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Breakthrough! Ten major medical advances you’re likely to see in the coming year

January 26, 2004

Medical breakthroughs expected in 2004:

  • New, faster CT machines that can take clear pictures of a beating heart without a catheter, sedation or hospitalization, combined with MRI to show blood vessels, blood flow, scar tissue and the workings of the heart muscle and valves plus plaque buildup.
  • International efforts to regulate food marketing, pricing and production to prevent obesity.
  • 24-hour blood-pressure recording to diagnose
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    Mutating software could predict hacker attacks

    January 26, 2004

    Software engineers at Icosystem have developed a program that can predict what is coming next by “evolving” future hacker and virus attacks based on information from known ones.

    The program would update intrusion-detection software to recognize attack patterns before hackers have even developed them.

    I Dream of Techno-Genie

    January 23, 2004

    As watchers of ancient sitcoms know, a genie can bring you immense power but is also hard to control, and the granting of your wishes is not necessarily a good thing. As such, a genie can serve as a metaphor for technology, with a subtly negative connotation. And that explains the title of an interesting but quite arguable new book Living with the Genie: Essays on Technology and the Quest… 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

    Federal nanotech confusion spreads to California

    January 21, 2004

    In “Nanoscience and Nanotechnology: Opportunities and Challenges in California,” released today at a meeting of the state’s Joint Committee on “Preparing California for the 21st Century,” the concept of molecular machines appears only in the form of “plagues of self-replicating nanobots,” as in Michael Crichton’s thriller Prey, said Christine Peterson, president of Foresight Institute.

    “The original goal for nanotechnology — systems of molecular machines, building cleanly with atom-by-atom precision,… read more

    No Foolproof Way Is Seen to Contain Altered Genes

    January 21, 2004

    It will be difficult to completely prevent genetically engineered plants and animals from having unintended environmental and public health effects, says a report by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences.

    One solution may be biological methods of containment (“bioconfinement”). These include measures like inducing sterility by giving fish an extra set of chromosomes or exposing insects to radiation. Bacteria might be given “suicide genes” that… read more

    Lie-detector glasses offer peek at future of security

    January 21, 2004

    A lie detector small enough to fit in the eyeglasses of law enforcement officers can tell whether a passenger is a terrorist by analyzing his answer to questions in real time.

    The technology, developed by Nemesysco for military, insurance claim and law enforcement use, is being repackaged and retargeted for personal and corporate applications by V Entertainment.

    A signal-processing engine, said to use more than 8,000 algorithms each… read more

    Do plants act like computers?

    January 21, 2004

    Plants appear to “think”: green plants may regulate their uptake and loss of gases by distributed computation.

    By studying the distributions of these patches of open and closed stomata in leaves of the cocklebur plant, Utah State University researchers found specific patterns reminiscent of distributed computing. Patches of open or closed stomata sometimes move around a leaf at constant speed, for example.

    The statistics of the size of… read more

    For a bigger brain, juggle

    January 21, 2004

    Juggling and probably other visual skills that take time to master increase the size of your brain, say researchers, challenging the traditionally held view that the anatomical structure of the normal adult human brain does not alter.

    MRI scans found that learning to juggle increased by about three per cent the volume of grey matter in the mid-temporal area and left posterior intra-parietal sulcus, which process data from visual… read more

    ‘Exponential’ Thinking for the Future

    January 21, 2004

    Change happens and, due to exponential advances that nanotechnology is enabling, change is only going to occur at an ever faster rate. The best way for each industry to begin preparing for this new reality is to understand the field of nanotechnology.

    Overcoming limits to chip miniaturization

    January 20, 2004

    Researchers have identified a new origin of the “size effect” (materials lose their useful properties when their dimensions fall below a certain limit), at least for ferroelectric oxides: tiny linear crystal-lattice defects less than about a tenth of nanometer that can deform a tube of material.

    RAM memory could be significantly improved if it were possible to construct non-volatile memory cells with a storage density of several billion bits… read more

    Brave New Babies

    January 20, 2004

    Parents now have the power to choose the sex of their children. But as technology answers prayers, it also raises some troubling questions.

    An Ultrasound That Navigates Every Nook and Cranny

    January 20, 2004

    A highly miniaturized silicon-based ultrasound device is being developed that could be placed inside the body to gather images of artery-harming plaque from inside the arteries themselves.

    The “capacitive micromachined ultrasonic transducers” might one day appear in other medical applications, from portable prenatal screeners to hand-held scanners used on battlefields to check the injured for internal bleeding.

    Designer gene therapy may target specific body area

    January 20, 2004

    Doctors may soon be able to inject genetically engineered “designer” gene therapy intravenously that travels to a specific part of the body, according to Dr. Andrew H. Baker, molecular medicine researcher at the University of Glasgow,

    Gene therapy involves inserting the treatment genes into a virus that is either harmless to humans or has had its disease-causing component removed. The virus is then injected or inserted into the body… read more

    The End Game

    January 19, 2004

    The Army’s Massive Multiplayer Environment will move simulation training into a wider domain of realism and soldier participation.

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