science + technology news

Nanoarray sniffs out and distinguishes ‘breathprints’ of multiple diseases

December 23, 2016

breathprint system ft

An international team of 63 scientists in 14 clinical departments have identified a unique “breathprint” for 17 diseases with 86% accuracy and have designed a noninvasive, inexpensive, and miniaturized portable device that screens breath samples to classify and diagnose several types of diseases, they report in an open-access paper in the journal ACS Nano.

As far back as around 400 B.C., doctors diagnosed some diseases by smelling a patient’s exhaled… read more

Method discovered to remove damaging amyloid plaques found in Alzheimer’s disease

December 23, 2016

Illustration of formation of beta-amyloid plaques. Enzymes act on the APP (amyloid precursor protein) and cut it into fragments. The beta-amyloid fragment is crucial in the formation of senile plaques in Alzheimer’s disease. (credit: National Institute on Aging/NIH)

German scientists have discovered a strategy for removing amyloid plaques — newly forming clumps in a brain with Alzheimer’s disease that are created by misfolded proteins that clump together and damage nerve cells.

The scientists from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) in Munich and the Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU) Munich took aged microglia cells (the  scavenger cells of the brain’s… read more

Using graphene to detect brain cancer cells

December 20, 2016

GBM cell on graphene ft

By interfacing brain cells with graphene, University of Illinois at Chicago researchers have differentiated a single hyperactive Glioblastoma Multiforme cancerous astrocyte cell from a normal cell in the lab — pointing the way to developing a simple, noninvasive tool for early cancer diagnosis.

In the study, reported in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, the researchers looked at lab-cultured human brain astrocyte cells taken from a… read more

How to enable soft robots to better mimick biological motions

A future version of Star Wars Rogue One's K-2SO robot might look less dorky if Harvard engineers designed his joints and fingers
December 20, 2016

Researchers used mathematical modeling to optimize the design of an actuator to perform biologically inspired motions (credit: Harvard SEAS)

Harvard researchers have developed a method for automatically designing actuators that enable fingers and knees in a soft robot to move more organically, a robot arm to move more smoothly along a path, or a wearable robot or exoskeleton to help a patient move a limb more naturally.

Designing such actuators is currently a complex design challenge, requiring a sequence of actuator segments, each performing a different motion. “Rather… read more

Cellular reprogramming turns back the aging clock in mice

December 18, 2016

Turning Back the Aging Clock ft

Salk Institute scientists have extended the average lifespan of live mice by 30 percent, according to a study published December 15 in Cell. They did that by rolling back the “aging clock” to younger years, using cellular reprogramming.

The finding suggests that aging is reversible by winding back an animal’s biological clock to a more youthful state and that lifespan can be extended. While the research does not yet apply… read more

How diabetes drug metformin prevents, suppresses cancer growth

Ancient genetic pathway suggests new ways to fight cancers and support healthy aging
December 16, 2016

Metformin growth inhibition process (credit: Lianfeng Wu et al./Cell)

A team of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Harvard Medical School investigators has identified a pathway that appears to underlie the apparent ability of the diabetes drug metformin to both block the growth of human cancer cells and extend the lifespan of the C.elegans roundworm.

That finding implies that this single genetic pathway may play an important role in a wide range of organisms — including humans.

“We… read more

A robotic hand with a human’s delicate sense of touch

Could one day restore sensitive touch for both hand amputees and robots
December 16, 2016

Soft robotic hand mounted on a robotic arm (credit: Cornell University)

Cornell University engineers have invented a new kind of robotic hand with a human’s delicate sense of touch.

Scenario: you lost part of your arm in a car accident. That artificial arm and hand you got from the hospital lets you feel and pick up things — even type on a keyboard. But not with the same sensitivity as a real hand. Now, an artificial prosthesis canread more

How to control a robotic arm with your mind — no implanted electrodes required

December 14, 2016

Research subjects at the University of Minnesota fitted with a specialized noninvasive brain cap were able to move the robotic arm just by imagining moving their own arms (credit: College of Science and Engineering)

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have achieved a “major breakthrough” that allows people to control a robotic arm in three dimensions, using only their minds. The research has the potential to help millions of people who are paralyzed or have neurodegenerative diseases.

The open-access study is published online today in Scientific Reports, a Nature research journal.

College of Science and Engineering, UMN | Noninvasive EEG-based control of a roboticread more

Macaque monkeys have the anatomy for human speech, so why can’t they speak?

December 14, 2016

macaque

While they have a speech-ready vocal tract, primates can’t speak because they lack a speech-ready brain, contrary to widespread opinion that they are limited by anatomy, researchers at Princeton University and associates have reported Dec. 9 in the open-access journal Science Advances.

The researchers reached this conclusion by first recording X-ray videos showing the movements of the different parts of a macaque’s vocal anatomy — such as the tongue,… read more

Scientists track amazing restoration of communication in ‘minimally conscious’ patient

A severely brain-injured woman shocks doctors when she starts to communicate using her left eye. Encouraged by her mother and doctors, who believe she is "there," over time, Margaret learns to communicate --- even producing paintings with her mother’s hand guiding her and attending a class reunion.
December 10, 2016

Nancy Worthen is doing art therapy with her daughter, Maggie, who was minimally conscious. (credit: Nancy Worthen)

In a three-year study of a severely brain-injured woman’s remarkable recovery, doctors measured aspects of brain structure and function before and after recovering communication, a first — raising the question: could other minimally responsive or unresponsive chronic-care patients also regain organized, higher-level brain function?

Challenging what neurologists thought was possible, the pioneering study by Weill Cornell Medicine scientists was published Dec. 7 in Science Translational Medicine.

It… read more

Trump considering libertarian reformer to head FDA

Peter Thiel associate advocates anti-aging medicine and patient freedom to use new drugs found safe, at their own risk
December 10, 2016

(credit: Seasteading Institute)

President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team is considering libertarian Silicon Valley investor Jim O’Neill, a Peter Thiel associate, to head the Food and Drug Administration, Bloomberg Politics has reported.

O’Neill, the Managing Director of Mithril Capital Management LLC, doesn’t have a medical background, but served in the George W. Bush administration as principal associate deputy secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services.… read more

A machine-learning system that trains itself by surfing the web

And so it begins ...
December 8, 2016

newspaper

MIT researchers have designed a new machine-learning system that can learn by itself to extract text information for statistical analysis when available data is scarce.

This new “information extraction” system turns machine learning on its head. It works like humans do. When we run out of data in a study (say, differentiating between fake and real news), we simply search the Internet for more data, and then… read more

Implantable device targets cancer, other illnesses with controlled long-term drug delivery

5000 nanochannels control release; can deliver medicinal doses for several days or a few weeks, also effective for HIV and damaged joints
December 2, 2016

This diagram describes how the device Dr. Hood helped to develop is implanted into a cancerous tumor. (credit: Lyle Hood/UTSA)

A new drug-delivery system based on an tiny implantable capsule could “revolutionize” the delivery of medicine to treat cancer and a host of other diseases and ailments, according to researchers at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA).

“The problem with most drug-delivery systems is that you have a specific minimum dosage of medicine that you need to take for it to be effective,” said… read more

Disney Research wants to make VR haptics as immersive as visuals

Adding the missing dimension in VR: body sensations
December 2, 2016

VR haptics ft

Disney Research has developed a 360-degree virtual-reality app that enables users to enhance their experience by adding customized haptic (body sensations) effects that can be triggered by user movements, biofeedback, or timelines.

A team led by Ali Israr, senior research engineer at Disney Research, has demonstrated the haptic plugin using a unique chair to provide full body sensations and a library of “feel… read more

Triggered by ultrasound, microbubbles open the blood-brain barrier to administer drugs without harming other areas of the body

December 2, 2016

Microbubbles with the fluorescent substance in their lipid coating, from which the effect of the ultrasound causes them to be released into the desired area of the brain. (credit: UEIL, C. Sierra et al.)

Using ultrasound to bypass the blood-brain barrier (BBB), Columbia University researchers have succeeded in releasing drugs only in the specific area of the brain where they are needed — not in the rest of the body. The goal is to help treat Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases without collateral damage.

The BBB is an impassable obstacle for 98% of drugs, which it treats as pathogens and… read more

close and return to Home