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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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Caloric restriction increases monkey lifespan, benefits health

Caloric restriction increases monkey lifespan, benefits health | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Can the lifespan of an animal be increased by restricting their intake of calories? The question has been the subject of study for decades, primarily through two concurrent long-term experiments using rhesus monkeys. Interestingly, these two studies came to conflicting conclusions, but by comparing their results and accounting for other variables, scientists have now determined that the answer is yes – caloric restriction does help monkeys stay healthier and live longer.
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Profile: Epigeneticist Howard Cedar - Methylation Maestro - The Scientist Magazine®

Profile: Epigeneticist Howard Cedar - Methylation Maestro - The Scientist Magazine® | Longevity science | Scoop.it


After initially discovering that DNA methylation represses transcription, Howard Cedar continues to explore how the epigenetic mark regulates gene expression.

By Anna Azvolinsky | January 1, 2017

HOWARD (CHAIM) CEDAR
In 1963, when Howard Cedar was a junior-year physics major at MIT, a specific event changed the course of his life, he says. He had just gotten back a graded exam in an atomic physics course. “I got a 95 percent, but when I went over the exam, I noticed that for one of the questions, I had done the calculations correctly yet had written an answer that was about 30 orders of magnitude from the correct answer. The professor had seen that I had done the calculations and had just made a mistake in the final answer and I got almost full credit. But when I saw that, I said to myself, ‘How can you call yourself a physicist if you don’t know the difference between one and 10 to the power of 30? Something’s wrong here! I realized I was only getting by in physics because I was good at math,” says Cedar, now a professor of molecular biology at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

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Lipids Take the Lead in Metastasis | The Scientist Magazine®

Lipids Take the Lead in Metastasis | The Scientist Magazine® | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Two studies published in Nature this month highlight roles in metastasis for an unexpected group of molecules—lipids.

“For many years, we were studying peptides and proteins,” said Mariusz Ratajczak, a cell biologist at the University of Louisville who was not involved in the studies. “Now we are coming to bioactive lipids.”

In the first study, published January 5, researchers at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) in Barcelona reported that, in mice, human oral cancer cells that are most likely to migrate from primary tumors are marked by the surface protein, CD36—a scavenger receptor that binds fatty acids.

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It also suggests that metastatic cells may have their own unique metabolic regulation. The IRB team demonstrated that feeding mice a high-fat diet increased the size and number of metastatic lymph node tumors.

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New molecule knocks out superbugs' immunity to antibiotics

New molecule knocks out superbugs' immunity to antibiotics | Longevity science | Scoop.it
One of the most terrifyingly-plausible doomsday scenarios is the rise of superbugs, strains of bacteria that are evolving a resistance to our most powerful antibiotics. To try to prevent that situation occurring, scientists are building a creative array of weapons by developing new materials, gels, lights and molecules to fight antibiotic-resistant bugs, and even pitting bacteria against each other. Now researchers have created a new molecule that can make previously antibiotic-resistant bacteria vulnerable to existing drugs again.
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Chewing found to boost immune system in mice

Chewing found to boost immune system in mice | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Scientists in the UK studying the immune system in mice have found that chewing can stimulate cells called Th17 in the mouth, in turn providing more robust protection against the harmful pathogens that cause illness.

Th17 cells play an infection-fighting role in other parts of the body like the stomach and skin by recruiting white blood cells to take up the fight. It does so after receiving the signal to attack from friendly bacteria, and it was thought that the same process was at play in the mouth.

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Cancer researchers stumble onto drugs' fat-blasting powers

Cancer researchers stumble onto drugs' fat-blasting powers | Longevity science | Scoop.it

"We were surprised to observe that when morbidly obese mice were treated with certain cancer-fighting drugs, the drugs not only targeted their cancers, but also tended to spontaneously resolve their obesity – even with undiminished gorging on a high-fat diet," said Mayo Clinic cancer immunotherapist Peter Cohen who co-led the study.

Perhaps most impressively, the drugs seemed to do all the hard work on their own, without affecting the appetites or caloric intake of the mice at all, or causing any toxic effects. The researchers believe that the drugs worked by depleting fat cell precursors in the mice, which means that the rodents simply couldn't store fat.

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The Finest Examples of Brilliant Healthcare Design - The Medical Futurist

The Finest Examples of Brilliant Healthcare Design - The Medical Futurist | Longevity science | Scoop.it
How is it possible that healthcare design lags behind all other areas of industrial design and architecture? We are still utilizing 19th century design elements in 20th century buildings (if we are living on the lucky part of the planet), while technology is already in the 21st century!
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Synthetic stem cells offer benefits of natural stem cells without the risks | KurzweilAI

Synthetic stem cells offer benefits of natural stem cells without the risks | KurzweilAI | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Scientists have created the first synthetic version of a cardiac stem cell, offering therapeutic benefits comparable to those from natural stem cells — but without the risks and limitations, according to researchers from North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University in China.

The newly created synthetic stem cells cannot replicate. That means they could reduce some of the risks associated with natural stem-cell therapies — including tumor growth and immune rejection. The synthetic stem calls would also avoid the fragility of natural stem cells, which require careful storage and a multi-step process of typing and characterization before they can be used.

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High-tech support device casts aside the cast

High-tech support device casts aside the cast | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Traditional plaster casts are a hassle. They don't allow the injured limb to breathe, they can't be gotten wet, they can't be temporarily removed, they're heavy, plus skin ulcers and infections sometimes occur beneath them. A team of Colorado-based entrepreneurs, however, has developed a 21st century alternative – the ActivArmor support device.



The process starts with the patient getting a 3D scan done on the body part in question. This no-contact procedure is conducted at a participating clinic/hospital, and takes less than a minute to perform. It results in a digital point cloud model of the limb, which is uploaded to the ActivArmor website.
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Pesticide alternative helps plants protect themselves from disease

Pesticide alternative helps plants protect themselves from disease | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Though it's not as widely publicized as the effects of climate change, crop diseases are one of the biggest threats to food security. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, roughly 20-40 percent of the world's crops are lost to pests and diseases each year. Scientists have been experimenting with alternatives to conventional pesticides and thanks to a newly developed gene-silencing technique, farmers might be able to strengthen their crops' defense systems without any potential gene-altering fallout.
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Tooth-boosting Alzheimer's drug might mean no more fillings

Tooth-boosting Alzheimer's drug might mean no more fillings | Longevity science | Scoop.it
There's not a whole lot to like about fillings, what with the prodding, scraping and jabbing and all. And that's before the drill even comes out (followed by the bill at the end). Tending to our cavities might one day be a much more comfortable experience, with scientists discovering that a type of Alzheimer's drug can actually stimulate stem cells within the tooth pulp to promote natural repair instead.



The drug in question is a small molecule called a glycogen synthase kinase (GSK-3) inhibitor. GSK-3 is an enzyme that has been linked with a number of diseases including cancer, bipolar disorder and Alzheimer's, so molecules currently under development that inhibit its activity could one day play an important part in treatment of such conditions.
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Scar-free wound healing could be on its way

Scar-free wound healing could be on its way | Longevity science | Scoop.it
There are a couple of reasons that scar tissue looks different than regular skin – it lacks hair follicles, and it has no fat cells. Recently, though, scientists from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Irvine succeeded in addressing both factors. They're now able to get wounds to heal with regenerated skin, instead of with scar tissue.
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Repurposing Existing Drugs for New Indications | The Scientist Magazine®

Repurposing Existing Drugs for New Indications | The Scientist Magazine® | Longevity science | Scoop.it
In 2010, Bruce Bloom, CEO of Illinois-based Cures Within Reach, reviewed the organization’s decade-long track record of bringing new treatments to patients. He found that the nonprofit had funded 190 novel drug projects, but “couldn’t find any instance where it was directly helping patients,” says Bloom. Cures Within Reach had also funded 10 different drug repurposing projects, seeking to test existing drugs for novel indications. Of the 10 projects, four generated enough evidence to give physicians confidence to treat patients off-label, which doctors can do at their discretion, particularly when there is no approved therapy for a condition or when a patient has exhausted all available treatment options.
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Life, but not as we know it: Scientists engineer first semisynthetic organism with three-base-pair DNA

Life, but not as we know it: Scientists engineer first semisynthetic organism with three-base-pair DNA | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) claim to have created the first stable semisynthetic organism with extra bases added to its genetic code. The single-celled organism is also able to continually replicate the synthetic base pair as it divides, which could mean that future synthetic organisms may be able to carry extra genetic information in their DNA sequences indefinitely.
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The team from TSRI have added two synthetic bases that they call "X" and "Y" into the genetic code of a E.coli carrier organism – a single-cell bacteria – and then chemically tweaked it to live, replicate, and survive with the extra DNA molecules intact.

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Smart biopsy needle helps doctors dodge the danger zone

Smart biopsy needle helps doctors dodge the danger zone | Longevity science | Scoop.it

One of the challenges in performing surgery on a brain tumor is the need to avoid damage to blood vessels, something that can cause bleeding and even prove fatal. These procedures have become safer with advances in brain imaging that allow surgeons to better map out their approach. They're now set to become safer again, with the development of a new high-tech biopsy needle that packs a tiny imaging probe inside to help guide the way.

Ever-miniaturizing electronics have given rise to some exciting new possibilities when it comes to medical imaging. In the last year alone we have seen the development of a complex lens system that fits inside a syringe, an optical sensor that fits in the end of an epidural needle for precision guidance, and a camera-loaded catheter that streams live from inside arteries and even removes plaque at the same time.

But the new device developed at Australia's University of Adelaide represents new territory, in that it has been shown to bring the benefits of these cutting-edge imaging technologies to the brain.

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Browned toast and potatoes are 'potential cancer risk', say food scientists - BBC News

Browned toast and potatoes are 'potential cancer risk', say food scientists - BBC News | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Acrylamide is produced when starchy foods are roasted, fried or grilled for too long at high temperatures.

 

The FSA also says potatoes and parsnips should not be kept in the fridge.

This is because sugar levels rise in the vegetables at low temperatures, potentially increasing the amount of acrylamide produced during cooking.

Q&A: Acrylamide - should we give up toast?

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Germ-killing dental implant has a heart of mouthwash

Germ-killing dental implant has a heart of mouthwash | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Typically, dental implants take the form of a false tooth with a titanium screw extending out the bottom. That screw goes into the bone, permanently holding the tooth in place. The problem is, bacterial biofilms can form on it soon after implantation, causing infections. One approach to this problem has been to apply an antibacterial coating to the screw. Now, however, scientists at Belgium's University of Leuven have developed an implant that disperses an antimicrobial solution from the inside out.
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A natural product inhibits the initiation of α-synuclein aggregation and suppresses its toxicity

A natural product inhibits the initiation of α-synuclein aggregation and suppresses its toxicity | Longevity science | Scoop.it

The dogfish shark has a very strong immune system. Researchers found that squalamine, a potent antiviral and antibiotic compound found in the shark, may protect liver and blood tissues from viral infections. 

 

A new study suggests that squalamine may also be useful to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

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Sci-fi medical clinic opens in San Francisco

Sci-fi medical clinic opens in San Francisco | Longevity science | Scoop.it

San Francisco health startup Forward recently opened its first medical clinic promising a look at the gadget-filled, AI-driven, doctor's office of the future.

Resembling something that looks more like an Apple store than a traditional doctor's office, Forward proposes an entirely different approach to healthcare, with unlimited access to the clinic's medical resources through a single monthly membership fee.

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Aging and Death Are the Evolutionary Price of Complexity

Aging and Death Are the Evolutionary Price of Complexity | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Life’s ever-repeating cycles of birth and death are among the most fundamental principles of nature. An organism starts out as a single cell that grows and divides, develops into an embryo, matures and reaches adulthood, but then ages, deteriorates, and eventually succumbs to death.

But why does life have to be cyclic, and why does it have to end in senescence and death?

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Cellular Reprogramming Rejuvenates Old Mice and Boosts Lifespans 30%

Cellular Reprogramming Rejuvenates Old Mice and Boosts Lifespans 30% | Longevity science | Scoop.it

The quest for the fountain of youth is as ancient as humanity itself. Now, it appears scientists may have found the source.

Using a process designed to “reprogram” normal adult cells into pluripotent stem cells—cells that can transform into many different kinds of cells—researchers have managed to boost the life spans of mice by up to 30% and rejuvenate some of their tissues.

The treatment did not change the cell’s genetic code, but rather chemical attachments on their DNA called epigenetic marks, responsible for regulating the genome and determining how active certain genes are.

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Scale-up of nature’s tissue weaving algorithms to engineer advanced functional materials

Scale-up of nature’s tissue weaving algorithms to engineer advanced functional materials | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Here, a novel approach is established to scale up the multidimensional fiber patterns of natural soft tissue weaves for rapid prototyping of advanced functional materials. First second harmonic generation and two-photon excitation microscopy is used to map the microscopic three-dimensional (3D) alignment, composition and distribution of the collagen and elastin fibers of periosteum, the soft tissue sheath bounding all nonarticular bone surfaces in our bodies. Then, using engineering rendering software to scale up this natural tissue fabric, as well as multidimensional weaving algorithms, macroscopic tissue prototypes are created using a computer-controlled jacquard loom. The capacity to prototype scaled up architectures of natural fabrics provides a new avenue to create advanced functional materials.
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Vocal Biomarkers: New Opportunities in Prevention - The Medical Futurist

Vocal Biomarkers: New Opportunities in Prevention - The Medical Futurist | Longevity science | Scoop.it
According to the latest scientific studies, it is definitely not negative, if your voice betrays you. On the contrary! The characteristics of your voice – or as medicine labels them, vocal biomarkers – reveals a lot about your health; and help in detecting serious diseases and health risks.



The term “biomarker”, the shortened version of “biological marker” refers to medical signs, which indicate the medical state observed from outside the patient. So while patients sense symptoms, medical professionals measure biomarkers. Currently, they take into account all kinds of objective, quantifiable biomarkers ranging from biochemical, radiology markers to various health parameters. And as you could have guessed already, vocal biomarkers are medical signs deducted from the features of your voice.
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Liquid Biopsy for Lung Cancer Provides Rapid Results at Low Cost and No Trauma |

Liquid Biopsy for Lung Cancer Provides Rapid Results at Low Cost and No Trauma | | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Lung cancers tend to develop rapidly, changing how they respond to medication in unexpected ways. This makes it hard to decide which treatments are most effective without trying them first, resulting in lost time and missed opportunities. Biopsies and CT scans are the most commonly used methods of evaluating whether a treatment is working. Biopsies are invasive and can only be done infrequently, while CT scans offer limited information and expose the patient to X-ray radiation.



A team headed by researchers from Stanford University have now developed a technique for capturing circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and performing molecular analysis on them to figure out how they are mutating in response to treatment.
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X-ray vision, hidden meanings and disease trackers: IBM's 5 in 5 for 2017

X-ray vision, hidden meanings and disease trackers: IBM's 5 in 5 for 2017 | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Despite the fact that mental illness affects more than 450 million people in the world, a large number of cases go undiagnosed and unaddressed. What if machine analytics could help doctors predict and monitor conditions such as psychosis, schizophrenia, mania and depression? Our speech and writing patterns reveal a lot about our state of mind, and IBM believes that doctors could make use of AI to catch tell-tale signs that they might otherwise miss.
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