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Everyday news through scientist eyes.
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New 3-D technology to treat atrial fibrillation - Science Daily - Science Daily (press release)

New 3-D technology to treat atrial fibrillation - Science Daily - Science Daily (press release) | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
New 3-D technology to treat atrial fibrillation - Science Daily Science Daily (press release) May 11, 2013 — Researchers at the Intermountain Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center have developed a new 3-D technology that for the first...
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First Quantum-Enhanced Images of a Living Cell | MIT Technology ...

First Quantum-Enhanced Images of a Living Cell | MIT Technology ... | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Biologists have used “squeezed light” to create the first images of a living cell that beat the diffraction limit.
Biosciencia's insight:

Today, Michael Taylor at the University of Queensland in Australia and a few pals reveal a new way to create optical images of cells that dramatically increases their resolution beyond the conventional diffraction limit. Their trick relies on a peculiar quantum phenomenon called “squeezed light” which has allowed them to resolve spatial  structures inside a living cells at a resolution of 10 nanometres; that’s a 14 per cent finer resolution than is possible with conventional techniques.

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Blood hormone restores youthful hearts to old mice

Blood hormone restores youthful hearts to old mice | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Protein relieves age-related stiffening and thickening of cardiac muscle.
Nature News doi: 10.1038/nature.2013.12971
Biosciencia's insight:

If proven to be effective in humans, a protein that reverts the effects of ageing in mouse hearts could provide relief for a condition that is otherwise difficult to treat.

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Ilaris, Childhood Arthritis Drug From Novartis, Wins FDA Approval

Ilaris, Childhood Arthritis Drug From Novartis, Wins FDA Approval | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
The multinational pharma manufacturer says the FDA has approved Ilaris for the treatment of juvenile arthritis in patients aged 2 years and older.
Biosciencia's insight:

The FDA has approved Ilaris for the treatment of juvenile arthritis in patients aged two years and older.

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Glove Changes Color When It Detects Toxins | Popular Science

Glove Changes Color When It Detects Toxins | Popular Science | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Think of it as a wearable (and less cruel) canary. Researchers have developed a prototype of a glove that changes color in the presence of airborne.
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Tadpole Galaxies Offer Snapshots of the Milky Way s Youth

Tadpole  Galaxies Offer Snapshots of the Milky Way s Youth | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Giant spiral galaxies such as Andromeda and the Milky Way outshine and outweigh most of their galactic peers. They grew so large both by swallowing lesser galaxies and by grabbing gas from the space around them.
Biosciencia's insight:

First spotted in the 1990s, tadpole galaxies sport bright heads, which spawn brilliant new stars, and long, faint tails. Most tadpoles are billions of light-years distant, meaning they were more common when the universe was young. From such great distances, though, studying the odd galaxies is difficult.

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New Lyme Disease Vaccine Promising In Clinical Trial

New Lyme Disease Vaccine Promising  In Clinical Trial | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
After GlaxoSmithKline removed its vaccine from the market in 2002, researchers are working hard on creating one that will protect against all strains of the bacteria.
Biosciencia's insight:

A new vaccine to protect against all strains of bacteria that cause Lyme disease proves promising in clinical trial.

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Quantum meld brings photons together

Quantum meld brings photons together | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Merging the information of two photons could boost quantum-optical technologies.
Nature News doi: 10.1038/nature.2013.12942
Biosciencia's insight:

A new device combines the quantum information encoded in two photons into the state of a single photon.

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Building protocells from inorganic nanoparticles

Building protocells from inorganic nanoparticles | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
(Phys.org) —Researchers at the University of Bristol have led a new enquiry into how extremely small particles of silica (sand) can be used to design and construct artificial protocells in the laboratory.
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New magnetic graphene may revolutionise electronics

New magnetic graphene may revolutionise electronics | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Researchers from IMDEA-Nanociencia Institute and from Autonoma and Complutense Universities of Madrid (Spain) have managed to give graphene magnetic properties.
Biosciencia's insight:

Scientists were already aware that graphene, an incredible material formed of a mesh of hexagonal carbon atoms, has extraordinary conductivity, mechanical and optical properties. Now it is possible to give it yet one more property: magnetism, implying a breakthrough in electronics.

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Harvard researchers find GDF11 protein turns old hearts into young hearts

Harvard researchers find GDF11 protein turns old hearts into young hearts | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it

Two Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) researchers — a stem cell biologist and a practicing cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital — have identified a protein in the blood of mice and humans that may prove to be the first effective treatment for the form of age-related heart failure that affects millions of Americans.

 

When the protein, called GDF-11, was injected into old mice, which develop thickened heart walls in a manner similar to aging humans, the hearts were reduced in size and thickness, resembling the healthy hearts of younger mice.

 

Even more important than the implications for the treatment of diastolic heart failure, the finding by Richard T. Lee, a Harvard Medical Schoolprofessor at the hospital, and Amy Wagers, a professor in Harvard’sDepartment of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, ultimately may rewrite our understanding of aging.

 

“The most common form of heart failure in the elderly is actually a form that’s not caused by heart attacks but is very much related to the heart aging,” said Lee, who, like Wagers, is a principal faculty member at HSCI. 

“In this study, we were able to show that a protein that circulates in the blood is related to this aging process, and if we gave older mice this protein, we could reverse the heart aging in a very short period of time,” Lee said. “We are very excited about it because it opens a new window on the most common form of heart failure.”

 

“The blood is full of all kinds of things,” the biologist said, “and trying to narrow down what might be the responsible factor was going to be a big challenge.  I think that’s where the collaboration was so wonderful, in that we could take advantage of the expertise in both of our laboratories to really home in on what might be the responsible substance.”

 

Lee explained, “We thought it was interesting right away, and we repeated it right away. But we had to show that this was not a blood pressure effect, that the young mice didn’t just cause the old mice to have lower blood pressure. We had to build a custom device to measure blood pressures off their tails. It took a year to do the analysis to show that it was not a blood pressure effect.

 

“After about 2½ years we were convinced, and said, ‘We really have to identify this factor.’ It took about six months to find something, and another year to be convinced that it was real,” Lee said. “We looked at lipids; we looked at metabolites. Then we set up a collaboration with a startup company in Colorado, called SomaLogic, that had an interesting technology for analyzing factors in blood. And by working closely with SomaLogic, we found the likely factor.”

 

What the researchers found was that at least one of the factors causing the rejuvenation of the hearts was GDF-11, “a member of a very important family of proteins called TGF-beta proteins, for transforming growth factor. There are around 35 members of the family,” Lee said. “Some have been very well studied, and this is one that is relatively obscure.”

 


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Biosciencia's insight:

A finding by Richard T. Lee, a Harvard Medical School professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Amy Wagers, a professor in Harvard’s Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, ultimately may rewrite our understanding of aging.

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Human brain cells alive in mouse brains.

Human brain cells alive in mouse brains. | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Into brains of newborn mice, researchers implanted human "progenitor cells." These mature into a type of brain cell called astrocytes (see below). They grew into human astrocytes, crowding out mouse astrocytes.
Biosciencia's insight:

Human astrocytes certainly inspired the mice. Their neurons did indeed build stronger synapses. (Perhaps this was because human astrocytes signal three times faster than mouse astrocytes do.) Mouse learning sharpened, too.

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Earth as Art

Earth as Art | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it

During a span of 40 years, since 1972, the Landsat series of Earth observation satellites has become a vital reference worldwide for understanding scientific issues related to land use and natural resources.

Beyond the scientific information they supply, some Landsat images are simply striking to look at, presenting spectacular views of mountains, valleys, and islands as well as forests, grasslands, and agricultural patterns. By selecting certain features and coloring them from a digital palate, the U.S. Geological Survey has created a series of "Earth as Art" perspectives that demonstrate an artistic resonance in satellite land imagery and provide a special avenue of insight about the geography of each scene.

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Cocaine Vaccine Passes Key Testing Hurdle

Cocaine Vaccine Passes Key Testing Hurdle | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it

Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College have successfully tested their novel anti-cocaine vaccine in primates, bringing them closer to launching human clinical trials.

 

Dr. Ronald G. Crystal

Their study, published online by the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, used a radiological technique to demonstrate that the anti-cocaine vaccine prevented the drug from reaching the brain and producing a dopamine-induced high.

 

"The vaccine eats up the cocaine in the blood like a little Pac-man before it can reach the brain," says the study's lead investigator, Dr. Ronald G. Crystal, chairman of the Department of Genetic Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College.

 

"We believe this strategy is a win-win for those individuals, among the estimated 1.4 million cocaine users in the United States, who are committed to breaking their addiction to the drug," he says. "Even if a person who receives the anti-cocaine vaccine falls off the wagon, cocaine will have no effect."

Dr. Crystal says he expects to begin human testing of the anti-cocaine vaccine within a year.

 

Cocaine, a tiny molecule drug, works to produce feelings of pleasure because it blocks the recycling of dopamine — the so-called "pleasure" neurotransmitter — in two areas of the brain, the putamen in the forebrain and the caudate nucleus in the brain's center. When dopamine accumulates at the nerve endings, "you get this massive flooding of dopamine and that is the feel good part of the cocaine high," says Dr. Crystal.

 

The novel vaccine Dr. Crystal and his colleagues developed combines bits of the common cold virus with a particle that mimics the structure of cocaine. When the vaccine is injected into an animal, its body "sees" the cold virus and mounts an immune response against both the virus and the cocaine impersonator that is hooked to it. "The immune system learns to see cocaine as an intruder," says Dr. Crystal. "Once immune cells are educated to regard cocaine as the enemy, it produces antibodies, from that moment on, against cocaine the moment the drug enters the body."

In their first study in animals, the researchers injected billions of their viral concoction into laboratory mice, and found a strong immune response was generated against the vaccine. Also, when the scientists extracted the antibodies produced by the mice and put them in test tubes, it gobbled up cocaine. They also saw that mice that received both the vaccine and cocaine were much less hyperactive than untreated mice given cocaine.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Dust in the clouds

Dust in the clouds | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
At any given time, cirrus clouds — the thin wisps of vapor that trail across the sky — cover nearly one-third of the globe. These clouds coalesce in the upper layers of the troposphere, often more than 10 miles above the Earth’s surface.
Biosciencia's insight:

Cirrus clouds influence global climate, cooling the planet by reflecting incoming solar radiation and warming it by trapping outgoing heat. Understanding the mechanisms by which these clouds form may help scientists better predict future climate patterns.

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Potential flu pandemic lurks

Potential flu pandemic lurks | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
In the summer of 1968, a new strain of influenza appeared in Hong Kong. This strain, known as H3N2, spread around the globe and eventually killed an estimated 1 million people.
Biosciencia's insight:

In the summer of 1968, a new strain of influenza appeared in Hong Kong. This strain, known as H3N2, spread around the globe and eventually killed an estimated 1 million people.

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Genetics And Neurobiology: The Future Of Bipolar Disorder Treatment And Diagnosis

Genetics And Neurobiology: The Future Of Bipolar Disorder Treatment And Diagnosis | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
The Lancet reviews recent findings in the research of genetics, diagnosis, and treatment of bipolar disorder.
Biosciencia's insight:

Innovative combinations of neuroimaging and pattern recognition approaches might better identify individual patterns of neural structure and function to diagnose a patient’s affective disorder.

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Linguists Trace European, Asian Languages Back to One Proto-Language

Linguists Trace European, Asian Languages Back to One Proto-Language | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Languages spoken across Europe and Asia are descended from a proto-language that was used 15,000 to 10,000 years ago, say researchers led by Dr Andrew Meade from the University of Reading, UK.
Biosciencia's insight:

Ice Age people living in Europe might have used forms of some common words including I, you, we, thou, not, that, to give, who, that in some cases could still be recognized today

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Spacewalking repair halts station leak - for now (Update)

Spacewalking repair halts station leak - for now (Update) | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Astronauts making a rare, hastily planned spacewalk replaced a pump outside the International Space Station on Saturday in hopes of plugging a serious ammonia leak.
Biosciencia's insight:

The astronauts Christopher Cassidy and Thomas Marshburn made a spacewalk to replace the pump after flakes of frozen ammonia coolant were spotted outside the station on Thursday.

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Can Artificial Retinas Restore Natural Sight? | MIT Technology Review

Can Artificial Retinas Restore Natural Sight? | MIT Technology Review | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Artificial retinas give the blind only the barest sense of what's visible, but researchers are working hard to improve that.
Biosciencia's insight:

This light-sensing implant developed by Germany’s Retina Implant contains 1,500 photodiodes.

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Commercial quantum computer leaves PC in the dust

Commercial quantum computer leaves PC in the dust | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
We may soon reap the benefits of quantum computing now that a D-Wave quantum device has beaten a regular PC in a number-crunching face-off    
Biosciencia's insight:

For the first time, a commercially available quantum computer has been pitted against an ordinary PC – and the quantum device left the regular machine in the dust.

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Study suggests link between tumor suppressors and starvation survival

Study suggests link between tumor suppressors and starvation survival | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
A particular tumor suppressor gene that fights cancer cells does more than clamp down on unabated cell division—the hallmark of the disease—it also can help make cells more fit by allowing them to fend off stress, says a University of Colorado...
Biosciencia's insight:

A tumor supressor gene found in the common laboratory nematode, C. elegans, has been shown to not only shut down cancerous cell division but also to fend off stress, according to a new University of Colorado Boulder study.

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Earth and Moon Got Water from Common Source

Earth and Moon Got Water from Common Source | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Measurements of the chemical composition of Moon rocks suggest that Earth was born with its water already present, rather than having the precious liquid delivered several hundred million years later by comets or asteroids.
Biosciencia's insight:

Analyses of rocks brought back by the Apollo program show that the Moon's water shares a common origin with water on Earth.

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The Biology of Kindness: How It Makes Us Happier & Healthier - TIME

The Biology of Kindness: How It Makes Us Happier & Healthier - TIME | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
The Biology of Kindness: How It Makes Us Happier & Healthier
TIME
There's a reason why being kind to others is good for you— and it can now be traced to a specific nerve.
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Power plants: Researchers explore how to harvest electricity directly from plants

Power plants: Researchers explore how to harvest electricity directly from plants | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
(Phys.org) —The sun provides the most abundant source of energy on the planet. However, only a tiny fraction of the solar radiation on Earth is converted into useful energy.
Biosciencia's insight:

Ramaraja Ramasamy and Yogeswaran Umasankar work together to capture energy created during photosynthesis. Ramasamy is an assistant professor in the UGA College of Engineering and Umasankar is postdoctoral research associate working in his lab.

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