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Sep 28, 2023

Placebo effect found to be growing stronger for transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy used for depression

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

A team of medical researchers from Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Central South University and the Second Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University, all in China, has found evidence suggesting that the placebo effect has grown stronger in trials of transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy for patients treated for depression.

In their study, reported in the journal Nature Mental Health, the group analyzed data from prior research efforts focused on testing the effectiveness of transcranial magnetic therapy.

Prior research has shown that the effect—where a patient is given a “sham” medication or therapy to treat an ailment instead of a real one—can be an effective means of treating some conditions. And while the means by which the placebo effect works is not understood, it has been shown to alleviate symptoms in some people.

Sep 28, 2023

New study provides evidence for more effective brain-based treatment of chronic back pain

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

A new study in JAMA Network Open may provide key answers to how to help people experiencing chronic back pain.

The study examined the critical connection between the brain and pain for treating chronic pain. Specifically, they looked at the importance of pain attributions, which are people’s beliefs about the underlying causes of their pain, to reduce chronic back pain severity.

“Millions of people are experiencing chronic pain and many haven’t found ways to help with the pain, making it clear that something is missing in the way we’re diagnosing and treating people,” said the study’s first author Yoni Ashar, Ph.D., assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

Sep 28, 2023

A Fine Probe of Layer Stacking

Posted by in categories: materials, quantum physics

The combination of nuclear magnetic resonance with first-principles calculations uncovers the stacking patterns of layers of a quantum material—information that could enable a deeper understanding of the material’s behavior.

Sep 28, 2023

Quantum Ratchet Made Using an Optical Lattice

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

Researchers have turned an optical lattice into a ratchet that moves atoms from one site to the next.

Sep 28, 2023

Antimatter Feels Gravity Just like Matter

Posted by in category: particle physics

The first direct observations of antihydrogen atoms falling in Earth’s gravity show that they experience gravity in the same way as ordinary matter does.

Sep 28, 2023

Breakthrough Prize for Quantum Field Theorists

Posted by in categories: mathematics, particle physics, quantum physics

The 2024 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics goes to John Cardy and Alexander Zamolodchikov for their work in applying field theory to diverse problems.

Many physicists hear the words “quantum field theory,” and their thoughts turn to electrons, quarks, and Higgs bosons. In fact, the mathematics of quantum fields has been used extensively in other domains outside of particle physics for the past 40 years. The 2024 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics has been awarded to two theorists who were instrumental in repurposing quantum field theory for condensed-matter, statistical physics, and gravitational studies.

“I really want to stress that quantum field theory is not the preserve of particle physics,” says John Cardy, a professor emeritus from the University of Oxford. He shares the Breakthrough Prize with Alexander Zamolodchikov from Stony Brook University, New York.

Sep 28, 2023

What It Takes to Pick a Million Boxes

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

This article was written by Grant Aylward, product manager – warehouse robotics, and Lauren Miller, director of autonomy & behavior for Stretch.

We reached a big milestone with Stretch at the end of August—since shipping to customers in January 2023, Stretch robots have moved more than 1 million customer boxes. We designed Stretch to automate the strenuous work of unloading trailers and containers for greater safety and efficiency, and the demand has been tremendous. Stretch takes on the labor of repetitive lifting and lowering of heavy loads, and keeps the flow of goods moving so warehouses can meet demand. Stretch robots are tackling that work every day with customers like DHL and Maersk.

Stretch remains a very early-stage product. Our first prototype Stretch robot powered on in 2019, and we kicked off our first long-term installation at a customer site just this year. So, how did we get to 1 million boxes with such a young robot? As we developed Stretch over the past few years, we worked closely with potential customers to understand warehouse environments and operations and to refine our product to meet their need. As we shifted from Boston Dynamics’ long legacy of R&D work to commercializing robots, we also put certain structures and practices in place to get the robot out of the lab and into the real world. This involved three major efforts: increasing performance, robustness, and reliability of our robot; focusing on safety; and building amazing partner relationships.

Sep 28, 2023

Amazon invests up to four billion dollars in OpenAI competitor Anthropic

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Amazon is buying itself and its customers’ priority access to Anthropic’s foundational models.

As Amazon announced in a press release, the online retailer and cloud provider plans to invest up to four billion US dollars in the AI startup Anthropic. Amazon has thus secured an important partner in the field of generative AI. Anthropic is best known for its chatbot Claude, which competes with OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

Anthropic moves to the AWS cloud.

Sep 28, 2023

Mapping Early Visual System in Wasps Provides AI and Neural Insights

Posted by in categories: mapping, robotics/AI

Summary: Neuroscientists have achieved a groundbreaking feat by mapping the early visual system of a parasitic wasp, smaller than a grain of salt.

Utilizing advanced imaging technologies, they reconstructed the entire system at the synaptic level, a first for any animal. Despite its miniature size, the wasp’s brain exhibited immense complexity, with functions and neural circuits paralleling larger brains.

This research not only deepens understanding of neural principles but also holds potential for enhancing artificial intelligence.

Sep 28, 2023

Meta’s metaverse is getting an AI makeover

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Meta has a new, AI-centric, strategy to sell the public on its vision for the metaverse.

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