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Jun 6, 2018

Human blood cells transformed into functional neurons

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Great news.

Fresh or frozen human blood samples can be directly transformed into patient-specific neurons to study disorders such as schizophrenia and autism, Stanford researchers find.

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Jun 6, 2018

Genomic Approach to Understand the Association of DNA Repair with Longevity and Healthy Aging Using Genomic Databases of Oldest-Old Population

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

Aged population is increasing worldwide due to the aging process that is inevitable. Accordingly, longevity and healthy aging have been spotlighted to promote social contribution of aged population. Many studies in the past few decades have reported the process of aging and longevity, emphasizing the importance of maintaining genomic stability in exceptionally long-lived population. Underlying reason of longevity remains unclear due to its complexity involving multiple factors. With advances in sequencing technology and human genome-associated approaches, studies based on population-based genomic studies are increasing. In this review, we summarize recent longevity and healthy aging studies of human population focusing on DNA repair as a major factor in maintaining genome integrity. To keep pace with recent growth in genomic research, aging- and longevity-associated genomic databases are also briefly introduced. To suggest novel approaches to investigate longevity-associated genetic variants related to DNA repair using genomic databases, gene set analysis was conducted, focusing on DNA repair- and longevity-associated genes. Their biological networks were additionally analyzed to grasp major factors containing genetic variants of human longevity and healthy aging in DNA repair mechanisms. In summary, this review emphasizes DNA repair activity in human longevity and suggests approach to conduct DNA repair-associated genomic study on human healthy aging.

Aging is an inevitable process in human life. Many countries are rapidly transitioning to an aging society due to increasing life expectancy and advanced medical supports [1–3]. Over the last few decades, the advent of aging society is considered a crucial issue that may cause future decline in productivity of community [1, 4]. Many researchers have recently warned that urban environmental pollutants can cause physiological weakness and increase the risk of premature aging or chronic diseases in the elderly population [5–9]. Thus, interest in antiaging and healthy longevity is constantly increasing. “Active aging” or “successful aging” has been spotlighted as a strategy to promote social contribution of the elderly [10]. The definition of successful aging remains controversial.

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Jun 6, 2018

NASA is announcing a new discovery from Mars on Thursday — here’s how to watch it live

Posted by in categories: climatology, space

Here’s how to watch the announcement live.

NASA’s Curiosity Rover has found some new and exciting information about Mars, and the space agency is announcing that discovery to the world on Thursday.

The Curiosity Rover launched from Earth in November 2011 and landed on Martian soil on August 6, 2012. It has since been cruising around the red planet’s surface, functioning as a 9-foot-wide roving science machine.

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Jun 6, 2018

The Microsoft approach to quantum computing

Posted by in categories: computing, information science, quantum physics

Together, this full quantum stack pairs with familiar tools to create an integrated, streamlined environment for quantum processing.

Scalability, from top to bottom

Quantum computers can help address some of the world’s toughest problems, provided the quantum computer has enough high-quality qubits to find the solution. While the quantum systems of today may be able to add a high number of qubits, the quality of the qubits is the key factor in creating useful scale. From the cooling system to qubits to algorithms, scalability is a fundamental part of the Microsoft vision for quantum computing.

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Jun 6, 2018

Crispr Fans Fight for Egalitarian Access to Gene Editing

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, ethics, governance, health

A journalist, a soup exec, and an imam walk into a room. There’s no joke here. It’s just another day at CrisprCon.

On Monday and Tuesday, hundreds of scientists, industry folk, and public health officials from all over the world filled the amphitheater at the Boston World Trade Center to reckon with the power of biology’s favorite new DNA-tinkering tool: Crispr. The topics were thorny—from the ethics of self-experimenting biohackers to the feasibility of pan-global governance structures. And more than once you could feel the air rush right out of the room. But that was kind of the point. CrisprCon is designed to make people uncomfortable.

“I’m going to talk about the monkey in the room,” said Antonio Cosme, an urban farmer and community organizer in Detroit who appeared on a panel at the second annual conference devoted to Crispr’s big ethical questions to talk about equitable access to gene editing technologies. He referred to the results of an audience poll that had appeared moments before in a word cloud behind him, with one bigger than all the others: “eugenics.”

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Jun 6, 2018

Vela X-1 is plowing its way through the galaxy

Posted by in categories: energy, space

Every now and again you run into an astronomical object where everything about it is mind blowing. And I get to share it with you! Let me introduce you to a binary star that will crush your imagination and make you realize the Universe is way cooler than you knew.

A few million years ago, and 6,000 light years from Earth, two stars were born out of the gas and dust in the galaxy in a cluster with many other stars. These two formed together, so close their mutual and growing gravity bound them together, forcing them to orbit one another. And they grew huge: By the time they switched on and became true stars, they each had more than two dozen times the mass of the Sun.

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Jun 6, 2018

Thoughts on the world behind and the world ahead

Posted by in category: life extension

Some thoughts on rejuvenation, the world it’ll leave behind, and the world it may create.

Human beings like feeling safe. The unknown always presents a certain percentage of risk, though probably much less so today than in the past. Back in the days of our primitive ancestors, leaving an old way for a new one might more easily have led to death than it can today, so it’s no surprise that we have evolved to be suspicious of novelties coming our way; this might well be one reason why enacting change is not very easy for our species.

Sometimes, what we already have is not the best arrangement; other options might prove better, though they do come with some uncertainty. Will the new option really bring benefits? Will it be worth the cons of discarding the old way of doing things? How much work will it take to move from the old way to the new one? Will the new way only bring benefits, or will it have challenges and problems as well?

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Jun 6, 2018

Why Insulin Is a New Suspect in Alzheimer’s Disease

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Johnson and Johnson recently announced that it was halting a clinical trial for a new Alzheimer’s drug after safety issues emerged. This latest failure adds to the dozens of large, costly clinical trials that have shown no effect in treating this devastating disease.

The growing list of failures should give us pause for thought – have we got the causes of Alzheimer’s all wrong?

In the first analysis of the disease, the German physician, Alois Alzheimer, noted odd changes in the brain of a patient who died of the condition. Alzheimer identified two kinds of protein aggregates that are not found in younger brains: plaques that are found between brain cells and tangles that are found inside brain cells.

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Jun 6, 2018

Solar Cell Breakthrough Could Make Panels Far More Efficient, Study Says

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Researchers at MIT and Israel’s Technion have a multi-layered surface material that will help solar cells turn more sunlight into energy. In addition to more efficient solar cells, the new innovation opens the door for more powerful and sophisticated semiconductors, LEDs and more.

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Jun 6, 2018

Is It Time To Work With China In Space?

Posted by in category: space

Keith’s note: China is getting ready to launch a new space station which, when complete, will be on par with Mir with many capabilities similar to those offered by the ISS. China is openly seeking governmental and commercial participation. Meanwhile they are about to land a rover on the far side of the Moon as part of a methodical plan to land humans there.

Meanwhile NASA is trying to rid itself of the ISS through various half-hearted efforts to commercialize this amazing resource that rely on smoke and mirrors and faith-based funding plans. NASA is also puffing itself up again for the third time in less than 20 years to #GoBackToTheMoon or something with budgets that do not come close to making such a thing possible. Oh by the way #JourneyToMars is still on the books.

One would think that the prudent thing would be to leverage our interests with those of China as we have done with Russia and many other nations around the world. But short-sighted legislation and targeted xenophobia currently prevents this.

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