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Sensing individual biomolecules with optical sensors inside ‘nanoboxes’

June 12, 2013

dimer_antenna_nanobox

Researchers at the Fresnel Institute in Marseille and ICFO, Institute for Photonic Sciences in Barcelona have designed and built the smallest optical device capable of detecting and sensing individual biomolecules at concentrations similar to those found in cells.

The device consists on a tiny dimer (dual) sensor made out of two gold semi-spheres, separated from each other by a gap as small as 15nm (size… read more

Nanorods found better than spherical nanoparticles for targeted drug delivery

June 12, 2013

nanorods

Conventional treatments such as drugs for diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease can carry harmful side effects, mainly because the treatments are not targeted specifically to the cells of the body where they’re needed.

Now a new study has found that rod-shaped nanoparticles (nanorods) — as opposed to spherical nanoparticles — appear to adhere more effectively to the surface of endothelial cells (which line… read more

A low-cost, implantable electronic biosensor

June 12, 2013

Design of chip with protective coaiting. A sensing channel connects the source (S) and drain (D) with a reference electrode (RE). When a target protein binds to the receptor, it induces charges in the substrate, causing a change in the current flow between the source and drain. Inset: typical structure of a MOS capacitor used in this study (Credit: A. Ramesh et al.)

Ohio State University engineers are developing low-cost electronic devices that work in direct contact with living tissue inside the body.

The initial objective is to develop an in vivo biosensor to detect the presence of proteins that mark the first signs of organ rejection in the body. Such biosensors could also be used for detecting glucose, pH, and diseases such as cancer.

Doctors would… read more

The RoboRoach: control a living insect from your smartphone

June 11, 2013

RoboRoach

The RoboRoach, a Kickstarter project, is the “world’s first commercially available cyborg” — part cockroach and part machine.

The backpack communicates directly to the roach’s neurons in its antennas via small electrical pulses.

The cockroach undergoes a short surgery (under anesthesia) in which wires are placed inside the antenna. Once it recovers, a backpack is temporarily placed on its back.

When you send a command… read more

A new neurochemical pathway for treating schizophrenia and age-related mental decline

June 11, 2013

Activated_NMDAR

Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have uncovered important clues about a biochemical pathway in the brain that may one day expand treatment options for schizophrenia.

This research focused on key components of the brain known as NMDA receptors. These receptors are located on nerve cells in the brain and serve as biochemical gates that allow calcium ions (electrical charges) to enter the… read more

Apple’s new iOS 7

June 11, 2013

new iOS7 design

Apple shared details of the next version of its iOS mobile operating system (due out this Fall) during the opening keynote address at its annual developer conference Monday. Nick Bilton at The New York Times offers a detailed blow-by-blow account, and Tech Crunch has a good summary. Or watch the keynote.

Notable:

The elegant new flat look:

The forthcoming… read more

How do you feed 9 billion people?

June 11, 2013

(credit: Michigan State University)

An international team of scientists has developed crop models to better forecast food production to feed a growing population — projected to reach 9 billion by mid-century — in the face of climate change.

In a paper appearing in Nature Climate Change, Members  of the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project unveiled an all-encompassing modeling system that integrates multiple crop simulations with improved climate change models.

AgMIP’s… read more

The avatar will see you now

June 11, 2013

sensely

Patients needing knee replacements at the San Mateo Medical Center in California are being coached by a digital avatar, MIT Technology Review reports.

The avatar, Molly, interviews them in Spanish or English about the levels of pain they feel as a video guides them through exercises, while the 3-D cameras of a Kinect device measure their movements.

The ultimate goal is for the routine to be… read more

Scientists map the wiring of the biological clock

Changing sleep cycles can cause cancer and other disorders
June 10, 2013

(Credit: iStockphoto)

The connections make the clock precise but also let it adjust to changes in day/night cycles.

The World Health Organization lists shift work as a potential carcinogen, says Erik Herzog, PhD, Professor of Biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.

And that’s just one example among many of the troubles we cause ourselves when we override the biological clocks in our brains… read more

New technique for deep brain stimulation surgery proves accurate and safe

June 10, 2013

X-ray showing electrodes used in deep brain stimulation (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Oregon Health & Science University neurosuirgeons have developed a safer new way to perform the surgery for Parkinson’s disease. It allows for more accurate placement of the brain electrodes and is likely safer for patients.

The success and safety of the new surgical technique could have broad implications for deep brain stimulation,(DBS) surgical procedures.

With traditional DBS surgery,  there is a small chance of… read more

Do online courses spell the end for the traditional university?

June 10, 2013

Interactive 3D Graphics course (credit: Udacity)

Publishing, music, shopping, journalism – all revolutionized by the Internet. Next in line? Education.

Now U.S. academics are offering world-class tuition — free — to anyone who can log on, anywhere in the world, is this the end of campus life?

The Guardian explores.

 

Boundless Informant: the NSA’s secret tool to track global surveillance data

June 9, 2013

The Guardian says it has acquired top-secret documents about the NSA datamining tool, called Boundless Informant, that details and even maps by country the voluminous amount of information it collects from computer and telephone networks.

The focus of the internal NSA tool is on counting and categorizing the records of communications, known as metadata, rather than the content of an email or… read more

Atomic bombs help solve mystery: does the adult human brain produce new neurons?

June 9, 2013

Credit: Cell, Spalding et al.

A study in the journal Cell reveals that a significant number of new neurons in the hippocampus — a brain region crucial for memory and learning — are generated in adult humans.

“It was thought for a long time that we are born with a certain number of neurons, and that it is not possible to get new neurons after birth,” says senior study author Jonas Frisén of the Karolinska Institute.… read more

Controlling a flying robot with only the mind

Could help people who are paralyzed or have neurodegenerative diseases
June 7, 2013

minnesota_flying_with_mind

Researchers in the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering have developed a new noninvasive system that allows people to control a flying robot using a brain-computer interface.

The study has the potential to help people who are paralyzed or have neurodegenerative diseases.

The open access study was published in IOP Publishing’s Journal of Neural Engineering.

Five subjects (three female and two… read more

Fine-tuning emissions from quantum dots for better color displays

June 7, 2013

mit_quantum_dots

New MIT analysis should enable development of improved color displays and biomedical monitoring systems.

Tiny particles of matter called quantum dots, which emit light with exceptionally pure and bright colors, have found a prominent role as biological markers. In addition, they are realizing their potential in computer and television screens, and have promise in solid-state lighting.

New research at MIT could now make these… read more

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