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Brain DNA ‘remodeled’ in alcoholism

April 3, 2008

University of Illinois at Chicago researchers and colleagues have found that alcoholism changes the DNA scaffolding that supports and controls gene expression in the brain.

These epigenetic changes (DNA functional changes not caused by sequence changes) relate to how DNA and histones are wound together, and may cause anxiety and other alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Microsoft researchers display their tinkering at TechFest

March 5, 2003

Microsoft researchers are developing computers controlled by waving a hand, tracking software that can find a person on an office campus, and an identification system that embeds a digitized image of the photo in the bar code, so forgers cannot simply paste on a picture to create a new ID.

Curling Up With Hybrid Books, Videos Included

October 1, 2009

The notion of the book is becoming increasingly elastic as publishers mash up text, video and Web features, or enable conversations among readers.

Simon & Schuster is releasing four “vooks,” which intersperse videos throughout electronic text that can be read and viewed online or on an iPhone or iPod Touch. In “The Amanda Project,” HarperCollins has invited readers to discuss clues and characters on a Web site,and as the… read more

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

Biotech data mining

January 2, 2006

In the last ten years, biotech companies have been busy accumulating mountains of data. And it’s becoming more and more difficult to find useful information about interactions between genes and proteins for example.

It’s one of the reasons why the European Union has started the BioGrid project. The researchers involved in it have delivered a better search engine for PubMed by analyzing over-expressing genes and predicting the protein interactions… read more

In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop

April 7, 2008

A growing work force of home-office laborers and entrepreneurs, armed with computers and smartphones and wired to the hilt, are toiling under great physical and emotional stress created by the around-the-clock Internet economy that demands a constant stream of news and comment.

Real World Robots

March 18, 2003

Robots have arrived. They are doing real jobs alongside humans — in homes, hospitals and on the battlefield.

Light-Switched Drug Delivery

October 7, 2009

(Raghavendra Palankar/Small)

Researchers in England and Germany have created gold-studded polymer microcapsules that release compounds into cells by rupturing when exposed to ultraviolet light.

The capsules could be useful for researchers studying the effects of drugs on cells, and eventually they could perhaps serve as a clinical tool for administering medication.

Vanishing Gas Confirms Black Hole Event Horizons

January 12, 2006
 Animation of a neutron star X-ray burst. (NASA)

A type of X-ray explosion found on neutron stars does not occur near black holes, scientists announced at the 207th meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

The lack of explosions is strong evidence for the existence of a black hole event horizon, a theoretical boundary into which matter vanishes and cannot escape.

“By looking at objects that pull in gas, we can infer whether that gas… read more

Manufactured buckyballs don’t harm microbes that clean the environment

April 9, 2008

Even large amounts of manufactured nanoparticles, also known as Buckyballs, don’t faze microscopic organisms that are charged with cleaning up the environment, according to Purdue University researchers.

‘Nanowire’ Breakthrough

April 2, 2003

Microscopic wires which could help form the miniature technology of the future have been constructed using the basic building blocks of living things.

‘Matrix for mice’ probes how mental maps are made

October 15, 2009

Support for a theory that activity occurring within place cells in the brain’s hippocampus is key to how mental maps are made has been provided by an experiment with mice using a VR game.

This Is Your Brain on Schadenfreude

January 24, 2006

Functional magnetic resonance imaging has reached the level of sophistication required to identify states of mind, as shown in one recent experiment to measure levels of empathy, based on “pain-related areas” in the brain when a person is watching someone else in pain.

Genetically altered bacteria recreate predator-prey interaction

April 15, 2008

A Duke University bioengineer has developed a living system using genetically altered bacteria that he believes can provide new insights into how the population levels of prey influence the levels of predators, and vice-versa.

The Duke experiment is an example of a synthetic gene circuit, where researchers load new “programming” into bacteria to make them perform new functions. Reprogrammed bacteria that mimic the development and differentiation of more complex… read more

Games to take your breath away

April 18, 2003

Scientists at Dublin’s Media Lab Europe have developed a computer game uses sensors stuck to a player’s body.

“The sensors monitor breathing and only move characters on-screen if the player breathes in the right way. The game is designed for children in hospital to help them cope with boredom during long periods of bed rest and recuperation.

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