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Technology and Health News

All kinds of interesting tech and health news from around the World!

Technology and Health News > Saturday, March-29-2008

Mice know to apply rules!

The rodents, as primates, are able to learn simple abstract principles for later use in different situations...

A long considered exclusive to primates appears in reality shared by other species. Having already been demonstrated in some birds in fact, the ability to apply abstract rules just learned, and to to adapt to new situations was also observed in mice. The study, published in a number of Science, was conducted by Robin Murphy of University College London.

The experiments were carried out by subjecting the animals to visual and acoustic stimuli. In the first phase mice, divided into three groups, have responded to three different sequences of visual stimuli, consisting of the sequence of light and dark. For each group only a sequence was associated with the food. After an initial period of "training", the mice were able to distinguish between those identifying sequences associated with reward.

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Technology and Health News > Wednesday, March-26-2008

First successes against Parkinson disease

Cloned cells were transplanted into the brain of mice who suffered from this disease and they replaced sick neurons.

The success of therapeutic cloning in mice. Researchers of the Sloan-Kettering Institute in New York, led by neuro-scientist Lorenz Studer, have treated the guinea pigs suffering from Parkinson with the transplantation of embryonic stem cells obtained from the skin of rodents themselves sick. The experiment, described in Nature Medicine, not only has recorded cases of rejection, but also significant improvements in the evolution of clinical pathology.

The group Studer - after having caused lesions in the brains of mice that would determine the same effects of Parkinson's disease - has transferred the nuclei of cells inside the tail skin cell mouse egg "emptied" of its nucleus, through the technique known as therapeutic cloning (or Scnt, Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer). The cloned cells, cultivated, were then developed into blastocysts. The researchers thus generated 187 lines of embryonic stem cells from 24 different mice, most of which later differentiate into neurons capable of producing dopamine.

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Technology and Health News > Monday, March-24-2008

Generosity pays for itself

According to an American study published in Science, spending on others is the secret of happiness.

The secret of happiness? Be generous. The claim is of Elizabeth Dunn of British Columbia University and Lara Aknin and Michael Norton of Harvard University, just published a study in Science, that people feel happiest when they spend for their loved ones or for purposes of charity.

The researchers examined a representative sample of the national population composed of more than 630 Americans, of whom 55 percent women. The survey took into account various factors, including the "degree of happiness" perceived by volunteers and the report of this subjective value with the annual income, the average monthly expenditure, the total number of "gifts" referred to themselves and the other, and donations to charities. It is found that, regardless of income, people who spend larger quantities of money for others and for themselves, feel happier.

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Technology and Health News > Saturday, March-22-2008

Postcards from the mind

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, researchers have been able to associate a brain activation pattern to the memory of an image. According to a study in Nature.

Reading the thoughts of other people is not yet possible, but scientists are working on it. One tool developed by Jack L. Gallant and collaborators at the University of Berkeley (California) is able to recognize an image that a person has just seen through his brain activity.

Two of the authors of the study published in Nature - Kendrick Kay and Thomas Naselaris - were submitted in person by observing the experiment at random photographs from a group of 120 during brain scans using functional magnetic resonance (fMri). The results of fMri, combined with a mathematical model, have served to associate the images neuronal activity that a person has just had before our eyes.

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Technology and Health News > Thursday, March-20-2008

The protein anti-angiogenesis

Robo4, present in the cells of the blood vessel wall, may improve or prevent the consequences of eye diseases

The age-related ocular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in people over 65 years old, and retinopathy lead to total loss of sight in most of the patients of diabetes, about 21 million in the world. In particular, the degeneration and the destabilization of the vessel wall causes many times a loss of liquid and, consequently, severe inflammation that can lead to blindness. A new protein, named Robo4, identified in cells in the wall of blood vessels, may prevent these anomalies and help reduce or even prevent various vascular diseases related to an increase. The study, conducted by Dean Li and colleagues at the University of Utah, in the United States, was published in Nature.

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Technology and Health News > Tuesday, March-18-2008

Cancer, a malignant protein! -- incredible finds --

Satb1 controls the expression of genes that control the growth of tumour mass and the formation of metastases. The discovery in Nature magazine.

It is a protein the cause of the aggressiveness of breast cancer. It's called Satb1 and was already known to scientists involved because expression of T cells of the immune system. Only now it has revealed its darkest side, showing that they play a key role in the malignant form of breast cancer.

Metastases, which are formed when cells are adding themselves to the tumour to invade tissues nearby and colonize other parts of the body, represent the advanced stage of the disease. Researchers have now discovered that the cells of the breast cancer need their protein Satb1 to become metastatic. The study has just been published in Nature.

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Technology and Health News > Sunday, March-16-2008

In the eye of the horsefly (a step forward in artificial vision)

Even a visual stimulus extremely short, less than millisecond, affects the decoding of information in the nervous system.

The Ferrari of insects, the horsefly, a tiny acrobat who moves at high speed, has proved that even a very short visual stimulus (on the scale of milliseconds) affects decoding information in the nervous system. This was discovered by scientists in universities of Indiana, Princeton (New Jersey) and the Los Alamos National Laboratory (New Mexico), one of the largest multidisciplinary institutions in the world.

A human being is unable to record the continuous change of scenery and should have a supra-sensory stimulation. But this is a fly: its nervous system processes information very quickly so that the insect can adapt to what he sees with a reaction time of 30 milliseconds. "During the flight," says Ruyter van Steveninck University of Indiana, "the horsefly must quickly analyze a number of complex information and, because of its ability to move rapidly, it is reasonable to think that the way it deciphers level sensory-motor data is optimal. We then decided to study its visual system to understand how his brain can order a continuous stream of very complex data in such an efficient way. "

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Technology and Health News > Friday, March-14-2008

The memory is the "cache" of the brain

The procedural memory remains imprinted in the chemical synapses. It is not the merit of a cell constant.

When we drive a car or we tie a shoe knot, we store a series of gestures that are accessed faster and automatically whenever you need that action again. It is the so-called working memory or procedural memory, whose operation resembles that of cache memory of a computer, for example, allows us to more quickly open a website already visited.

A study conducted by Gianluigi Mongillo of French Cnrs research, and Omri Barak and Misha Tsodyks the Weizmann Institute (Israel) would seem to refute the widespread belief that this type of memory is fixed thanks to a number of specific neurons. On the contrary, the procedural memory is recorded at the level of chemical changes in cells that remain after the transition pressure in nervous synapses (points of contact and communication between neurons).

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Technology and Health News > Wednesday, March-12-2008

Another point for the aspirin?

A study analysis conducted over the past 27 years by British researchers, suggests that some Fans can reduce the risk of developing cancer.

A review of studies published over the last 27 years suggests that the anti-inflammatory non-steroidal pharmacy drugs (Fans) such as aspirin could reduce the risk of breast cancer by as much as 20 per cent! In support, some experts of Guy's Hospital in London appeared in a publication of International Journal of Clinical Practice. According to Ian Fentiman, Fans could play an important role not only in prevention, but also as a therapy for women who have developed this type of cancer, combining their use with a hormonal treatment and using them as analgesics.

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Technology and Health News > Monday, March-10-2008

Splitting the picosecond

New mechanisms based on mercury and aluminum allow an accuracy ten times higher than the current systems.

New generation atomic clocks have been developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (Nist), an international collaboration which includes Luke Lorini also of the National Research Metrologica (Inrim) in Turin. The research appeared in Science magazine, and showed the ability to measure frequencies, and thus time, with 17 significant digits, reaching an unprecedented accuracy. The two new atomic clocks are based on atoms of mercury and aluminum. The first system had already been submitted in 2000, but the current version is definitely improved, the mechanism based on aluminum represents a completely new system.
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