Japan’s robot suit to bring hope to the disabled


“And if the idea of a helping those with disabilities walk sounds like the stuff of science fiction, think again: the real-life Cyberdyne is in the business of revolutionising lives. Where i can buy levitra online USA without prescription.

The firm produces an exoskeleton device called the , or HAL, which in another sci-fi related coincidence shares its name with the devious computer in Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey”.

It gives power to its wearer by anticipating and supporting the user’s using sensors monitoring electric signals sent from the brain to the muscles. Current options are for a single leg device or both legs.

HAL has many potential applications, from assisting caregivers lift people to helping construction workers or even firefighters.

In one case, three weeks of training with HAL enabled a man who had suffered brain injuries to stand on his own feet after nine years in a wheelchair, said Cyberdyne CEO Yoshiyuki Sankai, professor at the University of Tsukuba.

The group is now gearing up for mass-production and started leasing the battery-powered suit to welfare facilities last year. [...]”

Source/artocle: PhysOrg

How the brain’s architecture makes our view of the world unique


Wellcome Trust scientists have shown for the first time that exactly how we see our environment depends on the size of the visual part of our brain.

We are all familiar with the idea that our thoughts and emotions differ from one person to another, but most people assume that how we perceive the visual world is usually very similar from person to person. However, the primary visual cortex – the area at the back of the responsible for processing what we see in the world around us – is known to differ in size by up to three times from one individual to the next.

Now, researchers at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL (University College London) have shown for the first time that the size of this area affects how we perceive our environment. Their study is published online today in the journal Nature Neuroscience. ” [...]

Source/article: PhysOrg


„Alien“-Mikrobe: Arsen als Lebensbaustein


“Bisher als unmöglich geltende Lebensform wirft neues Licht auf extraterrestrisches Leben

Forscher haben ein Bakterium entdeckt, dass es eigentlich gar nicht geben dürfte: Es ernährt sich nicht nur von hochgiftigem Arsen, sondern baut dieses auch in seinen Stoffwechsel ein – sogar in seine DNA. Wie die Wissenschaftler in „Science“ berichten, ist diese im Mono Lake in Kalifornien entdeckte Mikrobe der erste Beleg für ein Lebewesen, das das als essenziell geltende Element Phosphor durch ein anderes Element ersetzt. Dies wirft auch ein völlig neues Licht auf die Suche nach Leben auf anderen Planeten.

Bisher galt es als eindeutig, dass alles bekannte Leben bestimmte chemische Elemente als essenzielle Bausteine benötigt. Neben Kohlenstoff, Wasserstoff, Stickstoff, Sauerstoff und Schwefel gehört auch Phosphor dazu. Das Element Phosphor ist unter anderem Bestandteil des Erbmoleküls DNA, aber auch von Energie liefernden Verbindungen wie ATP. Doch jetzt hat ein amerikanisches Forscherteam unter Leitung von Felisa Wolfe-Simon von der Arizona State Universität erstmals einen Beleg dafür gefunden, dass es auch Lebensformen gibt, die ohne Phosphor auskommen. [...]”

Source/article: Scinexx

UK Women’s lung cancer rate catching up with men’s


“Research shows dramatic increase in women diagnosed with UK’s biggest killer, as they fail to heed no-smoking message

Women have been urged to take anti-smoking messages more seriously after new research showed lung cancer rates rising among the female population but declining among men. [...]

Alexander Ives and Dr Julia Verne, of the NHS’s South West Public Health Observatory, used data from the UK Association of Cancer Registries to identify women in England diagnosed with the disease between 1985 and 2006. They found that: “Lung cancer incidence for females increased significantly from 1985-87 (32.3 per 100,000) to 2004-06 (35.4 per 100,000)”, a 10% rise. Most recent figures give the rate for men in England as 60 per 100,000.

There is great variation between regions. For example, it is expected that by 2030 lung cancer rates in the south-west will be similar among men and women.

Source/article: Guardian

Harvard scientists reverse the ageing process in mice – now for humans


Harvard scientists were surprised that they saw a dramatic reversal, not just a slowing down, of the ageing in mice. Now they believe they might be able to regenerate human organs

Scientists claim to be a step closer to reversing the ageing process after rejuvenating worn out organs in elderly mice. The experimental treatment developed by researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, turned weak and feeble old mice into healthy animals by regenerating their aged bodies.

The surprise recovery of the animals has raised hopes among scientists that it may be possible to achieve a similar feat in humans – or at least to slow down the ageing process.

An anti-ageing therapy could have a dramatic impact on public health by reducing the burden of age-related health problems, such as dementia, stroke and heart disease, and prolonging the quality of life for an increasingly aged population.

“What we saw in these animals was not a slowing down or stabilisation of the ageing process. We saw a dramatic reversal – and that was unexpected,” said Ronald DePinho, who led the study, which was published in the journal Nature. [...]

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/nov/28/scientists-reverse-ageing-mice-humans

The Visual Human Development Index

Nov. 2010

“The Human Development Index (or HDI) is a measure created to capture the level of development of a country. The HDI is made of three indexes: one for health, one for income, and one for education. Because of its tripartite nature, the same value of HDI can be obtained by substituting one indicator for another, for instance by increasing education and reducing life expectancy. The HDI tree is a visualization that allows comparison of HDI for different countries without the need to aggregate them into a single number, helping avoid the substitutability implied by high risk offshore merchant account online the HDI definition.”

Visit interactive site at Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/2010/11/17/human-development-index-interactive-visualization.html

US reserves of rare earth elements assessed for first time


“The US has 13 million tonnes of rare earth elements but it would take years to extract them, suggests the first detailed report on the country’s supply.

“Rare earth” is an alternative name for the lanthanides – elements 57 to 71 – plus yttrium and scandium. The elements are integral to modern life, and are used in everything from disc drives, hybrid cars and sunglasses to lasers and aircraft used by the military.

China controls 97 per cent of the world’s supply and has been tightening its export quotas, sparking concerns that the rare earths could live up to their name.

Now, the US Geological Survey has looked at all known national reserves of the elements as part of a larger assessment of the threat posed to defence by limited rare earth supplies. [...]”

Source/article: New Scientist

Scientists ferret out a key pathway for aging


“It has been well documented in species ranging from spiders to monkeys that a diet with consistently fewer calories can dramatically slow the process of aging and improve health in old age. But how a reduced diet acts at the most basic level to influence metabolism and physiology to blunt the age-related decline of tissues and cells has remained, for the most part, a mystery.

Now, writing in the current online issue (Nov. 18) of the journal Cell, a team of scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and their colleagues describe a molecular pathway that is a key determinant of the . The finding not only helps explain the cascade of events that contributes to aging, but also provides a rational basis for devising interventions, drugs that may retard aging and contribute to better health in old age.

“We’re getting closer and closer to a good understanding of how caloric restriction works,” says Tomas A. Prolla, a UW-Madison professor of genetics and a senior author of the new Cell study. “This study is the first direct proof for a mechanism underlying the anti-aging effects we observe under caloric restriction.” [...]”

Source/article: PhysOrg

Specialized Blood Vessels Jumpstart and Sustain Organ Regeneration


“In a pair of studies that has the potential to change the way researchers think about regenerative medicine, scientists have shown that a previously overlooked group of cells—the endothelial layer of blood vessels—is essential in helping adult stem cells multiply and revitalize damaged tissue.

The endothelium is the innermost layer of blood vessels, made up of cells that had largely been assumed to function primarily as delivery vehicles for oxygen and nutrients. But earlier this year, Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator Shahin Rafii figured out that these endothelial cells also release growth factors that direct bone marrow stem cells to multiply and differentiate into different types of blood cells. [...]”

Source/article: HHMI

Implanting Artificial Limbs in the Body


“Surgically installing prostheses into bones works better than traditional methods, but it still presents a significant risk of infection.

Johnny Matheny, a former commercial baker from Redhouse, Virginia, lost his left arm to bone cancer in 2008. He now wears a hook-style prosthesis strapped onto his chest; he can laboriously open and close the hook and move the arm up and down by flexing certain muscles. But he is avidly awaiting new technology that he thinks will work much better: a surgically implanted device that attaches directly to bone, potentially enabling superior range of movement and more precise control. [...]”

Source/article: Technology Review