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An injectable ‘smart sponge’ for controlled drug delivery

July 19, 2013

Zhen-Gu-smart-sponge-image

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

Kinetic modeling2

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

Magnetsundercells2

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

A drug that improves endurance

July 17, 2013

Electron microscopy analysis of muscle from Nr1d1−/− mice (with lower Rev-erbα) and WT (wild type, or normal) mice. Black arrows: swollen, less dense mitochondria; white arrowheads, normal mitochondria. Scale bar, 1 μm.  (Credit: Estelle Woldt et al./Nature Medicine)

A drug candidate designed by scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) significantly increases exercise endurance in animal models, an international group of scientists has shown.

These findings could lead to new approaches to helping people with conditions that acutely limit exercise tolerance, such as obesity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and congestive heart failure, as well as the decline of… read more

A fatigue detection device to help keep your eyes on the road

July 17, 2013

opened_closed_eye

An EPFL student, Peugeot Citroën, has developed a video analysis algorithm able to estimate the level of a driver’s fatigue based on the degree of eyelid closure and has built a prototype to test it in real driving conditions.

Nearly a third of highway accidents are caused by fatigue. Nowadays, there exist several attention detection systems for drivers, such as detection of loss of vehicle… read more

A new form of carbon: ‘grossly warped nanographenes’

Contorted sheets of graphene alter physical, optical and electronic properties of new material
July 17, 2013

Chemists at Boston College and Nagoya University in Japan have synthesized the first example of a new form of carbon. The new material consists of multiple identical pieces of "grossly warped graphene," each containing exactly 80 carbon atoms joined together in a network of 26 rings, with 30 hydrogen atoms decorating the rim. Because they measure slightly more than a nanometer across, these individual molecules are referred to generically as "nanocarbons."</p>
<p>Credit: Nature Chemistry

Chemists at Boston College and Nagoya University in Japan have synthesized the first example of a new form of carbon

The new material consists of multiple identical pieces of grossly warped graphene, each containing exactly 80 carbon atoms joined together in a network of 26 rings, with 30 hydrogen atoms decorating the rim.

Grossly warped nanographenes

Because they measure slightly more than a… read more

DNA data overload

Computing, not sequencing, is now the slower and more costly aspect of genomics research
July 17, 2013

(Credit: Filip Federowicz (filu))

A flood of genetic data is being produced much faster than current computers can turn it into useful information, Johns Hopkins bioinformatics experts warn.

The source: rapidly increasing speed and declining cost of DNA sequencer machines, which chop extremely long strands of biochemical components into more manageable small segments.

But these sequencers do not yield important biological information that researchers “can read like a… read more

U.S. Army avatar role-play Experiment #3 now open for public registration

July 17, 2013

MOSES DSG

Military Open Simulator Enterprise Strategy (MOSES) is secure virtual world software designed to evaluate the ability of OpenSimulator to provide independent access to a persistent, virtual world. MOSES is a research project of the United States Army Simulation and Training Center STTC’s Virtual World Strategic Applications team uses OpenSimulator to add capability and flexibility to virtual training scenarios. 

Scenario Details

Experiment Description

Long-lasting blood vessels from reprogrammed human cells

July 16, 2013

Functional, durable blood vessels grown in a mouse model from human induced pluripotent stem cells. Laser microscopy image shows iPSC-generated endovascular cells in green, connective tissue cells in blue and red blood cells in red. (Credit: PNAS)

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers have used vascular precursor cells derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to generate, in an animal model, functional blood vessels that lasted as long as nine months.

In their report being published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the investigators describe using iPSCs — reprogrammed adult cells that have many of the characteristics of embryonic stem… read more

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