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Oct 2, 2023

🧠 The brain — the last fortress of humanity

Posted by in categories: business, neuroscience

“New devices can read and manipulate our mental states to help us relax, learn and reduce pain. As they do this, they harvest data. Can businesses be trusted with this private information? How can we make use of this technology while protecting the last fortress of our humanity — our thoughts and emotions?”


As neurotechnology becomes widely accessible, do we need to legally protect our thoughts?

Oct 2, 2023

“Inverse vaccine” shows potential to treat multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, neuroscience

A typical vaccine teaches the human immune system to recognize a virus or bacteria as an enemy that should be attacked. The new “inverse vaccine” does just the opposite: it removes the immune system’s memory of one molecule. While such immune memory erasure would be unwanted for infectious diseases, it can stop autoimmune reactions like those seen in multiple sclerosis, type I diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis, in which the immune system attacks a person’s healthy tissues.

The inverse vaccine, described in Nature Biomedical Engineering, takes advantage of how the liver naturally marks molecules from broken-down cells with “do not attack” flags to prevent autoimmune reactions to cells that die by natural processes. PME researchers coupled an antigen — a molecule being attacked by the immune system— with a molecule resembling a fragment of an aged cell that the liver would recognize as friend, rather than foe. The team showed how the vaccine could successfully stop the autoimmune reaction associated with a multiple-sclerosis-like disease.

“In the past, we showed that we could use this approach to prevent autoimmunity,” said Jeffrey Hubbell, the Eugene Bell Professor in Tissue Engineering and lead author of the new paper. “But what is so exciting about this work is that we have shown that we can treat diseases like multiple sclerosis after there is already ongoing inflammation, which is more useful in a real-world context.”

Oct 2, 2023

Total Triterpenes of Wolfiporia cocos (Schwein.) Ryvarden & Gilb Exerts Antidepressant-Like Effects in a Chronic Unpredictable Mild Stress Rat Model and Regulates the Levels of Neurotransmitters, HPA Axis and NLRP3 Pathway

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, neuroscience

Purpose: Wolfiporia cocos is frequently used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat depression. However, antidepressant-like effects of the main active ingredients of Wolfiporia cocos, total triterpenes of Wolfiporia cocos (TTWC), are not well studied. This study aimed to investigate those effects and explore their specific mechanisms of action in depth. Methods: Chemical components of TTWC were analyzed using LC-MS. Depression-like behavior in rats were induced by chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS). The suppressive effects of TTWC (60120240 mg/kg) against CUMS-induced depression-like behavior were evaluated using the forced swimming test (FST), open field test (OFT) and sucrose preference test (SPT). Levels of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), glutamate (GLU), corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), interleukin-1 beta (IL-1beta), interleukin-18 (IL-18), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) in different groups were determined by ELISA. Western blotting (WB) was used to detect the expression of NLRP3, ASC, pro-caspase-1, caspase-1, pro-IL-1beta, IL-1beta, pro-IL-18, and IL-18 in the prefrontal cortex. Additionally, the mRNA levels of NLRP3, ASC, caspase-1, IL-1beta and IL-18 were detected by RT-PCR. Results: A total of 69 lanostane-type triterpene acids of TTWC were identified. The results showed that TTWC exhibited an antidepressant-like effect in CUMS rats, reversed the decreased sugar preference in the SPT, reduction of immobility time in the FST, reduced the rest time, increased the total moving distance in the OFT. TTWC increased 5-HT levels and decreased GLU levels in the hippocampus. Moreover, TTWC decreased CRH levels in serum, indicating the regulation of over-activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. In addition, reduced serum levels of IL-1beta, IL-18, IL-6, and TNF-alpha. The WB results implied that TTWC inhibited the expression of NLRP3, ASC, caspase-1, IL-1beta, and IL-18 in the prefrontal cortex and enhanced the expression of pro-caspase-1, pro-IL-1beta, and pro-IL-18. Although most of the results were not significant, PCR results showed that TTWC inhibited the expression of NLRP3, ASC, caspase-1, IL-1beta, and IL-18 in the prefrontal cortex. Conclusion: TTWC treatment exerted an antidepressant-like effect and regulates neurotransmitters, HPA axis and NLRP3 signaling pathway. These results indicated the potential of TTWC in preventing the development of depression.

Keywords: NLRP3 pathway; Wolfiporia cocos (schwein.) ryvarden & gilb; chronic unpredictable mild stress; depression; hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis; neurotransmitter; triterpenes.

Copyright © 2022 Pan, Chen, Han, Luo, Zhang, Zhang, Zhang, Zhou, Li, Fang, Wang and Ye.

Oct 2, 2023

The Future of Physics

Posted by in categories: futurism, physics

John Baez University of California, Riverside The 20th century was, arguably, the century of physics. While there was immense progress on so-called fundam…

Oct 2, 2023

Indian research team develops fully indigenous gallium nitride power switch

Posted by in categories: computing, engineering, military, mobile phones, space, sustainability

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have developed a fully indigenous gallium nitride (GaN) power switch that can have potential applications in systems like power converters for electric vehicles and laptops, as well as in wireless communications. The entire process of building the switch—from material growth to device fabrication to packaging—was developed in-house at the Center for Nano Science and Engineering (CeNSE), IISc.

Due to their and efficiency, GaN transistors are poised to replace traditional silicon-based transistors as the in many , such as ultrafast chargers for , phones and laptops, as well as space and military applications such as radar.

“It is a very promising and disruptive technology,” says Digbijoy Nath, Associate Professor at CeNSE and corresponding author of the study published in Microelectronic Engineering. “But the material and devices are heavily import-restricted … We don’t have gallium nitride wafer production capability at commercial scale in India yet.” The know-how of manufacturing these devices is also a heavily-guarded secret with few studies published on the details of the processes involved, he adds.

Oct 2, 2023

Meta Trained its New AI Using Public Instagram and Facebook Posts

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Your photos and words trained Meta’s AI.

Oct 2, 2023

An Introduction to the Problems of AI Consciousness

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Once considered a forbidden topic in the AI community, discussions around the concept of AI consciousness are now taking center stage, marking a significant shift since the current AI resurgence began over a decade ago. For example, last year, Brad Lemoine, an engineer at Google, made headlines claiming the large language model he was developing had become sentient [1]. CEOs of tech companies are now openly asked in media interviews whether they think their AI systems will ever become conscious [2,3].

Unfortunately, missing from much of the public discussion is a clear understanding of prior work on consciousness. In particular, in media interviews, engineers, AI researchers, and tech executives often implicitly define consciousness in different ways and do not have a clear sense of the philosophical difficulties surrounding consciousness or their relevance for the AI consciousness debate. Others have a hard time understanding why the possibility of AI consciousness is at all interesting relative to other problems, like the AI alignment issue.

This brief introduction is aimed at those working within the AI community who are interested in AI consciousness, but may not know much about the philosophical and scientific work behind consciousness generally or the topic of AI consciousness in particular. The aim here is to highlight key definitions and ideas from philosophy and science relevant for the debates on AI consciousness in a concise way with minimal jargon.

Oct 2, 2023

11 Best Biological Age Tests for 2024

Posted by in categories: biological, life extension

Do you use biological age tests to quantify your fitness goals? I updated this piece with the latest products (there are a ton) and found a few discount codes too.


Update 10/2/2023: This post has been updated since we originally published it. I evaluated additional top biological age tests for 2024, removed companies that are no longer offering tests, and updated the post to reflect the most recent pricing. The post has been cleaned up and links were made current.

According to TikTok, I’m either 46-years-old, 37-years-old, or 29-years-old. As a 34-year-old woman, that’s, ahem, less than ideal.

Continue reading “11 Best Biological Age Tests for 2024” »

Oct 2, 2023

NASA publishes never-before-seen photos of ‘ravioli’ moon orbiting Saturn

Posted by in categories: food, space

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) dropped never-before-seen photos of one of Saturn’s moons while comparing them to well-known food dishes. Ravioli, pierogi, empanada… What…

Oct 2, 2023

Arrow of Time. Time as a Fractal Flow

Posted by in category: futurism

What is TIME and from where it’s originates? What is the “Arrow of Time”?

Why time flows from the past towards the future? Why Time is a Fractal Flow?

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