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Blood-cleansing biospleen device developed for sepsis therapy

September 15, 2014 | by Kristen Kusek, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard Univ. | Comments

Things can go downhill fast when a patient has sepsis, a life-threatening condition in which bacteria or fungi multiply in a patient's blood—often too fast for antibiotics to help. A new device inspired by the human spleen and developed by a team at Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering may radically transform the way doctors treat sepsis.

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“Squid skin” metamaterials project yields vivid color display

September 16, 2014 7:41 am | by Jade Boyd, Rice Univ. | Comments

The quest to create artificial “squid skin”—camouflaging metamaterials that can “see” colors and automatically blend into the background—is one step closer to reality, thanks to a breakthrough color-display technology unveiled by Rice Univ. The new full-color display technology uses aluminum nanoparticles to create the vivid red, blue and green hues found in today’s top-of-the-line LCD televisions and monitors.

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Study: Number-crunching could lead to unethical choices

September 15, 2014 5:02 pm | Comments

Calculating the pros and cons of a potential decision is a way of decision-making. But repeated engagement with numbers-focused calculations, especially those involving money, can have unintended negative consequences, including social and moral transgressions, says new study. Several experiments supported these findings and pointed to a “calculative mindset” that can take precedence in reaching conclusions.

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NASA inspector blasts asteroid protection program

September 15, 2014 4:58 pm | by Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer | Comments

On Monday, NASA's inspector general released a report blasting the agency’s Near Earth Objects program, which is meant to hunt and catalog comets, asteroids and relatively large fragments of these objects that pass within 28 million miles of Earth. The purpose is to protect the planet against their potential dangers, but only 10% of the near-Earth objects bigger than 460 ft across have been catalogued, well short of the goal of 90% by 2020.

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Scientists now closer to industrial synthesis of a material harder than diamond

September 15, 2014 12:16 pm | Comments

Researchers in Russia have developed a new method for the industrial synthesis of an ultra-hard material that exceeds diamond in hardness. An article recently published in Carbon describes in detail a method that allows for the synthesis of ultrahard fullerite, a polymer composed of fullerenes, or spherical molecules made of carbon atoms.

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Materials experts construct precise inter-nanotube junctions

September 15, 2014 12:05 pm | Comments

A new method for controllably constructing precise inter-nanotube junctions and structures in carbon nanotube (CNT) arrays, Northeastern Univ. researchers say, is facile and easily scal­able. It will allow them to tailor the phys­ical prop­er­ties of nan­otube net­works for use in appli­ca­tions ranging from elec­tronic devices to CNT-reinforced com­posite mate­rials found in every­thing from cars to sports equipment.

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New glaucoma cause discovered

September 15, 2014 10:57 am | by Marla Paul, Northwestern Univ. | Comments

Northwestern Medicine scientists have discovered a novel cause of glaucoma in an animal model, and related to their findings, are now developing an eye drop aimed at curing the disease. They believe their findings will be important to human glaucoma. A cure for glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness in the U.S., has been elusive because the basis of the disease is poorly understood.

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Researchers find neural compensation in people with Alzheimer’s-related protein

September 15, 2014 10:43 am | by Sarah Yang, Media Relations, UC Berkeley | Comments

The human brain is capable of a neural workaround that compensates for the buildup of beta-amyloid, a destructive protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study led by Univ. of California, Berkeley researchers. The findings could help explain how some older adults with beta-amyloid deposits in their brain retain normal cognitive function while others develop dementia.

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Gilead to license generic version of Sovaldi

September 15, 2014 9:37 am | by Tom Murphy - AP Business Writer - Associated Press | Comments

Gilead Sciences has reached a deal with several generic drugmakers to produce a cheaper version of its popular, $1,000-per-pill hepatitis C drug Sovaldi for use in developing countries. Gilead said that the India-based companies will make a generic version of Sovaldi, also known as sofosbuvir, and another investigational drug for distribution in 91 countries.

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Skin shocks used at Mass. school draw FDA look

September 15, 2014 8:52 am | by Jennifer C. Kerr and Lauran Neegaard, Associated Press | Comments

Self-injury is one of the most difficult behaviors associated with autism and other developmental or intellectual disabilities, and a private facility outside Boston that takes on some of the hardest-to-treat cases is embroiled in a major debate: Should it use electrical skin shocks to try to keep patients from harming themselves or others?

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X-rays unlock a protein’s SWEET side

September 15, 2014 8:41 am | by Justin Breaux, Argonne National Laboratory | Comments

Sugar is a vital source of energy. Understanding just how sugar makes its way into the cell could lead to the design of better drugs for diabetes patients and an increase in the amount of fruits and vegetables farmers are able to grow. Stanford Univ. researchers have recently uncovered one of these "pathways” into the cell by piecing together proteins slightly wider than the diameter of a strand of spider silk.

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Advanced buoys bring vital data to untapped energy resource

September 15, 2014 8:30 am | by Frances White, PNNL | Comments

Two massive, 20,000-lb buoys decked out with the latest in meteorological and oceanographic equipment will enable more accurate predictions of the power-producing potential of winds that blow off U.S. shores. The bright yellow buoys are being commissioned by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington state's Sequim Bay.

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Slimy fish and the origins of brain development

September 15, 2014 8:09 am | by Jessica Stoller-Conrad, Caltech | Comments

Lamprey—slimy, eel-like parasitic fish with tooth-riddled, jawless sucking mouths—are rather disgusting to look at, but thanks to their important position on the vertebrate family tree, they can offer important insights about the evolutionary history of our own brain development, a recent study suggests.

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Researchers roll “neat” nanotube fibers

September 15, 2014 7:57 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Comments

The very idea of fibers made of carbon nanotubes is neat, but Rice Univ. scientists are making them neat—literally. The single-walled carbon nanotubes in new fibers created at Rice line up like a fistful of uncooked spaghetti through a process designed by chemist Angel Martí and his colleagues.

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Fluid mechanics suggests alternative to quantum orthodoxy

September 15, 2014 7:46 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | Comments

The central mystery of quantum mechanics is that small chunks of matter sometimes seem to behave like particles, sometimes like waves. For most of the past century, the prevailing explanation of this conundrum has been what’s called the “Copenhagen interpretation”—which holds that, in some sense, a single particle really is a wave, smeared out across the universe, that collapses into a determinate location only when observed.

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Evolutionary biology key to tackling diverse global problems

September 12, 2014 10:14 am | by Pat Bailey, UC Davis News Service | Comments

Evolutionary biology techniques can and must be used to help solve global challenges in agriculture, medicine and environmental sciences, advises a nine-member global team led by an evolutionary ecologist from Univ. of California, Davis.

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