Posts

April 17, 2015

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5:35 PM | The hidden complexity inside your skeleton
Your bones are savvy. They are light yet strong and they repair themselves when they break. What’s more – although you can’t tell – your bones continually renew themselves, replacing old bone for new. Subject:  Biology & Aging
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4:17 PM | Quantum physics – hot and cold at the same time
Researchers from Heidelberg and Vienna investigate statistical description of quantum systems. Subject:  Technology
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4:11 PM | Toward a better performing battery
The race is on around the world as scientists strive to develop a new generation of batteries that can perform beyond the limits of the current lithium-ion based battery. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have taken a significant step toward the development of a battery that could outperform the lithium-ion technology used in electric cars such as the Chevy Volt. Subject:  Technology
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3:37 PM | Why do we remember learning about dramatic events so vividly?
It isn’t surprising that many Bostonians have vivid memories of the 2013 Marathon bombing, or that many New Yorkers have very clear memories about where they were and what they were doing on 9/11. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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3:13 PM | Sleep helps brains absorb new information
Researchers from Royal Holloway, University of London have found that successful long-term learning happens after classroom teaching, after the learners have slept on the new material. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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3:05 PM | How to clear space debris
An international team of scientists have put forward a blueprint for a purely space-based system to solve the growing problem of space debris. The proposal, published in Acta Astronautica, combines a super-wide field-of-view telescope, developed by RIKEN’s EUSO team, which will be used to detect objects, and a recently developed high-efficiency laser system, the CAN laser that was presented in Nature Photonics in 2013, that will be used to track space debris and remove it from […]
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2:45 PM | Evolution puts checks on virgin births
It seems unnatural that a species could survive without having sex. Yet over the ages, evolution has endowed females of certain species of amphibians, reptiles and fish with the ability to clone themselves, and perpetuate offspring without males. Subject:  Evolution
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2:41 PM | Cognitive problems are common after cardiac arrest
Half of all patients who survive a cardiac arrest experience problems with cognitive functions such as memory and attention. This has been shown by a major international study led from Lund University. Surprisingly, however, a control group comprising heart attack patients had largely the same level of problems. This suggests that it is not only the cardiac arrest and the consequent lack of oxygen to the brain that is the cause of the patients’ difficulties. Subject:  […]

April 16, 2015

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11:22 PM | Brain implants may shock damaged memories back into shape
With funding from the Defense Department, scientists have begun work on devices that would use electric pulses to realign a memory process gone awry. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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11:11 PM | Search for ET yields nothing so far
After searching 100,000 galaxies for signs of highly advanced extraterrestrial life, a team of scientists using observations from NASA's WISE orbiting observatory has found no evidence of advanced civilizations in them. Subject:  Astronomy/Cosmology
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11:04 PM | Scientists transform skin cells into brain cells
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine have transformed skin cells from patients with Lou Gehrig’s disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), into brain cells affected by the progressive, fatal disease and deposited those human-made cells into the first public ALS cell library, enabling scientists to better study the disease. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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10:56 PM | E-cigarettes make smokers less likely to quit
The rapid increase in use of e-cigarettes has led to heated debates between opponents who question the safety of these devices and proponents who claim the battery-operated products are a useful cessation tool. A study, published online on April 16 in the American Journal of Public Health, suggests proponents are in error. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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10:50 PM | New insights into how cancers spread
Tumor cells become lethal when they spread. Blocking this process can be a powerful way to stop cancer. Historically, scientists thought that tumor cells migrated by brute force, actively pushing through whatever tissue was in their way, but recent evidence has shown that tumor cells may be more methodical. And in a new study, Cornell University researchers report that tumor cells take advantage of already-cleared paths to migrate unimpeded. Subject:  Health […]
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10:44 PM | Researchers reveal protein that boosts immunity to viruses and cancer
Scientists have discovered a protein that plays a central role in promoting immunity to viruses and cancer, opening the door to new therapies. Experiments in mice and human cells have shown that the protein promotes the proliferation of cytotoxic T cells, which kill cancer cells and cells infected with viruses. The discovery was unexpected because the new protein had no known function and doesn’t resemble any other protein. Subject:  Health & Medicine […]
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10:33 PM | Exploring the ADHD-autism link
Jean Gehricke’s research is revealing similarities between the two disorders and suggesting new treatment approaches. For the better part of the last decade, a growing body of research has been revealing more and more similarities between attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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10:31 PM | How do we hear time within sound?
How does our auditory system represent time within a sound? A new study published in PLOS Computational Biology investigates how temporal acoustic patterns can be represented by neural activity within auditory cortex, a major hub within the brain for the perception of sound. Dr. Daniel Bendor, from University College London, describes a novel way that neurons in auditory cortex can encode temporal information, based on how their excitatory and inhibitory inputs get mixed together. […]
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8:30 PM | For men, online generosity is a subconscious competition for mates
If you are looking to raise money online for your favorite cause, listen up. A real-world analysis of human behavior reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 16 shows that men treat online giving as a competitive enterprise. Men will donate four times more money to an attractive female fundraiser in response to the contribution of another male. Researchers say that they suspect this tendency is a subconscious part of human psychology that exists because it is (or […]
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7:13 PM | Intense magnetic field close to supermassive black hole
The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has revealed an extremely powerful magnetic field, beyond anything previously detected in the core of a galaxy, very close to the event horizon of a supermassive black hole. This new observation helps astronomers to understand the structure and formation of these massive inhabitants of the centres of galaxies, and the twin high-speed jets of plasma they frequently eject from their poles. The results appear in the 17 April 2015 […]
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2:24 PM | Chemicals in sweat may convey positive emotion
Humans may be able to communicate positive emotions like happiness through the smell of our sweat, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The research indicates that we produce chemical compounds, or chemosignals, when we experience happiness that are detectable by others who smell our sweat. Subject:  Biology & Aging
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2:13 PM | Genetics makes trees grow bigger and quicker
Scientists at The University of Manchester have discovered a way to make trees grow bigger and faster, which could increase supplies of renewable resources and help trees cope with the effects of climate change. In the study, published in Current Biology, the team successfully manipulated two genes in poplar trees in order to make them grow larger and more quickly than usual. Subject:  Biology & Aging
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2:06 PM | Brazilian rainforest destruction has slowed
The destruction of the Brazilian rainforest has slowed significantly. With around 5000 square kilometers annually, the loss is now about 80% lower than in 2004. Led by the Center for Development Research (ZEF) at the University of Bonn, an international team of researchers has evaluated the effectiveness of forest law enforcement in the Brazilian Amazon. In some federal states of the Brazilian Amazon region enforcement has been more effective than in others. The results are […]
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1:51 AM | 8 nutrients to protect the aging brain
Brain health is the second most important component in maintaining a healthy lifestyle according to a 2014 AARP study. As people age they can experience a range of cognitive issues from decreased critical thinking to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. In the March issue of Food Technology published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), contributing editor Linda Milo Ohr writes about eight nutrients that may help keep your brain in good shape. Subject:  […]
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1:19 AM | Video games can power up from merely fun to meaningful experiences
It may be game over for critics who claim that video games are nothing more than a fun diversion. A team of researchers suggests that many games can be meaningful entertainment experiences for players. In a study of people's experiences with video games, players indicated that they not only enjoyed playing games, but that they also frequently appreciated them at a deeper, more meaningful level. These findings should be encouraging to video game developers who want to invest in […]

April 15, 2015

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8:09 PM | Glushko prize for Brenden Lake!
Congratulations to lab affiliate Brenden Lake who will receive the 2015 Robert J. Glusko dissertation prize for his thesis work at MIT!
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7:15 PM | Brain development suffers from lack of fish oil fatty acids
While recent reports question whether fish oil supplements support heart health, UC Irvine scientists have found that the fatty acids they contain are vitally important to the developing brain. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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7:10 PM | New insight into how vision develops
California man Mike May made international headlines in 2000 when his sight was restored by a pioneering stem cell procedure after 40 years of blindness. But a study published three years after the operation found that the then-49-year-old could see colors, motion and some simple two-dimensional shapes, but was incapable of more complex visual processing. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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3:52 PM | Chromosome errors cause many pregnancies to end before they are even detected
Given the fact that there are seven billion people on Earth, one might conclude that human beings are pretty good at reproducing. But fewer than 30% of all fertilization events result in successful pregnancy, even for young, fertile couples. Subject:  Genetics
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3:33 PM | A self-powering video camera
A research team led by Shree K. Nayar, T.C. Chang Professor of Computer Science at Columbia Engineering, has invented a prototype video camera that is the first to be fully self-powered—it can produce an image each second, indefinitely, of a well-lit indoor scene. They designed a pixel that can not only measure incident light but also convert the incident light into electric power. The team is presenting its work at the International Conference on Computational Photography at […]
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3:21 PM | Female chimps more likely to hunt with tools
It was a discovery that changed what researchers knew about the hunting techniques of chimpanzees. In 2007, Jill Pruetz first reported savanna chimps at her research site in Fongoli, Senegal, were using tools to hunt prey. That alone was significant, but what also stood out to Pruetz was the fact that female chimps were the ones predominantly hunting with tools. Subject:  Animal Research
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3:11 PM | DNA from fathers’ sperm linked to children’s autism
In a small study, Johns Hopkins researchers found that DNA from the sperm of men whose children had early signs of autism shows distinct patterns of regulatory tags that could contribute to the condition. A detailed report of their findings will be published online in the International Journal of Epidemiology on April 15. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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