Using whole-body scans to screen for cancer presents such a catch-22, especially in kids. While traditional radiation scanners like PET and CT are good at finding cancer, they expose patients to radiation that can be harmful and even induce cancer later in life -- more so in younger patients, because their cells are still dividing quickly and because, with more years ahead of them than adults, children also have a higher chance of being exposed to more radiation down the line.
Brain tumors known as Glioblastoma multiform cancer (GBM) are a particularly insidious form of the disease because they just don't stay still. They travel through the brain by sliding along blood vessels and nerve passageways. This means that sometimes they move to parts of the brain where surgery is extremely difficult -- if not impossible -- or that even if the bulk of a tumor can be removed, chances are good its tendrils would still exist throughout the brain.
Scientists at Georgia Tech may have come up with a novel solution for this problem; though, it may be years before the technique can be used on humans. It involves creating artificial pathways along which cancer can travel. These pathways could route cancer to a more easily operable area, or even to a deadly drug located in a gel outside the body. … Read more
In a room at Oxford University in England, children between the ages of 8 and 10 are working on math problems on computers while being administered electric shocks by senior research fellow Roi Cohen Kadosh.
OK, they're not really getting shocked, but they are getting a steady stream of low-current electricity delivered to their brains.
The procedure they're undergoing is known as Transcranial electrical stimulation (tES), and it's one of the most recent brain stimulation techniques to come about in a long history of electrical currents used to manipulate the brain. Unlike earlier electroshock treatment programs, which tended to placate people with mental disturbances, the goal of this work is to help people with learning disorders overcome their difficulties, and to help others learn better generally. … Read more
Want to get kids to wear sunscreen more often? Teaching them about skin cancer and death apparently doesn't cut it; compare their face to a grape soon to be shriveled up like a raisin, however, and sunscreen becomes their new best friend.
It probably shouldn't come as much of a surprise that appealing to our vanity works better than a biology lecture, but the extent to which the approach increases sunscreen use is sizable.
Reporting in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, researchers at the University of California, Davis, say they showed 50 11th graders in … Read more
For parents-to-be undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) -- the process of joining an egg and a sperm in a petri dish -- using the best sperm of the batch is key to increasing the odds of fertilizing the egg, not to mention getting the job done more efficiently and less expensively. And while today's top tech, called computer-assisted sperm analysis (CASA), provides pretty good imagery, the tracking and imaging system is in 2D.
Now, report researchers from Italy and Belgium in the journal Biomedical Optics Express, a new technique for analyzing sperm does so in 3D and over time, allowing for a far clearer view of sperm concentration and motility (i.e. movement).
To accomplish this, the researchers combined microscopy with holography (for creating the images in 3D) to visualize sperm not just in the x and y positions, but also according to their depth (z position). And, because they're able to capture video of sperm movement in 3D, "we add a fourth dimension -- time," lead author Giuseppe Di Caprio, who works at the National Research Council in Italy and Harvard University, said in The Optical Society news release.… Read more
Some people like having a signature perfume or cologne. Having someone recognize your distinctive scent could be flattering, or even romantic. But would you want to have your body odor be your ID signature as you walk through airport security?
That's exactly the kind of possibility that the Group of Biometrics, Biosignals, and Security of the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid is researching. Based on analysis of a group of 13 people and using sensors developed by the Ili Sistemas company, the scientists found that there were "recognizable patterns" in a person's body odor that could be used to identify each one with an accuracy rate of at least 85 percent.… Read more
When the original "RoboCop" premiered in 1987, the idea of a resurrected man in a machine body battling autonomous killer droids was only slightly less outlandish than the replicants of "Blade Runner" or a sociopathic artificial intelligence in "2001: A Space Odyssey."
Flash forward nearly three decades to the "RoboCop" remake. Our protagonist, Alex Murphy, instead of being brought back from the dead, is only critically injured when robbed of his agency, which leads to this popcorn action-flick tackling a different breed of philosophical issues than its predecessor.
While the 1987 version … Read more
Ah, bacteria. Most of us probably prefer not to think about its omnipresence if we don't have to, and to limit our visions of it to the stale microscopic ones we captured in chemistry class.
Now, scientists are turning that optics-based imaging approach on its head, instead developing a chip based on integrated circuit technology that lets them not only electrochemically image bacteria, but listen in on them as well.
The chip "is an 'active' glass slide, a slide that not only forms a solid-support for the bacterial colony but also 'listens' to the bacteria as they talk … Read more
It's a scene worthy of the modern reboot of "Fantastic Voyage." A tiny rocket-shaped projectile breaches the border of a cell wall and begins to work, like an egg beater, to whip up the cell's innards, or puncture its membranous wall with a battering-ram motion.
Although a scene like this might take place in James Cameron's modern retake on the 1966 film classic (if it ever comes out), it's something scientists at Penn State University and Weinberg Medical Physics in Maryland have already witnessed.
In their work, which will appear in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition, the researchers developed microscopic metallic motors known as nanomotors and then injected them into living human cells, marking what they say is the first time such an experiment had ever been done. … Read more
The automotive industry is famously reliant on the oil industry for fuel. But a partnership between Italian startup Bio-on and automotive supply giant Magna could reduce that reliance just a little by introducing plastic components derived from plants, not petrochemicals.
On Thursday, Bio-on announced an exclusive partnership with Magna International, a 125,000-employee automotive supplier to BMW and many other companies. Through the partnership, Magna will investigate "how production of this natural polyester product can be elevated to an industrial, cost-effective scale" and integrated with manufacturing processes, the companies said.
It's a feather in the cap of … Read more