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Oct 15, 2016

The Astonishing Healthcare Tech of the Future Is Arriving

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, singularity

This week in San Diego, Singularity University hosted its annual Exponential Medicine conference. The conference aims to connect the dots between healthcare disciplines and cutting-edge tech by convening medical practitioners, technologists, entrepreneurs, and over 80 expert speakers from the field.

It’s easy to say “healthcare is broken” and call it a day, but a quote from brilliant thinker Maria Popova reminds us of the power of optimism to create change:

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Oct 15, 2016

Researchers improve accuracy of synthetic clock

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


(—A team of researchers with Harvard University and the University of Cambridge has successfully improved the accuracy of a synthetic clock known as a repressilator. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the team describes the steps they took to reduce the amount of noise in the biological system and how well it worked. Xiaojing Gao and Michael Elowitz with the California Institute of Technology offer a News & Views piece on the work done by the team and explain how their results could improve understanding of natural gene circuits.

Scientists have noted the high precision that some living cells demonstrate in keeping track of time, such as those that are part of the circadian clock, and have tried to duplicate the process. Sixteen years ago, Michael Elowitz and Stanislas Leibler developed what is now known as the repressilator—a synthetic oscillating genetic circuit. Their results demonstrated that it was possible for genetic circuits to be designed and built in the lab. The resulting circuit functioned, but was noisy, and therefore much less accurate than natural cell clocks. In this new effort, the researchers improved several of the design of the repressilator, each greatly reducing the amount of noise, and in so doing, increased the precision.

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Oct 15, 2016

How Do Efficient Coding Strategies Depend on Origins of Noise in Neural Circuits?

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

For decades the efficient coding hypothesis has been a guiding principle in determining how neural systems can most efficiently represent their inputs. However, conclusions about whether neural circuits are performing optimally depend on assumptions about the noise sources encountered by neural signals as they are transmitted. Here, we provide a coherent picture of how optimal encoding strategies depend on noise strength, type, location, and correlations. Our results reveal that nonlinearities that are efficient if noise enters the circuit in one location may be inefficient if noise actually enters in a different location. This offers new explanations for why different sensory circuits, or even a given circuit under different environmental conditions, might have different encoding properties.

Citation: Brinkman BAW, Weber AI, Rieke F, Shea-Brown E (2016) How Do Efficient Coding Strategies Depend on Origins of Noise in Neural Circuits? PLoS Comput Biol 12(10): e1005150. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005150

Editor: Jeff Beck, Duke University, UNITED STATES

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Oct 15, 2016

There’s Such a Thing as Too Much Neuroscience

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

In mental health research, clinical studies deserve more funding.

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Oct 15, 2016

New imaging method helps observe activation of neural circuits in the brain

Posted by in categories: biological, engineering, neuroscience

Watching millions of neurons in the brain interacting with each other is the ultimate dream of neuroscientists! A new imaging method now makes it possible to observe the activation of large neural circuits, currently up to the size of a small-animal brain, in real time and three dimensions. Researchers at the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technical University of Munich have recently reported on their new findings in Nature’s journal ‘Light: Science & Applications’.

Nowadays it is well recognized that most brain functions may not be comprehended through inspection of single neurons. To advance meaningfully, neuroscientists need the ability to monitor the activity of millions of neurons, both individually and collectively. However, such observations were so far not possible due to the limited penetration depth of optical microscopy techniques into a living brain.

A team headed by Prof. Dr. Daniel Razansky, a group leader at the Institute of Biological and Molecular Imaging (IBMI), Helmholtz Zentrum München, and Professor of Molecular Imaging Engineering at the Technical University of Munich, has now found a way to address this challenge. The new method is based on the so-called optoacoustics*, which allows non-invasive interrogation of living tissues at centimeter scale depths.

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Oct 15, 2016

A possible explanation for why male mice tolerate stress better than females

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

The nerves we feel before a stressful event—like speaking in public, for example—are normally kept in check by a complex system of circuits in our brain. Now, scientists at Rockefeller University have identified a key molecule within this circuitry that is responsible for relieving anxiety. Intriguingly, it doesn’t appear to reduce anxiety in female mice, only in males.

“This is unusual, because the particular cell type involved here is the same in the male and female brain—same in number, same in appearance,” says Nathaniel Heintz, head of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. “It’s a rare case where a single cell type is activated by the same stimulus but yields two different behaviors in each gender.”

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Oct 15, 2016

New science revelations: Trees communicate with each other and have social circles

Posted by in categories: neuroscience, science

Friday, October 14, 2016 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writerTags: trees, social communication, plant science (NaturalNews) If trees could talk, what would they say? Emerging research suggests that if they had mouths, they might just say a whole lot because, believe it or not, trees have brains and intelligence, and are able to communicate with other trees much like humans do with other humans when in social situations.

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Oct 15, 2016

“Earth has shifted”-Inuit elders issue warning to NASA and the world

Posted by in categories: climatology, sustainability

The elders declare that the sun rises at a different position now, not where it used to previously. They also have longer daylight to hunt now, the sun is much higher than earlier, and it gets warmer much quickly.

Global Climate Change: The Earth Has Shifted, Say Inuit Elders. A new warning has come to NASA from the Inuits. They are warning that the change in climate is not due to global warming but rather, because of the Earth shifting a bit.

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Oct 15, 2016

Tesla is building new ‘drive unit production lines’ at the Gigafactory, will not only manufacture battery packs

Posted by in categories: sustainability, transportation

The Tesla Gigafactory is key to the automaker’s planned production ramp up to 500,000 cars per year by 2018. It is expected to both significantly reduce the cost of Tesla’s battery packs, which will enable Tesla to reach the $35,000 price point for the Model 3, and to secure a large supply of battery cells.

Those two products, battery cells and battery packs, were until now the only products expected to be manufactured at the factory.

We now learn that Tesla plans to also manufacture drive units at the plant. With vehicle battery packs, the automaker will be closer to producing its entire next generation powertrains at what is expected to be the largest factory in the world by footprint.

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Oct 15, 2016

NASA’s new bleeding-edge gauze might save astronauts lives

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, space travel

We are seeing lot of inventions being made prior to the upcoming Mars missions. However, you don’t have to be into science-fiction to understand that NASA still needs to get a grip on many technical hurdles before our astronauts can put their boots on the red planet safely.

Yes, [Mark Watney]( has become quite a Martian but real humans need more to survive and especially have to consider the *less obvious* things like how to deal with injuries that far away from mother Earth. That can be overlooked, but certainly is important.

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