Posts

Researchers are Mining 100 Year Old Brains for DNA to Cure Mental Illnesses

It turns out the brains stored inside jars around the globe in some weird scientist’s basement can actually be used for something good. Researchers that study mental health disorders claim that DNA extracted from the brains can assist them in finding cures – if they can figure out how to extract it first.

The researchers stated that the brains stored since the early 1900’s can sever as a type of brain health archive full of information that is no longer available in our modern day brains.

The Indiana Medical History Museum has hundreds of preserved brains and brain chunks that have been taken from mentally ill patients and people who have died from natural causes. Indiana University pathologists’ have been trying to extract the DNA from these brain chunks. They are trying to find a gene that is responsible for causing metal disorders, like Schizophrenia, or Bipolar disorders. Scientific American stated that certain gene variants are thought to be related to schizophrenia, but so far scientists have been unable to isolate the mutated gene.

SciAm stated that now days, a mentally ill persons brain is difficult to find, autopsies are not as common now as they were in the past, and the schools and laboratories that have these “ill” brains tend to keep them for themselves and guard them very carefully.

They hope that by studying brains preserved in jars, they’ll be able to learn more about how our brain works, they are trying to find the gene to cure most mental illnesses, if they succeed at Extracting the DNA and RNA from these jar-brains, they’ll be able to get one step further into finally figuring out how our gray mass actually works.

[Scientific American]

Top Days For Tornado Strikes: Why Tornadoes Don’t Like to Strike on Weekends

Have you noticed that Tornadoes don’t like to strike cities or towns during the weekends? Scientists have released a study that revealed that human activity may be the culprit behind an increase in tornado and hailstorms across the U.S. They stated that severe weather is worse during the week when air pollution is at its highest – possibly because of our daily commutes between work and home.

The team analyzed summertime storm activity in the Eastern U.S. from ’95 to ’09 using the data from the NOAA – the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Storm Prediction Center. They came up with the conclusion that tornadoes and hailstorms occurred at a rate of 20 percent above average during the week, and 20 percent below average on the weekends.

This isn’t because we only have Two days in the weekend, and 5 days during the week, but it actually has to do with the quality of the air. The actual study proved to not be random, as a matter of fact; they actually found similarities with other types of storms around the country and they came up with the same results – The higher the pollution, the higher the chances of storms.

The researchers took the EPA air quality data, and put it side by side to the NOAA and they determined that the data matches – pretty much, the more we drive back and forth, the worse the storm will be. This research is about the impact our pollution has on storms. Tornadoes will strike any day and time of week, this research is just pointing out that there 20 percent chance that it will happen during the week.

Why Does Pollution Have Anything To Do With Storms?

The researchers say that pollution causes moisture to gather around the pollutant – the little tiny molecules that create smog are like tiny cotton balls. This moisture leads to more cloud droplets as pollution increases. These pollutants get taken up higher into the air and eventually get turned into hail. More pollution = more water moisture going into the air = more hail.

What About The Tornadoes?

Tornadoes use the same concept, but use different methods. They said that larger, heavier hail making water droplets have less surface area than the other particles of “normal” condensed water drops. Basically, the water droplets that are stuck to the pollutants evaporate slower than a normal water drop. This causes the polluted water drops to not pull heat from the air which makes it easier for the warm air to rise to the top and create supercells – the clouds that spawn tornadoes.

Of course, you also need humidity in order to make violent storms. The Western U.S. has very little humidity and is extremely dry. The cloud masses are also too high and too cold for pollution to react the same way as it does in the eastern U.S.

So as it turns out, Pollution is not only bad for our health, it also pisses off the Earth. Now you have to understand one thing, just because pollution causes more storms, it doesn’t mean that NOT HAVING pollution will stop the storms. Storms will continue to happen, but we actually have an impact on how often and how bad they happen. Via Ecogeek

What Channels Influence the Social Consumer?

Most consumers now days rely on the web when they’re in the market to find something new, but where exactly are they looking?

According to this great graphic by M Booth and Beyond, it really depends on what they’re looking to buy. In other words, the products dictate which web sources consumers will choose to get their information from. If you take a closer look at the info-graphic below, you’ll get a better idea of where everyone is looking for new products, and trust me…some of the data will really surprise you.

For example:
– Out of the 12 popular products researched, Foursquare has the largest influence on cookware products.
– Similarly, Facebook has the biggest influence on baby products.
– 66% of consumers researching beauty products, click on an online ad.

Check out the full graphic below to learn more:

Scientists Break Internet Speed Record

Imagine having the ability to send the entire contents of your hard drive across the state in a matter of seconds – that would be pretty sweet right? Well, it’s now possible to do just that.

Researchers broke the internet speed record when they were able to transfer data at a staggering 186 gigabits per second. In case you’re wondering – that’s really fast. That’s the equivalent of downloading a full movie almost instantaneously, or sending 100,000 Blu-Ray disks in less than a day.

This new record beats the last record from 2009 by 67 gigabits. The test was conducted in November and it involved sending data between the University of Victoria and the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. This new ability is going to lay the building blocks for faster ways of transferring large quantities of data around the world.  Read More at the Global Post

Batteries that charge 10x faster and last 10x longer just 5-years out, scientists say

Carrying a battery charger in your purse, having a car battery charger plugged into you AC plug, and having at least two electric sockets crowding your wall may soon become a thing of the past. Scientist at Northwestern University are tweaking lithium-ion batteries to last 10 times longer and charge up to 10 times faster than the current batteries that we have today. BBC reported recently that the technology could be available in as little as 5 years. So how does it work?

Well, apparently by pocking thousands of holes that have a 20-40 nanometer radius, you can change the movement and density of the lithium ion cells enough to increase the charge time and lower the charging time of any battery. The Northwestern University made a prototype that can fully charge in as little as 15 minutes and the battery lasts en entire week on that single charge.

I’m not sure about you, but I think that EVEN if we have these kinds of batteries, we’re still going to have our phones on one bar because we’re going to be too lazy to charge our phones. Dr. Harold Kung, the scientist in charge of the research, said that even after 150 charges, you can get one year or more of operation out of your battery. This batteries are still going to hold five times more power than our current lithium ion batteries. The sad part, is that after the battery reaches 150 charges, the life time rapidly begins to decline, but that’s a given when you’re coming up with new technology.

Read More

Adipotide a New Experimental Drug Makes Fat Monkeys Skinny Again

When you want to lose weight you normally have two options, heavy exercise, which nobody wants to do, or wight loss drugs, which suppress your appetite so you won’t eat as much. Of course, there are other more drastic alternatives like the lap band, or getting liposuction done, but if you don’t want to try to lose weight, a new drug that targets fat cells specifically has been showing some promising results in primates.

The drug in question is called Adipotide, the way that it works is by targeting the blood vessels that supply oxygen to the fat cells. Adipotide seeks out the vessels, binds to the vessels, and shuts off the red cell supply to the cells effectively killing the cells.

The scientist have found that after the cells lose red blood cell supply, the fat cells are reabsorbed into the body and they get metabolized. The drug is being tested on Rhesus monkeys, over a period of four weeks of daily injections, the monkeys lost an average of 11% of their body weight and they lost over 27% of their abdominal fat. Their BMI decreased and their waistlines dropped dramatically.

The best part is that so far, the monkeys have not showed any signs of nausea, food avoidance, and they remained sharp to their surroundings. The only side effects were to the kidneys, but the researchers said that the effects were controlled very easily and are 100% reversible. The drug was initially tested in mice, and after a couple of modifications it was able to make the jump to the Primate species, now they are trying to get the drug to make yet another jump from Primate to Human. If this works out, you’ll be able to watch your fat wash away in a matter of weeks without having to go under the blade.

University of Texas, via NBF

University of Texas Scientists Create a 100% Effective Flu Vaccine

The Draco is supposed to be a vaccine that can kill all viruses, including the flu virus. But Draco only works after you have been infected by the flu, so while you may be instantly cured – you’re still going to feel like crap. Preventing a flu infection is what it’s all about, but it’s nearly impossible. Every year, thousands of new flu mutations and strains infect our population. So much in fact, that scientists don’t have the resources to create a vaccine for every type of strain. But luckily for us, scientist at the University of Texas South Western division, have created a new type of flu vaccine that can protect you against any kind of flu virus, by creating a natural shield for our cells.

Currently, Scientist and researchers spend their entire year trying to study the flu virus strains and mutations to determine which virus is going to be the dominant strain. Before the flu season strikes, the scientists give out the vaccine for that specific mutation. Usually after the flu season goes by, there are thousands of new mutations; the vaccines you received last year, no longer serve a good purpose. That’s why people still get the flu even after receiving the shot. This new vaccine however, can protect you against all mutations of the flu.

The team led by Dr. Beatrice Fontoura took a completely different approach at creating the new vaccine:

What we are doing is something different. We are actually stimulating our own response which is already there – boost it – to fight an infection.

The way Dr. Fontoura wants to defeat the virus strains is by giving us a boost that targets our bodies to create a protein called REDD-1. According to Fontoura, her team discovered that when REDD-1 is low in our cells, the flu virus has no problem infecting a cell. Increasing REDD-1 on our body, actually creates a shield around your cells that makes it impossible for the virus to penetrate.

The team found that the shield is so effective that not even the Spanish Flu, the H1Ni influenza, the H1N1 Swine Flu, can penetrate the shield. Unfortunately, like the Draco, the new flu killer vaccine is not going to be ready for a few more years. The doctors have to pass the FDA approval before they can introduce it to the market. Via: CBS

French Scientist Effectively Reverse the Aging Process in Cells

We all know how good the idea of living forever sounds, stories about the elixir of life have been around for centuries, and movies like “In Time” have made it even more appealing. Thanks to French researchers from Fonctionnelle Genomique Institute, we may be able to live forever… sooner rather than later.

The theory that scientist had for years went a little something like this: we have a set number of cells in our body. Those cells can only reproduce and split and X number of times. Once they reach their splitting limit, they start dying off, and humans begin to age. If we can find a way to stop them from splitting as fast, or if we can find a way to stop it all together, we can live eternally.

With that in mind, some French researches said they found a way to actually reverse the signs of aging. The research actually takes old cells, the cells get reprogrammed to be pluripotent stem cells in vitro – IPSC (Induced pluripotentstem cells), which have the youth and characteristics of embryonic stem cells (hESC). They can then differentiate back into cells of all types (neurons, heart cells, epithelial, liver etc) after the “rejuvenation” cure made by French scientists.

This means that we can finally take dying heart cells and turn them into young heart cells again. The researchers now have to find a way to make this work in humans. The experiment has worked amazing in lab mice and rats, but getting it to work in human beings is going to be a new challenge. Via: Doctor Tipster