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IBM supercomputer used to simulate a typical human brain

IBM supercomputer used to simulate a typical human brain | Longevity science | Scoop.it

The human brain, arguably the most complex object in the known universe, is a truly remarkable power-saver: it can simultaneously gather thousands of sensory inputs, interpret them in real time as a whole and react appropriately, abstracting, learning, planning and inventing, all on a strict power budget of about 20 W. A computer of comparable complexity that uses current technology, according to IBM's own estimates, would drain about 100 MW of power.

 

Clearly, such power consumption would be highly impractical. The problem, then, begs for an entirely new approach. IBM's answer is cognitive computing, a newly coined discipline that combines the latest discoveries in the field of neuroscience, nanotechnology and supercomputing.

 

Neuroscience has taught us that the brain consumes little power mainly because it is "event-driven." In simple terms this means that individual neurons, synapses and axons only consume power as they are activated – e.g. by an external sensory input or other neurons – and consume no power otherwise. This is however not the case with today's computers, which, in comparison, are huge power wasters.

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US authority warns hospitals over use of hackable drug pump - BBC News

US authority warns hospitals over use of hackable drug pump - BBC News | Longevity science | Scoop.it
The US Food and Drug Administration is now "strongly encouraging" hospitals not to use a leading brand of drug pump over hacking fears.

Hospira, which made the Symbiq Infusion System pump, had already discontinued the product for business reasons.

The devices were previously revealed to be hackable by an independent researcher.

The manufacturer told the BBC at the time that it was working with the FDA on a more secure system.

The FDA is urging healthcare facilities to switch to alternative infusion systems "as soon as possible".
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Non-invasive spinal cord stimulation gets paralyzed legs moving voluntarily again

Non-invasive spinal cord stimulation gets paralyzed legs moving voluntarily again | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Five men with complete motor paralysis have regained the ability to move their legs voluntarily and produce step-like movements after being treated with a non-invasive form of spinal cord stimulation. The new treatment builds on prior work to generate voluntary movements in paralyzed people through electrical stimulation – in particular, two studies (one completed in 2011, the other in 2014) that involved surgically implanting an electrode array on the spinal cord. This time, however, the researchers found success without performing any invasive surgery.

The new treatment uses a technique called transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, which involves strategically placing electrodes on the skin of the lower back. While receiving stimulation, the men's legs were supported by braces that hung from the ceiling.
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Memory problems? Go climb a tree. | KurzweilAI

Memory problems? Go climb a tree. | KurzweilAI | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Climbing a tree or balancing on a beam can dramatically improve cognitive skills, according to a study recently conducted by researchers in the Department of Psychology at the University of North Florida.

The study is the first to show that proprioceptively dynamic activities like climbing a tree, done over a short period of time, have dramatic working memory benefits.
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Harnessing the survival powers of cancer cells could wipe out heart disease

Harnessing the survival powers of cancer cells could wipe out heart disease | Longevity science | Scoop.it
The same genes that allow many cancers to proliferate and thrive could in the future be repurposed as a force for good. A study at the San Diego State University (SDSU) Heart Institute has found that mouse hearts regenerate cells better, causing the mice to live longer, when their progenitor cells are modified to over-express a key gene in cancer production.
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How Stem Cells May Save Your Life—and Even Extend It - Singularity HUB

How Stem Cells May Save Your Life—and Even Extend It - Singularity HUB | Longevity science | Scoop.it
You are a collection of over 30 trillion human cells.

Every one of these cells, those in your brain, lungs, liver, skin, and everywhere else, derives from a single pluripotent type of cell called a stem cell.

This post is about how stem cells are going to change medicine forever, extend life, and potentially save your life in the years ahead.

In this blog we'll talk about why it's important to bank the cells of your newborn children or grandchildren — and potentially your own (no matter how old you are).
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New company plans to revolutionize genomic medicine with deep learning

New company plans to revolutionize genomic medicine with deep learning | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Deep learning has already had a huge impact on computer vision and speech recognition, and it's making inroads in areas as computer-unfriendly as cooking. Now a new startup led by University of Toronto professor Brendan Frey wants to cause similar reverberations in genomic medicine. Deep Genomics plans to identify gene variants and mutations never before observed or studied and find how these link to various diseases. And through this work the company believes it can help usher in a new era of personalized medicine.

Genomic research is hard. Scientists still know relatively little about our genes and how they interrelate. But Frey and others in the field now know enough that they can equip machines to do the heavy lifting. And there's an awful lot of this heavy lifting to do. "Genomics is no longer about small datasets," Frey tells Gizmag. "It's now about very, very large datasets."
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Super-elastic conducting fibers for artificial muscles, sensors, capacitors | KurzweilAI

Super-elastic conducting fibers for artificial muscles, sensors, capacitors | KurzweilAI | Longevity science | Scoop.it
An international research team based at The University of Texas at Dallas has made electrically conducting fibers that can be reversibly stretched to more than 14 times their initial length and whose electrical conductivity increases 200-fold when stretched.

The research team is using the new fibers to make artificial muscles, as well as capacitors with energy storage capacity that increases about tenfold when the fibers are stretched.
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Common chemicals may act together to increase cancer risk, international study finds | KurzweilAI

Common chemicals may act together to increase cancer risk, international study finds | KurzweilAI | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Common environmental chemicals assumed to be safe at low doses may act separately or together to disrupt human tissues in ways that eventually lead to cancer, according to a task force of almost 200 scientists from 28 countries.

In a nearly three-year investigation of the state of knowledge about environmentally influenced cancers, the scientists studied low-dose effects of 85 common chemicals not considered to be carcinogenic to humans.

Common chemicals

The researchers reviewed the actions of these chemicals against a long list of mechanisms that are important for cancer development. Drawing on hundreds of laboratory studies, large databases of cancer information, and models that predict cancer development, they compared the chemicals’ biological activity patterns to 11 known cancer “hallmarks” – distinctive patterns of cellular and genetic disruption associated with early development of tumors.
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Delayed Turnover | The Scientist Magazine®

Delayed Turnover | The Scientist Magazine® | Longevity science | Scoop.it
After age 65, a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease doubles every five years. A study published this week (July 20) in the Annals of Neurology no offers up one clue why. Scientists at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and their colleagues found that the kinetics of amyloid β—a protein that can form destructive plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s—change as people age, increasing its chance of accumulating.

Study coauthor Randall Bateman, a neuroscientist at Washington University, told Science News that slowed turnover of amyloid β in older people may make plaque formation more likely.
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Pill on a string pulls early signs of cancer

Pill on a string pulls early signs of cancer | Longevity science | Scoop.it
The current approach of detecting the cancer through biopsy can be a little hit and miss, so the University of Cambridge's Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald and her team have developed what they claim to be a more accurate tool for early-diagnosis. Billed as "a pill on a string," the Cytosponge is designed to scrape off cells from the length of the oesophagus as it is yanked out after swallowing, offering up a much larger sample for inspection of cancer cells.
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Coffee drinking may lower inflammation, reduce diabetes risk

Coffee drinking may lower inflammation, reduce diabetes risk | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Coffee drinkers in a long-term study were about half as likely to develop type 2 diabetes as those who didn't drink coffee, and researchers think an inflammation-lowering effect of the beverage might be the key.

“Extensive research has revealed that coffee drinking exhibits both beneficial and aggravating health effects,” said Demosthenes B. Panagiotakos of the department of Nutrition and Dietetics at Harokopio University in Athens, Greece.
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How to regenerate axons to recover from spinal-cord injury | KurzweilAI

How to regenerate axons to recover from spinal-cord injury | KurzweilAI | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Researchers at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) have found a way to help patients recover from chronic spinal cord injury (SCI) by stimulating the growth of axons.

Chronic SCI prevents a large number of injured axons from crossing a lesion, particularly in the corticospinal tract (CST). Patients inflicted with SCI often suffer a loss of mobility and paralysis that is often permanent.

As reported in the July 1st issue of The Journal of Neuroscience, they found that deleting the PTEN gene in mice neurons results in stimulation of growth of axons across the lesion (wound) and past it —- even when treatment was delayed up to 1 year after the original injury.
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Genetic Variants Linked to Depression | The Scientist Magazine®

Genetic Variants Linked to Depression | The Scientist Magazine® | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Researchers have confirmed a genetic link to depression for the first time. Variations in two genes appeared more frequently in a population with major depressive disorder, according to a study published last week (July 15) in Nature.

“This is an important study because it convincingly identifies DNA variations linked to depression for the first time,” Jordan Smoller, a psychiatrist at Harvard University who was not involved in the study told The Verge. “It provides clues to the underlying biology of depression—and perhaps new targets for developing treatments.”
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21st Century Cures: What You Need to Know | Energy & Commerce Committee

21st Century Cures: What You Need to Know | Energy & Commerce Committee | Longevity science | Scoop.it
In the 21st century, health care innovation is happening at lightning speed. From the mapping of the human genome to the rise of personalized medicines that are linked to advances in molecular medicine, we have seen constant breakthroughs that are changing the face of disease treatment, management, and cures. Health research is moving quickly, but the federal drug and device approval apparatus is in many ways the relic of another era. We have dedicated scientists and bold leaders at agencies like the NIH and the FDA, but when our laws don’t keep pace with innovation, we all lose.

If we want to save more lives and keep this country the leader in medical innovation, we have to make sure there’s not a major gap between the science of cures and the way we regulate these therapies.

That is why, for the first time ever, we in Congress have taken a comprehensive look at what steps we can take to accelerate the pace of cures in America
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Scientists identify gene vital for rebuilding intestine after cancer treatment — News Room - UNC Health Care

Scientists identify gene vital for rebuilding intestine after cancer treatment — News Room - UNC Health Care | Longevity science | Scoop.it
The stem cells in our gut divide so fast that they create a completely new population of epithelial cells every week. But this quick division is also why radiation and chemotherapy wreak havoc on the gastrointestinal systems of cancer patients – such therapies target rapidly dividing cells. Scientists at the UNC School of Medicine and the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center found that a rare type of stem cell is immune to radiation damage thanks to high levels of a gene called Sox9.

The discovery, which was made in mice and published in the journal Gastroenterology, could lead to new ways to protect the gastrointestinal systems of cancer patients before they receive treatment. Such a preventative measure could allow patients to receive higher treatment doses to more aggressively attack cancer cells.
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Non-surgical electrical/drug stimulation helps patients with paralysis to voluntarily move their legs — a first | KurzweilAI

Non-surgical electrical/drug stimulation helps patients with paralysis to voluntarily move their legs — a first | KurzweilAI | Longevity science | Scoop.it
In a study conducted at UCLA, five men who had been completely paralyzed were able to move their legs in a rhythmic motion thanks to a new, noninvasive neuromodulation and pharmacological procedure that stimulates the spinal cord.

The researchers believe this to be the first time voluntary leg movements have ever been relearned in completely paralyzed patients without surgery. The results are reported in an open-access paper in the Journal of Neurotrauma
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Scientists successfully edit human immune-system T cells | KurzweilAI

Scientists successfully edit human immune-system T cells | KurzweilAI | Longevity science | Scoop.it
In a project led by investigators at UC San Francisco , scientists have devised a new strategy to precisely modify human immune-system T cells, using the popular genome-editing system known as CRISPR/Cas9. T cells play important roles in a wide range of diseases, from diabetes to AIDS to cancer, so this achievement provides a path toward CRISPR/Cas9-based therapies for many serious health problems, the scientists say. It also provides a versatile new tool for research on T cell function.

Specifically, the researchers disabled a protein on the T-cell surface called CXCR4, which can be exploited by HIV when the virus infects T cells and causes AIDS. The group also successfully shut down PD-1. Scientists have shown that using drugs to block PD-1 coaxes T cells to attack tumors.
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"Compound 14" mimics the effects of exercise without setting foot in the gym

"Compound 14" mimics the effects of exercise without setting foot in the gym | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Enjoying the health benefits of a back-breaking workout without actually working out sure is a tantalizing prospect. This goes a long way to explaining the torrent of exercise equipment that promises to do more for our figures with less of our sweat and tears, and recently, the development of drugs that could imitate the beneficial effects of exercise. The latest advance in this area is the development of a molecule that mimics the effects of exercise by influencing the metabolic process, giving it the potential to treat type 2 diabetes and obesity.

The scientists at the University of Southampton who developed the molecule initially set out to target the central energy sensor in cells called AMPK. Pointing to previous research, the team believed...

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Silk-based functional inks put biosensor data on your fingertips

Silk-based functional inks put biosensor data on your fingertips | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Researchers at Tufts University have now developed silk-based inks containing bacteria-sensing agents that can withstand the rigors of inkjet printing, opening the door much wider for printing biomolecules.
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An anti-inflammatory ‘smart drug’ that activates only in high-inflammation areas | KurzweilAI

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Israel and University of Colorado researchers have developed a dynamic anti-inflammatory “smart” drug that can target specific sites in the body and could enhance the body’s natural ability to fight infection while reducing side effects.

This protein molecule, reported in the current issue of Journal of Immunology, has an exceptional property: when injected, it’s non-active. But upon reaching a local site with excessive inflammation, it becomes activated. Most other anti-inflammatory agents have broad effects in the body.
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The CRISPR craze: genome editing technologies poised to revolutionize medicine and industry | KurzweilAI

The CRISPR craze: genome editing technologies poised to revolutionize medicine and industry | KurzweilAI | Longevity science | Scoop.it
CRISPR/Cas systems for genome editing have revolutionized biological research over the past three years, and their ability to make targeted changes in DNA sequences in living cells with relative ease and affordability is now being applied to clinical medicine and will have a significant impact on advances in drug and other therapies, agriculture, and food products.
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Bone Marrow Makes New Fat Cells | The Scientist Magazine®

Bone Marrow Makes New Fat Cells | The Scientist Magazine® | Longevity science | Scoop.it
The origins of new fat cells (adipocytes), which we humans must make throughout our lives, have not been clear. Rodent studies have produced conflicting results on where adipocyte progenitors come from, particularly with regard to the bone marrow as a possible source. Reporting today (July 16) in Cell Metabolism, researchers have found that, in patients who received bone marrow transplants, donor cells contribute to new fat tissue, and that the proportion of these bone marrow-derived adipocytes is higher in obese patients.

“In these bone marrow-transplanted individuals, they can actually find fat cells with genomic information from the donor and not from the recipient,”
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Research indicates that stem cells could be used to heal damaged lungs

Research indicates that stem cells could be used to heal damaged lungs | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Respiratory diseases such as bronchitis, emphysema and asthma are extremely prevalent, with more than 35 million sufferers in the US alone. Now, a team from the Weizmann Institute of Science has worked to create a new treatment for repairing damaged lung tissue, using the procedure for bone marrow stem cell transplantation as a template.
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Laser device may soon non-invasively monitor diabetics' glucose levels

Laser device may soon non-invasively monitor diabetics' glucose levels | Longevity science | Scoop.it
In order to monitor their blood glucose levels, diabetics typically have to perform painful and inconvenient finger-prick blood tests – in some cases, several times a day. Using an implantable glucose-monitoring sensor is one alternative, although it must be surgically installed and subsequently removed for replacement. Another option may be on the way, however, in the form of a device that simply shines a laser on the user's finger.

Known as GlucoSense, the system was developed by Prof. Gin Jose and his team at the University of Leeds.

To use it, patients simply place the pad of their finger against a small glass window on the device.
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Mitochondria Swap | The Scientist Magazine®

Mitochondria Swap | The Scientist Magazine® | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Scientists have used two methods to generate patient-specific pluripotent stem cells with normal mitochondria for people with defects in these organelles, according to a study published today (July 15) in Nature. The first method generates stem cells for people with some normal mitochondria and some defective ones, a state called heteroplasmy. The researchers isolated fibroblasts from these patients and reprogrammed them to into multiple lines of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).
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