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Jun 15, 2021

CDC now calls coronavirus Delta variant a variant of concern

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now calls the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus, also known as B.1.617.2, a “variant of concern.”

The variant of concern designation is given to strains of the virus that scientists believe are more transmissible or can cause more severe disease. Vaccines, treatments and tests that detect the virus may also be less effective against a variant of concern. Previously, the CDC had considered the Delta variant to be a variant of interest.

Jun 15, 2021

Soaking up the sun: Artificial photosynthesis promises clean, sustainable source of energy

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Humans can do lots of things that plants can’t do. We can walk around, we can talk, we can hear and see and touch. But plants have one major advantage over humans: They can make energy directly from the sun.

That process of turning sunlight directly into —called —may soon be a feat humans are able to mimic to harness the sun’s energy for clean, storable, efficient fuel. If so, it could open a whole new frontier of clean energy. Enough energy hits the earth in the form of sunlight in one hour to meet all human civilization’s energy needs for an entire year.

Yulia Puskhar, a biophysicist and professor of physics in Purdue’s College of Science, may have a way to harness that energy by mimicking plants.

Jun 15, 2021

NASA approved a space telescope that could save Earth from an asteroid

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

NASA finally approves the launch of an infrared asteroid hunting space telescope able to locate threats 30M miles away…

NASA has approved the Near-Earth Object Surveyor space telescope to help the space agency be better prepared for future asteroids that could pose a threat to Earth.

The 20-foot-long infrared telescope would help astronomers and planetary scientists find ‘most’ of the potentially hazardous asteroids and comets that come within 30 million miles of Earth’s orbit, also known as near-Earth objects (NEOs).

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Jun 15, 2021

Worlds most powerful MAGNET is ready to be shipped to France

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

For a nuclear fusion project that will replicate reactions in the SUN to create ‘the ultimate clean energy source…

The world’s largest magnet, a decade in the making, is ready to be shipped to France where it will form the centrepiece of a project to replicate the power of the sun.

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Jun 15, 2021

Scientists Link Gut Bacteria to Neurodegenerative Disorders

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

Possibly one of the most surprising ways in which our mind and body are interlinked with one another is the gut-brain axis, which is a collection of bidirectional biochemical signals which are transmitted between the nervous system of the body and the digestive system. This is understandably surprising, as the functions of these two distinct parts of the body are completely different to one another. The gut is unlike most other parts of the body, because a large part of its function and health is dictated by cells which are not part of the body, but are instead bacteria cells which colonise the inner lining of the gut.

It has been known for a while now that the makeup of the gut flora changes as we age, which has in turn been linked to cognitive decline through the disruption of the aforementioned gut-brain axis. It has even been shown that faecal transplants can help to correct this cognitive decline in mice, and has been shown to be able to generate a direct positive effect on cognitive function.

Further research into this phenomenon has revealed that the graduate degradation of the gut flora, or more commonly referred to as the ‘good’ bacteria inside the gut has revealed that these bacteria play an important role at keeping unwanted bacteria in check. Researchers at the University Of Florida have found that certain types of ‘good’ bacteria inside the gut produce a chemical known as butyrate, which supresses the growth of pathogenic bacteria such as Enterobacteriaceae. These pathogenic, or ‘bad’ bacteria effect the body in numerous ways, such as interfering with the protein folding, resulting in a build up of toxic and mis-formed proteins within the body. This disruption to protein folding causes problems all across the body, including in the muscles, intestines, gonads, and most notably the brain and central nervous system.

Jun 15, 2021

Readily3D develops 3D bioprinted mini pancreas for diabetes drug testing

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, bioprinting, biotech/medical

Volumetric 3D bioprinter manufacturer and EPFL spin-out Readily3D has taken the first step towards developing a 3D printed living model of the human pancreas for testing diabetes medicines.

Readily3D’s novel technology is being deployed within the EU-funded Enlight project and is reportedly capable of 3D printing a biological tissue containing human stem cells in just 30 seconds.

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Jun 15, 2021

Artificial Hearts: Could They Be the Key to Immortality?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

With heart donors in short supply, artificial hearts have literally been a lifesaver for many heart patients. Here’s all you need to know about them.

Jun 15, 2021

This Maglev Heart Could Keep Cardiac Patients Alive

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Circa 2019 o,.o.

For more than 50 years, cardiac surgeons and biomedical engineers at the Texas Heart Institute (THI) have been questing for an artificial heart that can fully replace natural ones, which are in terribly short supply for transplant. They’ve seen their share of metal and plastic contraptions that used a variety of pumping mechanisms, but none of these machines could match the astounding performance of the human heart.

In April 2019, the possible culmination of that long quest was inside a shaggy brown cow, which stood peacefully chewing its cud at a THI research facility in Houston. The animal was part of a 90-day trial in which it lived its life powered by an implanted artificial heart made by our company, Bivacor. Throughout the trial, the calf stayed healthy and energetic, and gained weight at a normal rate. It even jogged on a treadmill for 30-minute stretches.

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Jun 15, 2021

Heart on a chip: Micro-nanofabrication and microfluidics steering the future of cardiac tissue engineering

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, evolution, nanotechnology

Circa 2019

The evolution of micro and nanofabrication approaches significantly spurred the advancements of cardiac tissue engineering over the last decades. Engineering in the micro and nanoscale allows for the rebuilding of heart tissues using cardiomyocytes. The breakthrough of human induced pluripotent stem cells expanded this field rendering the development of human tissues from adult cells possible, thus avoiding the ethical issues of the usage of embryonic stem cells but also creating patient-specific human engineered tissues. In the case of the heart, the combination of cardiomyocytes derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells and micro/nano engineering devices gave rise to new therapeutic approaches of cardiac diseases. In this review, we survey the micro and nanofabrication methods used for cardiac tissue engineering, ranging from clean room-based patterning (such as photolithography and plasma etching) to electrospinning and additive manufacturing. Subsequently, we report on the main approaches of microfluidics for cardiac culture systems, the so-called “Heart on a Chip”, and we assess their efficacy for future development of cardiac disease modeling and drug screening platforms.

Jun 15, 2021

3D bioprinted heart provides new tool for surgeons

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, bioprinting, biotech/medical, engineering

Circa 2020

The FRESH technique of 3D bioprinting was invented in Feinberg’s lab to fill an unfilled demand for 3D printed soft polymers, which lack the rigidity to stand unsupported as in a normal print. FRESH 3D printing uses a needle to inject bioink into a bath of soft hydrogel, which supports the object as it prints. Once finished, a simple application of heat causes the hydrogel to melt away, leaving only the 3D bioprinted object.

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