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Nov 3, 2017

Researchers develop a gel for growing large quantities of neural stem cells

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

In many ways, stem cells are the divas of the biological world. On the one hand, these natural shapeshifters can transform themselves into virtually any type of cell in the body. In that regard, they hold the promise of being able to cure ills ranging from spinal cord injuries to cancers.

On the other hand, said associate professor of materials science and engineering Sarah Heilshorn, , like divas, are also mercurial and difficult to work with.

“We just don’t know how to efficiently and effectively grow massive numbers of stem and keep them in their regenerative state,” Heilshorn said. “This has prevented us from making more progress in creating therapies.”

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Nov 3, 2017

Drug ‘melts away’ fat inside arteries

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, materials

A new drug being trialled for treating breast cancer and diabetes has been shown to ‘melt away’ the fat inside arteries that can cause heart attacks and strokes.

Researchers from the University of Aberdeen, using pre-clinical mouse models, showed that just a single dose of the drug (Trodusquemine) completely reversed the effects of a disease that causes a host of heart problems.

Atherosclerosis is the build-up of fatty material inside the arteries.

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Nov 3, 2017

The Eve of the Self-Driving Revolution

Posted by in categories: internet, mobile phones, robotics/AI

The big roll out is set for 2021–2022.


A decade ago, there wasn’t much talk about self-driving cars or autonomous-cars, but Toyota and Lexus were setting the stage with their self-parking cars. They aired television commercials showing how cars magically parallel-parked themselves. That was before any mention of the first iPhone or Android. At the time, it seemed amazing, but that was nothing compared to what’s coming next.

The self-parking revolution that spread throughout the automotive industry over the last decade is now expanding. There is more technology in cars today than ever before: navigation systems, automatic updates wirelessly downloaded to the dashboard, in-cabin WiFi and much more.

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Nov 3, 2017

Transforming cities with technology

Posted by in categories: business, transportation

Click here to subscribe to The Economist on YouTube: http://econ.trib.al/rWl91R7

By 2050, two thirds of the world’s population will live in cities. Urbanisation is happening faster than at any time in human history.

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Nov 3, 2017

Scientists decipher mechanisms underlying the biology of aging

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, computing, life extension

Understanding the factors that control aging has been one of humanity’s endless pursuits, from the mystical fountain of youth to practical healthful regimens to prolong life expectancy.

A team of scientists at the University of California San Diego has helped decipher the dynamics that control how our cells age, and with it implications for extending human longevity. As described in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a group led by biologist Nan Hao employed a combination of technologies in engineering, computer science and biology to analyze molecular processes that influence aging.

As cells age, damage in their DNA accumulates over time, leading to decay in normal functioning and eventually resulting in death. A natural biochemical process known as “chromatin silencing” helps protect DNA from damage. The silencing process converts specific regions of DNA from a loose, open state into a closed one, thus shielding DNA regions. Among the molecules that promote silencing is a family of proteins—broadly conserved from bacteria to humans—known as sirtuins. In recent years, chemical activators of sirtuins have received much attention and are being marketed as nutraceuticals to aid chromatin silencing in the hopes of slowing the aging process.

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Nov 2, 2017

Landmark editorial identifies microbes as major cause of Alzheimer’s Disease

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

A worldwide team of senior scientists and clinicians have come together to produce an editorial which indicates that certain microbes — a specific virus and two specific types of bacteria — are major causes of Alzheimer’s Disease. Their paper, which has been published online in the highly regarded peer-reviewed journal, Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, stresses the urgent need for further research — and more importantly, for clinical trials of anti-microbial and related agents to treat the disease.

This major call for action is based on substantial published evidence into Alzheimer’s. The team’s landmark editorial summarises the abundant data implicating these microbes, but until now this work has been largely ignored or dismissed as controversial — despite the absence of evidence to the contrary. Therefore, proposals for the funding of clinical trials have been refused, despite the fact that over 400 unsuccessful clinical trials for Alzheimer’s based on other concepts were carried out over a recent 10-year period.

Opposition to the microbial concepts resembles the fierce resistance to studies some years ago which showed that viruses cause certain types of cancer, and that a bacterium causes stomach ulcers. Those concepts were ultimately proved valid, leading to successful clinical trials and the subsequent development of appropriate treatments.

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Nov 2, 2017

Will AI job-stealing robots lead to a human revolution?

Posted by in categories: employment, government, law, robotics/AI

The rise of artificial intelligence threatens to eliminate jobs once considered impossible to automate. One series of papers by Oxford researchers ranks jobs by their estimated susceptibility to automation. Among those most rated likely to vanish – because they involve work that AI can increasingly accomplish less expensively – are real estate brokers, insurance claims adjusters and sports referees. Could anything good come of mass unemployment?

History tells us that when technology squeezes people out of jobs, they revolt. Industrialization in 19th-century England, for example, gave rise to Luddite activism. Unfortunately, history also suggests that protests of the marginalized don’t solve the underlying problem. The British Army suppressed the Luddites; the government passed laws to protect factory equipment and industrialization marched on. As Marx went on to theorize, in a capitalist society, the government is co-opted by the wealthy classes.

What happens, though, when that skilled upper class is itself put out of a job? That’s the question that mass AI-based unemployment would pose. What would happen when well-educated lawyers, journalists, bureaucrats, corporate managers and other creative-class knowledge workers can’t find work? Could the rise of AI lead to a white-collar rebellion?

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Nov 2, 2017

Unbelievably Fast Processing for Nanoelectronics

Posted by in categories: electronics, nanotechnology

As luck would have it, we may be on the verge of another revolution in miniaturization, this time through nanoelectronics.

Creating electronics at the nanoscale is difficult and has faced limitations but those limitations may be a thing of the past. Researchers from the National University of Singapore have developed a “converter” for nanoelectronic devices that could allow them to use plasmons for data processing.

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Nov 2, 2017

How robot workers will improve our lives

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Click on photo to start video.

Robot workers will improve life for everyone, not just the rich, according to Tim O’Reilly.

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Nov 2, 2017

I Am The Lifespan – Thank You for Making Longevity Month 2017 a Success

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

Thank you to everyone who took part in Longevity Month 2017!


Over the past few years, there has been a tradition of longevity researchers and activists around the world to organize events on or around October 1 — the UN International Day of Older Persons, or Longevity Day. In recent years, this has been extended to include the entire month of October as a Longevity Month, in which activists organize various activities and events to raise awareness for aging research.

This year, we have continued the tradition with our Longevity Month “I am the Lifespan” event, where people tell us their stories and how they got interested in aging research and doing something about age-related diseases. We are pleased to say that the response to our Longevity Month event has been a great success, with lots of videos being sent in by people from the community. We have been showcasing them on our Facebook event page during the last few weeks, and as the event has now ended, we wanted to share a few more with you and tell you a little bit about some of the participants.

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