Sugar’s ‘tipping point’ link to Alzheimer’s disease revealed

sugar cubes

For the first time a “tipping point” molecular link between the blood sugar glucose and Alzheimer’s disease has been established by scientists, who have shown that excess glucose damages a vital enzyme involved with inflammation response to the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

Abnormally high blood sugar levels, or hyperglycaemia, is well-known as a characteristic of diabetes and obesity, but its link to Alzheimer’s disease is less familiar.

Diabetes patients have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease compared to healthy individuals. In Alzheimer’s disease abnormal proteins aggregate to form plaques and tangles in the brain which progressively damage the brain and lead to severe cognitive decline. Continue reading Sugar’s ‘tipping point’ link to Alzheimer’s disease revealed

New findings highlight promise of chimeric organisms for science and medicine

cell

Rapid advances in the ability to grow cells, tissues and organs of one species within an organism of a different species offer an unprecedented opportunity for tackling longstanding scientific mysteries and addressing pressing human health problems, particularly the need for transplantable organs and tissues.

In a tour de force paper published in the January 26, 2017, issue of the journal Cell, scientists at the Salk Institute report breakthroughs on multiple fronts in the race to integrate stem cells from one species into the early-stage development of another. Continue reading New findings highlight promise of chimeric organisms for science and medicine

Breakthrough by Exeter cell biologists

organelles

Scientists have made a breakthrough in understanding how different compartments (or organelles) of human cells interact.

Organelles are the functional units of a cell. Like organs in a body, they perform specialised functions. To allow survival of the cell, organelles have to interact and cooperate. How this is mediated and regulated in the cell is an important and challenging question in cell biology. Continue reading Breakthrough by Exeter cell biologists

New model predicts once-mysterious chemical reactions

radiation from hydrogen

A team of researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory and Curtin University in Australia developed a theoretical model to forecast the fundamental chemical reactions involving molecular hydrogen (H2), which after many decades and attempts by scientists had remained largely unpredicted and unsolved

“Chemical reactions are the basis of life so predicting what happens during these reactions is of great importance to science and has major implications in innovation, industry and medicine,” said Mark Zammit, a post-doctorate fellow in the Physics and Chemistry of Materials group at Los Alamos National Laboratory. “Our model is the first to very accurately calculate the probability of fundamental electron-molecular hydrogen reactions.” Continue reading New model predicts once-mysterious chemical reactions

Scientists develop genetic path to tastier tomatoes

tomatoes
Picture credit: UF/IFAS

Some consumers crave tastier tomatoes than those available at the supermarket.

Now, scientists at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) and their partners have found a way to get tomatoes to produce the compounds that make them more flavorful.

Their findings were published today in the journal Science. Continue reading Scientists develop genetic path to tastier tomatoes

Metallic hydrogen, once theory, becomes reality: Harvard physicists succeed in creating ‘the holy grail of high-pressure physics’

metallic hydrogen

The material – atomic metallic hydrogen – was created by Thomas D. Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences Isaac Silvera and post-doctoral fellow Ranga Dias. In addition to helping scientists answer fundamental questions about the nature of matter, the material is theorized to have a wide range of applications, including as a room-temperature superconductor. The creation of the rare material is described in a January 26 paper published in Science.

“This is the holy grail of high-pressure physics,” Silvera said. “It’s the first-ever sample of metallic hydrogen on Earth, so when you’re looking at it, you’re looking at something that’s never existed before.” Continue reading Metallic hydrogen, once theory, becomes reality: Harvard physicists succeed in creating ‘the holy grail of high-pressure physics’

Nano-chimneys can cool circuits, say Rice University scientists

From the Rice University website

The Rice lab of theoretical physicist Boris Yakobson found that putting a cone-like “chimney” between the graphene and nanotube all but eliminates a barrier that blocks heat from escaping.

The research appears in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Physical Chemistry C.

Heat is transferred through phonons, quasiparticle waves that also transmit sound. The Rice theory offers a strategy to channel damaging heat away from next-generation nano-electronics.  Continue reading Nano-chimneys can cool circuits, say Rice University scientists

Soft robot can help a heart to pump

harvard soft robot for heart

An innovative soft robotic sleeve which can help a heart to beat has been developed by researchers including Dr Ellen Roche of National University of Ireland Galway.

The soft robotic sleeve wraps around the organ, twisting and compressing in synch with the beating heart, potentially opening new treatment options for people suffering from heart failure.

Dr Roche is the paper’s first author and former PhD student at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and The Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. The research took place at Harvard and at Boston Children’s Hospital. Continue reading Soft robot can help a heart to pump

Researchers discover ‘marvel microbes’ explaining how cells became complex

microbes

Article from Uppsala University website

In a new study, published in Nature this week, an international research group led from Uppsala University in Sweden presents the discovery of a group of microbes that provide new insights as to how complex cellular life emerged.

The study provides new details of how, billions of years ago, complex cell types that comprise plants, fungi, but also animals and humans, gradually evolved from simpler microbial ancestors.

Life on our planet can be divided into three major groups. Two of these groups are represented by tiny microbes, the Bacteria and the Archaea. The third group of organisms comprises all visible life, such as humans, animals, and fungi – collectively known as eukaryotes.

Whereas the cells of bacteria and archaea are generally small and simple, eukaryotes are made up of large and complex cell types.

The origin of these complex cell types has long been a mystery to the scientific community, but now an international collective of researchers led by Uppsala University has identified a group of microorganisms that provides a unique insight into the evolutionary transition from simple to complex cells. Continue reading Researchers discover ‘marvel microbes’ explaining how cells became complex

Physicists say they’ve manipulated ‘pure nothingness’ and observed the fallout

waves

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by Professor Alfred Leitenstorfer has now shown how to manipulate the electric vacuum field and thus generate deviations from the ground state of empty space which can only be understood in the context of the quantum theory of light.

With these results, the researchers from the field of ultrafast phenomena and photonics build on their earlier findings, published in October 2015 in the scientific journal Science, where they have demonstrated direct detection of signals from pure nothingness.

This essential scientific progress might make it possible to solve problems that physicists have grappled with for a long time, ranging from a deeper understanding of the quantum nature of radiation to research on attractive material properties such as high-temperature superconductivity. Continue reading Physicists say they’ve manipulated ‘pure nothingness’ and observed the fallout

Solar storms could cost USA tens of billions of dollars

sun

The daily economic cost to the USA from solar storm-induced electricity blackouts could be in the tens of billions of dollars, with more than half the loss from indirect costs outside the blackout zone, according to a new study led by University of Cambridge researchers.

Previous studies have focused on direct economic costs within the blackout zone, failing to take account of indirect domestic and international supply chain loss from extreme space weather.

According to the study, published in the journal Space Weather, on average the direct economic cost incurred from disruption to electricity represents just under a half of the total potential macroeconomic cost. Continue reading Solar storms could cost USA tens of billions of dollars

University of Pennsylvania’s Ghost Robotics launches Minitaur four-legged robot platform for autonomous vehicle applications

Ghost Robotics says Minitaur four-legged robot built for highly-precise force feedback applications and movement across unknown, rough and vertical terrains 

University of Pennsylvania startup company Ghost Robotics has launched its first patent-pending direct-drive legged robot platform, Ghost Minitaur. 

Ghost Robotics specialises in the research and development legged, direct-drive or gearless and proprioceptive robotics technologies.

Founded by University of Pennsylvania PhD candidates, Avik De and Gavin Kenneally, Ghost Robotics is researching and building next-generation legged robots that are superior to wheeled and tracked autonomous vehicles in many field applications.  Continue reading University of Pennsylvania’s Ghost Robotics launches Minitaur four-legged robot platform for autonomous vehicle applications

Your next nurse could be a robot, say scientists who trained one

 

operating room

Robots can successfully imitate human motions in the operating room, claim scientists

The nursing assistant for your next trip to the hospital might be a robot. This is the implication of research recently published by Dr Elena De Momi and colleagues in the open access journal Frontiers in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence.

Dr De Momi, of the Politecnico di Milano, in Italy, led an international team that trained a robot to imitate natural human actions. De Momi’s work indicates that humans and robots can effectively coordinate their actions during high-stakes events such as surgeries.

Over time this should lead to improvements in safety during surgeries because unlike their human counterparts robots do not tire and can complete an endless series of precise movements. The goal is not to remove human expertise from the operating room, but to complement it with a robot’s particular skills and benefits.  Continue reading Your next nurse could be a robot, say scientists who trained one

University receives $1 million grant to improve collaborative robotics

uc-san-diego-collaborative-robotics
The envisioned intelligent material delivery system: a robot will sense when skilled workers need materials, and deliver them in advance. This will help reduce worker frustration, stress, and talent loss, and save approximately $1.7 million dollars an hour by reducing work stoppage problems, according to UC San Diego.

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have been given $1 million to research how to improve the way robots interact with people in US factories

Laurel Riek, a roboticist at the UC San Diego, will lead a three-year, $1 million project funded by the National Science Foundation to help change the role of robots in factories and make it easier for machines to work alongside people.

The goal of the project is to design an intelligent material delivery system, which supports and closely integrates with skilled workers in factories.

The researchers will investigate innovative, multi-disciplinary approaches to dramatically advance the state of the art in smart manufacturing and human-centered robotics.  Continue reading University receives $1 million grant to improve collaborative robotics

Exclusive: Nasa scientists set to revolutionise oil and gas business with robotics and automation technology

space shuttle

Houston company says it is bringing advanced technology from Nasa to elevate oil and gas operations through robotics and automation

A Texas business grounded in aerospace experience and space technology is changing the face of oil and gas.

Houston Mechatronics, a company founded by former Nasa roboticists, is incorporating intelligent automation and robotics into the energy industry in ways that streamline operations, improve both costs and quality, and remove workers from hazardous environments.

The recent focus on oil and gas was a natural one, says Matthew Ondler, Houston Mechatronics’ co-founder and president. Although the company works with clients across a range of industries, energy is feeling a pinch.  Continue reading Exclusive: Nasa scientists set to revolutionise oil and gas business with robotics and automation technology