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Archive for the ‘biotech/medical’ category

Jul 6, 2020

Graphene barrier creates mosquito-proof fabric

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry

(Credit: Getty Images)

According to the study in PNAS, the ultra-thin yet strong material acts as a barrier that mosquitoes can’t bite through. The graphene also blocks chemical signals mosquitoes use to sense that a blood meal is near, blunting their urge to bite in the first place.

Jul 6, 2020

Male fruit flies’ decline in fertility with age is not only driven by changes in sperm

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, life extension

Infertility is one of the most striking effects of aging. The impact of aging on females’ fertility is more severe and much better understood, but it also affects males. Male reproductive aging is less researched, but of those studies that do address it, most focus on sperm. However, ejaculate contains more than just sperm. Proteins in the seminal fluid are important for fertility, and in many animals, they have a dramatic effect on female physiology and behavior. Little is currently known about the impact of male aging on these proteins, and whether any changes contribute to poorer ejaculates in older males.

To resolve these questions, researchers at the University of Oxford’s Department of Zoology conducted experiments in a model organism, the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. This species typically lives for less than five weeks, which means that researchers can very rapidly measure the impact of age on male fertility, and their and seminal fluid proteins. This species is also highly amenable to genetic studies, which allowed the researchers to genetically manipulate , to see how this impacted the decline in fertility with age.

Published this week in PNAS are their results which show that both sperm and quality and quantity decline with male age, making distinct contributions to declining reproductive performance in older males. However, the relative impacts on sperm and seminal fluid often differ, leading to mismatches between ejaculate components. Despite these differences, experimental extension of male lifespan improved overall ejaculate performance in later life, suggesting that such interventions can delay both male reproductive aging and death.

Jul 6, 2020

Age-related impairments reversed in animal model

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health

Elderly people are more prone to infectious diseases as the function of their immune system continuously declines with progression of age. This becomes especially apparent during seasonal influenza outbreaks or the occurrence of other viral diseases such as COVID-19. As the efficacy of vaccination in the elderly is strongly reduced, this age group is particularly vulnerable to such infectious pathogens and often shows the highest mortality rate. In addition to the age-related immune decline aged individuals are commonly affected by frailty that negatively impacts quality-of-life. Even though the average life-expectancy for humans continuous to rise, living longer is often associated with age-related health issues.

Important role of belly fat in aging processes identified

Researchers from the Department for BioMedical Reserarch (DBMR) and the Institute of Pathology at the University of Bern as well as the University Hospital Bern (Inselspital) have set out to identify new approaches to improve health-span in a fast-growing aging population. For many years scientists speculated that chronic low-grade inflammation accelerates aging processes and the development of age-related disorders. An international team of researchers under Bernese guidance has now demonstrated that visceral adipose tissue, known as belly fat, crucially contributes to the development of chronic low-grade inflammation. Scientist around Dr. Mario Noti, formerly at the Institute of Pathology of the University of Bern and Dr. Alexander Eggel from the Department for BioMedical Research (DBMR) of the Universität of Bern reported that certain immune cells in the belly fat play and an essential role in regulating chronic low-grade inflammation and downstream aging processes.

Jul 6, 2020

The future of medicine Guest: Sara Lavoipierre, Australia

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, futurism

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Jul 6, 2020

The bubonic plague is back again in China’s Inner Mongolia

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

👽Bubonic plague

Fyodor R.


Authorities in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia are on high alert after a suspected case of bubonic plague, the disease that caused the Black Death pandemic, was reported Sunday.

The case was discovered in the city of Bayannur, located northwest of Beijing, according to state-run Xinhua news agency. A hospital alerted municipal authorities of the patient’s case on Saturday. By Sunday, local authorities had issued a citywide Level 3 warning for plague prevention, the second lowest in a four-level system.

Continue reading “The bubonic plague is back again in China’s Inner Mongolia” »

Jul 6, 2020

City in China’s Inner Mongolia warns after suspected bubonic plague case

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Sunday’s warning follows four reported cases of plague in people from Inner Mongolia last November, including two of pneumonic plague, a deadlier variant of plague.

The bubonic plague, known as the “Black Death” in the Middle Ages, is a highly infectious and often fatal disease that is spread mostly by rodents.

Plague cases are not uncommon in China, but outbreaks have become increasingly rare. From 2009 to 2018, China reported 26 cases and 11 deaths.

Continue reading “City in China’s Inner Mongolia warns after suspected bubonic plague case” »

Jul 6, 2020

New math model could help with systematic predictions like potential coronavirus mutations

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, mathematics

Could a mathematical model help predict future mutations of the coronavirus and guide scientists’ research as they rush to develop an effective vaccine? This is a possibility being considered by researchers at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering—Ph. D. students Ruochen Yang and Xiongye Xiao and Paul Bogdan, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Over the past year, Yang and Bogdan have worked to develop a model that could be used to investigate the relationship between a network and its parts to find patterns and make predictions. Now, Xiao is applying that successful model to the current pandemic. He is examining the RNA sequence of SARS-CoV-2, also known as coronavirus, to determine whether accurate predictions can be made about how its genetic code might change in the future based on past mutations. This research is still in progress and no conclusions have been reached yet.

Published in Nature Scientific Reports, a sister journal of Nature, Yang and Bogdan’s work is detailed in their paper, “Controlling the Multifractal Generating Measures of Complex Networks.”

Jul 6, 2020

Indie Comics Spotlight: Biohacking, transhumanism, and gender identity in ‘The Dark’

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, cyborgs, government, military, privacy, transhumanism

Sable co-created the story with artist Kristian Donaldson (Unthinkable, The Guild) and Mey Rude, a transgender woman who served as a consulting editor on the project. Sable took some time to talk to SYFY WIRE about biohacking, transhumanism, and how science fiction often predicts the future.


The Dark, by screenwriter and playwright Mark Sable (Unthinkable, Godkillers), is a graphic novel about a world plunged into chaos when a biotech virus pulls everything offline. The plot twists around government conspiracies, techno warfare, biohacking, and the unlikely pair out to stop it before another world war breaks loose. To make it all the scarier, Sable bases his fiction on fact. As a futurist who has consulted with think tanks and The Art of Future Warfare Project, he is well versed in techno warfare scenarios.

The Dark begins in 2035 and follows Master Sergeant Robert Carter, a N.E.O. (Networked Exoskeleton Operator) Marine whose power armor links him to the world’s technology, and whose implants mentally connect him to his unit. He feels what they feel, which proves torturous when his unit is attacked. The Dark takes on a double meaning as the experience leaves him both physically and technologically blind as the world’s tech crashes.

Continue reading “Indie Comics Spotlight: Biohacking, transhumanism, and gender identity in ‘The Dark’” »

Jul 6, 2020

Tesla building ‘RNA microfactories’ with coronavirus vaccine maker: Elon Musk

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, Elon Musk

Elon Musk said Tesla is building “RNA microfactories” for CureVac and other coronavirus vaccine makers.

Jul 5, 2020

Researchers Indicate COVID-19 Mutation Has Made Virus More Contagious

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Researchers from Northwest University’s medical school in Chicago believe a mutation in the coronavirus has made it considerably more contagious.

Infection disease special Egon Ozer of the Feinberg School of Medicine has said that upon examining the genetic structure of coronavirus samples, it was evident there was a change in one of the amino acids that allowed a spike in protein on the surface of the virus.

In layman’s terms, this change has allowed the virus to penetrate nearby cells easier, and as a result the virus can replicate faster and be passed on easier.

Continue reading “Researchers Indicate COVID-19 Mutation Has Made Virus More Contagious” »

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