Growing mushrooms in diapers

Science Daily - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 1:29pm
Mexico is the third largest consumer of disposable diapers globally, which led to a Mexican scientist to design a technology capable of degrading the product materials by the mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus.
Categories: Science

Skin cells can be engineered into pulmonary valves for pediatric patients

Science Daily - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 1:22pm
Researchers have found a way to take a pediatric patient’s skin cells, reprogram the skin cells to function as heart valvular cells, and then use the cells as part of a tissue-engineered pulmonary valve. It is estimated that nearly 800 patients per year could potentially benefit from bioengineered patient-specific pulmonary valves.
Categories: Science

AMD Releases New Tonga GPU, Lowers 8-core CPU To $229

Slashdot - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 1:13pm
Vigile (99919) writes AMD looks to continue addressing the mainstream PC enthusiast and gamer with a set of releases into two different component categories. First, today marks the launch of the Radeon R9 285 graphics card, a $250 option based on a brand new piece of silicon dubbed Tonga. This GPU has nearly identical performance to the R9 280 that came before it, but includes support for XDMA PCIe CrossFire, TrueAudio DSP technology and is FreeSync capable (AMD's response to NVIDIA G-Sync). On the CPU side AMD has refreshed its FX product line with three new models (FX-8370, FX-8370e and FX-8320e) with lower TDPs and supposedly better efficiency. The problem of course is that while Intel is already sampling 14nm parts these Vishera-based CPUs continue to be manufactured on GlobalFoundries' 32nm process. The result is less than expected performance boosts and efficiency gains. For a similar review of the new card, see Hot Hardware's page-by-page unpacking.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

Kernel Developer Dmitry Monakhov Arrested For Protesting Ukraine Invasion

Slashdot - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 12:53pm
sfcrazy (1542989) writes, based on a report from Ted T'so, that Kernel developer Dmitry Monakhov was detained for 15 days for disobeying a police officer. The debacle came about when Monakhov decided to protest the recent invasion into Ukraine by Russian armed forces. Monakhov is using Twitter to keep people informed about his experience with the Russian judicial system; a human translator can probably do a better job than Google in this case.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

Kernel Developer Dmitry Monakhov Arrested For Protesting Ukraine Invasion

Slashdot - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 12:53pm
sfcrazy (1542989) writes, based on a report from Ted T'so, that Kernel developer Dmitry Monakhov was detained for 15 days for disobeying a police officer. The debacle came about when Monakhov decided to protest the recent invasion into Ukraine by Russian armed forces. Monakhov is using Twitter to keep people informed about his experience with the Russian judicial system; a human translator can probably do a better job than Google in this case.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

Kernel Developer Dmitry Monakhov Arrested For Protesting Ukraine Invasion

Slashdot - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 12:53pm
sfcrazy (1542989) writes, based on a report from Ted T'so, that Kernel developer Dmitry Monakhov was detained for 15 days for disobeying a police officer. The debacle came about when Monakhov decided to protest the recent invasion into Ukraine by Russian armed forces. Monakhov is using Twitter to keep people informed about his experience with the Russian judicial system; a human translator can probably do a better job than Google in this case.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

Kernel Developer Dmitry Monakhov Arrested For Protesting Ukraine Invasion

Slashdot - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 12:53pm
sfcrazy (1542989) writes, based on a report from Ted T'so, that Kernel developer Dmitry Monakhov was detained for 15 days for disobeying a police officer. The debacle came about when Monakhov decided to protest the recent invasion into Ukraine by Russian armed forces. Monakhov is using Twitter to keep people informed about his experience with the Russian judicial system; a human translator can probably do a better job than Google in this case.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

Kernel Developer Dmitry Monakhov Arrested For Protesting Ukraine Invasion

Slashdot - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 12:53pm
sfcrazy (1542989) writes, based on a report from Ted T'so, that Kernel developer Dmitry Monakhov was detained for 15 days for disobeying a police officer. The debacle came about when Monakhov decided to protest the recent invasion into Ukraine by Russian armed forces. Monakhov is using Twitter to keep people informed about his experience with the Russian judicial system; a human translator can probably do a better job than Google in this case.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

Kernel Developer Dmitry Monakhov Arrested For Protesting Ukraine Invasion

Slashdot - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 12:53pm
sfcrazy (1542989) writes, based on a report from Ted T'so, that Kernel developer Dmitry Monakhov was detained for 15 days for disobeying a police officer. The debacle came about when Monakhov decided to protest the recent invasion into Ukraine by Russian armed forces. Monakhov is using Twitter to keep people informed about his experience with the Russian judicial system; a human translator can probably do a better job than Google in this case.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

Kernel Developer Dmitry Monakhov Arrested For Protesting Ukraine Invasion

Slashdot - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 12:53pm
sfcrazy (1542989) writes, based on a report from Ted T'so, that Kernel developer Dmitry Monakhov was detained for 15 days for disobeying a police officer. The debacle came about when Monakhov decided to protest the recent invasion into Ukraine by Russian armed forces. Monakhov is using Twitter to keep people informed about his experience with the Russian judicial system; a human translator can probably do a better job than Google in this case.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

Kernel Developer Dmitry Monakhov Arrested For Protesting Ukraine Invasion

Slashdot - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 12:53pm
sfcrazy (1542989) writes, based on a report from Ted T'so, that Kernel developer Dmitry Monakhov was detained for 15 days for disobeying a police officer. The debacle came about when Monakhov decided to protest the recent invasion into Ukraine by Russian armed forces. Monakhov is using Twitter to keep people informed about his experience with the Russian judicial system; a human translator can probably do a better job than Google in this case.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

Kernel Developer Dmitry Monakhov Arrested For Protesting Ukraine Invasion

Slashdot - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 12:53pm
sfcrazy (1542989) writes, based on a report from Ted T'so, that Kernel developer Dmitry Monakhov was detained for 15 days for disobeying a police officer. The debacle came about when Monakhov decided to protest the recent invasion into Ukraine by Russian armed forces. Monakhov is using Twitter to keep people informed about his experience with the Russian judicial system; a human translator can probably do a better job than Google in this case.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

Kernel Developer Dmitry Monakhov Arrested For Protesting Ukraine Invasion

Slashdot - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 12:53pm
sfcrazy (1542989) writes, based on a report from Ted T'so, that Kernel developer Dmitry Monakhov was detained for 15 days for disobeying a police officer. The debacle came about when Monakhov decided to protest the recent invasion into Ukraine by Russian armed forces. Monakhov is using twitter to keep people informed about his experience with the Russian judicial system ; a human translator can probably do a better job than Google in this case.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

Kernel Developer Dmitry Monakhov Arrested For Protesting Ukraine Invasion

Slashdot - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 12:53pm
sfcrazy (1542989) writes, based on a report from Ted T'so, that Kernel developer Dmitry Monakhov was detained for 15 days for disobeying a police officer. The debacle came about when Monakhov decided to protest the recent invasion into Ukraine by Russian armed forces. Monakhov is using twitter to keep people informed about his experience with the Russian judicial system ; a human translator can probably do a better job than Google in this case.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

Tea trumps coffee for non-cardivascular mortality

Kurzweil AI - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 12:45pm

Green tea (credit: (Fig.: By Kanko from Nagasaki, Japan)

Drinking tea is associated with 24% reduced non-cardiovascular mortality, reveals a study of 131,000 people presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress by Professor Nicolas Danchin from France.

The study included 131,401 people aged 18 to 95 years who had a health check up at the Paris IPC Preventive Medicine Center between January 2001 and December 2008. During a mean 3–5 years follow-up, there were 95 deaths from CV and 632 deaths from non-CV causes.

The researchers found that coffee drinkers had a higher CV risk profile than non-drinkers, particularly for smokers. The percentage of current smokers was 17% for non-drinkers compared with 31% in those who drank 1 to 4 cups per day and 57% in those who drank more than 4 cups per day.

Non-coffee drinkers were more physically active, with 45% having a good level of physical activity compared to 41% of the heavy coffee drinkers. Professor Danchin said: “This is highly significant in our large population.”

Tea was associated with lower blood pressure than coffee, with a 4–5 mmHg decrease in SBP and 3 mmHg decrease in DBP in the heavy tea drinkers, compared to non-drinkers, when adjusted for age.

“Overall we tend to have a higher risk profile for coffee drinkers and a lower risk profile for tea drinkers,” hse said. “We also found big differences with gender. Men tend to drink coffee much more than women, while women tend to drink more tea than men.”

Categories: Science

A batteryless cardiac pacemaker based on self-winding wristwatch

Kurzweil AI - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 12:26pm

The energy harvesting device is sutured directly onto the myocardium (credit: European Society of Cardiology)

A new batteryless cardiac pacemaker controlled by a self-winding wristwatch mechanism that is powered by heart motion has been developed by researchers in the Cardiovascular Engineering Group at ARTORG, University of Bern, Switzerland.

The device was presented at European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2014 by Adrian Zurbuchen a PhD candidate.

“Batteries are a limiting factor in today’s medical implants,” he said. “Once they reach a critically low energy level, physicians [are] forced to replace a correctly functioning medical device in a surgical intervention. This is an unpleasant scenario which increases costs and the risk of complications for patients.”

Four years ago Professor Rolf Vogel, a cardiologist and engineer at the University of Bern, had the idea of using a self-winding wristwatch mechanism to harvest the energy of heart motion. “The heart seems to be a very promising energy source because its contractions are repetitive and present for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” said Zurbuchen. ” Furthermore the automatic clockwork, invented in the year 1777, has a good reputation as a reliable technology to scavenge energy from motion.”

The researchers’ first prototype is based on a commercially available automatic wristwatch. All unnecessary parts were removed to reduce weight and size. They also developed a custom-made housing with eyelets that allows suturing the device directly onto the myocardium.

How it works

The prototype works the same way it would on a person’s wrist. When it is exposed to an external acceleration, the eccentric mass of the clockwork starts rotating. This rotation progressively winds a mechanical spring. After the spring is fully charged it unwinds and thereby spins an electrical micro-generator.

To test the prototype, the researchers developed an electronic circuit to transform and store the signal. They then connected the system to a custom-made cardiac pacemaker. The system worked in three steps. First, the harvesting prototype acquired energy from the heart. Second, the energy was temporarily stored in the buffer. And finally, the buffered energy was used by the pacemaker to apply minute stimuli to the heart.

The researchers successfully tested the system in in vivo experiments with domestic pigs. The newly developed system allowed them for the first time to perform batteryless overdrive-pacing at 130 beats per minute.

“The next step … is to integrate both the electronic circuit for energy storage and the custom-made pacemaker directly into the harvesting device. This will eliminate the need for leads.

“Our new pacemaker tackles the two major disadvantages of today’s pacemakers. Pacemaker leads are prone to fracture and can pose an imminent threat to the patient. And the lifetime of a pacemaker battery is limited. Our energy harvesting system is located directly on the heart and has the potential to avoid both disadvantages by providing the world with a batteryless and leadless pacemaker.”

Categories: Science

Low-Carb Diet Trumps Low-Fat Diet In Major New Study

Slashdot - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 12:12pm
An anonymous reader writes: The NY Times reports on a new study (abstract) showing that low-carb diets have better health benefits than low-fat diets in a test without calorie restrictions. "By the end of the yearlong trial, people in the low-carbohydrate group had lost about eight pounds more on average than those in the low-fat group. They had significantly greater reductions in body fat than the low-fat group, and improvements in lean muscle mass — even though neither group changed their levels of physical activity. While the low-fat group did lose weight, they appeared to lose more muscle than fat. They actually lost lean muscle mass, which is a bad thing,' Dr. Mozaffarian said. 'Your balance of lean mass versus fat mass is much more important than weight. And that's a very important finding that shows why the low-carb, high-fat group did so metabolically well.' ... In the end, people in the low-carbohydrate group saw markers of inflammation and triglycerides — a type of fat that circulates in the blood — plunge. Their HDL, the so-called good cholesterol, rose more sharply than it did for people in the low-fat group. Blood pressure, total cholesterol and LDL, the so-called bad cholesterol, stayed about the same for people in each group."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

A multifunctional medical nanoparticle

Kurzweil AI - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 11:57am

Applications of multifunctional self-assembled nanoparticles (credit: Yuanpei Li et al./Nature Communications)

Researchers at UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center and other institutions have created biocompatible multitasking nanoparticles that could be used as contrast agents to light up tumors for MRI and PET scans or deliver chemo and other therapies to destroy tumors. The study was published online in Nature Communications.

“These are amazingly useful particles,” noted co-first author Yuanpei Li, a research faculty member in the Lam laboratory. “As a contrast agent, they make tumors easier to see on MRI and other scans. We can also use them as vehicles to deliver chemotherapy directly to tumors, apply light to make the nanoparticles release singlet oxygen (photodynamic therapy), or use a laser to heat them (photothermal therapy) — all proven ways to destroy tumors.”

Jessica Tucker, program director of Drug and Gene Delivery and Devices at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, said the approach outlined in the study has the ability to combine both imaging and therapeutic applications in a single platform, which has been difficult to achieve, especially in an organic, and therefore biocompatible, vehicle.

“This is especially valuable in cancer treatment, where targeted treatment to tumor cells, and the reduction of lethal effects in normal cells, is so critical,” she added.

These are not the first nanoparticles for medical use, but they may be the most versatile. Other particles are good at some tasks but not others. Non-organic particles, such as quantum dots or gold-based materials, work well as diagnostic tools but have safety issues. Organic probes are biocompatible and can deliver drugs but lack imaging or phototherapy applications.

Design of a multifunctional nanoparticle

Schematic illustration of construction of a multifunctional nanoparticle (credit: Yuanpei Li et al./Nature Communications)

The nanoparticles are built on a porphyrin/cholic acid polymer and are simple to make. Porphyrins are common organic compounds. Cholic acid is produced by the liver. The basic nanoparticles are 21 nanometers wide (a nanometer is one-billionth of a meter).

To further stabilize the particles, the researchers added the amino acid cysteine (creating CNPs), which prevents them from prematurely releasing their therapeutic payload when exposed to blood proteins and other barriers. At 32 nanometers, CNPs are ideally sized to penetrate tumors, accumulating among cancer cells while sparing healthy tissue.

In the study, the team tested the nanoparticles, both in vitro and in vivo, for a wide range of tasks:

  • CNPs effectively transported anti-cancer drugs, such as doxorubicin. Even when kept in blood for many hours, CNPs only released small amounts of the drug; however, when exposed to light or agents such as glutathione, they readily released their payloads.
  • The ability to precisely control chemotherapy release inside tumors could greatly reduce toxicity. CNPs carrying doxorubicin provided excellent cancer control in animals, with minimal side effects.
  • CNPs can be configured to respond to light, producing singlet oxygen, reactive molecules that destroy tumor cells. They can also generate heat when hit with laser light. Significantly, CNPs can perform either task when exposed to a single wavelength of light.
  • CNPs combine imaging and therapeutics, simultaneously delivering treatment and monitoring treatment efficacy. They readily chelate imaging agents and can remain in the body for long periods. In animal studies, CNPs congregated in tumors, making them easier to read on an MRI. Because CNPs accumulated in tumors, and not so much in normal tissue, they dramatically enhanced tumor contrast for MRI and may also be promising for PET-MRI scans.
  • “These particles can also be used as optical probes for image-guided surgery,” said Kit Lam of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California Davis. “In addition, they can be used as highly potent photosensitizing agents for intraoperative phototherapy.”

The Lam lab and its collaborators plan to pursue preclinical studies and, if all goes well, proceed to human trials.

This research was funded by the National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, the Department of Defense, the Prostate Cancer Foundation, the Veterans Administration, and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

Abstract of Nature Communications paper

Multifunctional nanoparticles with combined diagnostic and therapeutic functions show great promise towards personalized nanomedicine. However, attaining consistently high performance of these functions in vivo in one single nanoconstruct remains extremely challenging. Here we demonstrate the use of one single polymer to develop a smart ‘all-in-one’ nanoporphyrin platform that conveniently integrates a broad range of clinically relevant functions. Nanoporphyrins can be used as amplifiable multimodality nanoprobes for near-infrared fluorescence imaging (NIRFI), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) and dual modal PET-MRI. Nanoporphyrins greatly increase the imaging sensitivity for tumour detection through background suppression in blood, as well as preferential accumulation and signal amplification in tumours. Nanoporphyrins also function as multiphase nanotransducers that can efficiently convert light to heat inside tumours for photothermal therapy (PTT), and light to singlet oxygen for photodynamic therapy (PDT). Furthermore, nanoporphyrins act as programmable releasing nanocarriers for targeted delivery of drugs or therapeutic radio-metals into tumours.

Categories: Science

Sniffing Out Alien Life: Stinky Chemicals May Be Key

Space.com - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 11:15am
Alien organisms may betray their presence by pumping stinky chemicals into their home planets' skies, researchers say.
Categories: Science

Online Slooh Observatory Snags $30K Telescope Grant to Hunt Asteroids

Space.com - Tue, 02/09/2014 - 11:14am
The parent company of a group that provides free telescope views over the Internet has received a Connecticut government grant of $30,000 to buy a new telescope.
Categories: Science