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Archive for the ‘biotech/medical’ category: Page 8

Nov 7, 2020

Our memory comes from an ancient virus, neuroscientists say

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution

Some scientists believe that the ability of animals to store memory came from a virus that infected a common ancestor hundreds of millions of years ago. 😃


This study is radically changing how we view the process of evolution.

Continue reading “Our memory comes from an ancient virus, neuroscientists say” »

Nov 7, 2020

An artificial neural connection allows a new cortical site to control hand movements

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs

Restoration of lost motor function after stroke is typically accomplished after strenuous rehabilitation therapy lasting for over months. However, new research published by a group led by Yukio Nishimura, the project leader of the Neural Prosthesis Project, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science showed that an artificial neural connection (ANC)*1 successfully allowed a new cortical site, previously unassociated with hand movements, to regain control of a paralyzed hand in a matter of minutes.

In this research, experimental animals regained voluntary control of a paralyzed hand about ten minutes after establishment of an ANC. Animals engaged in learning with a functional ANC showed variable levels of input signals provided by the cerebral cortex*2 as hand movement improved. Specifically, the activated area of the cortex became more focused as control of hand movements improved.

Through this training of various areas of the cerebral cortex, the research team successfully imparted a new ability to control paralyzed hands via an ANC, even if those areas were not involved in hand control prior to the stroke. Examples of such regions include areas of the cortex that controls the movement of other body parts such as the face or shoulder, and even the somatosensory cortex, which is responsible for tactile and proprioception processing and is normally not associated with motor control. This finding suggests that an ANC can impart new motor control functions to any cortical region.

Nov 7, 2020

New Kind of Superconductivity Discovered: Researchers Demonstrate a Superconductor Previously Thought Impossible

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, materials

Superconductivity is a phenomenon where an electric circuit loses its resistance and becomes extremely efficient under certain conditions. There are different ways in which this can happen which were thought to be incompatible. For the first time, researchers discover a bridge between two of these methods to achieve superconductivity. This new knowledge could lead to a more general understanding of the phenomena, and one day to applications.

If you’re like most people, there are three states of matter in your everyday life: solid, liquid, and gas. You might be familiar with a fourth state of matter called plasma, which is like a gas that got so hot all its constituent atoms came apart, leaving behind a super hot mess of subatomic particles. But did you know about a so-called fifth state of matter at the complete opposite end of the thermometer? It’s known as a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC).

“A BEC is a unique state of matter as it is not made from particles, but rather waves,” said Associate Professor Kozo Okazaki from the Institute for Solid State Physics at the University of Tokyo. “As they cool down to near absolute zero, the atoms of certain materials become smeared out over space. This smearing increases until the atoms — now more like waves than particles — overlap, becoming indistinguishable from one another. The resulting matter behaves like it’s one single entity with new properties the preceding solid, liquid or gas states lacked, such as superconduction. Until recently superconducting BECs were purely theoretical, but we have now demonstrated this in the lab with a novel material based on iron and selenium (a nonmetallic element).”

Continue reading “New Kind of Superconductivity Discovered: Researchers Demonstrate a Superconductor Previously Thought Impossible” »

Nov 7, 2020

New Strategies for Restoring Myelin on Damaged Nerve Cells

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Summary: Researchers have discovered a two-pronged approach to restore myelin on regenerated axons in a mouse model of optic nerve damage. The findings have positive implications for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

Source: Children’s Hospital of Boston

Loss of myelin—the fatty substance that surrounds the axons of nerve cells—is one of the reasons nerve cells fail to recover after injury and in some diseases. Myelin acts like insulation, covering the long axon threads that enable high-speed communication between neurons. Without myelin, the neurons may not be able to coordinate well, leading to less than optimal function.

Nov 7, 2020

Female-to-male sex conversion in Ceratitis capitata

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, genetics, sex

The Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) is based on the mass release of sterilized male insects to reduce the pest population size via infertile mating. Critical for all SIT programs is a conditional sexing strain to enable the cost-effective production of male-only populations. Compared to current female-elimination strategies based on killing or sex sorting, generating male-only offspring via sex conversion would be economically beneficial by doubling the male output. Temperature-sensitive mutations known from the D. melanogaster transformer-2 gene (tra2ts) induce sex conversion at restrictive temperatures, while regular breeding of mutant strains is possible at permissive temperatures. Since tra2 is a conserved sex determination gene in many Diptera, including the major agricultural pest Ceratitis capitata, it is a promising candidate for the creation of a conditional sex conversion strategy in this Tephritid. Here, CRISPR/Cas9 homology-directed repair was used to induce the D. melanogaster-specific tra2ts SNPs in Cctra2. 100% female to male conversion was successfully achieved in flies homozygous for the tra2ts2 mutation. However, it was not possible, to identify a permissive temperature for the mutation allowing the rearing of a tra2ts2 homozygous line, as lowering the temperature below 18.5 °C interferes with regular breeding of the flies.

Nov 7, 2020

The p53 tumor suppressor protein

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

The p53 gene like the Rb gene, is a tumor suppressor gene, i.e., its activity stops the formation of tumors. If a person inherits only one functional copy of the p53 gene from their parents, they are predisposed to cancer and usually develop several independent tumors in a variety of tissues in early adulthood. This condition is rare, and is known as Li-Fraumeni syndrome. However, mutations in p53 are found in most tumor types, and so contribute to the complex network of molecular events leading to tumor formation.

The p53 gene has been mapped to chromosome 17. In the cell, p53 protein binds DNA, which in turn stimulates another gene to produce a protein called p21 that interacts with a cell division-stimulating protein (cdk2). When p21 is complexed with cdk2 the cell cannot pass through to the next stage of cell division. Mutant p53 can no longer bind DNA in an effective way, and as a consequence the p21 protein is not made available to act as the ‘stop signal’ for cell division. Thus cells divide uncontrollably, and form tumors.

Help with unraveling the molecular mechanisms of cancerous growth has come from the use of mice as models for human cancer, in which powerful ‘gene knockout’ techniques can be used. The amount of information that exists on all aspects of p53 normal function and mutant expression in human cancers is now vast, reflecting its key role in the pathogenesis of human cancers. It is clear that p53 is just one component of a network of events that culminate in tumor formation.

Nov 7, 2020

Researchers develop a high-power, portable terahertz laser

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

Researchers at MIT and the University of Waterloo have developed a high-power, portable version of a device called a quantum cascade laser, which can generate terahertz radiation outside of a laboratory setting. The laser could potentially be used in applications such as pinpointing skin cancer and detecting hidden explosives.

Until now, generation of powerful enough to perform real-time imaging and fast spectral measurements required temperatures far below 200 Kelvin (−100 degrees Fahrenheit) or lower. These temperatures could only be achieved with bulky equipment that limited the technology’s use to a laboratory setting. In a paper published in Nature Photonics, MIT Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Qing Hu and his colleagues report that their terahertz can function at temperatures of up to 250 K (−10 degrees Fahrenheit), meaning that only a compact portable cooler is required.

Terahertz quantum cascade lasers, tiny chip-embedded semiconductor laser devices, were first invented in 2002, but adapting them to operate far above 200 K proved to be so difficult that many people in the field speculated that there was a fundamental physical reason preventing it, Hu says.

Nov 7, 2020

Best DNA Tests for Health and Longevity

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, life extension

Has anyone here done a DNA test for longevity? I’m curious if you have any experiences with specific companies you can share. I researched 7 different big ones and am trying to decide which to go with.


Note: This is the second in our series of posts about the best DNA tests for health and longevity. To better understand the basics of DNA and the different types of DNA tests on the market please go back and read the first piece on The Benefits of Genetic Testing for Longevity.

Continue reading “Best DNA Tests for Health and Longevity” »

Nov 7, 2020

SpaceX receives approval to operate Starlink ground stations in Australia

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, education, internet, satellites

SpaceX rolled-out Starlink beta internet service in northern United States and southern Canada in October. To date, SpaceX has deployed around 888 internet-beaming satellites out of the 4,409 that will operate in low Earth orbit. SpaceX is looking forward to connecting locations around the world where internet connection is unreliable and non-existent. Earlier this year, SpaceX engineers said Starlink is capable of beaming internet connection to remote areas on Earth; 60 Starlink satellites have the capability to beam low-latency, high-speed broadband internet to 40,000 users streaming high-definition videos simultaneously. Starlink customers receive service via a phased-array antenna dish and Wi-Fi router device. Additionally, SpaceX will build hundreds of ground stations that will receive the satellite’s communication. The stations are the linking factor between user terminals and data center for the Starlink network.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) which regulates telecommunications service, granted SpaceX a telecommunications license to offer internet on August 7th this year. SpaceX recieved approval to operate ground stations on October 26. ACMA granted SpaceX licenses to operate a total of 24 Starlink ground stations in Australia, according to a document published by the regulatory agency.

Approximately 2.5 million individuals in Australia still lack access to internet at home due to the service being either too expensive or unavailable in the rural location they reside in. Connecting rural areas around the globe to the network provides benefits to civilization as a whole. The Internet provides an equal chance for everyone to have access to education and job opportunites at their fingertips. Amid the Coronavirus outbreak, the digital divide among communites became more apparent, many students had to study from home but their households did not have internet service. SpaceX hopes to close the digital divide in rural areas worldwide. As more satellites are deployed to orbit, SpaceX will expand broadband coverage to Australia and the rest of the planet in 2021.

Nov 7, 2020

Root Bacterium to Fight Alzheimer’s

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Summary: A bacterium found in the soil close to the roots of ginseng plants, appears to significantly dissociate the protein aggregates associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Source: Wiley

A bacterium found among the soil close to roots of ginseng plants could provide a new approach for the treatment of Alzheimer’s. Rhizolutin, a novel class of compounds with a tricyclic framework, significantly dissociates the protein aggregates associated with Alzheimer’s disease both in vivo and in vitro, as reported by scientists in the journal Angewandte Chemie.

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