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Submission + - Fantasy Artist Overcomes ALS With Technology (

Penguinshit writes: Francis Tsai, famous fantasy and video game artist, has overcome the debilitating effects of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or "Lou Gehrig's Disease" — the same affliction as Stephen Hawking) by using a computer system that follows his eyes as a cursor. Despite being completely paralyzed, he continues to make amazing art.

Submission + - Helpless Help Themselves (

Penguinshit writes: "People with advanced stage Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, aka Lou Gehrig's Disease) are often fully quadriplegic and have a machine pushing air into their lungs. They need someone to always be within earshot of alarms, but what happens if the caretaker goes to sleep? Thanks to eyegaze computer technology and social media, one can call on another to sound the alarm!"

Submission + - Artificial Neural Network Made From DNA (

Penguinshit writes: "Artificial intelligence has been the inspiration for countless books and movies, as well as the aspiration of countless scientists and engineers. Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) are the first to have made an artificial neural network out of DNA, creating a circuit of interacting molecules that can recall memories based on incomplete patterns, just as a brain can."

Submission + - Enzymes Help Regrow Axons (

Penguinshit writes: "In the central nervous system (CNS), certain proteins inhibit the regrowth of severed axons following spinal cord injury (SCI). Using enzymes to locally remove the inhibitory proteins, researchers restored function in a rat model of SCI. They also used a bit of peripheral nerve to act as a scaffold in the CNS. Other similar techniques also use biodegradable polymer scaffold to guide axon regeneration."

Submission + - Consumer Guide to Stem Cell Clinics

Penguinshit writes: Patients seeking stem cell treatments now have a guide to the various clinics purporting to offer such treatments. Not exactly a Zagat or Michelin, but much more objective information from qualified experts than was available before in one place. Created by the International Society for Stem Cell Research, the guide was the brainchild of a task force convened by the then ISSCR President Irving Weissman of the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine.

As reported in the July issue of Cell Stem Cell, the task force said they had been aware of many misleading direct-to-consumer claims by various global clinics touting therapies for a wide variety of conditions. Such unethical marketing "could place individual patients at risk and jeopardize the progress of legitimate research". The guide aims to evaluate these clinics on the basis of, among other criteria, preclinical research (or lack thereof), regulatory oversight, whether an ethics committee is involved to protect patients rights, and whether the clinic provided information to the ISSCR group. The website has a form where patients can submit clinics for investigation by the ISSCR.

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