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Feb 13, 2023

Scientists regenerate kidneys to reverse diabetes damage in mice

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

An international team of scientists has found a way to regenerate kidneys damaged by disease, restoring function and preventing kidney failure. The discovery could drastically improve treatments for complications stemming from diabetes and other diseases.

Diabetes causes many problems in the body, but one of the most prevalent is kidney disease. Extended periods of elevated blood sugar can damage nephrons, the tiny filtering units in the kidneys, which can lead to kidney dysfunction and eventually failure.

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Feb 12, 2023

Mark Zuckerberg demos a tool for building virtual worlds using voice commands

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Meta, formerly known as Facebook, today showed off a prototype of an AI system that enables people to generate or import things into a virtual world just by using voice commands. The company sees the tool, which is called “Builder Bot,” as an “exploratory concept” that shows AI’s potential for creating new worlds in the metaverse. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg showed off the prototype at the Meta AI: Inside the Lab event on Wednesday in a pre-recorded demo video.

In the video, Zuckerberg explained the process of building parts of a virtual world by describing them. He begins with the prompt, “let’s go to a park.” The bot then creates a 3D landscape of a park with green grass and trees. Zuckerberg then says “actually, let’s go to the beach,” after which the bot replaces the current landscape with a new one of sand and water. He then says he wants to add clouds and notes that everything is AI-generated. Zuckerberg then changes up the landscape by saying he’d rather have altocumulus clouds, which is meant to demonstrate how specific the voice commands can be.

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Feb 9, 2023

Researchers develop new method for specializing and purifying human stem cells into interneurons

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

Injury to the spinal cord often leads life changing disability, with decreased or complete loss of sensation and movement below the site of injury. From drugs to transplantation, there are many scientific advances aiming to restore function following spinal cord injury.

One promising approach is the use of stem cell derived neurons to replace those damaged. New research from the Centre for Gene Therapy & Regenerative Medicine and Centre for Neurodevelopment at King’s College London hopes to improve on this approach by providing pure populations of neurons made from stem cells.

The spinal cord is a delicate structure, with neurons carry messages from your brain to the rest of your body to allow movement and sensation. Integral to this system are interneurons, or the cells that relay information between your brain and other neurons. Research has previously shown that transplanting a class of interneurons, ventral spinal interneurons, to treat spinal cord injury in animal models provides promising recovery of sensory and motor function.

Feb 9, 2023

Transplanting a Gene Common in Centenarians Could Rewind The Heart’s Age

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

Age catches up with us all eventually, but in some people the right genes can make that chase into our twilight years a relatively leisurely one.

A few years ago Italian researchers discovered something special about people who live well into their 90s and beyond: they commonly have a version of a gene called BPIFB4 that protects against cardiovascular damage and keeps the heart in good shape for a longer period of time.

By introducing the mutated gene into older mice, the scientists have now seen how the variant rewinds markers of biological heart aging by the equivalent of more than 10 human years.

Feb 9, 2023

Physicists want to use gravitational waves to ‘see’ the beginning of time

Posted by in category: physics

Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space. Waves that originated in the early universe could carry important information about the phenomena that occurred there.

Feb 8, 2023

Where is the mind within the brain? Transient selection of subnetworks by metabotropic receptors and G protein-gated ion channels

Posted by in category: neuroscience

I am proud to announce that today came out probably my most important scientific paper. I propose a whole new paradigm in neuroscience. To understand the mind, synapses are not so important any more. Instead, critical are some other type of proteins on the neural membrane. These proteins have the capability to transiently select subnetworks that will be functional in the next few seconds or minutes. The paradigm proposes that cognition emerges from those transient subnetwork selections (and not from network computations of the classical, so-called connectionist paradigm). The proteins in question are metabotropic receptor and G protein-gated ion channels. Simply put, we think with those proteins. A result of a thought is a new state of network pathways, not the activity of neurons.

One can download the paper here:


Perhaps the most important question posed by brain research is: How the brain gives rise to the mind. To answer this question, we have primarily relied on the connectionist paradigm: The brain’s entire knowledge and thinking skills are thought to be stored in the connections; and the mental operations are executed by network computations. I propose here an alternative paradigm: Our knowledge and skills are stored in metabotropic receptors (MRs) and the G protein-gated ion channels (GPGICs). Here, mental operations are assumed to be executed by the functions of MRs and GPGICs. As GPGICs have the capacity to close or open branches of dendritic trees and axon terminals, their states transiently re-route neural activity throughout the nervous system. First, MRs detect ligands that signal the need to activate GPGICs. Next, GPGICs transiently select a subnetwork within the brain. The process of selecting this new subnetwork is what constitutes a mental operation – be it in a form of directed attention, perception or making a decision. Synaptic connections and network computations play only a secondary role, supporting MRs and GPGICs. According to this new paradigm, the mind emerges within the brain as the function of MRs and GPGICs whose primary function is to continually select the pathways over which neural activity will be allowed to pass. It is argued that MRs and GPGICs solve the scaling problem of intelligence from which the connectionism paradigm suffers.

Feb 8, 2023

AI is deciphering a 2,000-year-old ‘lost book’ describing life after Alexander the Great

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

When Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79, it carbonized a book on rulers who followed Alexander the Great. Now, machine learning is deciphering the “lost book.”

Feb 7, 2023

MRI scans reveal changes in brains wiring after cold water shock

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

𝐅𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐬𝐭 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞, 𝐚 𝐭𝐞𝐚𝐦 𝐨𝐟 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐡𝐚𝐬 𝐨𝐛𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐯𝐞𝐝 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐝𝐢𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐚 𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐨𝐧’𝐬 𝐛𝐨𝐝𝐲 𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐜𝐨𝐥𝐝 𝐰𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐫. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐰𝐡𝐲 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐨𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐧 𝐟𝐞𝐞𝐥 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐮𝐩𝐛𝐞𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐫𝐭 𝐚𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐬𝐰𝐢𝐦𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞 𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐜𝐨𝐥𝐝 𝐛𝐚𝐭𝐡𝐬.

During a research trial, the results of which are published in the journal Biology, healthy volunteers were given a functional MRI (fMRI) scan immediately after bathing in cold water. These scans revealed changes in the connectivity between the parts of the brain that process emotions.


For the first time, a team of researchers has observed changes in how different parts of the brain interact with each other after a person’s body is immersed in cold water. The findings explain why people often feel more upbeat and alert after swimming outside or taking cold baths.

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Feb 7, 2023

Microsoft launches the new Bing, with ChatGPT built in

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

“It’s a new day for search,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said today. For 13 years now, Microsoft has tried to get you to use Bing, but you didn’t want to, so its global market share remains in the low single digits. Now, the company is pulling out all the stops in an effort to better compete with Google. Today, at a press event in Redmond, Washington, Microsoft announced its long-rumored integration of OpenAI’s GPT-4 model into Bing, providing a ChatGPT-like experience within the search engine.

The company is also launching a new version of its Edge browser today, with these new AI features built into the sidebar.

Feb 6, 2023

Prolific autism researcher has two dozen papers retracted

Posted by in category: neuroscience

𝐏𝐫𝐨𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐢𝐜 𝐚𝐮𝐭𝐢𝐬𝐦 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐡𝐚𝐬 𝐭𝐰𝐨 𝐝𝐨𝐳𝐞𝐧 𝐩𝐚𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐫𝐞𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐝

An autism researcher lost two dozen papers to retraction in January, eight years after the publisher was made aware of potentially troubling editorial practices. Elsevier, the publisher, cited undisclosed conflicts of interest, duplicated methodology and a “compromised” peer-review process as reasons for the retractions.

The papers were published in Research in Developmental Disabilities and Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders between 2013 and 2014 — a period when Johnny Matson, then professor of psychology at Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge and an author on all of the papers, was editor-in-chief of both journals.

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