writes "Scientists at Thomas Jefferson University have discovered that blocking certain types of proteins in the brain may help drugs that have so far failed to treat Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) to be able to work.
Currently there is only one drug in the world, called Riluzole, that is approved for treating ALS. Riluzole works by suppressing the activity of glutamate – a chemical messenger in the central nervous system.
Unfortunately, Riluzole has been shown to lose its effectiveness in patients as the disease progresses, and it only prolongs the lives of ALS patients for between three to six months.
The researchers decided to analyse the brains of mice infected with ALS, instead of analysing healthy animals. They identified two specific pumps in the brain that interact with Riluzole, namely P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and breast-cancer resistant protein.
When they blocked these two types of proteins by treating the mice with an experimental compound called Elacridar together with Riluzole, the scientists found that the treatments extended the life span of the mice and alleviated some of the disease's symptoms, such as improving and preserving muscle strength."Link to Original Source
writes "You may have heard the news today that a British-led consortium backed by lots of well-known scientists wants to launch the first ever crowdfunded space mission, and that members of the public will be able to send digital memories and even human DNA in the form of a strand of hair to the moon.
However, one of the most exciting aspects of this space mission is not so much that DNA or drilling robots will be going to the moon, but more what the scientists hope to achieve once they get there.
"In the future, it will probably be better to launch planetary missions from the moon than the Earth," Lunar Missions Ltd and Lunar Missions Trust founder David Iron tells IBTimes UK.
"We can use the top layer of the moon to create fuel and oxygen and water to help sustain a permanent manned lunar base at the south pole of the moon, [while] the moon and its vicinity can be used as a stepping point to help launch interplanetary missions."
There will in fact be three stages of funding for Lunar Mission One – a Kickstarter campaign, a reservation service for individuals or companies that want to store information on the moon, and a global marketing campaign."Link to Original Source
writes "An Austrian industrial design student has invented a water bottle that fills itself during cycling journeys by converting humidity in the air into safe drinking water.
The Fontus system was developed by Kristof Retezár, an industrial design student at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna who is a Dyson Awards finalist.
Designed to be attached to a bicycle frame, Fontus consists of a condenser unit powered by a solar panel that is attached to a bottle.
When the bike is in motion, moist air is blown into a channel in the condenser unit where it cools and condenses.
The water droplets then roll into the water bottle, and at present the prototype is able to produce a drop of water a minute in air that features approximately 50% humidity at temperatures of at least 20C (68F)."Link to Original Source
writes "The 1,000-year-old tomb of a rich nobleman from the Liao Dynasty (907-1125 AD) has been discovered in Datong City, Shanxi Province in northern China, featuring beautiful murals, ceilings covered in constellations of stars and a statue of the tomb's occupant.
The tomb, known as M1, was discovered by archaeologists from the Datong Municipal Institute of Archaeology in April 2011, buried 1.5m below ground level near the Datong-Taiyuan Railway line. It is circular in shape and made from brick, consisting of three components – an entrance corridor, a passageway with stairs and a burial chamber.
The walls of the tomb chamber are lime plaster covered with several large murals depicting the daily domestic life of a noble during the Liao Dynasty (also known as the Khitan Empire), which lasted from 907-1125 AD.
The Khitan people were normadic people from Mongolia and Manchuria who dominated parts of China during the Liao Dynasty and rules over the Han Chinese. Very few relics of their reign have survived till today."Link to Original Source
writes "Computer science researchers from Boston's Northeastern University have proved that e-commerce sites are tracking the online shopping habits of people and will charge individuals different prices, depending on what type of device they are using to access a website.
300 participants ran product searches earlier this year on the websites of 16 big US and international retailers, online travel agencies and car rental companies.
Their search results showed that retailers like Home Depot, Sears, JC Penneys, Macy's, Cheaptickets, Orbitz, Priceline, Expedia and Travelocity have been charging higher prices to users on Macs or Android devices, and some retailers had been giving out secret discounts to users on certain devices."Link to Original Source
writes "Scientists from three UK universities have found a way to fine-tune the electrical conductivity of glass, which could finally pave the way for optical light-based computers that harness the power and speed of light to transfer data.
Researchers working together from the University of Surrey, the University of Southampton and Cambridge University used a technique known as "ion doping" on amorphous chalcogenides, a type of material made from glass that is widely used in CD and DVD solid-state memory technology.
The ion doping technique was able to accommodate several different computing functions into one all-optical system by fine-tuning the electrical conductivity of the material, which has never been possible before."Link to Original Source
writes "Scientists at the Johns Hopkins Medical School and the University of Nebraska have discovered an algae virus that makes us more stupid by infecting our brains.
The researchers were conducting a completely unrelated study into throat microbes when they realised that DNA in the throats of healthy people matched the DNA of a chlorovirus virus known as ATCV-1.
ATCV-1 is a virus that infects the green algae found in freshwater lakes and ponds. It had previously been thought to be non-infectious to humans, but the scientists found that it actually affects cognitive functions in the brain by shortening attention span and causing a decrease in spatial awareness.
For the first time ever, the researchers proved that microorganisms have the ability to trigger delicate physiological changes to the human body, without launching a full-blown attack on the human immune system."Link to Original Source
writes "A group of young entrepreneurs from the US is offering to take peoples' sequenced DNA, convert it into data, and then back it up using the cryptocurrency bitcoin to keep it safe for future genetic engineering and even cloning. It's the stuff of dystopian nightmare futures with clone armies marching around demanding bitcoin for your life.
The Genecoin service will offer users an easy-to-use DNA sampling kit which can be sent back to the startup through the mail. The firm will then perform the necessary DNA tests and then upload the genome data into a bitcoin storage network.
The creators, based in the Pacific Northwest, say that using bitcoin blockchain technology as a storage tool has great potential for the future far beyond being merely a ledger for bitcoin transactions."Link to Original Source
writes "Scientists from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have genetically analysed 900 violent offenders in Finland and discovered that those with two particular genes are 13 times more likely to have a history of repeated violent behaviour.
The group of criminals had committed a total of 1,154 murders, manslaughters, attempted homicides and batteries. The researchers created a profile for each criminal according to their offences, classifying them as either violent or non-violent.
Their research, Genetic Background of Extreme Violent Behavior, is published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
The scientists discovered at least 4-10% of all violent crime in Finland was committed by people who had the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) gene and a variant of the cadherin 13 (CDH13) gene."Link to Original Source
writes "The UK branch of global defence firm General Dynamics is working on a futuristic state-of-the-art smart-tank to replace the British Army's ageing armoured vehicle fleet, to be delivered to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in 2020.
The Scout SV armoured vehicle is the first fully-digitised armoured fighting vehicle to have been built for the British Army, and is far bigger and more durable than any of its existing tanks, which are now at least 20 years old.
The tank comes in six variants that can be customised with a tools for different missions, and has numerous sensors, cameras, and sights to offer real-time intelligence on weather conditions, target acquisition, and reconnaissance — all crucial battlefield data required by commanders to access and direct situations."Link to Original Source
writes "Researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have used high-resolution sonar imagery to discover two important sunken WWII vessels approximately 30 miles off the coast of North Carolina from the Battle of the Atlantic.
The vessels, the German U-boat 576 submarine and a freighter named Bluefields, have been lost for over 70 years and were found in an area known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic.
"Most people associate the Battle of the Atlantic with the cold, icy waters of the North Atlantic," said David Alberg, superintendent of NOAA's Monitor National Marine Sanctuary.
"But few people realise how close the war actually came to America's shores. As we learn more about the underwater battlefield, Bluefields and U-576 will provide additional insight into a relatively little-known chapter in American history.""Link to Original Source
writes "Scientists from the University of Michigan Medical School, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary have succeeded in restoring hearing in noise-deafened mice by activating a protein to repair crucial connections in the inner ear, which could one day be used to treat patients with hearing loss.
Neurotrophin-3 (NT3) is a protein that supports the survival of neurons in the central nervous system and also encourages the growth of new neurons and synapses in the body.
Until now, cells that produce NT3 have traditionally been seen by scientists to be "supporting actors" in the ear-brain nerve connection, forming a physical base for the hair cells that interact directly with nerves to carry sound signals to the brain from the ear.
The scientists' research has shown that not only is NT3 crucial to the body's ability to form and maintain connections between hair cells and nerve cells, but it is also possible to stimulate the production of NT3 by triggering genes in inner ear cells."Link to Original Source
writes "Scientists from Cambridge University have discovered a new way to detect consciousness in vegetative patients by studying brainwaves, which could offer fresh hope for unresponsive brain damage patients and their families.
The scientists analysed the brain networks of 32 vegetative, comatose and minimally conscious patients as well as 26 healthy people with electroencephalography (EEG).
They then used a type of applied mathematics known as Graph Theory to analyse the EEG data in order to search for patterns of communication across brain regions.
In the brains of healthy people, there are "rich and diversely connected networks" of brain activity, which are lacking in the brains of patients with brain damage. However, some of the vegetative patients were found to have brain activity patterns that are similar to those of healthy people."Link to Original Source
writes "American tourist David Willis from Dallas, Texas has become an overnight Twitter sensation after he was locked inside the Waterstones Trafalgar Square bookshop in London for two hours last night.
Willis posted on Instagram at 10:11pm that he had gone upstairs to the first floor of the bookstore for 15 minutes and then came downstairs to find himself locked in with "all the lights out and door locked"."Link to Original Source
writes "Cambridge University researchers have succeeded in mimicking nanotechnology used by ancient Romans to make a 4th century AD glass cage chalice change colour in different lights. Using the same process, they have made a breakthrough that could greatly increase the storage capabilities of today's optical devices.
In order to produce the dichroic effect on the Lycurgus Cup, Roman artisans are believed to have ground down particles of gold and silver to 50 nanometres in diameter, which is less than one-thousandth the size of a grain of table salt, and then laid these nanoparticles within the glass before it set. No one has been able to replicate the effect, until now.
The researchers created nanoscale metallic nanoparticle arrays from a thin layer of silver that mimic the dichroic colour effect of the Roman chalice to create multicoloured holograms containing 16 million nanoparticles per square millimetre.
Each nanoparticle scatters light into numerous colours depending on its size and shape, and the light, when put together, produces an image."Link to Original Source