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Part II: The Glimmering Promise of Gene Therapy

November 28, 2006

Its history is marred by failures, false hopes, and even death, but for a number of the most horrendous human diseases, gene therapy still holds the promise of a cure. Now, for the first time, there is reason to believe that it is actually working.

Good-bye, wheelchair, hello exoskeleton

January 5, 2012

Ekso exoskeleton

Early this year Ekso Bionics (formerly known as Berkeley Bionics) will begin selling its Ekso exoskeleton walking suit to rehab clinics in the United States and Europe.

It will allow patients with spinal cord injuries to train with the device under a doctor’s supervision. By the middle of 2012, the company plans to have a model for at-home physical therapy.

Your job is to balance your… read more

Epic Trip for ‘Alternative’ Car

January 13, 2004

A car that runs on just hydrogen and solar power has completed a journey through Australia—the first crossing of a continent for a car of this type.

New Nintendo Portable Console to Feature 3D Display

March 23, 2010

Nintendo’s next generation of its DS handheld video game console come with a 3-D display and go on sale within a year.

Virgin Galactic Unveils Launch Plane for Upcoming Spacecraft

July 29, 2008

After years of secretive construction, Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic presented the first stage of their commercial launch platform, WhiteKnightTwo, Monday at the Mojave Air and Space Port.

Enzyme-Free Nucleic Acid Logic Circuits

December 8, 2006

California Institute of Technology researchers have reported the design and experimental implementation of DNA-based digital logic circuits.

They demonstrated AND, OR, and NOT gates, signal restoration, amplification, feedback, and cascading. The modular gates use single-stranded nucleic acids as inputs and outputs, and the mechanism relies exclusively on sequence recognition and strand displacement.

Biological nucleic acids such as microRNAs can serve as inputs, suggesting applications in biotechnology and bioengineering.… read more

The Healthy Promise of Biochips

January 23, 2004

Tracking the human genome was just the beginning. Now, biochips can be used to study many genetic aspects of a disease — and possibly a cure.

In a typical experiment, a drug researcher places a sample of diseased tissue that has been tagged with a fluorescent dye onto a gene-laden chip. A scanner then reads the chip, and if the DNA in the sample matches any of the genes… read more

Time Lords discovered in California

April 1, 2010

People in a newly found category of “time-space” synesthetes experience time as a spatial construct and have much better recall than the time-blind majority, David Brang of the department of psychology at the University of California, San Diego has found.

Brang suspects that time-space synesthesia happens when the neural processes underlying spatial processing are unusually active.

Synesthesia is the condition in which the senses are mixed.

High-Aptitude Minds: The Neurological Roots of Genius

August 1, 2008

Researchers have fingered parts of the parietal and frontal lobes as well as a structure called the anterior cingulate as important for superior cognition.

Some studies suggest that the brains of brighter people use less energy to solve certain problems than those of people with lower aptitudes do. But under certain circumstances, scientists have also observed higher neuronal power consumption in individuals with superior mental capacities.

Surgical Robots Get a Sense of Touch

December 20, 2006

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have developed a haptic feedback system for surgical robots, which lack subtle sensations.

Their goal is to understand the forces of the robot interacting with the patient and to use motors on the master robot–controlled by the surgeon–to create forces that are equal to those being applied to the patient.

‘Biohackers’ get their own space to create

January 16, 2012


BioCurious, a 2,500-square-feet community lab in an office building in Sunnyvale, opened in November as a place where scientists, entrepreneurs and others can meet to conduct biology experiments and innovate on everything from bacteria to thermal cyclers. The facility also offers classes on topics ranging from DNA sequencing to microfluidics.

Mercury affects brains of adolescents

February 9, 2004

Eating seafood that contains mercury can affect the brain development of children in their adolescence, according to a study of people in the Faroe Islands.

The study contradicts the opinion of researchers who think these compounds are toxic only to babies as they develop in the womb, and that older children are unlikely to suffer developmental problems from the poison.

The group previously found that the children, when… read more

Researchers make first direct recording of mirror neurons in human brain

April 13, 2010

UCLA neuroscientists have for the first time made a direct recording of mirror neurons in the human brain.

The researchers found that the neurons fired or showed their greatest activity both when the individual performed a task and when they observed a task.

First Solar: Quest for the $1 Watt

August 11, 2008

First Solar’s solar cells will likely meet typical grid-parity prices ($1/Watt) for the off-peak market in developed countries in just two to four years, analysts say.

Its product has three massive cost benefits: its ­active element is just a hundredth the thickness of silicon; it is built on a glass substrate, which enables the production of large panels; and manufacturing takes just two and a half hours–about a tenth… read more

Technique quickly identifies bacteria for food safety

December 29, 2006

Researchers at Purdue University have used a new technique to rapidly detect and precisely identify bacteria, including dangerous E. coli, without the time-consuming treatments usually required.

Called desorption electrospray ionization, or DESI, it could be used to create a new class of fast, accurate detectors for applications ranging from food safety to homeland security.

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