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Jan 22, 2019

Facebook is building observatories possibly for laser communications

Posted by in category: futurism

Facebook has been in the news frequently of late for privacy issues that make people wary of the social networking giant. Facebook is doing something very cool with a pair of new observatories that are being built on Mount Wilson in California. These won’t be used to house giant telescopes that scan the skies for science.

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Jan 22, 2019

Scientists find bacterial extracellular vesicles in human blood

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Belgian scientists have come to the surprising finding that vesicles coming from gut bacteria, are present in blood of patients with HIV, inflammatory bowel disease and cancer. Due to the increased permeability of the intestinal wall in these patients, bacterial vesicles end up in the bloodstream and can influence the immune system. This research sheds new light into the way the gut bacteria can communicate with different organs in the human body and is published in the scientific journal Gut.

Our body lives in symbiosis with trillions of bacteria. Most of these bacteria are located in the colon and a disturbance in this intestinal flora has recently been linked to the development of diseases such as diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, HIV and cancer. Gut bacteria communicate with each other, but also with human cells, using different molecules (proteins, RNA, DNA,…). These molecules can be packaged in unique small particles that are formed by bacterial cells, bacterial extracellular vesicles.

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Jan 22, 2019

A Totally New Type of Blood Vessel Has Been Discovered Hidden in Human Bones

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

There’s a whole network and we’ve never seen these before!


We often think of bone as something that is structurally solid, especially its hard outer layer, called cortical bone.

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Jan 22, 2019

Study describes metabolism of intestinal microbiota in babies for the first time

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

A research team with the participation of the Institute for Integrative Systems Biology (I2SysBio) of the University of Valencia, together with FISABIO and CIBERESP, has carried out the first metatranscriptomic study of the gut microbiota of babies, which has allowed to unveil the metabolism of the intestinal bacterial community during the first year of life, with a level of detail unknown until now.

This work has also involved researchers from the Joint Unit in Genomics and Health of the Foundation for the Promotion of Health and Biomedical Research of the Valencian Community (FISABIO) and the Biomedical Research Consortium in Epidemiology and Public Health Network (CIBERESP), dependent on the Carlos III Health Institute.

The environment is very important in the first years of life, both for the baby and for the bacteria of its gut microbiota. Bacteria and humans coexist in a harmonious symbiosis: people share with them the food they eat, which helps them to metabolise (10% of the energy obtained from food is as a consequence of bacterial action). In addition, bacteria influence the development of the immune and nervous systems.

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Jan 22, 2019

Progress Photo

Posted by in category: futurism

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Jan 22, 2019

Implantable device curbs seizures and improves cognition in epileptic rats

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

A protein-secreting device implanted into the hippocampus of epileptic rats reduces seizures by 93 percent in three months, finds preclinical research published in JNeurosci. These results support ongoing development of this technology and its potential translation into a new treatment for epilepsy.

Motivated by an unmet need for effective and well-tolerated therapies, Giovanna Paolone and colleagues of the University of Ferrara, Italy and of Gloriana Therapeutics, Inc. (Providence, RI) investigated the effects of the Gloriana targeted cellular delivery system for glial cell line-derived (GDNF)—a protein recent research suggests may help suppress epileptic activity.

In addition to quickly and progressively reducing seizures in —by 75 percent within two weeks—the researchers found their device improved rats’ anxiety-like symptoms and their performance on an object recognition task, indicating improvement in cognition.

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Jan 22, 2019

Can nanotechnology rewire an injured spinal cord?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, economics, education, health, nanotechnology, neuroscience

According to the World Health Organisation, up to a half-million people around the world suffer a spinal cord injury each year. Often caused by road traffic crashes, accidents or violence, the loss of motor control or paralysis significantly impacts quality of life and requires years of treatment and care. Spinal cord injury is also associated with lower rates of school enrollment and economic participation, and carries substantial individual and societal costs.

Current methods for spinal cord injury treatment involve cumbersome brain-machine interfaces, with many cables linking the patient and a computer to restore limited motor functions. Other methods to map , such as magnetoencephalography, require very large machinery and particularly low-temperature working conditions.

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Jan 22, 2019

Mechanical engineers develop process to 3D print piezoelectric materials

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, mobile phones

The piezoelectric materials that inhabit everything from our cell phones to musical greeting cards may be getting an upgrade thanks to work discussed in the journal Nature Materials released online Jan 21.

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Jan 22, 2019

Energizing the immune system to eat cancer

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food

Immune cells called macrophages are supposed to serve and protect, but cancer has found ways to put them to sleep. Now researchers at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania say they’ve identified how to fuel macrophages with the energy needed to attack and eat cancer cells. It is well established that macrophages can either support cancer cell growth and spread or hinder it. But most tumors also express a signal called CD47, which can lull macrophages into a deep sleep and prevent them from eating. Researchers have found that rewiring macrophage metabolism can overcome this signal and act like an alarm clock to rouse and prepare macrophages to go to work. Their findings were published in Nature Immunology today.

Macrophages are just like T and B cells, but differ in that they can eat cells that are not supposed to be in the body. In fact, they are the most prominent immune cell found in cancer, but unfortunately, most are often convinced to help cancer grow and spread. Cancer cells frequently stop macrophages from attacking them by expressing CD47, a “don’t eat me” signal. Researchers now say that merely blocking inhibitory signals like CD47 is not always sufficient to convince macrophages to attack cancer. Instead, two signals are required. First, they need a signal to activate them—such as a toll-like receptor agonist. After that, a second signal—such as a CD47 inhibitor—can lower the threshold needed to wage battle on the cancer.

“It turns out macrophages need to be primed before they can go to work, which explains why may resist treatment with CD47 inhibitors alone,” said the study’s senior author Gregory L. Beatty, MD, Ph.D., an assistant professor of Hematology-Oncology at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. Jason Mingen Liu, an MD and Ph.D. graduate student in Beatty’s lab, is the study’s lead author.

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Jan 22, 2019

Method converting cancer cells into fat cells could block metastatic spread

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

A fascinating study from researchers at the University of Basel has revealed a method that forces malignant breast cancer cells to turn into fat cells. The research, currently only demonstrated in mice, suggests the process could stop tumors from metastasizing and potentially make the cancer more susceptible to conventional chemotherapy.

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