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Jan 12, 2017

New Robot Can Operate on Eyes With More Accuracy Than a Human Surgeon

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, robotics/AI

In Brief

  • This two-armed, teleoperated robot can precisely move in a 10 mm space, giving it the ability to operate on eyes more accurately and with less potential for error than human surgeons.
  • Axsis is just one of a growing number of robot surgeons that are changing how doctors treat patients.

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Jan 12, 2017

Reprogramming Stem Cells Could Soon Lead Us to a World Without Paralysis

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

Motor neurons are vital cells that facilitate muscle contraction and also affect sensation. In diseases like ALS and spinal muscular atrophy, motor cells are plagued with mutations that cause degrees of paralysis and pain in patients. In a study detailed in Cell Stem Cell, scientists developed a mechanism to directly reprogram stem cells into motor neurons.

Cell reprogramming is a novel exploration in medical studies that could treat numerous diseases by growing the body’s own stem cells into healthy cells. The mechanism of reprogramming, however, has just begun to be understood.

The researchers elucidated a new pathway for cell reprogramming by analyzing gene transcription in mice. As established by previous studies, reprogramming is brought about by a series of transcriptions, AKA, how the genes control the expression of other genes.

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Jan 12, 2017

Healing Human Flesh: NASA’s New High-Tech Gauze Could Accelerate Wound Recovery

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, futurism

In Brief

  • NASA’s Technology Transfer Program may have given us the future of wound care with its electroactive polymer which speeds up healing time.
  • NASA continues to fuel scientific progress across many disciplines, continued investment in the sciences will lead to more unexpected technology with untold applications.

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Jan 12, 2017

New model could help scientists design materials for artificial photosynthesis

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Plants and other photosynthetic organisms use a wide variety of pigments to absorb different wavelengths of light. MIT researchers have now developed a theoretical model to predict the spectrum of light absorbed by aggregates of these pigments, based on their structure.

The could help guide scientists in designing new types of solar cells made of organic materials that efficiently capture and funnel the light-induced excitation, according to the researchers.

“Understanding the sensitive interplay between the self-assembled pigment superstructure and its electronic, optical, and transport properties is highly desirable for the synthesis of new materials and the design and operation of organic-based devices,” says Aurelia Chenu, an MIT postdoc and the lead author of the study, which appeared in Physical Review Letters on Jan. 3.

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Jan 12, 2017

Stem cells used to regenerate the external layer of a human heart

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, engineering

A process using human stem cells can generate the cells that cover the external surface of a human heart — epicardium cells — according to a multidisciplinary team of researchers.

“In 2012, we discovered that if we treated human stem cells with chemicals that sequentially activate and inhibit Wnt signaling pathway, they become myocardium muscle cells,” said Xiaojun Lance Lian, assistant professor of biomedical engineering and biology, who is leading the study at Penn State. Myocardium, the middle of the heart’s three layers, is the thick, muscular part that contracts to drive blood through the body.

The Wnt signaling pathway is a group of signal transduction pathways made of proteins that pass signals into a cell using cell-surface receptors.

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Jan 12, 2017

New Stem Cell Treatment Can Restore Sight to the Blind

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

In Brief

  • Researchers were able to prevent immune system rejection of stem cells, blocking the usual immune responses that trigger rejection of the stem cells by the recipient’s body.
  • Using this technique, they were able to restore vision in mice as far out as nine months following the injection of these cells.

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Jan 12, 2017

Immune System, part 2: Crash Course A&P #46

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Part 2 of the immune system explained in this easy going pop culture style series.

In the penultimate episode of Crash Course Anatomy & Physiology, Hank explains your adaptive immune system. The adaptive immune system’s humoral response guards extracellular terrain against pathogens. Hank also explains B cells, antibodies, and how vaccines work.

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Jan 12, 2017

An Aging Population Is Stalling Productivity

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

Once again the figures show that young to old disparity in the population is the problem not overpopulation. We really need to develop rejvenation biotechnology with all haste.

Once again overpopulation isnt the problem it is the disparity between young and old in the workforce. This makes rejuvenation biotechnology a suitable solution to avoid economic collapse.

“The world is experiencing unparalleled population aging. This poses problems for productivity and growth, unless we do something about it”

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Jan 12, 2017

Synthetic Stem Cells Could Offer Therapeutic Benefits, Reduced Risks

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

Researchers from North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University have developed a synthetic version of a cardiac stem cell. These synthetic stem cells offer therapeutic benefits comparable to those from natural stem cells and could reduce some of the risks associated with stem cell therapies. Additionally, these cells have better preservation stability and the technology is generalizable to other types of stem cells.

Stem cell therapies work by promoting endogenous repair; that is, they aid damaged tissue in repairing itself by secreting “paracrine factors,” including proteins and genetic materials. While stem cell therapies can be effective, they are also associated with some risks of both tumor growth and immune rejection. Also, the cells themselves are very fragile, requiring careful storage and a multi-step process of typing and characterization before they can be used.

Ke Cheng, associate professor of molecular biomedical sciences at NC State, associate professor in the joint biomedical engineering program at NC State and UNC, and adjunct associate professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, led a team in developing the synthetic version of a cardiac stem cell that could be used in off-the-shelf applications.

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Jan 12, 2017

Immune System, part 1: Crash Course A&P #45

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

The immune system part 1.

Our final episodes of Anatomy & Physiology explore the way your body keeps all that complex, intricate stuff alive and healthy — your immune system. The immune system’s responses begin with physical barriers like skin and mucous membranes, and when they’re not enough, there are phagocytes — the neutrophils and macrophages. It also features the awesomely named natural killer cells and the inflammatory response, and we’ll explain how all of these elements work together to save the day if you happen to slip on a banana peel.

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