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Aug 7, 2019

Heart Inflammation Causes a Shift in Cell Fate Distribution

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

A study on animals with autoimmune myocarditis was recently released in the journal Cell Reports [1], showing the impact of heart inflammation on the types of immune cell that are formed in the heart. This could have a significant impact on our understanding of cardiac aging.

What is myocarditis and how is it relevant to aging?

Myocarditis is a disease involving inflammation of the heart. It mainly influences people between the ages of 20 and 51 [2] [3]; however, the elderly are still affected to some degree. The disease has been known to cause serious complications, such as heart attack and heart failure.

Aug 7, 2019

Mouse Genetics Shape the Gut Microbiome More than Their Environment

Posted by in categories: biological, genetics


Genetics hold far more sway over the mouse microbiome than transient environmental exposures, researchers reported July 26 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. The results appear to contradict previous studies in humans that have found environmental factors to be more influential than genetics, and they add to an ongoing dialogue in the microbiome research community over how much control we hold over the bacterial communities in our guts.

Hila Korach-Rechtman, a microbiologist at the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, set out to identify the microbes in mice that become a fixture in the gut after being introduced through the environment. “We really wanted to find these bacteria that can be transferred and remain in the host, even though they have different genetics,” she says.

Aug 7, 2019

DARPA Is Taking On the Deepfake Problem

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, security

The Defense Department is looking to build tools that can quickly detect deepfakes and other manipulated media amid the growing threat of “large-scale, automated disinformation attacks.”

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency on Tuesday announced it would host a proposers day for an upcoming initiative focused on curbing the spread of malicious deepfakes, shockingly realistic but forged images, audio and videos generated by artificial intelligence. Under the Semantic Forensics program, or SemaFor, researchers aim to help computers use common sense and logical reasoning to detect manipulated media.

As global adversaries enhance their technological capabilities, deepfakes and other advanced disinformation tactics are becoming a top concern for the national security community. Russia already showed the potential of fake media to sway public opinion during the 2016 election, and as deepfake tools become more advanced and readily available, experts worry bad actors will use the tech to fuel increasingly powerful influence campaigns.

Aug 7, 2019

The intestinal microbiota fuelling metabolic inflammation

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Low-grade inflammation is the hallmark of metabolic disorders such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Emerging evidence indicates that these disorders are characterized by alterations in the intestinal microbiota composition and its metabolites, which translocate from the gut across a disrupted intestinal barrier to affect various metabolic organs, such as the liver and adipose tissue, thereby contributing to metabolic inflammation. Here, we discuss some of the recently identified mechanisms that showcase the role of the intestinal microbiota and barrier dysfunction in metabolic inflammation. We propose a concept by which the gut microbiota fuels metabolic inflammation and dysregulation.

Aug 7, 2019

World’s thinnest gold ‘just two Aatoms thick’ created in lab – and it’s a million times thinner than a finger nail

Posted by in category: particle physics

GOLD that’s just two atoms thick has been created in a lab by British scientists.

The “world’s thinnest gold” is one million times thinner than a fingernail – and is so thin, it’s technically regarded as “two dimensional”.

The official measurement is 0.47 nanometres, made possible because the gold is made up of just two atoms sitting on top of each other.

Aug 7, 2019

Japan approves experiments splicing human DNA with animal embryos

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, government

It seems like the next step in human evolution (or animal evolution depending on where you’re standing) will be man-made. According to a recent report by Nature, Japan’s government has just approved experiments that will splice human cells into animal embryos, and then implant said embryos into surrogate animals, in an effort to grow human-congruent organs that can be used for transplant purposes.

Heading the experiments at the University of Tokyo is Hiromitsu Nakauchi, who plans to nurture human cells in rat and mouse embryos before moving the developing fetus to yet another animal for gestation. The hope is that the embryo will develop into an animal with human cells, meaning that the organs inside the newly-grown beast could then be surgically placed inside sick individuals that need new hearts, livers, pancreases — you name it.

Aug 7, 2019

Have we found the true cause of diabetes, stroke and Alzheimer’s?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

The diseases most people die of have been attributed to unhealthy lifestyles. But evidence now suggests bacteria are to blame, heralding a revolution in medicine.

Aug 7, 2019

MIT breaks new ground in AI with ‘deep’ knitting, yes, knitting

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

What’s the point of teaching a computer how to knit? MIT researchers found it goes beyond just some nice gloves and scarves, to a window into deep learning forms of artificial intelligence.

Aug 7, 2019

Physicists measure how electrons in transition metals get redistributed within fraction of optical oscillation cycle

Posted by in categories: chemistry, computing, particle physics

Researchers in the Department of Physics of ETH Zurich have measured how electrons in so-called transition metals get redistributed within a fraction of an optical oscillation cycle. They observed the electrons getting concentrated around the metal atoms within less than a femtosecond. This regrouping might influence important macroscopic properties of these compounds, such as electrical conductivity, magnetization or optical characteristics. The work therefore suggests a route to controlling these properties on extremely fast time scales.

The distribution of electrons in , which represent a large part of the periodic table of chemical elements, is responsible for many of their interesting properties used in applications. The magnetic properties of some of the members of this group of materials are, for example, exploited for data storage, whereas others exhibit excellent electrical conductivity. Transition metals also have a decisive role for novel materials with more exotic behaviour that results from strong interactions between the electrons. Such materials are promising candidates for a wide range of future applications.

In their experiment, whose results they report in a paper published today in Nature Physics, Mikhail Volkov and colleagues in the Ultrafast Laser Physics group of Prof. Ursula Keller exposed thin foils of the transition metals titanium and zirconium to short laser pulses. They observed the redistribution of the electrons by recording the resulting changes in optical properties of the metals in the extreme ultraviolet (XUV) domain. In order to be able to follow the induced changes with sufficient temporal resolution, XUV pulses with a duration of only few hundred attoseconds (10-18 s) were employed in the measurement. By comparing the experimental results with theoretical models, developed by the group of Prof. Angel Rubio at the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg, the researchers established that the change unfolding in less than a femtosecond (10-15 s) is due to a modification of the electron localization in the vicinity of the metal atoms.

Aug 7, 2019

Whole Body Vibration Shakes Up Microbiome and Reduces Inflammation in Diabetes

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health

Prior studies in mice have shown that whole body vibration (WBV) can mimic some of the positive effects on health of exercise, and even reverse some of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes. New research by a team at the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) and Dental College of Georgia (DCG) at Augusta University has provided new clues as to the mechanisms involved. Their studies in a mouse model of obesity showed that WBV results in increased levels of inflammation-suppressing immune system macrophages, and high numbers of gut bacteria that makes short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which can help the body better utilize glucose.

The findings “… support the notion that WBV has the potential to alter the microbiota in a way that triggers innate and mucosal immunity to produce anti-inflammatory responses, down-regulating the hyper-inflammatory state and reversing the adverse consequences,” the investigators wrote in their published paper in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. “More studies are required to solidify this novel approach, which can be a very affordable and effective therapeutic modality in the prevention and treatment of many diseases, including diabetes and obesity.” The researchers, headed by Jack Yu, MD, chief of pediatric plastic surgery at MCG, and Babak Baban, PhD, immunologist and intern associate dean for research at DCG, reported their findings in a paper titled, “Whole Body Vibration-Induced Omental Macrophage Polarization and Fecal Microbiome Modification in a Murine Model.”

The combination of high-fat, sugar-heavy diets and “massively reduced physical activities” is largely responsible for what the researchers called “an epidemic of obesity and chronic metabolic diseases,” including type 2 diabetes. Chronic inflammation is a major contributory factor to the development of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, and the immune system’s macrophages play a key role in regulating inflammatory responses.