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Company unveils DNA sequencing device meant to be portable, disposable and cheap

February 18, 2012

MinION_in_laptop

DNA sequencing is becoming both faster and cheaper. Now, it is also becoming tinier.

Oxford Nanopore Technologies said on Friday that by the end of 2012 it would begin selling a “pay-as-you-go” disposable gene sequencing device that is the size of a USB memory stick and plugs into a laptop computer to deliver its results.

The less-than-$900 MinION device could allow small sequencing jobs to be done by… read more

Company Plans Power ‘Valve’ Employing Superconductors

August 18, 2003

To suppress surges, Intermagnetics General plans to use superconductors as valves on the electric-utility power grid, letting their temperature rise to choke off the flow of power. The device would also generate a magnetic field, which further lowers superconductor conductivity.

The idea is to reduce the surge to a level that conventional circuit breakers can handle.

Company is first to return spacecraft from orbit

December 10, 2010

NASA took a giant leap away from the spaceflight business Wednesday as a private company, SpaceX, launched a spacecraft into orbit and for the first time guided it safely back to Earth, a feat previously achieved only by large national governments.

Company decodes cancers to target treatment

November 3, 2011
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Foundation Medicine has developed a diagnostic test to read the entire sequence of hundreds of cancer-linked genes, at the forefront of a growing trend in cancer: choosing drugs based on the genetic profile of a patient’s tumor cells.

A number of pharmaceutical companies are using the test in clinical trials of new drugs and to direct patients into specific studies of drugs designed to target different mutations.… read more

Company claims to have sequenced man’s genome cheaply

February 11, 2008

Illumina, based in San Diego, claims to have sequenced DNA from the genome of an anonymous African man in “a matter of weeks” for $100,000.

However, supporting data is not yet available.

Companies mine Web clues for signs of pandemics

April 30, 2009

Veratect Inc combines computer algorithms with human analysts to monitor online and off-line sources for hints of disease outbreaks and civil unrest worldwide, using blogs, online chat rooms, Twitter feeds, news media and government Web sites.

Veratect says it posted a report to clients on April 6 describing an unusual number of respiratory illnesses in the Mexican state of Veracruz, then sent an e-mail on April 16 to the… read more

Companies discover untapped brain power: autistics

July 21, 2013

Autistic_teenage_girl

Companies are discovering the untapped brain power of a group long thought ill suited to the office: adults on the autistic spectrum. Joshua Kendall, author of America’s Obsessives, reports at The Daily Beast on one Danish man’s mission to employ the seemingly unemployable — and successful famous “obsessives”* (think Jefferson and Heinz) in American history.

While the 1% of the population with ASDs may have considerable difficulty navigating… read more

Companies Bet Their Money On Nano’s Workhorse: The Quantum Dot

May 7, 2003

The potential for quantum dots –- semiconductor nanocrystal particles that confine electrons in their cores — is wide open.

Applications include customizable tags for cell or tissue analysis (the largest market), solar energy, flat-panel displays, light sources, and security tags for currency or other valuable objects.

Communication through chemistry: ‘Fuses’ convey information for hours

June 18, 2010

Harvard University researchers have developed a chemical-based method for transmitting alphanumeric information in the form of light pulses.

The “infofuse” is made of nitrocellulose strips covered with patterns of dots made of salts of the elements lithium, rubidium, and cesium. When the strip is ignited, the flame travels forward and reaches the dots one after the other. The heat causes the elements to emit light at characteristic wavelengths.… read more

Communication helps target tumors

June 21, 2011

Mouse tumor imaging using targeted particles (credit: Liat Goldshaid et al.)

A new technique that uses nanoparticles and engineered proteins to broadcast the location of cancer in the body can deliver up to a 40-fold greater concentration of chemotherapy drugs to tumors than untargeted cancer treatments.

By designing a system of nanoparticle and protein components that can communicate with one another, biomedical engineer Geoffrey von Maltzahn of Flagship Ventures, an investment firm that helps launch new therapeutics and medical… read more

Communication engages complex brain circuitry and processes

November 17, 2010

New human and animal studies presented Tuesday at Neuroscience 2010 uncover the extensive brain wiring used in communication and provide new insights into how the brain processes and produces language, accents, and sounds. The research also explores the brain abnormalities in people with speech and language problems, such as stuttering, suggesting future treatment avenues.

Communication involves a complex series of tasks, from processing and comprehending sounds to producing jaw… read more

Communicating with machines: What the next generation of speech recognizers will do

February 16, 2004

“If we want to communicate with a machine as we would with a human, the basic assumptions underlying today’s automated speech recognition systems are wrong,” said former AT&T Bell Labs scientist B.H. “Fred” Juang, now professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“To have real human-machine communication,… read more

Commonly used medications may produce cognitive impairment in older adults

June 2, 2009

Many drugs such as sleeping pills commonly prescribed to older adults for a variety of common medical conditions including allergies, hypertension, asthma, and cardiovascular disease appear to negatively affect the aging brain.

The drugs cause immediate but possibly reversible cognitive impairment, including delirium, in older adults, according to senior study author Malaz Boustani, M.D., Indiana University School of Medicine associate professor of medicine, Regenstrief Institute investigator, and research scientist… read more

Common sense boosts speech software

March 24, 2005

MIT researchers have combined speech recognition software with The Open Mind Common Sense Project database to distinguish among words that sound the same or similar.

The database contains more than 700,000 facts that MIT Media Lab researchers have been collecting from the public.

Common parasite in cats may trigger suicide attempts

A parasite thought to be harmless and found in many people may actually be causing subtle changes in the brain, leading to suicide attempts
August 17, 2012

Toxoplasma_gondii

New research appearing in the August issue of The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry adds to the growing work linking an infection caused by the Toxoplasma gondii parasite, hosted in cats, to suicide attempts.

About 10-20 percent of people in the United States have Toxoplasma gondii, or T. gondii, in their bodies, but in most it was thought to lie dormant, said Lena Brundin, an associate professor… read more

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