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Studying the brain’s chemistry, neuron by neuron

September 1, 2005

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers have developed tools for studying the chemistry of the brain, neuron by neuron. The analytical techniques can probe the spatial and temporal distribution of biologically important molecules, such as vitamin E, and explore the chemical messengers behind thought, memory and emotion.

By dismantling a slice of brain tissue into millions of single cell-size pieces, each of which can be interrogated by mass spectrometric… read more

Studying Young Minds, and How to Teach Them

December 21, 2009

Recent research in cognitive neuroscience is helping to clarify when young brains are best able to grasp fundamental concepts and how to teach it more effectively.

Studying, recreating sound in three dimensions

December 6, 2001

Realistic computer sound, specifically tuned for each listener, could get a little closer using a new, free public database of acoustic measurements developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis.
“We’ve captured the critical information needed to reproduce actual sounds as each listener perceives them,” said Ralph Algazi, who led the research team at the UC Davis Center for Image Processing and Integrated Computing (CIPIC).

Spatially realistic sound… read more

Stuff of Life (but Not Life Itself) Is Detected on a Distant Planet

March 20, 2008

Astronomers reported Wednesday that they had made the first detection of an organic molecule, methane, in the atmosphere of a planet outside our solar system and had confirmed the presence of water there, clearing the way for a bright future of inspecting the galaxy for livable planets, for the chemical stuff of life, or even for life itself.

Stumped by a problem? The ‘generic parts technique’ technique unsticks you

March 8, 2012


University of Massachusetts psychologist Dr. Tony McCaffrey has developed a systematic way of overcoming “functional fixedness” (the tendency to fixate on the common use of an object or its parts, hindering people from solving problems). He calls it the “generic parts technique” (GPT).

He found that people trained in GPT solved eight problems 67 percent more often than those who weren’t trained, and the trained group… read more

Stun guns can result in sudden cardiac arrest and death: cardiologist

May 3, 2012


A review of case reports published April 30 in the journal Circulation indicates that being shocked in the chest with an electronic control device or stun gun can result in sudden cardiac arrest.

The article is reportedly the first one published in a peer-reviewed medical journal citing the connection.

“Law enforcement and other individuals using a stun gun need to be aware that cardiac arrest can… read more

Stuxnet: computer worm opens new era of warfare

March 5, 2012


Could future malware, modeled on Stuxnet (whose target appears to have been the centrifuges in a top-secret Iranian nuclear facility) target other critical infrastructures — such as nuclear power plants or water systems?

What kind of risk do we face in this country? Steve Kroft reports on 60 Minutes.

Sub-angstrom microscope targets nanotechnology

August 2, 2005

FEI Co. has unveiled what it claims is the highest-resolution scanning-transmission electron microscope, enabling sub-angstrom (atomic scale) imaging and analysis.

A team of researchers plans to use it to make direct observations and analysis of individual atoms at 0.5-angstrom resolution — a key dimension for atomic level research since it is one-third the diameter of a carbon atom.

Sub-nanometer graphene nanopores for low-cost DNA sequencing

Less costly ways of seqequencing DNA could open new possibilities for disease prevention
October 4, 2012

TEM image of shrinkage of nanopore in a graphene sheet

Engineers at the University of Texas at Dallas have used advanced techniques to make the material graphene small enough to read DNA by shrinking the size of a graphene pore to less than one nanometer — opening the possibility of using graphene as a low-cost tool to sequence DNA.

“Sequencing DNA at a very cheap cost would enable scientists and doctors to better predict and diagnose disease,… read more

Subatomic particle simulation tool makes cancer therapy safer

November 15, 2011


At SLAC (Stanford University’s National Accelerator Laboratory), physicists are making cancer therapies safer by using “Geant 4″ software — originally designed for tracking subatomic particles — to map proton paths through patients’ bodies during radiation treatment.

In conventional radiation treatment, subatomic particles inflict DNA damage on dividing cells (both healthy and cancerous), causing them to commit suicide. The technique works because rapidly… read more

Subatomic quantum memory in diamond demonstrated

June 28, 2011

Physicists at the University of California, Santa Barbara and the University of Konstanz in Germany have developed a breakthrough in the use of diamond in quantum physics, marking an important step toward quantum computing.

The physicists were able to coax the quantum information contained within a single electron in diamond to move into an adjacent single nitrogen nucleus and then back again, using… read more

Subcellular magnetic imaging of living cells

May 1, 2013

A typical electron microscope image of a bacterium; magnetic nanoparticles inside the bacterium appear as black spots. A new technique has been developed that is capable of studying living cells at comparable spatial resolutions by taking advantage of the presence of these magnetic particles.<br />
Credit: Nature

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) scientists have developed a method for determining the magnetic structure of living biological specimens down to a sub-cellular level.

In their study, they use “magnetotactic” bacteria (MTB), which contain magnetic nanoparticles.

The researchers, David Le Sage, David Glenn, and Ron Walsworth, together with their collaborators, place these live bacteria onto a diamond surface that has been modified to contain crystal defects… read more

Subliminal advertising leaves its mark on the brain

March 12, 2007

University College London researchers have found the first physiological evidence that invisible subliminal images do attract the brain’s attention on a subconscious level.

Using fMRI to detect the impact on brain activity in the primary visual cortex, they found subjects’ brains did respond to the object even when they were not conscious of having seen it.

“These findings point to the sort of impact that subliminal… read more

Subliminal advertising may work after all

May 1, 2006

Researchers have shown that if the conditions are right, subliminal advertising to promote a brand can be made to work.

Subliminal messages really do affect your decisions

February 16, 2009

Subliminal messages do inform people’s decision-making, Northwestern University researchers have found.

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