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Tantalising evidence hints Universe is finite

October 9, 2003

Scientists have announced hints that the Universe is actually relatively small — something like 70 billion light years across — with a hall-of-mirrors illusion tricking us into thinking that space stretches on forever.

The thinking is based on observations by NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), which measures temperature ripples in the cosmic microwave background.

Our Universe seems like an endlessly repeating set of dodecahedrons (12 identical pentagons)… read more

Tantalizing clues to the chemical origins of life

June 15, 2009

An artificial DNA-like molecule that can change its sequence to bind to a DNA template without the help of enzymes has been created by researchers at the Scripps Research Institute.

The thioester peptide nucleic acid (tPNA) has a peptide (amino acid) backbone on which bases anchor, analogous to the sugar-phosphates backbone on which bases anchor in DNA and RNA. When presented with a DNA template molecule, the… read more

‘Tantalizing’ hints of room-temperature superconductivity

September 19, 2012

Scanning tunneling microscope image of graphite surface atoms (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Doped graphite may superconduct at more than 100 ºC (boiling point of water), according to Pablo Esquinazi and his colleagues at the University of Leipzig, Nature News reports.

Superconductors offer huge potential energy savings when used for electrical power transmission lines, for example, but until now have worked only at temperatures lower than about -110 °C. A superconductor can transmit electricity with zero resistance. At high temperatures (room… read more

Tapping innovations in China’s industrial parks

September 14, 2011

Lux Research has published a comprehensive analysis of the more than 1,500 established industrial parks in China, based on location, technology capability, technology focus, and domestic and foreign content.

The report, titled “Seeing the Forest and the Trees: Navigating China’s Industry Park Innovation Engine,” educates technology scouts on the unique opportunities for innovation within this high growth market, and guides prospective R&D and manufacturing entrants… read more

Tapping into the Cancer-Fighter Collective for Treatment

January 30, 2008

Researchers at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey and their colleagues are developing software that lets doctors and researchers compare cases and treatment outcomes.

The computer system will allow physicians and researchers worldwide to tap into the latest developments in cancer research and treatment, helping doctors tailor the best possible therapies for their patients and let scientists track the success–or failure–of previous research.

It will feature a digital… read more

Tapping more of the sun’s energy using heat as well as light

New approach developed at MIT could generate power from sunlight efficiently and on demand
January 24, 2014


A new approach to harvesting solar energy, developed by MIT researchers, could improve efficiency by using sunlight to heat a high-temperature material whose infrared radiation would then be collected by a conventional photovoltaic cell.

This technique could also make it easier to store the energy for later use, the researchers say.

In this case, adding the extra step improves performance, because it makes it possible to… read more

Tapping plant electrical energy

April 14, 2010

Stanford University researchers have developed a gold nanoelectrode that can extract one picoampere (generated by photosynthesis) from algae cells.

The process bypasses the need for combustion, which harnesses only a portion of a plant’s stored energy, and could be potentially one of the cleanest energy sources for future energy generation.

More info: Stanford news

Tapping the genius of babies and youngsters to make computers smarter

March 15, 2012


UC Berkeley researchers are tapping the cognitive smarts of babies, toddlers and preschoolers to program computers to think more like humans.

If replicated in machines, the computational models based on baby brainpower could give a major boost to artificial intelligence, which historically has had difficulty handling nuances and uncertainty, researchers said

“Children are the greatest learning machines in the universe. Imagine if computers could learn as… read more

Targeted brain stimulation aids stroke recovery in mice

Works even when initiated five days after stroke occurred
August 19, 2014

Optogenetic treatment (Credit: Deisseroth Laboratory)

Stanford University School of Medicine have found that light-driven stimulation technology called optogenetics enhances stroke* recovery in mice — even when initiated five days after stroke occurred.

The mice showed significantly greater recovery in motor ability than mice that had experienced strokes but whose brains weren’t stimulated.

“In this study, we found that direct stimulation of a particular set of nerve cells in the brain —… read more

Targeted Delivery for Nanoparticles

April 10, 2008
These microscopic discs, made of porous silicon, can be used to deliver nanoparticles to tumors to treat cancer (University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston)

As an alternative to chemotherapy, research groups are developing approaches that use microscopic carriers to deliver a variety of particles–including drugs, molecular tags that target tumors, and imaging agents to monitor and destroy cancer cells.

These microscopic delivery vehicles would evade the body’s defenses and target blood vessels near a tumor, then release their payload.

Targeted Gene Therapy Provides Relief For Chronic Pain

January 23, 2008

Mount Sinai School of Medicine researchers successfully treated chronic pain with targeted gene therapy that simulates the pain-killing effect of opiate drugs.

They designed a viral vector to carry the gene into primary sensory neurons to selectively activate opiate receptors. The treated rats remained symptom-free for an extended period of time.

If the method works in humans, gene therapy could become a treatment alternative for patients with severe… read more

Targeted nanoparticles show success in clinical trials

April 6, 2012

Novel nanoparticles contain a polymer core (red) that traps an anticancer compound (green) that are together shrouded by another polymer (blue) and a molecule to target prostate cancer cells (purple).  Credit: J. Hrkach et al., Science Translational Medicine

Targeted therapeutic nanoparticles that accumulate in tumors while bypassing healthy cells have shown promising results in an ongoing clinical trial, according to a new paper.

The nanoparticles feature a homing molecule that allows them to specifically attack cancer cells, and are the first such targeted particles to enter human clinical studies.

Originally developed by researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, the particles… read more

Targeted nanospheres find, penetrate, then fuel burning of melanoma

February 2, 2009

Hollow gold nanospheres equipped with a targeting peptide find melanoma cells, penetrate them deeply, and then cook the tumor when bathed with near-infrared light, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center researchers have shown.

Targeting specific astrocyte brain-cell receptors found to boost memory in mice

A drug that targets those receptors could improve memory in Alzheimer's disease
January 27, 2015

Astrocytes are stained in red, the A2A receptors in green, the overlap between the two shows as yellow, and the cell nuclei are in blue. (credit: Anna Orr/Gladstone Institutes)

Gladstone Institutes researchers have uncovered a new memory regulator in the brain that may offer a potential treatment to improve memory in Alzheimer’s disease using a drug that targets those receptors.

They found in their research* that decreasing the number of A2A adenosine receptors in astrocyte brain cells improved memory in healthy mice. It also prevented memory impairments in a mouse model of… read more

Targeting the Brain with Sound Waves

June 4, 2009
(William Tyler, Arizona State University)

Ultrasonic waves could one day be used as a noninvasive alternative to deep-brain stimulation (DBS) and vagus nerve stimulation in treating neurological disorders, says William Tyler, a neuroscientist at Arizona State University, who has started a company called Supersonix to commercialize the technology.

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