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Mar 3, 2024

Scientists identify new ‘regulatory’ function of learning and memory gene common to all mammalian brain cells

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

Johns Hopkins Medicine neuroscientists say they have found a new function for the SYNGAP1 gene, a DNA sequence that controls memory and learning in mammals, including mice and humans.

The finding, published in Science, may affect the development of therapies designed for children with SYNGAP1 mutations, who have a range of neurodevelopmental disorders marked by intellectual disability, autistic-like behaviors, and epilepsy.

In general, SYNGAP1, as well as other genes, control learning and memory by making proteins that regulate the strength of synapses—the connections between brain cells.

Mar 3, 2024

Learning and memory problems in Down syndrome linked to alterations in genome’s ‘dark matter’

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

Researchers at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) have found that the Snhg11 gene is critical for the function and formation of neurons in the hippocampus. Experiments with mice and human tissues revealed that the gene is less active in brains with Down syndrome, potentially contributing to the memory deficits observed in people living with the condition. The findings are published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

Traditionally, much of the focus in genomics has been on , which in humans constitute around just 2% of the entire genome. The rest is “dark matter,” including vast stretches of non-coding DNA sequences that do not produce proteins but are increasingly recognized for their roles in regulating gene activity, influencing genetic stability, and contributing to complex traits and diseases.

Snhg11 is one gene found in the dark matter. It is a long non-coding RNA, a special type of RNA molecule that is transcribed from DNA but does not encode for a protein. Non-coding RNAs are important regulators of normal biological processes, and their abnormal expression has been previously linked to the development of human diseases, such as cancer. The study is the first evidence that a non-coding RNA plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of Down syndrome.

Mar 3, 2024

Neural networks made of light: Research team develops AI system in optical fibers

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nuclear energy, robotics/AI

Artificial intelligence is pivotal in advancing biotechnology and medical procedures, ranging from cancer diagnostics to the creation of new antibiotics. However, the ecological footprint of large-scale AI systems is substantial. For instance, training extensive language models like ChatGPT-3 requires several gigawatt-hours of energy—enough to power an average nuclear power plant at full capacity for several hours.

Prof. Mario Chemnitz and Dr. Bennet Fischer from Leibniz IPHT in Jena, in collaboration with their international team, have devised an innovative method to develop potentially energy-efficient computing systems that forego the need for extensive electronic infrastructure.

They harness the unique interactions of light waves within optical fibers to forge an advanced artificial learning system. Unlike traditional systems that rely on computer chips containing thousands of , their system uses a single optical fiber.

Mar 3, 2024

This Electric Flying Car Could Take You to Work Next Year—and Then Fit in Your Garage

Posted by in category: transportation

Doroni’s H1X should help you beat traffic with a 120 mph top speed.

Mar 3, 2024

‘Dune’s’ desert planet would be possible, according to scientists

Posted by in category: futurism

If you are not clued up on Arrakis it is a desert planet that is home to a valuable mineral in the Dune universe called ‘spice’ which is mined using giant harvesters. As you can imagine being a desert planet isn’t a desirable place to be and to make it worse, water is such a scarce commodity that people have to wear suits that will harness the body’s water so it can be replenished and drank.

If that wasn’t bad enough, there are also gigantic sandworms that roam the deserts of Arrakis, which to put it bluntly, you just don’t want to encounter.

Mar 3, 2024

Study confirms benefits of auricular acupuncture to treat depression

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

Auricular acupuncture, recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and offered as an integrative practice since 2006 by the SUS (Sistema Única de Saúde), Brazil’s national health service, is safe for patients with depression and effectively reduces symptoms of this mental health disorder, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of São Paulo (USP) and the University of Southern Santa Catarina (UNISUL).

The results of the study are reported in an article published in the journal JAMA Network Open. They confirm the efficacy of auricular acupuncture as an for depression, a for which rising numbers are seeking care from the SUS, judging from data provided by the Ministry of Health.

Depression is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide, according to the WHO. In Brazil, the lifetime prevalence of depression is 15.5%, one of the highest globally, and depressive disorders account for 10.3% of years of life lost (YLL), a measure of premature mortality calculated by subtracting the age at death from the longest possible life expectancy for a person at that age.

Mar 3, 2024

Photonic neuromorphic architecture for tens-of-task lifelong learning

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Inspired by human brain for multi-task continual learning, a generalized photonic neuromorphic architecture (L2ONN) is proposed to model physical-driven light sparsity and parallelism, towards reconfigurable and scalable lifelong learning.

Mar 3, 2024

Edible electronics are being developed to assist rescue operations and go inside hospital patients

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

Professor Dario Floreano is a Swiss-Italian roboticist and engineer engaged in a bold research venture: the creation of edible robots and digestible electronics.

However counterintuitive it may seem, combining and robotic science could yield enormous benefits. These range from airlifts of food to advanced health monitoring.

Mar 3, 2024

Mixed-dimensional transistors enable high-performance multifunctional electronic devices

Posted by in categories: computing, economics, nanotechnology

The downscaling of electronic devices, such as transistors, has reached a plateau, posing challenges for semiconductor fabrication. However, a research team led by materials scientists from City University of Hong Kong (CityU) recently discovered a new strategy for developing highly versatile electronics with outstanding performance using transistors made of mixed-dimensional nanowires and nanoflakes.

This innovation paves the way for simplified chip circuit design, offering versatility and low power dissipation in future electronics. The findings, titled “Multifunctional anti-ambipolar electronics enabled by mixed-dimensional 1D GaAsSb/2D MoS2 heterotransistors,” were published in the journal Device.

In recent decades, as the continuous scaling of transistors and integrated circuits has started to reach physical and economic limits, fabricating in a controllable and cost-effective manner has become challenging. Further scaling of transistor size increases current leakage and thus power dissipation. Complex wiring networks also have an adverse impact on power consumption.

Mar 3, 2024

This is what it looks like to reenter Earth’s atmosphere from a space capsule’s POV

Posted by in category: space

Varda Space Industries has shared incredible footage captured by a camera on its W-1 capsule during its reentry through Earth’s atmosphere on February 21.

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