Archive for the ‘biotech/medical’ category

Oct 27, 2016

Scientists discover elixir of youth — for mice — and begin tests on humans

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

Scientists in the US claim to have discovered a natural compound found in avocado, broccoli and cucumber that has “remarkable anti-ageing effects in mice” — and could also work on humans.

The researchers, who have started clinical trials involving a small group of people, said older mice given the compound, called NMN, in their water saw an array of beneficial effects.

Their level of physical activity increased, bone density and muscles improved, the immune system and liver performed better, their eyesight improved and they even lost weight.

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Oct 27, 2016

Google Brain’s neural-net AI dreams up its own encryption strategy

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, encryption, robotics/AI

It’s fun to write about developments in artificial intelligence like they’re harbingers of an impending AIpocalypse. Jokes about our new robot overlords notwithstanding, computers are getting scary smart these days, and it’s not always flattering to compare humans with AI. The machines can outperform humans in a lot of important ways: we routinely trust robot surgeons, diagnostic databases, and autopilot chauffeurs with our lives, just to name a few.

Google is among those pushing the horizon of AI superiority further and further. The company’s neural net/machine learning project, Google Brain, has been working on problems in medical imaging, robotics, and natural language processing, among others. “Google is not really a search company. It’s a machine-learning company,” Matthew Zeiler, a Google Brain alumnus, told Wired. Now a team from Google Brain has demonstrated that neural networks can learn to protect the confidentiality of their data from other neural networks.

Oct 27, 2016

Wiring the brain with artificial senses and limb control

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, cyborgs, robotics/AI

There have been significant advances in developing new prostheses with a simple sense of touch, but researchers are looking to go further. Scientists and engineers are working on a way to provide prosthetic users and those suffering from spinal cord injuries with the ability to both feel and control their limbs or robotic replacements by means of directly stimulating the cortex of the brain.

For decades, a major goal of neuroscientists has been to develop new technologies to create more advanced prostheses or ways to help people who have suffered spinal cord injuries to regain the use of their limbs. Part of this has involved creating a means of sending brain signals to disconnected nerves in damaged limbs or to robotic prostheses, so they can be moved by thought, so control is simple and natural.

However, all this had only limited application because as well as being able to tell a robotic or natural limb to move, a sense of touch was also required, so the patient would know if something has been grasped properly or if the hand or arm is in the right position. Without this feedback, it’s very difficult to control an artificial limb properly even with constant concentration or computer assistance.

Oct 27, 2016

Future of TV could be pills that make people hallucinate television shows, Netflix boss says

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, entertainment

It might be a blue pill that makes you hallucinate in an entertaining way – and then another white pill that brings you back to normality, Reed Hastings said…

The future of TV might everyone taking hallucinogenic drugs, according to the head of Netflix.

The threats to the streaming TV company might not be Amazon or other streaming services, but instead “pharmacological” ways of entertaining people, Reed Hastings has said.

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Oct 27, 2016

“Peanut patch” may save some lives

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, health

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, more children are allergic to peanuts than to any other food. Unfortunately, the reactions can be lethal. In western cultures, peanut allergies are the leading cause of food-related anaphylaxis death. Needless to say, therefore, people with such allergies need to be protected against exposure to the nuts – and a skin patch may help provide that protection.

Made by biopharmaceutical company DBV Technologies, the Viaskin Peanut patch is applied to the arm or between the shoulder blades. It gradually delivers small amounts of peanut protein through the skin, allowing the wearer’s body to build up a tolerance for it.

The patch is currently the subject of an ongoing American study conducted by the Consortium of Food Allergy Research, and funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Oct 26, 2016

GPU’s Role in Artificial Intelligence Advances Featured at Conference

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, information science, robotics/AI, supercomputing

NEWS ANALYSIS: The confluence of big data, massively powerful computing resources and advanced algorithms is bringing new artificial intelligence capabilities to scientific research.

WASHINGTON, DC—Massively parallel supercomputing hardware along with advanced artificial intelligence algorithms are being harnessed to deliver powerful new research tools in science and medicine, according to Dr. France A. Córdova, Director of the National Science Foundation.

Córdova spoke Oct. 26 at GPU Technology Conference organized by Nvidia, a company that got its start making video cards for PCs and gaming systems, that now manufactures advanced graphics processor for high-performance servers and supercomputers.

Oct 26, 2016

Quantum Bit MRI Machine to See Shapes of Individual Biomolecules for Drug Research

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, particle physics, quantum physics

Drug discovery is a long and difficult process that requires a comprehensive understanding of the molecular structures of compounds under investigation. It’s difficult to have an idea of the precise shape of complex molecules such as proteins, but researchers at University of Melbourne in Australia have come up with a way of seeing the location of individual atoms within biomolecules.

Using quantum bits, most notably utilized in quantum computer research, the investigators offer a way of producing a magnetic resonance sensor and a magnetic field gradient that can work as a tiny MRI machine. The machine would have the resolution capable of seeing single atoms components of larger molecules. This MRI machine has yet to be actually built, but the steps have been laid out based on comprehensive theoretical work. If it proves successful in practice, the technology may overcome current imaging techniques that rely on statistical averages and don’t work well on molecules that don’t crystallize well.

“In a conventional MRI machine large magnets set up a field gradient in all three directions to create 3D images; in our system we use the natural magnetic properties of a single atomic qubit,” said lead author of the research Viktor Perunicic. “The system would be fabricated on-chip, and by carefully controlling the quantum state of the qubit probe as it interacts with the atoms in the target molecule, we can extract information about the positions of atoms by periodically measuring the qubit probe and thus create an image of the molecule’s structure.”

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Oct 26, 2016

Due to aging, South Korean population headed for structural reversal

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, government, life extension

The decline of birth rate is causing a switch in society between younger workforce and the elderly. The Silver Tsunami is a real issue and one that rejuvenation biotechnology can potentially solve.

Data show productive population age group becoming smaller than the majority, and inadequate government preparation for slew of effects.

Residents of Sinpyeong township in Uiseong County, North Gyeongsang Province, were getting ready for their autumn harvest on Oct. 12. Cutting rice plants was an urgent task, they said — and all of the work is done by local village women in their seventies and older.

Oct 25, 2016

Can A Brain Computer Interface Convert Your Thoughts to Text?

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

Summary: Brain-to-text system could help people with speech difficulties to communicate, researchers report.

Source: Frontiers.

Recent research shows brain-to-text device capable of decoding speech from brain signals.

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Oct 25, 2016

Breakthrough soft electronics fabrication method is a first step to DIY smart tattoos

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, habitats, wearables

Imagine if your electronic wearable device, like your Fitbit, adhered to you like a sticker or temporary tattoo and could read your pulse or measure hand gestures. As electronics are becoming thinner, lighter, and more power efficient, they can be populated on stickers and temporary tattoos to create soft wearables that adhere to the skin. And the most exciting news is that one day you may be able to print these wearable electronics from a home printer.

Carnegie Mellon University’s Mechanical Engineering Professor Carmel Majidi, Ph.D. student Eric Markvicka, and previous postdoctoral fellow Michael Bartlett (now a professor at Iowa State University) have created a method to print skin-mountable electronics in a quick and cost-effective way.

“One of the remaining challenges in skin-mounted electronics is to interface soft circuits with the rigid microchips and electronics hardware required for sensing, digital processing, and power,” said Majidi. “We address this with a breakthrough digital fabrication technique that enables efficient creation of wireless electronics on a soft, water-resistant, medical-grade adhesive.”

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