Harvard Scientists Train Computer to Distinguish Scents

A team of Harvard scientists led by Venkatesh Murthy, professor of molecular and cellular biology, tackled a seemingly complex phenomenon in their investigation: how mice can distinguish scents from one another. Using a machine-learning algorithm, Murthy and his colleagues “trained” a computer to recognize the neural patterns linked to various scents, and to identify specific odors in a mixture of smells. The study, published in the journal Neuron, focused on creating an algorithm for a compu...
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Study Reveals Autism Could Be Reversible

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have shown that it may be possible to reverse autism. Autism is a genetically-linked condition and there is still much uncertainty as to what all the different genetic causes of the condition are. One genetic cause for example, affecting 1% of the those with autism, is the lack of a Shank3, which has responsibilities related to brain development. Those missing the gene experience autism symptoms such as avoiding social activities/interact...
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Drug prevents Type 1 diabetes in mice

A compound that blocks the synthesis of hyaluronan, a substance generally found in in all body tissue, protects mice from getting Type 1 diabetes.Nadine Nagy and Paul Bollyky and their colleagues found that a drug helped prevent the onset of Type 1 diabetes in mice. They hope to find out if the drug will work similarly in humans. Type 1 diabetes, formerly called juvenile diabetes, afflicts one in 300 people in the United States. A compound that blocks the synthesis of hyaluronan, a substance ...
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On Understanding Sleep

Scientists find what controls waking up and going to sleep. The latest finding from an Indian-American circadian rhythms expert at Northwestern University is that he has discovered how an animal’s biological clock wakes it up in the morning and puts it to sleep at night. In a study of brain circadian neurons that govern the daily sleep-wake cycle’s timing, doctor Ravi Allada and his team found that high sodium channel activity in these neurons during the day turn the cells on and ultimatel...
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Combination drug therapy shrinks pancreatic tumors in mice

A combination of two drugs appears to be effective at shrinking pancreatic cancers in laboratory mice Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly of all human cancers, and its incidence is increasing. A combination of two drugs, one already approved by the Food and Drug Administration, appears to be effective at shrinking pancreatic cancers in laboratory mice, according to a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. The drugs, which affect the structure and fu...
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