Recently, the scientific community has become more focused on point-of-care (POC) diagnostics. This technology had been available before in certain products for specific uses, like at-home pregnancy tests or devices to check insulin levels. The purpose of POC devices is to provide immediate results that can potentially help detect or treat a medical issue. Most of these devices are still in a fledgling stage, but developers are working on technology that can actually be used. [Read more…] about Quick Guide: Point-of-Care Diagnostics, Explained
Ivana De Domenico
As we prepare for a presidential election in November, the current administration is tackling an imperative undertaking: To set a way to govern potentially unsafe biological research trials that create infectious and lethal new germs.
According to an article published today on The Hill, researchers in 2011 reported tests that made deadly strains of influenza and the news raised worries that such novel infections could be purposely abused. Not to mention that there’ve been reports of lost smallpox vials at the National Institutes of Health, potential Bacillus anthracis exposures at the Centers for Disease Control, and different episodes at government labs highlighted wellbeing slips in even the nation’s top offices.
The White House will likely reveal a long haul strategy to solve this problem before January.
Writes The Hill’s Marc Lipsitch”
“The National Science Advisory Board on Biosecurity, charged to lead the deliberation, concluded that certain experiments – those with a high likelihood of producing novel, contagious and highly virulent infectious agents – are particularly worrisome and deserve special vetting for scientific necessity and safety before they are undertaken. The question is who should scrutinize them, and how.”
The US firmly limits perilous trials with germs and poisons that may entice weapons for bioterrorists. While this rule provides a structure with which to control experiments that make new fatal, transmissible infections, it’s still not fail-proof. “The Rule should be amended to prohibit the riskiest research that might produce highly virulent, contagious new strains of a pathogen, while permitting exceptions if an interagency expert panel judges the risk is warranted,” writes Lipsitch.
Aggressive cancers have been around for a long time, researchers discovered.
Using 3-D imaging, scientists found a type of cancer called osteosarcoma in a nearly 2 million year-old human foot bone. Published in the South African Journal of Science, the study suggests the proliferation of cancer precedes the issues of modernization with which we often associate the rise in cancer rates.
In an article today, National Geographic reported that “modern lifestyles have increased the incidences of cancer, especially in industrialized countries, [but] the triggers for the disease are embedded deep within the human evolutionary past.” That assertion is also echoed by study co-author Edward Odes who said, “You can opt for the paleo diet, you can have as clean a living environment as you want, but the capacity for these diseases is ancient, and it’s within us regardless of what you do to yourselves.”
To read more about this historic latest discovery, read National Geographic‘s “Earliest Human Cancer Found in 1.7-Million-Year-Old Bone.”
Google’s new Android application, called Science Journal, measures and records information progressively, and after that changes over that information into effectively discernable diagrams and graphs.
You can store projects and use instruments like an accelerometer, in addition to light and sound meters, keeping in mind the end goal that you’re assembling data for your research. For instance, a client could record their running pace each day for a week, and afterward diagram their advancement on a line chart. While the quantity of sensors accessible to utilize is still little, Google says it’s working to enhance the app’s functions and user-friendliness.
Here’s a video that demonstrates how Science Journal works.
More and more, society is moving towards a sharing economy. With the rise of companies like Uber and Airbnb, customers and companies are saving time and money on otherwise pricey services. Uber, for example, allows subscribers to skip the frequent long wait times for taxis and request a car to pick them up in minutes from their destination. Unlike traditional taxis, Uber drivers work similarly to independent contractors, they are drivers for hire. As such, using Uber can save consumers the cost of buying their own car, paying for gas and polluting the environment, while the company itself saves on purchasing its own fleet of cars to deliver the service.
But the sharing economy isn’t just for driving. It’s beginning to enter other industries as well. recently, The Conversation, an independent online publication that delivers news from the academic and research communities, boasts the following headline: “The sharing economy comes to scientific research.”
The article explains that since most science equipment is extremely expensive not all scientists readily have the funds to pay for the equipment. With the ever growing technology field, new devices and equipment are being created which could help scientists with their research. But the disconnect comes from not being able to afford the equipment. Not being able to do the research in turn causes a lack of funds for the research facility. This comes full circle because then scientists do not have the funding for the equipment. This circle of science problems is how a sharing economy relates to science and research. With a sharing economy, scientists are able to travel to a “resource lab” or look online to find the equipment they need to rent.
A resource lab is defined as a lab that specializes in a certain type of science. Researchers are able to request and purchase an experiment to be done at the lab. This saves the researcher the time to do the experiment and the money it costs to purchase the necessary equipment. Additionally, it prevents the researcher from having to learn a science that they are not familiar with or run extra trials because of missteps that occur. Because the resources labs specialize in the certain science, they are going to know a great deal more about the given subject and be able to run experiments more efficiently. If you want to be more involved with the experiment though, there are some remote online laboratories, run by MIT, that allow some control via the internet.
Resource labs are also able to bring in funds more quickly. The lab will be able to run the experiments more efficiently, which allows them to take on more projects, which will yield more funds. These funds can then be put back into the lab to buy more equipment to be used. Additionally, collaboration among scientists, is a benefit of this sharing economy. The resource labs connect scientists from all areas of study, where they are able to come together and do research.
Besides academic research, eight of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies use resource labs and “Science Exchange” to outsource experiments. This has brought in additional funds to these labs. In the past years, one lab saw a rise of 500 percent and raised $25 million which they used to expand. A sharing economy is continuing to grow but I think it will really add to the science and research industry if it continues to grow.
An amputee feels rough or smooth textures in real-time — with his phantom hand — using an artificial fingertip connected to nerves in the arm. The advancement will accelerate the development of touch-enabled prosthetics.
Researchers, scientists, and engineers from around the world are continuing to push the limits of what is possible. What these people are discovering have the potential to improve our lives in incredible ways. I have compiled three different stories that are each promising in their own right.
Here are three research stories that you should be aware of today:
Bionic Spinal Cord
Researchers in Australia have created a “bionic spinal cord” that they claim would give paralyzed people significant hope of walking again. What makes the device even more amazing is that it could actually be utilized through the power of thought, without the need for open brain surgery.
The researchers proof-of-concept results come from a study conducted on sheep, demonstrating high fidelity measurements taken from the region of the brain responsible for controlling voluntary movement with the use of the device.
Vertically Launching Electric Plane
Elon Musk has been a technology pioneer. Helping to build companies such as PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX. Each of these companies has revolutionized (or are in the process of revolutionizing) their respective industries. Now, Musk has his sights on building an electric-powered plane.
During a Q&A session for the Hyperloop Pod ceremony, Musk was asked to tell the audience what his next big idea was. Musk’s response: “Well I have been thinking about the vertical takeoff and landing electric jet a bit more. I mean, I think I have something that might close. I’m quite tempted to do something about it.”
Can Our Minds Live Forever?
Scientists are looking to preserve a brain, along with all of its thoughts, memories, feelings and everything else that makes us who we are, even after we have passed. To accomplish “life beyond life,” they are looking to preserve a brain’s connectome. While they are still unsure about whether this is possible, the scientists are developing techniques that they believe will answer this question.
Kenneth Hayworth, a neuroscientist and the brainchild behind the Brain Preservation Technology Prize, believes that this technology will be possible. During an interview with Scientific America, Hayworth stated that he is “virtually certain that mind uploading is possible. Our best neuroscience models say that all these perceptual and sensorimotor memories are stored as static changes in the synapses between neurons.” This is exactly what the technique is designed to preserve.
We are only a few short weeks into 2016 and we already have a number of amazing new research breakthroughs. These new discoveries will likely have major impacts in both the medical and technological industries. Here are three scientific research developments that you should know about.
1) Cornell scientists confirm atoms will not move when someone is observing them
Cornell physicists proved that a quantum system cannot change while you are watching it. This effect was considered to be one of the oddest predictions of quantum theory, and the recent experiments confirmed it.
Mukund Vegalettore, assistant professor of physics, established Cornell’s first program to study the physics of materials cooled to temperatures as low as .000000001 above absolute zero. For the experiment, a group of graduate students created and cooled a gas of about a billion Rubidium atoms inside a vacuum chamber and suspended the mass between laser beams. It was during this experiment that the team noticed the atoms would not move around as long as they were under observation. The more often the group used a laser to measure the behavior, the less movement they were able to see.
This study has some fairly big ramifications, such as showing that quantum cryptography should actually work, meaning that an intruder can’t spy on your communications without destroying the data.
2) Scientists teach bacteria to perform artificial photosynthesis
Scientists have successfully induced Moorella thermoacetica, an originally nonphotosynthetic bacterium, to undergo photosynthesis in a hybrid artificial photosynthesis system for converting sunlight. The M. thermoacetica was coaxed to perform photosynthesis, even though it is naturally non-photosynthetic; the scientists essentially trained the bacteria to perform something that it was naturally genetically programmed to not do.
“We’ve demonstrated the first self-photosensitization of a nonphotosynthetic bacterium, M. thermoacetica, with cadmium sulfide nanoparticles to produce acetic acid from carbon dioxide at efficiencies and yield that are comparable to or may even exceed the capabilities of natural photosynthesis,” stated Peidong Yang, a chemist with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division, who led the study.
3) Scientists develop sound wave that can manipulate stem cells without damage
A new class of sound wave has been developed for the first time in half a century. The sound wave was created by acoustics experts from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. It is set to revolutionize the way that stem cells are used in medical treatments.
The new waves are known as “surface reflected bulk waves,” which are a combination of bulk sound waves and surface sound waves. Bulk sound waves cause objects to vibrate as one, while surface sound waves only cause the surface of the material to vibrate. The combination of these two waves is far more powerful than either of these waves alone.
As for the potential uses for this new sound wave? Well, it is able to break down liquids into an inhalable spray, paving the way for a wide range of drugs that can be delivered into the body without the need for pills or injections.
Ordinary matter, which makes up everything that we know — stars, planets, people — corresponds to five percent of the Universe. Only about half of this small percentage has actually been discovered; the other half has, until now, eluded scientists.
Numerical simulations have made it possible to predict that the rest of this ordinary matter should be located in large-scale structures that form the “cosmic web” at temperatures between 100,000 and 10 million degrees.
Scientists are the University of Geneva (UNIGE) in Switzerland have observed this phenomenon directly. Their research, recently published in Nature, shows that the majority of the missing ordinary matter is found in the form of a very hot gas associated with intergalactic filaments.
Galaxies are formed when ordinary matter collapses and then proceeds to cool down. In order to understand the origin of this formation, it is required to understand the form, as well as the location of the ordinary matter that we do not perceive (missing baryons) is located.
Astrophysicists from UNIGE and the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) focused on Abell 2744, a massive cluster of galaxies with a complex distribution of dark and luminous matter at its core. The researchers observed this cluster with the XMM space telescope whose sensitivity to X-rays allows it to detect signatures of very hot gas.
Previous large-scale galaxy research has shown that the distribution of ordinary matter in the Universe is not homogenous, instead, it is concentrated into filamentary structures. These structures form a network of knots and links, referred to as the “cosmic web,” which connect to one another through filaments. Researchers were able to measure the temperature and density of these objects by focusing on the areas where they suspected to find these filaments.
“Now we must verify that the discovery of Abell 2744’s missing baryons is applicable to the entire universe. This will consist in studying these filamentary regions in detail, and measuring their temperature distribution and the various atoms that compose them, in order to understand how many heavy elements there are in the universe,” says lead scientist Dominique Eckert in the press release.
If you would like to learn more about this story, please check out this article.
A new study conducted by NASA has revealed that Antarctica has actually seen more cumulative ice gains than it has seen losses.
The study, led by Glaciologist Jay Zwally, shows that while the Antarctic Peninsula and parts of the West Antarctic continue to lose ice, the eastern side of the continent and interior of West Antarctica have recorded significant ice gains.
Furthermore, it has been determined that the ice caps are not actually contributing to the rising sea levels as much as scientists have originally thought.
These groundbreaking conclusions are based on new measurement methods that examine the height of the region’s ice sheet view satellites.
“The good news is that Antarctica is not currently contributing to sea level rise, but is taking 0.23 millimeters per year away,” Zwally stated. “But this is also bad news. If the 0.27 millimeters per year of sea level rise attributed to Antarctica in the IPCC report is not really coming from Antarctic, there must be some other contribution to sea level rise that is not accounted for.”
Until these discoveries were reported by NASA, it was believed that ice loss in Antarctica was the reason for the rise in global sea levels. Scientists believed that Antarctica was adding around 8% to global sea rise. The rising sea levels is a concern for many coastal cities around the world, such as Miami, where recent high tides have caused flooding.
If Jay Zwally’s study proves to be correct, it would mean that Antarctica is not contributing nearly as much to the increasing sea levels as originally thought.
Scientists may very well be underestimating the impact of other possible sources of rising sea levels, including melting from Greenland or the heating of the oceans.
If you would like to learn more about this discovery, please check out this article.