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Apr 14, 2018

Breakthrough brings gene-editing medicine one step closer to patient applications

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

Imagine a future where a guided biomachine put into your body seeks out defective gene sequences in each cell and edits in the correct information with precision accuracy.

It’s called gene editing, and University of Alberta researchers have just published a game-changing study that promises to bring the technology much closer to therapeutic reality.

“We’ve discovered a way to greatly improve the accuracy of gene-editing technology by replacing the natural guide molecule it uses with a synthetic one called a bridged nucleic acid, or BNA,” said Basil Hubbard, Canada Research Chair in Molecular Therapeutics and an assistant professor in the U of A’s Department of Pharmacology, who led the study.

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Apr 13, 2018

Fart gas may help prevent dementia, heart disease: study

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

Farts may stink to high heaven, but a new study suggests that the gas responsible for that foul odor may actually extend a person’s time on earth.

Scientists in the UK claim that hydrogen sulfide, the stinky compound that smells like rotten eggs which contributes to the flatulence stench, could have amazing health benefits.

Hydrogen sulfide can be toxic, but tiny amounts have been shown to help protect the mitochondria, which are known as the “powerhouses” of cells.

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Apr 13, 2018

Researchers are one step closer to an effective anti-atherosclerosis vaccine

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

In the disease atherosclerosis, cholesterol-containing plaques form in vessel walls, causing arteries to narrow and greatly increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Currently, atherosclerosis is the number 1 killer worldwide, just ahead of cancer. Recent use of statin anti-cholesterol drugs has reduced cardiovascular events caused by atherosclerosis by 35%, but millions of individuals remain at risk. Hence, a desirable addition or alternative would be intervention to prevent plaque formation altogether.

A new paper published in Circulation by researchers at La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology supports this possibility. It reports successful vaccination of atherosclerotic mice with a small chunk of protein snipped out of “bad cholesterol.” Vaccination reduced plaque levels in test mice, and other experiments with human blood samples identified the class of T cells likely responsible for positive outcomes. The paper suggests that a comparable strategy could form the basis of a human vaccine.

“We knew atherosclerosis had an inflammatory component but until recently didn’t have a way to counteract that,” says senior author Klaus Ley, M.D., professor and head of LJI’s Division of Inflammation Biology. “We now find that our vaccination actually decreases plaque burden by expanding a class of protective T cells that curb inflammation.”

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Apr 13, 2018

Ageing-related receptors resolved

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

Klotho is a membrane-spanning protein expressed predominantly in the kidney, as well as in the brain.


Ageing is a regulated process in which hormones have pivotal roles. Crystal structures of two hormone co-receptors should be informative for drug discovery focused on age-related disorders.

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Apr 13, 2018

Moving Closer to a Vaccine for Atherosclerosis

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

Scientists could be one step closer to a solution to atherosclerosis by preventing the buildup of plaques that clog the arteries and lead to strokes and heart attacks.

What is atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis is the accumulation of cholesterol-containing plaques in the walls of arteries; this causes them to narrow, leading to reduced blood flow, higher blood pressure, and an increased risk of a heart attack or stroke. Atherosclerosis is the number one cause of death globally, and, by far, the highest risk factor for this disease is aging, although there are lifestyle factors, such as poor diet, smoking, obesity, and being sedentary.

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Apr 13, 2018

Space Threat Assessment 2018

Posted by in category: space

CSIS space experts complied open-source information on the counterspace capabilities and activities of other nations, focusing on China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea. Here’s what they found: cs.is/2Hv4fil

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Apr 13, 2018

Memory Successfully Boosted In Humans

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, mathematics, neuroscience

Scientists from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center partnered with researchers from the University of Southern California to develop an innovative procedure to give hope to people struggling with remembering important information. A new implant uses a person’s own memory patterns in order to boost the brain’s natural ability to encode those memories and recall them quickly. There has been a reported 35 to 37 % increase in short-term memory performance.

“This is the first time scientists have been able to identify a patient’s own brain cell code or pattern for memory and, in essence, ‘write in’ that code to make existing memory work better, an important first step in potentially restoring memory loss,” said the study’s lead author Robert Hampson, Ph.D., professor of physiology/pharmacology and neurology at Wake Forest Baptist.

Epilepsy patients from Wake Forest Baptist were surgically implanted with electrodes in the various parts of their brains. The electronic prosthetic system is based on a multi-input-multi-output (or MIMO) mathematical model to influence the patterns of neurons firing within the hippocampus.

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Apr 13, 2018

Does Facebook Use AI To Predict Your Future Actions For Advertisers?

Posted by in categories: ethics, robotics/AI, transportation

Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal erupted in March, Facebook has been attempting to make a moral stand for your privacy, distancing itself from the unscrupulous practices of the U.K. political consultancy. “Protecting people’s information is at the heart of everything we do,” wrote Paul Grewal, Facebook’s deputy general counsel, just a few weeks before founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg hit Capitol Hill to make similar reassurances, telling lawmakers, “Across the board, we have a responsibility to not just build tools, but to make sure those tools are used for good.” But in reality, a confidential Facebook document reviewed by The Intercept shows that the two companies are far more similar than the social network would like you to believe.

The recent document, described as “confidential,” outlines a new advertising service that expands how the social network sells corporations’ access to its users and their lives: Instead of merely offering advertisers the ability to target people based on demographics and consumer preferences, Facebook instead offers the ability to target them based on how they will behave, what they will buy, and what they will think. These capabilities are the fruits of a self-improving, artificial intelligence-powered prediction engine, first unveiled by Facebook in 2016 and dubbed “FBLearner Flow.”

One slide in the document touts Facebook’s ability to “predict future behavior,” allowing companies to target people on the basis of decisions they haven’t even made yet. This would, potentially, give third parties the opportunity to alter a consumer’s anticipated course. Here, Facebook explains how it can comb through its entire user base of over 2 billion individuals and produce millions of people who are “at risk” of jumping ship from one brand to a competitor. These individuals could then be targeted aggressively with advertising that could pre-empt and change their decision entirely — something Facebook calls “improved marketing efficiency.” This isn’t Facebook showing you Chevy ads because you’ve been reading about Ford all week — old hat in the online marketing world — rather Facebook using facts of your life to predict that in the near future, you’re going to get sick of your car. Facebook’s name for this service: “loyalty prediction.”

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Apr 13, 2018

CDC says romaine lettuce likely source of E. coli outbreak

Posted by in category: futurism

The outbreak has hit 11 states and has led to nearly two dozen hospitalizations so far.

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Apr 13, 2018

The Next Generation Exoplanet Hunter Launches Monday

Posted by in category: space

Updates, newsletters and special offers.

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