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Dec 5, 2023

Reviving Minds: Implant Restores Cognitive Functions After Brain Injury

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

A new technique using deep brain stimulation tailored to each patient exceeded researchers’ expectations in treating the cognitive impairments from moderate to severe traumatic brain injury.

In 2001, Gina Arata was in her final semester of college, planning to apply to law school, when she suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident. The injury so compromised her ability to focus she struggled in a job sorting mail.

“I couldn’t remember anything,” said Arata, who lives in Modesto with her parents. “My left foot dropped, so I’d trip over things all the time. I was always in car accidents. And I had no filter — I’d get pissed off really easily.”

Dec 5, 2023

Stress Changes More Genes in the Mouse Brain Than a Head Injury

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

So our experiences or how we handle those experiences may have an effect on the expression of genes in our body.

A surprising thing happened when researchers began exploring whether early-life stress compounds the effects of a childhood head injury on health and behavior later in life: In an animal study, stress changed the activation level of many more genes in the brain than were changed by a bump to the head.

It’s already known that head injuries are common in young kids, especially from falling, and can be linked to mood disorders and social difficulties that emerge later in life. Adverse childhood experiences are also very common, and can raise risk for disease, mental illness and substance misuse in adulthood.

Continue reading “Stress Changes More Genes in the Mouse Brain Than a Head Injury” »

Dec 5, 2023

Linguistics study claims that languages are louder in the tropics

Posted by in category: transportation

Languages are a key factor in human societies. They connect people, serve as a vehicle to pass on knowledge and ideas, but they also distinguish between different groups of people. Languages can therefore tell us a lot about the societies that use them. As languages are constantly changing, it is important to know the factors that play a role in this. Scientists can then reconstruct past processes on the basis of languages.

In a study published today (Dec. 5) in the online journal PNAS Nexus, Kiel linguist Dr. Søren Wichmann, together with colleagues from China, demonstrates that average ambient temperatures influence the loudness of certain speech sounds. “Generally speaking, languages in warmer regions are louder than those in colder regions,” says Dr. Wichmann.

The basic idea behind the study is that we are surrounded by air when we speak and listen. Spoken words are transmitted through the air as . The physical properties of air therefore influence how easy it is to produce and hear speech.

Dec 5, 2023

Replacing bone saws with smart lasers

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing

Using lasers rather than scalpels and saws has many benefits in surgery. Yet they are only used in isolated cases. But that could be about to change: laser systems are getting smarter and better all the time, as a research team from the University of Basel demonstrates.

Even back in 1957, when Gordon Gould coined the term “” (short for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation”), he was already imagining the possibilities for its use in medicine. Surgeons would be able to make precise incisions without even touching the patient.

Before that could happen, however, there were—and still are—many hurdles to overcome. Manually controlled light sources have been superseded by mechanical and computer-controlled systems to reduce injuries caused by clumsy handling. Switching from continuous beams to pulsed lasers, which turn themselves rapidly on and off, has reduced the heat they produce. Technical advances allowed lasers to enter the world of ophthalmology in the early 1990s. Since then, the technology has moved on in other areas of medicine, too, but only in relatively few applications has it replaced the scalpel and the bone saw.

Dec 5, 2023

Lightning sparks scientists’ design of ultraviolet-C device for food sanitization

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food

Scientists at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have developed a portable, self-powered ultraviolet-C device called the Tribo-sanitizer that can inactivate two of the bacteria responsible for many foodborne illnesses and deaths.

The Tribo-sanitizer’s UVC lamp is powered using the —electricity that is generated when two dissimilar materials come into contact. In tests, the Tribo-sanitizer successfully inactivated two potentially deadly foodborne bacteria, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Listeria monocytogenes, mainly by damaging their DNA, according to findings published in the journal Nano Energy.

The bacteria selected as testing targets are two of the most common causes of serious foodborne illness outbreaks in the U.S. Escherichia coli produces toxins that can cause severe abdominal cramps, fever, bloody diarrhea, and kidney failure, and Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, which has the highest rates of hospitalization and mortality of any foodborne illness.

Dec 5, 2023

AI approach offers solutions to tricky optimization problems, from global package routing to power grid operation

Posted by in categories: information science, robotics/AI

While Santa Claus may have a magical sleigh and nine plucky reindeer to help him deliver presents, for companies like FedEx, the optimization problem of efficiently routing holiday packages is so complicated that they often employ specialized software to find a solution.

This software, called a mixed-integer linear programming (MILP) solver, splits a massive optimization problem into and uses generic algorithms to try and find the best solution. However, the solver could take hours—or even days—to arrive at a solution.

The process is so onerous that a company often must stop the software partway through, accepting a solution that is not ideal but the best that could be generated in a set amount of time.

Dec 5, 2023

New warm Jupiter exoplanet discovered

Posted by in category: space travel

An international team of astronomers has discovered a new warm Jupiter exoplanet orbiting a distant G-type star. The newfound alien world, designated TOI-4515 b, is similar in size to Jupiter but about two times more massive than it. The finding was detailed in a paper published Nov. 20 on the pre-print server arXiv.

TESS is currently performing a survey of approximately 200,000 of the brightest nearby stars with the main goal of searching for transiting exoplanets. So far, it has identified nearly 7,000 candidate exoplanets (TESS Objects of Interest, or TOI), of which 402 have been confirmed.

Warm Jupiters are gas with orbital periods between 10 and 200 days. This makes them challenging targets for transit detection and radial velocity (RV) follow-up studies compared to their shorter-orbit counterparts, dubbed hot Jupiters.

Dec 5, 2023

Meta, IBM launch alliance to keep AI’s future open

Posted by in categories: futurism, robotics/AI

Meta, IBM and dozens of startups and researchers have launched an alliance defending a more open and collaborative method to develop artificial intelligence, setting up a clash with OpenAI and Google over the technology’s future.

The philosophical debate has become the central battleground for AI’s future, with increasing concern that Microsoft-backed OpenAI and Google will alone underpin a technology that could become increasingly crucial to our everyday lives.

“This is a pivotal moment in defining the future of AI,” said IBM CEO Arvind Krishna in the statement announcing the AI Alliance on Tuesday.

Dec 5, 2023

Laser additive manufacturing: Listening for defects as they happen

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, information science, robotics/AI

Researchers from EPFL have resolved a long-standing debate surrounding laser additive manufacturing processes with a pioneering approach to defect detection.

The progression of laser additive —which involves 3D printing of metallic objects using powders and lasers—has often been hindered by unexpected defects. Traditional monitoring methods, such as and machine learning algorithms, have shown significant limitations. They often either overlook defects or misinterpret them, making precision manufacturing elusive and barring the technique from essential industries like aeronautics and automotive manufacturing.

But what if it were possible to detect defects in real-time based on the differences in the sound the printer makes during a flawless print and one with irregularities? Up until now, the prospect of detecting these defects this way was deemed unreliable. However, researchers at the Laboratory of Thermomechanical Metallurgy (LMTM) at EPFL’s School of Engineering have successfully challenged this assumption.

Dec 5, 2023

Recycling concrete using carbon can reduce emissions and waste

Posted by in categories: life extension, sustainability

Amid the rubble of large-sale earthquake, war or other disaster—and as aging buildings and infrastructure are replaced—mountains of concrete are often taken to landfill or pounded into rubble for roads.

For a more sustainable approach, Flinders University and The University of Melbourne experts are developing a ‘value add’ for old broken concrete to ‘upcycling’ coarse aggregate to produce a strong, durable and workable concrete using a small amount of a secret ingredient—graphene.

The novel method is gaining ground every day as new graphene deposits are discovered and mined—bringing the price of that raw material down as the cost of cement and aggregates continues to rise, the researchers say.

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