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Archive for the ‘biotech/medical’ category

Oct 23, 2021

Psilocybin Can Enhance How People Emotionally Connect to Music

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, government, media & arts, neuroscience

Taking psilocybin can affect one’s emotional state when listening to music, according to new research presented earlier this month at the 34th ECNP Congress in Lisbon.

Psilocybin, the active psychedelic component of magic mushrooms, has previously shown great promise when used in therapy settings for the treatment of depression. Many of these clinical trials often make use of selected music playlists to support the subjective psychedelic experience felt by the trial participant.

Now, scientists believe that this action of combining psilocybin with music may result in enhanced emotional processing on behalf of the participant, implying that music should be treated as a more active component of psilocybin therapy.

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Oct 23, 2021

Mike Graglia, Managing Dir & Co-Founder, SynGAP Research Fund — Collaboration, Transparency, Urgency

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business, education, mathematics, neuroscience

Collaboration, transparency & urgency for rare disease research — mike graglia, managing director & co-founder, syngap research fund — SRF.


Mike Graglia is the Managing Director & Co-Founder of the SynGAP Research Fund (SRF — https://www.syngapresearchfund.org/), an organization that he set up in 2018 with his wife Ashley, after their son was diagnosed with a rare neurological disease caused by an insufficiency in SynGAP protein, which causes the life-changing diagnoses of Epilepsy, Autism, sleep disorder and intellectual disability.

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Oct 23, 2021

A rapid, accurate, scalable, and portable testing system for COVID-19 diagnosis

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Here we report a rapid Scalable and Portable Testing (SPOT) system consisting of a rapid, highly sensitive, and accurate assay and a battery-powered portable device for COVID-19 diagnosis. This device consists of 3D printed casing and internal structure with precise temperature control and fluorescence detection, whereas this assay combines RT-LAMP with an Argonaute protein from hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus (PfAgo) capable of precise recognition and cleavage of a target DNA at 95 °C as directed by small 5′-phosphorylated single strand DNA (ssDNA) as guide DNA (gDNA)10,11. Due to the multi-turnover activity of PfAgo, its secondary cleavage mechanism can be harnessed for specific, sensitive, and multiplex nucleic acid detection12,13. For COVID-19 samples, although nasopharyngeal swab and nasal swab samples were recommended for detection of SARS-CoV-2, saliva samples are a more attractive alternative due to the ease, safety, and non-invasive nature of its collection14,15, and its relatively high viral load during the first week of infection16. These benefits enable a saliva sample to be an ideal specimen for reliable and rapid self-detection without professional supervision17,18,19. While current CRISPR-based detection systems normally require 50 min for testing, PfAgo can dramatically speed up the detection process by requiring only 3–5 min for cleavage of amplified products, thereby shortening the total turnaround time for testing to less than 30 min. Moreover, successful PfAgo detection requires at least two sequence-specific cleavages, endowing the SPOT system with high specificity and the ability for multiplexing. Finally, to validate the SPOT system, the sensitivity and accuracy of the SPOT system were determined by using 104 clinical saliva samples.

- please note: The SPOT system also may be useful for detecting genetic markers of certain types of cancer in saliva.


There is a clear need for rapid, accurate and scalable Covid-19 diagnostics. Here the authors use PfAgo to detect viral sequences amplified by RT-LAMP in a handheld battery-powered device.

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Oct 23, 2021

After decades, room temperature superconductivity achieved

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

But the hydrogen-based material requires high pressure.


A kidney grown in a genetically altered pig functions normally, scientists reported. The procedure may open the door to a renewable source of desperately needed organs.

Oct 23, 2021

In a First, Surgeons Attached a Pig Kidney to a Human, and It Worked

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

A kidney grown in a genetically altered pig functions normally, scientists reported. The procedure may open the door to a renewable source of desperately needed organs.

Oct 23, 2021

A diet of essential amino acids could keep dementia at bay, finds study

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Protein intake is known to be vital for maintaining brain function in older individuals. Now, using a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, researchers have shown that the intake of a specific set of amino acids can inhibit the death of brain cells, protect the connections between them, and reduce inflammation, preserving brain function. Their research suggests that this amino acid combination called Amino LP7 can hinder the development of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.

Oct 22, 2021

Experiments confirm a quantum material’s unique response to circularly polarized laser light

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, particle physics, quantum physics

When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down experiments at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory early last year, Shambhu Ghimire’s research group was forced to find another way to study an intriguing research target: quantum materials known as topological insulators, or TIs, which conduct electric current on their surfaces but not through their interiors.

Denitsa Baykusheva, a Swiss National Science Foundation Fellow, had joined his group at the Stanford PULSE Institute two years earlier with the goal of finding a way to generate high harmonic generation, or HHG, in these materials as a tool for probing their behavior. In HHG, shining through a material shifts to higher energies and higher frequencies, called harmonics, much like pressing on a guitar string produces higher notes. If this could be done in TIs, which are promising building blocks for technologies like spintronics, quantum sensing and quantum computing, it would give scientists a new tool for investigating these and other quantum materials.

With the experiment shut down midway, she and her colleagues turned to theory and computer simulations to come up with a new recipe for generating HHG in topological insulators. The results suggested that circularly polarized light, which spirals along the direction of the laser beam, would produce clear, unique signals from both the conductive surfaces and the interior of the TI they were studying, bismuth selenide—and would in fact enhance the signal coming from the surfaces.

Oct 22, 2021

Shape-shifting materials with infinite possibilities

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, robotics/AI

Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a shape-shifting material that can take and hold any possible shape, paving the way for a new type of multifunctional material that could be used in a range of applications, from robotics and biotechnology to architecture.

The research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Oct 22, 2021

Resistance of SARS-CoV-2 variants to neutralization

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Kaku et al. demonstrate that the efficacy of neutralizing mAbs and convalescent plasma is maintained against SARS-CoV-2 variants B.1.1.7 from the UK and mink cluster 5 but decreases against B.1.351 from South Africa and P.1 from Brazil. Rapid spread of these variants significantly impacts SARS-CoV-2 therapies and vaccine strategies.

Oct 22, 2021

Direct Analysis and Quantification of Metaldehyde in Water using Reactive Paper Spray Mass Spectrometry

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, food, law

Circa 2016 Basically means we can see contaminated water easier.


Detection and quantification of contaminants or pollutants in surface waters is of great importance to ensure safety of drinking water and for the aquatic environment1,2,3,4,5,6. Metaldehyde (CH3CHO)4 is a cyclic tetramer of acetaldehyde and is used extensively around the world as a molluscicide in agriculture for the control of slugs to protect crops. Large amounts of metaldehyde residues (from ‘slug pellets’) become mobilized, especially during periods of rainfall, seeping into reservoirs, rivers and groundwater, from which drinking water is sourced. Although metaldehyde has low toxicity, cases of metaldehyde poisoning and death in both humans and animals have been reported6,7,8. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) re-registered metaldehyde as a ‘restricted use pesticide’ and required risk-reduction measures to be adopted due to the potential short-term and long-term effects on wildelife9,10. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies metaldehyde as a “moderately hazardous” pesticide (class II)11. In Europe, the European Commission has adopted a directive that restricts pesticides levels to 0.1 μg/L in drinking water12,13. Water companies and environmental agencies are under increasing pressure to routinely monitor levels of metaldehyde residues in water courses as part of their legal obligation14. As such there is an increasing need to develop effective analytical methods for detecting and quantifying metaldehyde in water samples at the source. In particular in-situ monitoring is required to ensure water management practices are based on empirical, up-to-date information which provides a better understanding of competing factors, risk and requirement.

Rapid analytical methods for in-situ analysis of metaldehyde in water, if available, would provide critical information on water quality for water companies and regulation bodies to manage exposures. Quantitative analysis of metaldehyde has been reported using various ex-situ methods based on solid-phase extraction8,15 followed by gas chromatography (GC) or high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with mass spectrometry (MS)7,14,15,16,17,18. However, each of these analytical methods involves extensive sample preparation including extraction, separation, and derivatization, resulting in increased cost and time of analysis. As will be demonstrated in this study, ambient ionization (AI) combined with tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) can overcome such limitations19,20,21,22.

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