not — as previously thought — disproportionately enlarged relative to other areas of the brain, according to a study by Durham and Reading universities.

It concludes that the size of our frontal lobes — an area in the brain of mammals located at the front of each cerebral hemisphere — cannot solely account for humans’ superior cognitive… read more

Clinical trial supports use of Kava to treat anxiety

May 15, 2013

Piper_methysticum

A world-first completed clinical study by an Australian team has found Kava, a medicinal South Pacific plant, significantly reduced the symptoms of people suffering anxiety.

The study, led by the University of Melbourne, revealed Kava could be an alternative to pharmaceutical products for the hundreds of thousands of Australians who suffer from generalized anxiety disorders (GAD)

“In this study we’ve been able to show… read more

Chinese project probes the genetics of genius

May 15, 2013

(Credit: iStock)

Researchers at BGI (formerly the Beijing Genomics Institute) in Shenzhen, China, the largest gene-sequencing facility in the world, are searching for the quirks of DNA that may contribute to genius in an ethically controversial study.

They are scouring the genomes of 1,600 U.S. adolescents who signed up for the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) in the 1970s, Nature News reports.

Some geneticists say that the… read more

Welcome to the programmable world

May 15, 2013

SmartThings-Ringed-FullColor

Tiny, intelligent things all around us, coordinating their activities. There are few more appropriate guides to this impending future than Alex Hawkinson, whose DC-based startup, SmartThings, has built what’s arguably the most advanced hub to tie connected objects together, Wired reports.

At his house, more than 200 objects, from the garage door to the coffeemaker to his daughter’s trampoline, are all connected to his SmartThings system.… read more

‘Paint-on’ solar panels

May 15, 2013

Organic Photovoltaics: PlasmonicEnhanced Organic Photovoltaics:

Qiaoqiang Gan, University at Buffalo assistant professor of electrical engineering, is developing a new generation of photovoltaic cells that produce more power and cost less to manufacture than what’s available today.

One of his more promising efforts involves the use of plasmonic-enhanced organic photovoltaic materials. These devices don’t match traditional solar cells in terms of energy production but they are less expensive and… read more

Do-it-yourself invisibility cloaking with 3D printing

May 15, 2013

Invisibility-Cloak

Seven years ago, Duke University engineers demonstrated the first working invisibility cloak in complex laboratory experiments. Now it appears creating a simple cloak has become a lot simpler, by using a 3D printer..

Yaroslav Urzhumov, assistant research professor in electrical and computer engineering at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering, said producing a cloak in this fashion is inexpensive and easy.

He and his team… read more

AP: Justice Department’s seizure of phone records an unprecedented intrusion

May 14, 2013

Security woman

The U.S. Department of Justice has seized two months’ worth of phone records of calls made by reporters and editors.from the offices of the Associated Press news agency, in what appeared to be an effort to track down the source who disclosed an alleged Yemen terrorist plot story, The Guardian reports.

AP’s president and chief executive officer, Gary Pruitt, described it as “serious interference with AP’s constitutional rights to… read more

Hydrogel biomaterial shows promise for Type 1 diabetes treatment

May 14, 2013

Immunostained image of engrafted islet in hydrogel in diabetic mouse. (Red areas are insulin-producing cells. Green areas are blood vessels, and blue areas are DNA nuclei in cells.) (Credit: Georgia Tech)

Georgia Tech engineers and Emory University clinicians have successfully transplanted insulin-producing cells into a diabetic mouse model, reversing diabetic symptoms in the animal in as little as 10 days.

It could help lead to a possible cure for Type 1 diabetes.

The research team engineered a biomaterial to protect the cluster of insulin-producing cells — donor pancreatic islets — during injection. To foster blood… read more

UN urges people to eat insects to fight world hunger

May 14, 2013

800px-Insect_food_stall

The report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization says that eating insects could help boost nutrition and reduce pollution, BBC News reports.

It notes than over 2 billion people worldwide already supplement their diet with insects.

Wasps, beetles and other insects are currently “underutilized” as food for people and livestock, the report says.

The authors point out that insects are nutritious, with… read more

Oxygen-sensing ‘microrobots’

May 14, 2013

eth_microrobots

Researchers of the robotics lab at ETH Zurich have developed what ETH calls a “microrobot” (actually, a coated magnetic particle with no onboard  intelligence) that can be used to measure the retina’s oxygen supply.

An insufficient supply of oxygen can cause blindness. Glaucoma is only one of several diseases that can decrease the oxygen supply to the retina, sometimes within mere hours.

To make… read more

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