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Team finds genetic link between immune and nerve systems

September 22, 2008

Duke University Medical Center researchers have discovered genetic links between the nervous system and the immune system in a well-studied worm, and the findings could illuminate new approaches to human therapies.

They found that NPR-1, a worm cell receptor linked to proteins that are similar to mammalian neuropeptide Y, functions to suppress the activity of specific neurons that block immune responses, but when the flawed receptor didn’t work, the… read more

Seeing Pessimism, Not Science, as the Enemy

March 19, 2004

Bypassing restricted federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research, New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey has signed a law permitting stem-cell research. He also intends to provide $6.5 million as part of a five-year, $50 million plan to place New Jersey (and Rutgers University) at the forefront of state-sponsored stem cell studies.

Astrocytes affect brain’s information signaling

June 15, 2010

New research from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, shows that astrocytes are directly involved in the regulation of signalling between neurons. Astrocytes sense activity from the synapses and respond by reducing the release of the neurotransmitter glutamate.

Astrocytes have previously been viewed primarily as the brain’s housekeeping cells, whose roles include regulating blood flow in different parts of the brain.

“This means that astrocytes should be given more… read more

Mimicking How the Brain Recognizes Street Scenes

February 8, 2007
The Poggio model for object recognition takes as input the unlabled images of digital photographs from the Street Scene Database (top) and generates automatic annotations

A computational model of how the brain processes visual information in a complex, real world task has been applied to recognizing the objects in a busy street scene.

Scientists in Tomaso Poggio’s laboratory at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT “showed” the model randomly selected images so that it could “learn” to identify commonly occurring features in real-word objects, such as trees, cars, and… read more

California Academy of Sciences designs sustainability

September 29, 2008

A state-of-the-art digital dome planetarium, a stunning rain forest with live trees, birds and butterflies, and an aquarium highlight the just-opened California Academy of Sciences building in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.

Health Concerns in Nanotechnology

March 29, 2004

Buckyballs can cause extensive brain and liver damage in fish, according to research presented yesterday at a national meeting of the American Chemical Society.

The nanoparticles, had not been coated, a process used to limit the toxicity of such materials in applications like drug delivery.

How cells respond to biochemical signals

August 18, 2011

Researchers at Harvard Medical School have discovered that structural elements in the cell play a crucial role in organizing the motion of cell-surface receptors, which are proteins that enable cells to receive signals from other parts of the organism.

This discovery fills a fundamental gap in the understanding of how cells relate to biochemical signals, including pharmaceuticals, and could have profound implications… read more

Blinded eyes restored to sight by stem cells

June 24, 2010

Stem cells have restored sight to 82 people with eyes blinded by chemical or heat burns, restoring vision to a level up to 0.9 on a visual acuity scale (1 represents perfect vision), reports Graziella Pellegrini at the University of Modena in Italy.

The Father of Quantum Computing

February 15, 2007

“The watershed moment with quantum computer technology will be when a quantum computer — a universal quantum computer — exceeds about 100 to 200 qubits,” according to Oxford University theoretical physicist David Deutsch. In practice, “that probably means several hundred, or perhaps 1,000 or more, physical qubits.”

He said the most important applications of quantum computing in the future are likely to be a computer simulation of quantum systems,… read more

Large Hadron Collider puts a grid on it

October 6, 2008

CERN has launched one of the world’s largest computing grids, drawing on the computing power of more than 100,000 processors to allow 7,000 scientists in 33 countries to process the 15 petabytes of data produced each year from the Large Hadron Collider.

“About half the world’s scientists will be looking at this data,” said director general of CERN Robert Aymar.

A Glimmer of Hope for Fading Minds

April 13, 2004

Scientists are uncovering clues that may eventually allow them to prevent, slow or even reverse Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers have found evidence suggesting that statins, drugs taken to lower cholesterol levels, may also protect against Alzheimer’s. Other researchers have hypothesized that medications that reduce inflammation might prove useful or that Alzheimer’s may result from “multiple hits” from a stroke, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Virtual reality you can reach out and touch

July 1, 2010

A team from nine European universities and research institutes in developing technology to make VR objects and characters touchable, using haptic and multi-modal interfaces, new signal processing techniques, and generation of VR objects in real time.

Meetings make us dumber, study shows

February 26, 2007

People have a harder time coming up with alternative solutions to a problem when they are part of a group, new research suggests.

Goldmine bug DNA may be key to alien life

October 13, 2008
(Greg Wanger/Gordon Southam)

A new species, the bacteria Candidatus Desulforudis audaxviator (“the bold traveller”), discovered deep in a gold mine, could be the key to life on other planets because of its unique ability to live in complete isolation, devoid of light and oxygen.

It gets its energy from the radioactive decay of uranium in the surrounding rocks and has genes to extract carbon from dissolved carbon dioxide and other… read more

Using M.R.I.’s to See Politics on the Brain

April 20, 2004

MRI brain imaging was used in an experiment to analyze reactions to political commercials. It could help expose manipulative techniques during political campaigns.

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