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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NASA Aims to Sequence DNA in Space

NASA is conducting a lot of research in space, but interestingly enough, now they’re focusing on sequencing an integral biological molecule: DNA. Ever since the first strands of DNA were sequenced in the 1970s, researchers understood the profound significance of analyzing genetics for a wide range of medical and biological research. DNA sequencing at large can be used to identify forms of life, study organism evolution and relation, pinpoint genetic diseases in individuals and assist in crim...
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Battery that self destructs in Water in 30 Minutes

A breakthrough invention in developing transient batteries has been developed:  a self-destructing battery that completely dissolves in water without leaving behind any trace. Researchers at Iowa State University have designed a one-millimeter-thick, five-millimeter-long and six millimeters wide battery that use typical lithium-ion technology. The transient battery is made up of eight layers, including an anode, a cathode and the electrolyte separator, all wrapped up in two layers of a polyvi...
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New Discovery Reveals DNA Naturally Fluoresces

A team of researchers at Northwestern University’s Engineering school came across an unprecedented phenomenon: “blinking” or fluorescing DNA.  School textbooks emphasize that macromolecules like DNA and RNA do not naturally fluoresce, and therefore require special fluorescent dyes to be viewed and imaged. This new breakthrough may potentially enable researchers to forgo these often toxic dyes and harness the newly discovered natural fluorescent processes to image DNA.   The toxicity of dy...
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Novel Regenerative Bandage Heals Diabetic Wounds Faster

Northwestern researchers have come up with a novel approach to treat foot ulcers. Their development, a regenerative bandage, heals diabetic wounds four times faster than standard bandages without additional side effects. Experienced by 15% of people with diabetes, foot ulcers can lead to serious health complications. What seems like a harmless sore could result in, for 24% of those affected, a lower-leg amputation and in certain cases, even death. These sores are particularly a problem for...
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Seizure-symptom app is latest Apple health research tool

Johns Hopkins researchers today introduced EpiWatch, an app designed to collect data from patients with epilepsy before, during, and after their seizures. The app, which runs on Apple Watch and iPhone, uses the open source ResearchKit framework designed by Apple. The data gathered for the study by the app, including physiological changes, altered responsiveness, and other characteristics of recurrent seizures, will be used by researchers to better understand epilepsy, to develop new methods f...
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New Technology to Monitor Cancer Cells

Deborah Kelly, a biologist at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, has developed a "microchip-based toolkit" to watch the breast cancer affiliated BRCA1 gene act inside a human breast cancer cell. This new technology allows scientists to watch cancer cells in action at unprecedented resolution. They can now peer closely into the world of cells and molecules within a native, liquid environment. Kelly and colleagues have developed a way to isolate biological specimens in a flowing, liquid en...
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A noninvasive way to measure pressure in the brain.

MIT researchers team up with Boston Medical Center and Philips to test a noninvasive way to measure intracranial pressure. Current methods to check for increased pressure in a patient’s brain are invasive. One widely used technique is to drill a hole in the skull to insert a catheter or sensor into the brain tissue. Because of the risk of brain injury and infection, doctors typically only measure intracranial pressure or ICP when a patient is very sick, even though knowledge of this pressure cou...
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