science + technology news

An Early Warning System for Cancer

February 9, 2010

Overexpression of cancer-associated short glycan (sugar chains) structures (green) on proteins in cancer cells. (Kirstine Lavrsen)

A new screening tool developed by scientists in Denmark, comprising a microarray system that analyzes patients’ blood, could detect the presence of autoantibodies as a warning sign of cancer.

How biological ‘alchemy’ can change a cell’s destiny (article preview)

June 26, 2008

In a step closer to a “regenerative” approach to repairing damaged tissue, scientists have made two recent breakthroughs.

Kyoto UninversityHarvard University: Pancreatic cells that secrete digestive enzymes have been converted directly into insulin-producing beta cells, using retroviruses carrying the genes for fournine transcription factors (proteins that regulate the activity of other genes by binding to DNA).

Children’s Hospital BostonNew York Neural Stem Cell Institute: Epithelial cells from the… read more

MIT looks to give ‘group think’ a good name

October 11, 2006

The new MIT Center for Collective Intelligence hopes to address this central question: “How can people and computers be connected so that — collectively — they act more intelligently than any individuals, groups, or computers have ever done before?”

New ’3-D’ transistors with nanowire gates promise faster, lighter laptops in 2012

December 8, 2011

Researchers from Purdue and Harvard universities have created a new type of transistor made from indium-gallium-arsenide nanowires, which could replace silicon and has a 3-D structure instead of conventional flat computer chips.

The approach could enable engineers to build faster, more compact and efficient integrated circuits and lighter laptops that generate less heat than today’s. Because the approach is compatible with conventional manufacturing processes, it is promising… read more

Gene-Altering Revolution Nears the Pet Store: Glow-in-the-Dark Fish

November 24, 2003

A Texas company will soon start selling The GloFish, a genetically engineered zebra fish containing a gene from a sea coral that makes the fish bright red under normal light and fluorescent under ultraviolet light.

Implanted Sensor Could Provide Clues to Brain Chemistry

February 17, 2010

Release of dopamine (lower green and purple band) and adenosine (upper green and purple band) chemical messengers (Kendall H. Lee, MD, PhD, director of Mayo Neural Engineering Laboratories, and Kevin Bennet, Chair of Mayo Division of Engineering)

An implantable sensor designed to detect the release of dopamine and adenosine could help scientists measure the impact of deep brain stimulation and perhaps provide a way to enhance the effectiveness of the treatment for Parkinson’s and other disorders.

The device consists of a custom-designed sensor electrode that is implanted along with the stimulating electrode, a microprocessor, a Bluetooth module to send data to a computer, and a battery.

First DNA molecule made almost entirely of artificial parts

July 3, 2008

University of Toyama researchers have built the first DNA molecule made almost entirely of artificial parts.

The researchers used DNA synthesis equipment to assemble four artificial bases (basic building blocks of DNA) inside the framework of a DNA molecule. The unusually stable, double-stranded structures resemble natural DNA, which also has four bases.

Until now, scientists have only been able to craft DNA molecules with one or a few… read more

A Virtual World but Real Money

October 18, 2006

The Second Life online service is fast becoming a three-dimensional test bed for corporate marketers.

The Internet is the fastest-growing advertising medium, as traditional forms of marketing like television commercials and print advertising slow. For businesses, these early forays into virtual worlds could be the next frontier in the blurring of advertising and entertainment.

JP Morgan expands deployment of FPGA-based supercomputer

December 16, 2011

JP Morgan is expanding its use of supercomputers with Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) technology (allows for customized the chip functions for specific tasks) with a new supercomputer that will be equivalent to more than 12,000 conventional x86 cores. It will provide 128 teraflops of performance, allowing for computing orders of magnitude more quickly and better managing complex trading risks — reducing hours of calculation to seconds.

Biochip puts it all together

December 4, 2003

Researchers from Arizona State University have fabricated a lab-on-a-chip that can detect and analyze microorganisms and chemicals and is very cheap to produce.

The chip could eventually be used in portable devices that do genetic analysis, environmental testing, and biological warfare agent detection in the field.

What sets the chip apart from other prototype biochips is that it carries out all the work needed to prepare a sample… read more

U.S. Unprepared for ‘Cyber War’, Former Top Spy Official Says

February 24, 2010

The U.S. isn’t prepared for a massive attack on its computer networks by another country and would lose, former Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell told a Senate panel today.

Check Yourself for Genetic Abnormalities

July 9, 2008

Wired has assembled a wiki with ways to check yourself for inherited traits associated with some sort of health condition, grouped under three options: visit a genetic counselor, scan your whole genome, and perform lab tests at home.

New tasks become as simple as waving a hand with brain-computer interfaces

A new marker for BCI task learning
June 13, 2013

This image shows the changes that took place in the brain for all patients participating in the study using a brain-computer interface. Changes in activity were distributed widely throughout the brain. (Credit: University of Washington)

Small brain-computer interface (BCI) electrodes placed on or inside the brain allow patients to interact with computers or control robotic limbs simply by thinking about how to execute those actions.

This technology could improve communication and daily life for a person who is paralyzed or has lost the ability to speak from a stroke or neurodegenerative disease.

Now, University of Washington researchers have demonstrated that… read more

One for the Ages: A Prescription That May Extend Life

October 31, 2006

In the last year, calorie-restricted diets have been shown in various animals to affect molecular pathways likely to be involved in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and cancer.

Researchers studying dietary effects on humans claim that calorie restriction may be more effective than exercise at preventing age-related diseases.

Dr. Richard A. Miller, a pathologist at the University of Michigan, estimated that a pill… read more

UN adopts Net ‘constitution’

December 16, 2003

Some 175 countries have endorsed the first “constitution” for the information age at a meeting of the International Telecommunication Union.

The documents, although not legally binding, propose to ensure that more than half of the world has access to the web, telephones or some other form of electronic media by 2015.

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