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Category: Biomedical Engineering

Technique could yield insights into complex proteins involved in Alzheimer’s and other diseases — ScienceDaily

MIT researchers have developed a way to dramatically enhance the sensitivity of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), a technique used to study the structure and composition of many kinds of molecules, including proteins linked to Alzheimer’s and other diseases. Using this new method, scientists should be able to analyze in mere minutes structures that would previously have taken years to decipher, says Robert Griffin, the Arthur Amos Noyes Professor of Chemistry. The new approach, which relies on short pulses of…

Brain plasticity restored in adult mice through targeting specific nerve cell connections — ScienceDaily

Neuroscientists at Tufts University School of Medicine, in collaboration with colleagues at Yale University School of Medicine, have discovered a new molecular mechanism that is essential for maturation of brain function and may be used to restore plasticity in aged brains. Unlike previous research that broadly manipulated brain plasticity using approaches that affected the entire brain, this study targets for the first time a specific molecule acting on a single type of neuronal connection to modulate brain function. This restores…

Concerns raised about efficacy of off-label use of already approved drugs — ScienceDaily

A new paper published by McGill University researchers in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that some clinical trials may promote the use of ineffective and costly treatments. That’s the opposite of what clinical trials are aimed at, namely preventing ineffective and costly treatments from being taken up by physicians and patients. The researchers focused their attention on the blockbuster pain drug pregabalin (Lyrica). One of the world’s bestselling drugs, pregabalin is widely used for conditions that are not approved by Health…

Diagnostic tool helps engineers to design better global infrastructure solutions

University of Illinois engineering researcher Ann-Perry Witmer has developed a new computer algorithm that helps engineers who work internationally incorporate the influences of local values into their infrastructure designs. Credit: L. Brian Stauffer Designing safe bridges and water systems for low-income communities is not always easy for engineers coming from highly industrialized places. A new discipline called contextual engineering helps engineers think beyond personal values, expectations and definitions of project success when tackling global infrastructure problems. A new study from…

Salmonella found to be resistant to different classes of antibiotics — ScienceDaily

Brazil’s Ministry of Health received reports of 11,524 outbreaks of foodborne diseases between 2000 and 2015, with 219,909 individuals falling sick and 167 dying from the diseases in question. Bacteria caused most outbreaks of such illnesses, including diarrhea and gastroenteritis. The most frequent were Salmonella spp., with 31,700 cases diagnosed in the period (14.4% of the total), Staphylococcus aureus (7.4%), and Escherichia coli (6.1%). According to a survey by the Ministry of Social Development, bacteria of the genus Salmonella were…

Purdue’s giant leap toward personalized medicine helps eyes drain themselves

The Purdue University glaucoma drainage device is built with microactuators that vibrate when a magnetic field is introduced. Credit: Hyowon Lee/Purdue University Purdue University researchers have invented a new smart drainage device to help patients with glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness in the world, as they try to save their eyesight. Glaucoma can be treated only with medications or surgical implants, both of which offer varying degrees of success in helping to improve sight and to relieve pressure buildup…

Analyzing Experiment Outcomes: Beyond Average Treatment Effects

By Matthias Lux At Uber, we test most new features and products with the help of experiments in order to understand and quantify their impact on our marketplace. The analysis of experimental results traditionally focuses on calculating average treatment effects (ATEs). Since averages reduce an entire distribution to a single number, however, any heterogeneity in treatment effects will go unnoticed. Instead, we have found that calculating quantile treatment effects (QTEs) allows us to effectively and efficiently characterize the full distribution…

Origami, 3D printing merge to make complex structures in one shot — ScienceDaily

By merging the ancient art of origami with 21st century technology, researchers have created a one-step approach to fabricating complex origami structures whose light weight, expandability, and strength could have applications in everything from biomedical devices to equipment used in space exploration. Until now, making such structures has involved multiple steps, more than one material, and assembly from smaller parts. “What we have here is the proof of concept of an integrated system for manufacturing complex origami. It has tremendous…

Getting to the root of lavender’s secrets — ScienceDaily

A team of researchers, including UBC’s Soheil Mahmoud, have recently sequenced the genome of lavender. Mahmoud, an associate professor of biology at UBC Okanagan, says lavender has many uses, from essential oils, to fragrances, personal hygiene and pharmaceutical industries. “We have studied lavender for a long time,” says Mahmoud. “We have always been curious about this plant. Why is it drought tolerant? Why is it pest tolerant? What makes it smell so sweet?” The reason why scientists want to get…

Models of dinosaur movement could help us build stronger robots and buildings

Researchers are using computer simulations to estimate how 11 different species of extinct archosaurs such as the batrachotomus might have moved. Credit: John Hutchinson From about 245 to 66 million years ago, dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Although well-preserved skeletons give us a good idea of what they looked like, the way their limbs worked remains a bigger mystery. But computer simulations may soon provide a realistic glimpse into how some species moved and inform work in fields such as robotics,…