science + technology news

First map of core white-matter connections of human brain developed at USC

May help better address clinical challenges such as traumatic brain injury
February 12, 2014


USC neuroscientists have systematically created the first map of the core white-matter “scaffold” (connections) of the human brain — the critical communications network that supports brain function.

Their work, published Feb. 11 in the open-access journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, has major implications for understanding brain injury and disease, the researchers say.

By detailing the connections that have the greatest influence over all other connections, the researchers offer… read more

Atom trap is a step towards a quantum computer

June 18, 2007

A device that can hold hundreds of atoms in a 3D array, and image each one individually, may be an important stepping stone towards developing a quantum computer.

Glial cells supply axon nerve fibers with energy, researchers find

May 14, 2012

Electron microscope cross-section image of the nerve fibres (axons) of the optic nerve. Axons are surrounded by special glial cells, the oligodendrocytes, wrapping themselves around the axons in several layers. Between the axons, there are extensions of astrocytes, another type of glial cells

Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine researchers have discovered a possible mechanisms by which glial cells in the brain support axons and keep them alive.

Oligodendrocytes are a group of highly specialized glial cells in the central nervous system. They form the fat-rich myelin sheath that surrounds the nerve fibers as an insulating layer increases the transmission speed of the axons and also reduces ongoing… read more

Microscope Etches Ultrathin Lines

September 24, 2004

University of Sheffield researchers have shown that it is possible to achieve electron beam resolution for organic materials using an ultraviolet laser shown through a near-field optical microscope.

The researchers etched 20-nanometer features into a single layer of molecules on a gold surface using 244-nanometer ultraviolet light. The method could be used to make highly miniaturized arrays of proteins and DNA for biological sensors and analyzers.

In principle.… read more

Semantic Sense for the Desktop

December 17, 2008

A European endeavor called the Nepomuk Project plans to introduce the Semantic Web to computers in the form of a “semantic desktop.”

The software generates semantic information by using “crawlers” to go through a computer and annotate as many files as possible. These crawlers look through a user’s address book, for example, and search for files related to the people found in there. Nepomuk can then connect a file… read more

Brain Boosters

June 28, 2007

A Technology Review reporter enters the new world of neuroenhancers by having his brain zapped with electricity and dosed with chemicals.

Next Step to the Quantum Computer

October 7, 2004

University of Bonn physicists have set up a quantum register experimentally, an important step towards processing quantum information with neutral atoms.

The physicists loaded five decelerated cesium atoms onto a laser beam. With the aid of an additional laser, they then initialized the quantum register, i.e. they “wrote” zeros on all the qubits. They then were able to store the quantum information desired in each qubit by using microwave… read more

New nanoparticles could improve cancer treatment

October 5, 2010

Drug-carrying nanoparticles designed by MIT and MGH researchers are decorated with tags that bind to molecules found on the surface of tumor cells. (MIT/MGH)

Researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have developed a nanoparticle that can deliver precise doses of two or more drugs to prostate cancer cells.

In a study appearing online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers tailored their particles to deliver cisplatin and docetaxel, two drugs commonly used to treat many different types of cancer.

Such particles could improve the… read more

A year in the quantum world

December 26, 2008

Four radical routes to a theory of everything, The great antimatter mystery, Anyons: the breakthrough quantum computing needs?, and Matter is merely vacuum fluctuations are among the year’s top 10 in-depth articles about the quantum world.

Scientists Create Breakthrough Sensor Capable of Detecting Individual Molecules

July 9, 2007

Applied physicists at the California Institute of Technology have figured out a way to detect single biological molecules with a microscopic optical device.

The method has already proven effective for detecting the signaling proteins called cytokines that indicate the function of the immune system, and it could be used in numerous medical applications, such as the extremely early detection of cancer and other diseases, as well as in basic… read more

Plasma Beam Eyed in Space Travel

October 19, 2004

A University of Washington team is pioneering the concept of the Mag-beam, (magnetized-beam plasma propulsion), which could significantly shorten the time it takes to travel to other planets.

A space-based outpost station would generate a high-energy plasma beam aimed at a spaceship equipped with a sail, resulting in it being thrust out into space. Plasma beam stations at each end of the interplanetary flight path would speed up and… read more

Sharpest infrared image of Milky Way’s core unveile

January 6, 2009

Astronomers released the sharpest infrared picture yet taken of the center of our galaxy, revealing massive filaments of gas and a new population of about 200 massive, rogue stars.

TransVision 2007 explores transhuman frontiers

July 17, 2007

Would you store the essence of your self in digital mindfiles that can be revived in the future via cyberconsciousness mindware so future scientists could bring “you” back via cybernetic consciousness or cellular/nanobio regeneration? Do we live in an “almost spookily bio-friendly” intelligent universe where we will some day create baby universes? When neurological enhancements can create believable simulated worlds like Second Life in your own brain, where and who… read more

Signal Overload in Alzheimer Brains

October 26, 2004

In studies with mice that develop the equivalent of Alzheimer’s disease, Johns Hopkins researchers have shown that brain cells’ signals confuse the movement of implanted neuronal stem cells.

The observation reinforces the idea that disease can create “microenvironments” that affect the behavior of cells.

“In normal adult mice, stem cells taken from the olfactory bulb returned to the olfactory bulb — where they belong — even though they… read more

‘Bionic’ man dies in car crash

October 25, 2010

Christian Kandlbauer (Otto Bock Healthcare)

Christian Kandlbauer, an Austrian man who became the first person outside the U.S. to wear thought-powered prosthetic arms, has died from injuries sustained in a car crash, according to an AP report. He was driving, but the cause of the accident is not yet known.

Kandlbauer was fitted with myoelectric artificial arms by Germany-based Otto Bock Healthcare. He was the the “guinea pig” for a… read more

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