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Apr 8, 2018

Shallow quakes shake parts of western Japan, more tremors expected

Posted by in category: futurism

TOKYO (Reuters) — A series of shallow earthquakes shook parts of western Japan on Monday and authorities warned that further strong shaking is possible over the coming days.

A stone torii gate damaged by an earthquake is seen at Karita Shrine in Ohda, Shimane Prefecture, Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo April 9, 2018. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS.

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Apr 8, 2018

Liver proteins help stem cells

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Blood stem cells are produced in the bone marrow, yet new evidence from mice studies suggests that proteins produced in the liver help maintain the production of these critical stem cells from afar. Haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), which differentiate into various blood cells, are largely produced and maintained by specialised cells that also reside in the bone marrow. However, emerging evidence hints that HSC behaviour is affected via long-range signals originating from a distant part of the body in mammals. To pinpoint the origins of these mysterious signals, researchers investigated which organs in mice produced a key protein called haematopoietic cytokine thrombopoietin which is known to help maintain HSCs, called haematopoietic cytokine thrombopoietin (TPO). The protein, it emerged, was enriched in osteoblasts, mesenchymal stromal cells, and the liver. The researchers found that knocking out TPO production in osteoblasts and mesenchymal stromal cells had little effect on the maintenance of HPCs. However, when they blocked production of TPO in liver cells, this resulted in a 24-fold reduction of HPCs in the bone marrow. The findings appear in the journal Science.

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Apr 8, 2018

Blood test to detect Alzheimer’s disease

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Will open avenues for drug discovery

Scientists have developed a new blood test for Alzheimer’s disease that can detect early indicators of the disease long before the first symptoms appear in patients. The blood test would thus open the door to new avenues in drug discovery, said the researchers from Ruhr University Bochum in Germany.

The blood test uses a technology called immuno-infrared sensor to measure distribution of pathological and healthy structures of amyloid-beta, according to a study published in the Molecular Cell. The pathological amyloid-beta structure is rich in a sticky, sheet-like folding pattern that makes it prone to aggregation, while the healthy structure is not.

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Apr 8, 2018

How Scientists Listen to Black Holes Colliding A Billion Years Ago

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

Scientists at LIGO detected billion-year-old gravitational waves, and they are expecting to detect a lot more. This is an excerpt from ‘The Little Book of Black Holes’ by Frans Pretorius and Steven S. Gubser, reprinted with permission from the publisher Princeton University Press.

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Apr 8, 2018

Are we on the brink of a stem cell revolution?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, innovation

I t has now been decades since stem cell technology emerged as the next great breakthrough in modern medicine, with the bold potential for one day curing everything from heart disease to cancer. Today, that optimism doesn’t appear to have diminished.

It’s easy to recall the excitement. In the late 1990s, when stem cell research was still relatively unexplored but gathering pace, the hope surrounding future uses for such treatments appeared near limitless. Once greater advances had been made, it was often argued, doctors could one day inject patients with cells that have the ability to transform into any other type of cell, making it possible to grow whole new organs. In theory, any damaged area…

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Apr 8, 2018

A miles-long crack has opened in Africa — and it could literally split the continent in two

Posted by in category: futurism

A split in the African plate resulted in a gaping crevice in Kenya’s Rift Valley. While it is moving slowly, it is fast in geographical terms.

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Apr 8, 2018

3D map of stellar systems in the solar neighbourhood

Posted by in category: futurism

3D map of all known stellar systems in the solar neighbourhood within a radius of 12.5 light-years. The Sun is at the centre and the Epsilon Indi binary system with the brown dwarf Epsilon Indi B lies near the bottom. The colour is indicative of the temperature and the spectral class — white stars are (main-sequence) A and F dwarfs; yellow stars like the Sun are G dwarfs; orange stars are K dwarfs; and red stars are M dwarfs, by far the most common type of star in the solar neighbourhood. The blue axes are oriented along the galactic coordinate system, and the radii of the rings are 5, 10, and 15 light-years, respectively.

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Apr 8, 2018

HSBC brings in AI to help spot money laundering

Posted by in categories: economics, robotics/AI

Bank is latest to harness tech as a cheaper and better way of tackling crime.

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Apr 8, 2018

This eye fat could fight vision loss in diabetes

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Scientists have discovered that a particular type of lipid, or fat—thought to only exist in the skin—lives in your eye and could have a part in preventing diabetic retinopathy.

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Apr 8, 2018

Macular degeneration tied to aging immune cells

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

An early symptom is blurry vision in which straight lines appear distorted. That can progress to darkness, whiteouts, or blurry areas in the center of the visual field. The disease does not, by itself, lead to total blindness because peripheral vision remains unaffected. Although some therapies delay loss of central vision, no current treatments restore it completely.

“Macular degeneration therapies seem to be treating disease symptoms, rather than its cause,” Lin says. “We focused on the role of macrophages in regulating inflammation and the growth of abnormal blood vessels to see whether it may be possible one day to help people who don’t get much benefit from existing treatments and design therapies that may prevent progression to advanced forms of the disease.”

Virus delivers genes to fight vision loss.

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