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Nov 14, 2019

Quantum physics: Our study suggests objective reality doesn’t exist

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, quantum physics

Alternative facts are spreading like a virus across society. Now it seems they have even infected science—at least the quantum realm. This may seem counter intuitive. The scientific method is after all founded on the reliable notions of observation, measurement and repeatability. A fact, as established by a measurement, should be objective, such that all observers can agree with it.

But in a paper recently published in Science Advances, we show that in the micro-world of atoms and particles that is governed by the strange rules of quantum mechanics, two different observers are entitled to their own facts. In other words, according to our best theory of the building blocks of nature itself, facts can actually be subjective.

Continue reading “Quantum physics: Our study suggests objective reality doesn’t exist” »

Nov 14, 2019

Subcellular computations within brain during decision-making

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

New research suggests that during decision-making, neurons in the brain are capable of much more complex processing than previously thought.

In a study published in eLIFE, researchers, including first author Aaron Kerlin, PhD, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Neuroscience and member of the Medical Discovery Team on Optical Imaging and Brain Science at the University of Minnesota Medical School, were the first to develop a microscope that rapidly images large stretches of the dendrite where neurons receive thousands of inputs from other neurons.

Dr. Kerlin conducted this research while at Janelia Research Campus and found that neighboring inputs to small sections of dendrite tended to represent similar information about upcoming actions.

Nov 14, 2019

Brain implant boosts human memory by up to 30%

Posted by in category: neuroscience

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Nov 14, 2019

CRISPR’s unwanted anniversary

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

There are key moments in the history of every disruptive technology that can make or break its public perception and acceptance. For CRISPR-based genome editing, such a moment occurred 1 year ago—an unsettling push into an era that will test how society decides to use this revolutionary technology.

In November 2018, at the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing in Hong Kong, scientist He Jiankui announced that he had broken the basic medical mantra of “do no harm” by using CRISPR-Cas9 to edit the genomes of two human embryos in the hope of protecting the twin girls from HIV. His risky and medically unnecessary work stunned the world and defied prior calls by my colleagues and me, and by the U.S. National Academies of Sciences and of Medicine, for an effective moratorium on human germline editing. It was a shocking reminder of the scientific and ethical challenges raised by this powerful technology. Once the details of He’s work were revealed, it became clear that although human embryo editing is relatively easy to achieve, it is difficult to do well and with responsibility for lifelong health outcomes.

It is encouraging that scientists around the globe responded by opening a deeper public conversation about how to establish stronger safeguards and build a viable path toward transparency and responsible use of CRISPR technology. In the year since He’s announcement, some scientists have called for a global but temporary moratorium on heritable human genome editing. However, I believe that moratoria are no longer strong enough countermeasures and instead, stakeholders must engage in thoughtfully crafting regulations of the technology without stifling it. In this vein, the World Health Organization (WHO) is pushing government regulators to engage, lead, and act. In July, WHO issued a statement requesting that regulatory agencies in all countries disallow any human germline editing experiments in the clinic and in August, announced the first steps in establishing a registry for future such studies.

Nov 14, 2019

Watch Protestors Kill a Drone Using Hundreds of Laser Pointers

Posted by in categories: drones, military

The thing didn’t stand a chance.

Nov 14, 2019

Neutrinos Lead to Unexpected Discovery in Basic Math

Posted by in categories: mathematics, particle physics

Three physicists stumbled across an unexpected relationship between some of the most ubiquitous objects in math.

Nov 14, 2019

Doctors Are Using Human Brain Implants to Fight Drug Addiction

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Surgeons are trying to battle addiction from inside the brain.

Nov 14, 2019

Elon Musk Claims Neuralink Can “Solve” Autism, Schizophrenia

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, Elon Musk, neuroscience

Musk equated autism with neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia.

Nov 14, 2019

Lithium can reverse radiation damage after brain tumor treatment

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Children who have received radiotherapy for a brain tumor can develop cognitive problems later in life. In their studies on mice, researchers at Karolinska Institutet have now shown that the drug lithium can help to reverse the damage caused long after it has occurred. The study is published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry and the researchers are now planning to test the treatment in clinical trials.

Nowadays, four out of five children with a tumor survive. In the adult Swedish population, one in 600 people have been treated for childhood cancer, about one third of which were brain tumors. Many of them live with damage caused by the radiotherapy, which can cause deficiencies in memory and learning.

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden now show that the memory capacity and learning capability of mice improve if is given after the irradiation of the brain. Mice that were irradiated early in life and then given lithium from adolescence until young adulthood performed just as well as mice who had not been given radiation. The researchers observed an increase in the formation of new neurons in an area that is important to the memory (the hippocampus) during the period in which they received lithium, but their maturity into full nerve cells only occurred once the lithium treatment was discontinued.

Nov 14, 2019

Scientists Figured out How to Regrow Teeth

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

A new gel can regenerate tooth enamel, but not at a useful scale yet.