Science, Technology, and Current Futurism
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Graphene has the potential to reshape neurosurgery

Graphene has the potential to reshape neurosurgery | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

Graphene, a monolayer atomic-scale honeycomb lattice of carbon atoms, has been considered the greatest revolution in metamaterials research in the past 5 years. Its developers were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010, and massive funding has been directed to graphene-based experimental research in the last years. For instance, an international scientific collaboration has recently received a €1 billion grant from the European Flagship Initiative, the largest amount of financial resources ever granted for a single research project in the history of modern science. Because of graphene’s unique optical, thermal, mechanical, electronic, and quantum properties, the incorporation of graphene-based metamaterials to biomedical applications is expected to lead to major technological breakthroughs in the next few decades. Current frontline research in graphene technology includes the development of high-performance, lightweight, and malleable electronic devices, new optical modulators, ultracapacitors, molecular biodevices, organic photovoltaic cells, lithium-ion microbatteries, frequency multipliers, quantum dots, and integrated circuits, just to mention a few. With such advances, graphene technology is expected to significantly impact several areas of neurosurgery, including neuro-oncology, neurointensive care, neuroregeneration research, peripheral nerve surgery, functional neurosurgery, and spine surgery.

 

Graphene may lead to exciting new applications in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological diseases, according to a report in the May issue of Neurosurgery, official journal of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. The paper can also serve as a general introduction to the properties of graphene and its future uses.

 

Tobias A. Mattei, MD, of Invision Health/Brain & Spine Center, Buffalo, New York and Azeem A. Rehman, BS, of The University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, suggest how graphene could contribute to future advances in several areas of neurosurgery, including:

 

Cancer Treatment. Graphene nanoparticles may play a role in tumor-targeted imaging, as well as possible new therapeutic approaches involving photothermal or alternating electrical field stimulation therapies.Intensive Care Unit Monitoring. New electrochemical and optical biosensors may provide new approaches to neurologic monitoring in patients with stroke or traumatic brain injury.Neuroregeneration. Graphene materials may be used in new strategies to promote regeneration of nervous system tissues — for example, graphene-coated scaffolds to stimulate growth of injured peripheral nerves.Functional Neurosurgery. Improved electrophysiological monitoring systems may help in performing precisely targeted brain surgeries in patients with conditions such as epilepsy and movement disorders.Spinal Surgery. High-resistance graphene-based hardware may represent the next generation in instrumentation for spinal surgery.

 

However, much work remains before any of these advances become reality, the authors advise. While graphene has been shown to be biocompatible, more basic research is needed to examine the long-term biological effects of graphene implants and to answer other important clinical questions.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Sharrock's insight:

#futurism #futurepossibilities

 

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Birds and Primates Share Brain Cell Types Linked to Intelligence

Birds and Primates Share Brain Cell Types Linked to Intelligence | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Researchers reveal that, while the anatomical structures of bird, reptile and mammalian brains differ, all contain certain types of cells linked to cognitive ability.
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You Produce a Microbial Cloud That Can Act Like an Invisible Fingerprint

You Produce a Microbial Cloud That Can Act Like an Invisible Fingerprint | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
The unique cloud follows you wherever you go—and could ID you in a crowd
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Forgive Me, Scientists, for I Have Sinned

Forgive Me, Scientists, for I Have Sinned | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
"There are some things I need to confess. This isn’t easy to say, but after working as a real scientist with a Ph.D. for 6 years, I feel it’s finally time to come clean: Sometimes I don’t feel like a real scientist. Besides the fact that I do science every day, I don’t conform to the image—my image—of what a scientist is and how we should think and behave. Here’s what I mean:" (article introduction)
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First Evidence That Social Bots Play a Major Role in Spreading Fake News

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Technology Is Biased Too. How Do We Fix It?

Technology Is Biased Too. How Do We Fix It? | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

Algorithms were supposed to free us from our unconscious mistakes. But now there’s a new set of problems to solve.


"Although AI decision-making is often regarded as inherently objective, the data and processes that inform it can invisibly bake inequality into systems that are intended to be equitable. Avoiding that bias requires an understanding of both very complex technology and very complex social issues." (from the article)

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New technique elucidates the inner workings of neural networks trained on visual data

New technique elucidates the inner workings of neural networks trained on visual data | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Two years ago, a team of computer-vision researchers from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) described a method for peering into the black box of a neural net trained to identify visual scenes. The method provided some interesting insights, but it required data to be sent to human reviewers recruited through Amazon's Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing service.
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Google's Artificial Brain Is Pumping Out Trippy—And Pricey—Art

Google's Artificial Brain Is Pumping Out Trippy—And Pricey—Art | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

Today, inside big online services like Google and Facebook and Twitter, neural networks automatically identify photos, recognize commands spoken in smartphones, and translate conversations from one language to another. If you feed enough photos of your uncle to a neural net, it can learn to recognize your uncle. That's how Facebook identifies faces in all those photos you upload. Now, with an art "generator" it calls DeepDream, Google has turned these neural nets inside out. They're not recognizing images. They're creating them.


"Google calls this "Inceptionism," a nod to the 2010 Leonardo DiCaprio movie, Inception, that imagines a technology capable of inserting us into each other's dreams. But that may not be the best analogy. What this tech is really doing is showing us the dreams of a machine.

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Computer Solves 120-Year-Old Biology Problem That Had Scientists Stumped

"The invention of models to explain what nature is doing is the most creative thing scientists do... this is the heart and soul of the scientific enterprise," says Levin. "None of us could have come up with this model; we as a field have failed to do so after over a century of effort. This problem, and our approach, is nearly universal. It can be used with anything, where functional data exist but the underlying mechanism is hard to guess."

Sharrock's insight:
The author writes: “Essentially, the computer was guessing how a worm's genes connect together, and simulating a new theory each time - if the end results were closer to data obtained in the real world, it took another step in that direction; if not, it changed course. After three days, the software came up with a core genetic network code that matched all of the hundreds of actual experiments in its database.” 

 I wonder about this level of creativity and scientific automation. Could a quantum computer do this faster? Years of programming led to the computer solving this 120-year-old problem in 3 days. Could a quantum computer do this in minutes? The issue is that the computer used the ability to create and research hypotheses. It matched its "ideas" against the closest executed experiments.
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Sharrock's curator insight, July 3, 2017 10:34 AM
The author writes: “Essentially, the computer was guessing how a worm's genes connect together, and simulating a new theory each time - if the end results were closer to data obtained in the real world, it took another step in that direction; if not, it changed course. After three days, the software came up with a core genetic network code that matched all of the hundreds of actual experiments in its database.” 

I wonder about this level of creativity and scientific automation. Could a quantum computer do this faster? Years of programming led to the computer solving this 120-year-old problem in 3 days. Could a quantum computer do this in minutes? The issue is that the computer used the ability to create and research hypotheses. It matched its "ideas" against the closest executed experiments. 
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Common medications sway moral judgment

Common medications sway moral judgment | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Serotonin and dopamine drugs may change willingness to inflict harm on self and others
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Human reared wolves found to display signs of attachment and affection towards foster-parents

Human reared wolves found to display signs of attachment and affection towards foster-parents | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Socialized wolves' relationship with humans is a much debated, but important question in light of dog domestication. Earlier findings reported no attachment to the caretaker at four months of age in a Strange Situation Test, while recently attachment to the caretaker was reported at a few weeks of age in a similar paradigm. To explore wolf–human relationship, we analysed behaviours of hand reared, extensively socialized wolves towards four visitor types: foster-parents, close acquaintances, persons met once before, and complete strangers during a greeting episode. As hypothesized, in the greeting context subjects showed more intense and friendly behaviour towards foster-parents, than other visitor types, which may reflect familiarity and affinity. However, differences were more pronounced in the group situation (at six months of age) than in the individual situation (at 12 and 24 months), suggesting that unique status of foster parents may become less distinct as wolves get older, while exploration of novel social agents is expressed more with older age. Fear related behaviour patterns were only found in the individual situation, mainly displayed towards strangers. We showed that, in case of extensively socialized wolves, distinctive affiliation and affinity towards the foster parent prevails into adulthood.
Journal reference: Royal Society Open Science
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The Action Potential

The Action Potential | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Neurons are a lot like electrical wires. In fact, the axons areelectrical wires. As you’ve no doubt noticed, electrical wires are fast. As I type, words pass through my computer to appear on my monitor the instant my fingers press down the keys. That’s pretty darn fast.
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It’s becoming possible to know our own cells in astonishing, unparalleled detail

It’s becoming possible to know our own cells in astonishing, unparalleled detail | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
The objective is to construct the first comprehensive “cell atlas,” or map of human cells, a technological marvel that should comprehensively reveal, for the first time, what human bodies are actually made of and provide scientists a sophisticated new model of biology that could speed the search for drugs.

To perform the task of cataloguing the 37.2 trillion cells of the human body, an international consortium of scientists from the U.S., U.K., Sweden, Israel, the Netherlands, and Japan is being assembled to assign each a molecular signature and also give each type a zip code in the three-dimensional space of our bodies.
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TR10: Biological Machines - MIT Technology Review

TR10: Biological Machines - MIT Technology Review | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Michel Maharbiz’s novel interfaces between machines and living systems could give rise to a new generation of cyborg devices.
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Here's How Tiny 3D-Printed Scaffolds Could Be Used to Restore Human Nerves

Here's How Tiny 3D-Printed Scaffolds Could Be Used to Restore Human Nerves | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
For now, it's more of a promising concept rather than a reality, but there's hope that further studies can build on this initial success. The researchers were able to get human nerves to hold up reasonably well inside the scaffolds after a period of several weeks, but only in a petri dish rather than an actual body. Details of the study have now been published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.
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