The Yahoo! Groups Product Blog
- Members: 309
- Category: Nanotechnology
- Founded: Aug 16, 2003
- Language: English
Yahoo! Groups Tips
Did you know...
Hear how Yahoo! Groups has changed the lives of others. Take me there.
Show Message Summaries
Sort by Date
ScienceDaily (Oct. 3, 2010) — Biomedical researchers at the University at Buffalo have engineered adult stem cells that scientists can grow continuously in culture, a discovery that could speed development of cost-effective treatments for diseases including heart disease, diabetes, immune disorders and neurodegenerative diseases.
UB scientists created the new cell lines -- named "MSC Universal" -- by genetically altering mesenchymal stem cells, which are found in bone marrow and can differentiate into cell types including bone, cartilage, muscle, fat, and beta-pancreatic islet cells.
The researchers say the breakthrough overcomes a frustrating barrier to progress in the field of regenerative medicine: The difficulty of growing adult stem cells for clinical applications.
Because mesenchymal stem cells have a limited life span in laboratory cultures, scientists and doctors who use the cells in research and treatments must continuously obtain fresh samples from bone marrow donors, a process both expensive and time-consuming. In addition, mesenchymal stem cells from different donors can vary in performance.
The cells that UB researchers modified show no signs of aging in culture, but otherwise appear to function as regular mesenchymal stem cells do -- including by conferring therapeutic benefits in an animal study of heart disease. Despite their propensity to proliferate in the laboratory, MSC-Universal cells did not form tumors in animal testing.
"Our stem cell research is application-driven," says Techung Lee, PhD, UB associate professor of biochemistry and biomedical engineering in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, who led the project. "If you want to make stem cell therapies feasible, affordable and reproducible, we know you have to overcome a few hurdles. Part of the problem in our health care industry is that you have a treatment, but it often costs too much. In the case of stem cell treatments, isolating stem cells is very expensive. The cells we have engineered grow continuously in the laboratory, which brings down the price of treatments."
UB has applied for a patent to protect Lee's discovery, and the university's Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach (UB STOR) is discussing potential license agreements with companies interested in commercializing MSC-Universal.
Stem cells help regenerate or repair damaged tissues, primarily by releasing growth factors that encourage existing cells in the human body to function and grow.
Lee's ongoing work indicates that this feature makes it feasible to repair tissue damage by injecting mesenchymal stem cells into skeletal muscle, a less invasive procedure than injecting the cells directly into an organ requiring repair. In a rodent model of heart failure, Lee and collaborators showed that intramuscular delivery of mesenchymal stem cells improved heart chamber function and reduced scar tissue formation.
UB STOR commercialization manager Michael Fowler believes MSC-Universal could be key to bringing new regenerative therapies to the market. The modified cells could provide health care professionals and pharmaceutical companies with an unlimited supply of stem cells for therapeutic purposes, Fowler says.
Lee says his research team has generated two lines of MSC-Universal cells: a human line and a porcine line. Using the engineering technique he and colleagues developed, scientists can generate an MSC-Universal line from any donor sample of mesenchymal stem cells, he says. "I imagine that if these cells become routinely used in the future, one can generate a line from each ethnic group for each gender for people to choose from," Lee says.
The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and New York State Stem Cell Science (NYSTEM).
New insight into first life
October 4, 2010 by Cath Harris Enlarge
The Archaea Thermococcus Gammatolerans by Wikimedia/Angels Tapias.
(PhysOrg.com) -- New genome research at Oxford University could change the way
scientists view our evolution.
The relationship and emergence of the three `domains' of life – the three
founding branches of the Tree of Life to which all living cells belong – has
been much disputed. Two of these domains, Bacteria and Eukaryotes (which
includes all animals, plants and fungi) are familiar but less is known of the
third: these organisms are collectively called the Archaea.
Some species of Archaea are adapted to live in extremes such as the boiling
sulphur springs of Yellowstone National Park or the high salt concentrations of
the Dead Sea. Others, such as the group Thaumarchaea, are found in more moderate
environments including the warm surface waters of oceans.
Steven Kelly, of Oxford University's Department of Plant Sciences, tracked the
evolutionary history of the three domains by analysing more than 3,500 families
of genes in the Archaea, Bacteria and Eukaryotes. He and his colleagues found
that Eukaryotes are most closely related to the Thaumarchaea.
The study, recently published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, also
suggests that the metabolism of the earth's first organisms was based on methane
production. 'That's a really important discovery because it gives us a real
insight into how life got started, which is one of the biggest questions in
evolutionary biology,' Steven said. 'This is a step change in the way people
think about how life on earth developed.'
The ability to link advances in our knowledge of evolution to changes in past
atmospheric and environmental conditions will enhance our knowledge of how life
is adapting to the changing environmental conditions we see today, Steven
This new research suggests that Archaea are as ancient as their name suggests.
Evidence from geology and genetics, coupled with the findings, suggests that
Eukaryotes evolved between 2 and 2.5 billion years after Archaea, which emerged
around 3.5 billion years ago.
Provided by Oxford University (news : web)
Jaguar's new electric concept supercar -- the C-X75
October 4, 2010 by Lin Edwards Enlarge
(PhysOrg.com) -- The new Jaguar C-X75 supercar concept model unveiled last week
is primarily a plug-in electric car but with the added power and performance of
micro gas turbines (jet engines) that would make it the fastest electric car on
An electric motor on each wheel delivers 145 kW from a single floor-mounted
lithium ion battery pack that gives the car a range of up to 110 km on electric
power alone. When the battery runs down it can be recharged in six hours from a
normal household mains outlet.
The Jaguar C-X75 (named for Jaguar's 75th anniversary) has another option that
other electric cars do not offer, which is a boost by two 70 kW micro gas
turbines running on a choice of natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, diesel or
biofuels, mixed with air. The micro gas turbines spin at 80,000 rpm and can
power the electric motors directly (increasing the power) or can be used to
recharge the battery (increasing the range).
The micro gas turbines are extremely small and relatively cheap to manufacture.
They can run at a fixed, most efficient RPM to recharge the batteries, and
provide high performance and efficiency but with low emissions and low
maintenance costs. Despite being a type of jet engine, the micro gas turbines
are said to be low noise and produce no vibration.
Jaguar claims the two-seater car will be able to reach 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.4
seconds, and will have a top speed of 330 km/h (205 mph) when the batteries and
turbines are working together. The all-wheel drive produces a torque of 1,600 Nm
(1,180 lb-ft). The gas turbines extend the maximum range to 900 km (560 miles),
with carbon emissions of only 28 g/km with the turbines running.
The Jaguar C-X75, which was unveiled last week at the 2010 Paris motor show, is
at the concept stage and may never be produced, but even if it is never
marketed, elements of the design could find their way into future Jaguar cars.
--- On Tue, 10/5/10, eric25001 <eric25001@...> wrote:
From: eric25001 <eric25001@...>
Subject: [Glycerol] Amino Acid Supplement Makes Mice Live Longer
Date: Tuesday, October 5, 2010, 8:42 PM
Interesting. Which Amino Acids in what ratio at a given point in the lifespan will enhance life? More research in this area would seem to be of possible great benifit to humans. If lower protein in the diet increases lifespan at an older age; Yet BCAA increases life what are the mechanisims at work? Eric
Amino Acid Supplement Makes Mice Live Longer
ScienceDaily (Oct. 5, 2010) Â¡Âª When mice are given drinking water laced with a special concoction of amino acids, they live longer than your average mouse, according to a new report in the October issue of Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication. The key ingredients in the supplemental mixture are so-called branched-chain amino acids, which account for 3 of the 20 amino acids (specifically leucine, isoleucine, and valine) that are the building blocks of proteins.
"This is the first demonstration that an amino acid mixture can increase survival in mice," said Enzo Nisoli of Milan University in Italy, noting that researchers last year showed that leucine, isoleucine, and valine extend the life span of single-celled yeast.
In the new study, the researchers gave middle-aged, male mice extra branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) in their drinking water. The animals were otherwise healthy and eating standard mouse chow.
Animals that were given the extra amino acids over a period of months lived longer, with a median life span of 869 days compared to 774 days for untreated control animals, the researchers report. That's an increase of 12 percent.
Those survival gains were accompanied by an increase in mitochondria in cardiac and skeletal muscles. Mitochondria are the cellular components responsible for powering cells. The supplement-fed mice also showed increased activity of SIRT1, a well-known longevity gene, and of the defense system that combats free radicals. They therefore showed fewer signs of oxidative damage.
The benefits of the amino acid supplements appear similar to those earlier ascribed to calorie restriction, Nisoli said.
Treated animals also showed improvements in their exercise endurance and in motor coordination, the researchers report. (It is important to note that the animals in the current study were all male, Nisoli said. They plan to test the effects in females in future studies.)
The findings in older mice suggest that the supplementary mixture may be specifically beneficial for those who are elderly or ill. "It may not be useful in young people or body builders," who are already in good condition, he said. But it might be a useful preventive strategy, he added, emphasizing that the mice they studied "were just aged, not sick."
Nisoli emphasized that consuming amino acid supplements is different from consuming proteins containing those amino acids. That's because they do not have to be digested, and can enter the bloodstream immediately. "They come with no energy cost."
He suspects that BCAA nutritional supplements may prove to be particularly helpful for people with heart failure, the muscle-wasting condition known as sarcopenia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or other conditions characterized by energy defects. In fact, there are already some small studies in human to support that idea and BCAA supplements are already available for purchase in several countries, including Italy.
The challenge, Nisoli says, will be convincing clinicians that these supplements might be a benefit to their patients. He says a large clinical trial is needed, but there is little incentive for companies to do such trials for dietary supplements as opposed to drugs.
Overall, Nisoli said the new work supports a "general philosophy of a nutritional approach to disease, aging, and problems of energy status."
The researchers include Giuseppe D'Antona, Pavia University, Pavia, Italy; Maurizio Ragni, Milan University, Milan, Italy; Annalisa Cardile, Milan University, Milan, Italy; Laura Tedesco, Milan University, Milan, Italy, Brescia University, Brescia, Italy; Marta Dossena, Milan University, Milan, Italy, Brescia University, Brescia, Italy; Flavia Bruttini, Pavia University, Pavia, Italy; Francesca Caliaro, Pavia University, Pavia, Italy; Giovanni Corsetti, Brescia University, Brescia, Italy; Roberto Bottinelli, Pavia University, Pavia, Italy; Michele O. Carruba, Milan University, Milan, Italy, Brescia University, Brescia, Italy; Alessandra Valerio, Milan University, Milan, Italy, Brescia University, Brescia, Italy; and Enzo Nisoli, Milan University, Milan, Italy, Brescia University, Brescia, Italy.
|October 5, 2010 By Lisa Zyga |
(a) An illustration of the energy-harvesting cantilever device. (b) A photo of the cantilever. (c) An optical micrograph and SEM image of the CNF material. Image credit: Venu Kotipalli, et al. ©2010 American Institute of Physics.
(PhysOrg.com) -- With the goal to enable small electronic devices to harvest their own energy, researchers have designed a device that can convert light and thermal energy into electricity. When exposed to visible light and/or heat (infrared) radiation, the 20-mm-long carbon-nanotube-film-based cantilever bends back and forth repeatedly, as long as the light and/or heat remains on. This is the first time that such cyclic bending behavior, which the scientists call "self-reciprocation," has been observed in this kind of system.
The researchers, led by Professor Long Que and including graduate students Venu Kotipalli, Zhongcheng Gong, and other students from Louisiana Tech University, have published a paper on the device in a recent issue of Applied Physics Letters. In their experiments, they demonstrated that the device could generate 2.1 microwatts of power at a light intensity of 0.13 W/cm2, which is sufficient to operate some low-power microsensors and integrated sensors. The researchers predict that the power output could be significantly improved with further optimization.
"The greatest significance of this work is that it offers us a new option capable of continuously harvesting both solar and thermal energy on a single chip, given the self-reciprocating characteristic of the device upon exposure to light and/or thermal radiation," Que told PhysOrg.com.
The 20-mm-long energy-harvesting device consists of a layer of carbon nanotube film (CNF) placed on top of an electrode and a piezoelectric material called lead zirconate titanate (PZT). Since carbon nanotubes are excellent absorbers of photons, the CNF layer efficiently absorbs the radiation and causes the underlying PZT layer to bend. As a piezoelectric material (known for its ability to convert mechanical energy into electricity), the moving PZT layer generates power.
The impressive thing about the new device is that, once the cantilever reaches its maximum displacement under the radiation, the displacement decreases, then increases again, and continues this cycle as long as the radiation remains on. When the radiation is turned off, the displacement decreases to zero. As the scientists explain, the self-reciprocation is due to the cantilever continuously absorbing photons, as well as its high electrical conduction and rapid thermal dissipation into the environment. The self-reciprocation characteristic means that the energy-harvesting device has the ability to continuously generate energy without consuming other additional energy, such as for modulating the radiation.
"To the best of our knowledge, previous reported research mainly exploited and developed for DC displacement," Que said. "We observed this self-reciprocation phenomenon in my lab by accident for the first time, and thereafter we did a series of systematic experiments and confirmed that this phenomenon always occurs not only in the lab but also in the field under sunlight. In order to better understand this observation and optimize the performance of this technology, further fundamental investigations have been underway in our lab."
In the future, the scientists plan to investigate the contributions from the light and heat when the device is under illumination, although their observations so far indicate that the thermal portion is the major contributor. The scientists also anticipate that decreasing the device's internal resistance, and perhaps operating an array of devices, could improve the power output. The energy-harvesting device could potentially be used to power a wide variety of systems, from implanted biomedical devices to remotely located sensors and communication nodes.
"I also would like to mention that, given the nature of the cantilever-based device, actually this technology can harvest additional multiple types of energies such as all types of vibrational energies and wind energy as well, which we have already experimentally demonstrated but not reported in this article," Que said. "This technology is truly a hybrid energy-harvesting technology."
Additional coauthors of the paper are Pushparaj Pathak, Tianhua Zhang, Yuan He, and Shashi Yadav.
More information: Venu Kotipalli, et al. "Light and thermal energy cell based on carbon nanotube films." Applied Physics Letters 97, 124102 (2010). DOI:10.1063/1.3491843
Copyright 2010 PhysOrg.com.
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com.
The following link at the National Science Foundation (http://www.nsf.gov) has
been sent to you by Eric <eric25001@...>.
National Science Foundation (NSF) News - Cheek Swab May Detect Lung Cancer
When you add this with the ability to do cheap spectrometry with a cell phone,
lap top, and plug in technology then quick home detection and better health can
take a few more steps forward.
What would testicale transpalants do for males? can this be done again when the mice are older? What about transgenetic animals as donors? Clone a younger organ?
What are the biomarkers in the ovarian transplanted mice? Maybe the metabolites could be adjusted to mimic the transplant.
Ovarian transplantation restores fertility to old mice and also lengthens their lives
Scientists have discovered that when they transplant ovaries from young mice into aging female mice, not only does the procedure make the mice fertile again, but also it rejuvenates their behaviour and increases their lifespan. The question now is: could ovarian transplants in women have the same effect?
Dr Noriko Kagawa will tell the 26th annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Rome today (Tuesday) that successful ovarian transplants increased the lifespan of the mice by more than 40%. "At present ovarian transplants are performed with the aim of preserving a woman's fertility after cancer treatment for instance, or of extending her reproductive lifespan. However, the completely unexpected extra benefit of fertility-preserving procedures in our mouse studies indicates that there is a possibility that carrying out similar procedures in women could lengthen their lifespans in general," she said.
A very small number of women in the world have had ovarian transplants, and some have been more successful than others. Dr Kagawa stressed that there was still a lot of research to be carried out before it would be known whether ovarian transplants had similar, rejuvenating effects in women, particularly as it would involve waiting for many years until the patients became older.
Dr Kagawa, Associate Director for Research at the Kato Ladies' Clinic in Tokyo (Japan), told the conference that she and her colleagues had conducted two mouse experiments. In the first, both ovaries were removed from young female mice (about 140 days old), and transplanted in to six older mice (aged over 525 days) that were too old to be fertile any more. In the second experiment, only one ovary was removed from the young mice (about 170 days old) and transplanted into eight aged mice (over 540 days old). The average normal lifespan for this particular breed of mice (C57BL/6J) is 548 days, and they normally reach a mouse "menopause" at about 525 days old.
All the mice that received transplants in both experiments became fertile again, while control mice that had not received transplants did not. In the first experiment the mice resumed normal reproductive cycles that lasted for more than 80 days, and in the second experiment, they lasted for more that 130 days.
Dr Kagawa said: "All the mice in both experiments that had received transplants resumed the normal reproductive behaviour of young mice. They showed interest in male mice, mated and some had pups. Normally, old mice stay in the corner of the cage and don't move much, but the activity of mice that had had ovarian transplants was transformed into that of younger mice and they resumed quick movements. Furthermore, the lifespan of the mice who received young ovaries was much longer than that of the control mice: the mice that had received two ovaries lived for an average of 915 days, and the mice that had received one ovary, for an average of 877 days. The newest of our data show the life span of mice that received transplants of young ovaries was increased by more than 40%.
"The results show that transplanted normal ovaries from young mice can function in old, infertile mice, making them fertile again, but, in addition, extending their lifespan. Women who have ovarian tissue frozen at young ages, perhaps because they are about to embark on cancer treatment, can have their young ovarian tissue transplanted back when they are older. Normally we would be doing this simply to preserve their fertility or to expand their reproductive lifespan. However, our mice experiment suggests that this might also improve overall longevity. Further research has to be conducted before we can know whether or not this is the case."
Dr Kagawa said it was not known why the ovarian transplant increased the lifespan of the mice, but it might be because the transplants were prompting the continuation of normal hormonal functions.
She and her colleagues have been collaborating for the past six years with Dr Sherman Silber, from St Luke's Hospital, in St Louis, Missouri (USA), who has performed a number of successful ovarian transplants in women, either because they were about to be treated for cancer or because they had not yet found the right partner in life. Their future collaborative research will include investigating whether it is possible for a woman to have a transplant using an ovary that is not her own and with minimal drugs to suppress the body's natural immune response to what it perceives as a "foreign" body. They are also looking at culturing follicles in ovarian tissue in the laboratory in order to obtain mature eggs that can be used for IVF.
In the meantime, the researchers believe it is very important for doctors and patients to know that women have options when faced with cancer treatment that could destroy their fertility. "We have been successful in getting frozen ovaries to function completely normally after thawing and transplantation," said Dr Kagawa. "So this should no longer be considered an 'experimental' procedure. Ovarian transplantation is the proper and necessary accompaniment to otherwise sterilising treatment for young cancer patients. We must not neglect to freeze and save at least one of their ovaries before cancer treatment."
Provided by European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology
Large study shows females are equal to males in math skills
October 11, 2010 by David Tenenbaum (PhysOrg.com) --
The mathematical skills of boys and girls, as well as men and women, are
substantially equal, according to a new examination of existing studies in the
current online edition of journal Psychological Bulletin.
One portion of the new study looked systematically at 242 articles that assessed
the math skills of 1,286,350 people, says chief author Janet Hyde, a professor
of psychology and women's studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
These studies, all published in English between 1990 and 2007, looked at people
from grade school to college and beyond. A second portion of the new study
examined the results of several large, long-term scientific studies, including
the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
In both cases, Hyde says, the difference between the two sexes was so close as
to be meaningless.
Sara Lindberg, now a postdoctoral fellow in women's health at the UW-Madison
School of Medicine and Public Health, was the primary author of the
meta-analysis in Psychological Bulletin.
The idea that both genders have equal math abilities is widely accepted among
social scientists, Hyde adds, but word has been slow to reach teachers and
parents, who can play a negative role by guiding girls away from math-heavy
sciences and engineering. "One reason I am still spending time on this is
because parents and teachers continue to hold stereotypes that boys are better
in math, and that can have a tremendous impact on individual girls who are told
to stay away from engineering or the physical sciences because 'Girls can't do
Scientists now know that stereotypes affect performance, Hyde adds. "There is
lots of evidence that what we call 'stereotype threat' can hold women back in
math. If, before a test, you imply that the women should expect to do a little
worse than the men, that hurts performance. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy.
"Parents and teachers give little implicit messages about how good they expect
kids to be at different subjects," Hyde adds, "and that powerfully affects their
self-concept of their ability. When you are deciding about a major in physics,
this can become a huge factor."
Hyde hopes the new results will slow the trend toward single-sex schools, which
are sometimes justified on the basis of differential math skills. It may also
affect standardized tests, which gained clout with the passage of No Child Left
Behind, and tend to emphasize lower-level math skills such as multiplication,
Hyde says. "High-stakes testing really needs to include higher-level
problem-solving, which tends to be more important in jobs that require math
skills. But because many teachers teach to the test, they will not teach higher
reasoning unless the tests start to include it."
The new findings reinforce a recent study that ranked gender dead last among
nine factors, including parental education, family income, and school
effectiveness, in influencing the math performance of 10-year-olds.
Hyde acknowledges that women have made significant advances in technical fields.
Half of medical school students are female, as are 48 percent of undergraduate
math majors. "If women can't do math, how are they getting these majors?" she
Because progress in physics and engineering is much slower, "we have lots of
work to do," Hyde says. "This persistent stereotyping disadvantages girls. My
message to parents is that they should have confidence in their daughter's math
performance. They need to realize that women can do math just as well as men.
These changes will encourage women to pursue occupations that require lots of
Provided by University of Wisconsin-Madison (news : web)
Offshore Wind Power Line Wins Praise, and Backing
WASHINGTON — Google and a New York financial firm have each agreed to invest heavily in a proposed $5 billion transmission backbone for future offshore wind farms along the Atlantic Seaboard that could ultimately transform the region's electrical map.
The 350-mile underwater spine, which could remove some critical obstacles to wind power development, has stirred excitement among investors, government officials and environmentalists who have been briefed on it.
Google and Good Energies, an investment firm specializing in renewable energy, have each agreed to take 37.5 percent of the equity portion of the project. They are likely to bring in additional investors, which would reduce their stakes.
If they hold on to their stakes, that would come to an initial investment of about $200 million apiece in the first phase of construction alone, said Robert L. Mitchell, the chief executive of Trans-Elect, the Maryland-based transmission-line company that proposed the venture.
Marubeni, a Japanese trading company, has taken a 10 percent stake. Trans-Elect said it hoped to begin construction in 2013.
Several government officials praised the idea underlying the project as ingenious, while cautioning that they could not prejudge the specifics.
"Conceptually it looks to me to be one of the most interesting transmission projects that I've ever seen walk through the door," said Jon Wellinghoff, the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which oversees interstate electricity transmission. "It provides a gathering point for offshore wind for multiple projects up and down the coast."
Industry experts called the plan promising, but warned that as a first-of-a-kind effort, it was bound to face bureaucratic delays and could run into unforeseen challenges, from technology problems to cost overruns. While several undersea electrical cables exist off the Atlantic Coast already, none has ever picked up power from generators along the way.
The system's backbone cable, with a capacity of 6,000 megawatts, equal to the output of five large nuclear reactors, would run in shallow trenches on the seabed in federal waters 15 to 20 miles offshore, from northern New Jersey to Norfolk, Va. The notion would be to harvest energy from turbines in an area where the wind is strong but the hulking towers would barely be visible.
Trans-Elect estimated that construction would cost $5 billion, plus financing and permit fees. The $1.8 billion first phase, a 150-mile stretch from northern New Jersey to Rehoboth Beach, Del., could go into service by early 2016, it said. The rest would not be completed until 2021 at the earliest.
Richard L. Needham, the director of Google's green business operations group, called the plan "innovative and audacious."
"It is an opportunity to kick-start this industry and, long term, provide a way for the mid-Atlantic states to meet their renewable energy goals," he said.
Yet even before any wind farms were built, the cable would channel existing supplies of electricity from southern Virginia, where it is cheap, to northern New Jersey, where it is costly, bypassing one of the most congested parts of the North American electric grid while lowering energy costs for northern customers.
Generating electricity from offshore wind is far more expensive than relying on coal, natural gas or even onshore wind. But energy experts anticipate a growing demand for the offshore turbines to meet state requirements for greater reliance on local renewable energy as a clean alternative to fossil fuels.
Four connection points — in southern Virginia, Delaware, southern New Jersey and northern New Jersey — would simplify the job of bringing the energy onshore, involving fewer permit hurdles. In contrast to transmission lines on land, where a builder may have to deal with hundreds of property owners, this project would have to deal with a maximum of just four, and fewer than that in its first phase.
Ultimately the system, known as the Atlantic Wind Connection, could make building a wind farm offshore far simpler and cheaper than it looks today, experts said.
Environmentalists who have been briefed on the plan were enthusiastic. Melinda Pierce, the deputy director for national campaigns at the Sierra Club, said she had campaigned against proposed transmission lines that would carry coal-fired energy around the country, but would favor this one, with its promise of tapping the potential of offshore wind.
"These kinds of audacious ideas might just be what we need to break through the wretched logjam," she said.
Projects like Cape Wind, proposed for shallow waters just off Cape Cod in Massachusetts, met with fierce objections from residents who felt it would mar the ocean vista. But sponsors of the Trans-Elect project insist that the mid-Atlantic turbines would have less of a visual impact.
The hurdles facing the project have more to do with administrative procedures than with engineering problems or its economic merit, several experts said.
By the time the Interior Department could issue permits for such a line, for example, the federal subsidy program for wind will have expired in 2012, said Willett M. Kempton, a professor at the School of Marine Science and Policy at the University of Delaware and the author of several papers on offshore wind.
Another is that PJM Interconnection, the regional electricity group that would have to approve the project and assess its member utilities for the cost, has no integrated procedure for calculating the value of all three tasks the line would accomplish — hooking up new power generation, reducing congestion on the grid and improving reliability.
And elected officials in Virginia have in the past opposed transmission proposals that would tend to average out pricing across the mid-Atlantic states, possibly raising their constituents' costs.
But the lure of Atlantic wind is very strong. The Atlantic Ocean is relatively shallow even tens of miles from shore, unlike the Pacific, where the sea floor drops away steeply. Construction is also difficult on the Great Lakes because their waters are deep and they freeze, raising the prospect of moving ice sheets that could damage a tower.
Nearly all of the East Coast governors, Republican and Democratic, have spoken enthusiastically about coastal wind and have fought proposals for transmission lines from the other likely wind source, the Great Plains.
"From Massachusetts down to Virginia, the governors have signed appeals to the Senate not to do anything that would lead to a high-voltage grid that would blanket the country and bring in wind from the Dakotas," said James J. Hoecker, a former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, who now is part of a nonprofit group that represents transmission owners.
He described an Atlantic transmission backbone as "a necessary piece of what the Eastern governors have been talking about in terms of taking advantage of offshore wind."
So far only one offshore wind project, Bluewater Wind off Delaware, has sought permission to build in federal waters. The company is seeking federal loan guarantees to build 293 to 450 megawatts of capacity, but the timing of construction remains uncertain.
Executives with that project said the Atlantic backbone was an interesting idea, in part because it would foster development of a supply chain for the specialized parts needed for offshore wind.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, whose agency would have to sign off on the project, has spoken approvingly of wind energy and talked about the possibility of an offshore "backbone." In a speech this month, he emphasized that the federal waters were "controlled by the secretary," meaning him.
Within three miles of the shore, control is wielded by the state. Nonetheless, if the offshore wind farms are built on a vast scale, the project's sponsors say, a backbone with just four connection points could expedite the approval process.
In fact, if successful, the transmission spine would reduce the regulatory burden on subsequent projects, said Mr. Mitchell, the Trans-Elect chief executive.
Mr. Kempton of the University of Delaware and Mr. Wellinghoff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said the backbone would offer another plus: reducing one of wind power's big problems, variability of output.
"Along the U.S. Atlantic seaboard, we tend to have storm tracks that move along the coast and somewhat offshore," Mr. Kempton said.
If storm winds were blowing on Friday off Virginia, they might be off Delaware by Saturday and off New Jersey by Sunday, he noted. Yet the long spine would ensure that the amount of energy coming ashore held roughly constant.
Wind energy becomes more valuable when it is more predictable; if predictable enough, it could replace some land-based generation altogether, Mr. Kempton said.
But the economics remain uncertain, he warned, For now, he said, the biggest impediment may be that the market price of offshore wind energy is about 50 percent higher than that of energy generated on land.
With a change in market conditions — an increase in the price of natural gas, for example, or the adoption of a tax on emissions of carbon dioxide from coal- or gas-generated electricity — that could change, he said.
Promising drug candidate reverses age-related memory loss in mice
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh today report a new experimental compound that can improve memory and cognitive function in ageing mice. The compound is being investigated with a view to developing a drug that could slow the natural decline in memory associated with ageing.
With support from a Wellcome Trust Seeding Drug Discovery award, the team has identified a preclinical candidate that they hope to take into human trials within a year.
Many people find they become more forgetful as they get older and we generally accept it as a natural part of the ageing process. Absent mindedness and a difficulty to concentrate are not uncommon, it takes longer to recall a person's name, and we can't remember where we left the car keys. These can all be early signs of the onset of dementia, but for most of us it's just part of getting old.
Such memory loss has been linked with high levels of 'stress' steroid hormones known as glucocorticoids which have a deleterious effect on the part of the brain that helps us to remember. An enzyme called 11beta-HSD1 is involved in making these hormones and has been shown to be more active in the brain during ageing.
In a study published today in the Journal of Neuroscience, the team reports the effects of a new synthetic compound that selectively blocks 11beta-HSD1 on the ability of mice to complete a memory task, called the Y maze.
Professor Jonathan Seckl from the University of Edinburgh, who discovered the role of 11beta-HSD1 in the brain, described the findings: "Normal old mice often have marked deficits in learning and memory just like some elderly people. We found that life-long partial deficiency of 11beta-HSD1 prevented memory decline with ageing. But we were very surprised to find that the blocking compound works quickly over a few days to improve memory in old mice suggesting it might be a good treatment for the already elderly."
The effects were seen after only 10 days of treatment.
Professor Brian Walker and Dr Scott Webster from the University of Edinburgh are leading the drug development programme. Professor Walker added: "These results provide proof-of-concept that this class of drugs could be useful to treat age-related decline in memory. We previously showed that carbenoxolone, an old drug that blocks multiple enzymes including 11beta-HSD1, improves memory in healthy elderly men and in patients with type 2 diabetes after just a month of treatment, so we are optimistic that our new compounds will be effective in humans. The next step is to conduct further studies with our preclinical candidate to prove that the compound is safe to take into clinical trials, hopefully within a year."
The 11beta-HSD1 enzyme has also been implicated in metabolic diseases including diabetes and obesity by the Edinburgh team, and similar drugs that block its activity outside of the brain are already under investigation.
This study was supported by the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council (MRC). The drug development programme in Edinburgh is supported by a Seeding Drug Discovery award from the Wellcome Trust.
Dr Rick Davis of the Wellcome Trust commented: "Developing drugs that can selectively inhibit this enzyme has been a challenge to the pharmaceutical industry for nearly 10 years. Advancing this compound towards clinical trials takes us a step closer to finding a drug that could have far reaching implications as the population ages."
Is this essentially a STAR TREK like tricorder? Eric
Contact: Michael Baum
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Faster CARS, less damage: NIST chemical microscopy shows potential for cell diagnostics
A paper by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) may breathe new life into the use of a powerful¡ªbut tricky¡ªdiagnostic technique for cell biology. The paper,* appearing this week in the Biophysical Journal, demonstrates that with improved hardware and better signal processing, a powerful form of molecular vibration spectroscopy can quickly deliver detailed molecular maps of the contents of cells without damaging them. Earlier studies have suggested that to be useful, the technique would need power levels too high for cells.
The technique, "B-CARS,"** is one of several variations on Raman spectroscopy, which measures the frequencies associated with different modes of vibration of atoms and their bonds in a molecule. The exact mix of these frequencies is an extremely discriminating "fingerprint" for any particular molecule, so Raman spectroscopy has been used as a chemical microscope, able to detail the structure of complex objects by mapping the chemical composition at each point in a three-dimensional space.
In the biosciences, according to NIST chemist Marcus Cicerone, Raman spectroscopy has been used to detect microscopic cellular components such as mitochondria, detect how stem cells differentiate into new forms and distinguish between subtly different cell and tissue types. It can, for example, detect minor differences between various precancerous and cancerous cells, potentially providing valuable medical diagnostic information. Even better, it does this without the need to add fluorescent dyes or other chemical tags to identify specific proteins.
The catch, says Cicerone, is speed. The usual method, spontaneous Raman scattering takes a long time to gather enough data to generate a single spectrum¡ªas much as seven minutes for fine detail¡ªand that's for each point in the image. "Seven minutes or even five seconds per spectrum is not feasible when we need a million spectra for an image," he observes. CARS, which uses a pair of lasers to pump up the vibrational states and increase signal, is part of the answer. The current breakthroughs for a broadband CARS instrument developed at NIST since 2004, says Cicerone, gets the same information in 50 milliseconds per pixel.
The new catch is power. Recent papers have argued that to get the necessary data, the lasers used in CARS must run at power levels above the damage threshold for living cells, making the technique nearly useless for clinical purposes. Not quite, according to the NIST team. Their paper describes a combination of improved hardware to gather spectra over a very broad range of wavelengths, and a clever mathematical technique that effectively amplifies the useable signal by examining a portion of signal normally ignored as background interference. The result, says Cicerone, pushes their minimum power level below the damage threshold while retaining the speed of CARS. "We have all the information that you have in a Raman spectrum but we get it 5 to 100 times faster," he says, adding that some obvious modifications should push that higher, opening the door to more widespread use of vibrational spectroscopy in both biology and clinical diagnosis.
World Future Society Las Vegas Nevada Chapter
Humanity + Las Vegas Nevada Chapter
November Meeting: When Intelligent ETs Are Discovered,
What Three Questions Would You Ask Our Newfound Neighbors
At our November meeting, we will discuss the probabilities of discovering intelligent life in the cosmos. Will new scopes, such as the James Webb Space Telescope, with an expected launch date of 2014; or the Terrestrial Planet Finder planned for 2019; or the much hyped Advanced Technology Large Aperture Space Telescope with a hoped-for 2025-to-2035 launch date discover intelligent life? In addition, could future artificial intelligence technologies create simulations that would depict what that intelligent life might look like; even postulate whether they might express human-like emotions?
Each discussion group member will have an opportunity to list three questions that they would ask these new neighbors.
For our second topic, we will examine the shrinking gap between science and spirituality; and how this may affect our future. Experts such as Deepak Chopra, the Dalai Lama, and others believe that following spiritual guidelines adds depth to our humanity. Are they correct? Our group dialogue could produce some exciting revelations.
If you enjoy discussing our oncoming wild future, then you won't want to miss this exciting meeting. Handouts will be provided.
The meeting will be held Friday, November 19, at Borders Books, 2190 N Rainbow Blvd, Las Vegas NV, from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. For directions, call Borders at 702-638-7866.
There are no fees for our meetings. The only requirement for attendance is an interest in the future.
For more info on the meeting, email Dick at futuretalk@... or Skype me at futuretalk1.
I hope to see you there, Dick
|"The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients |
in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease." -- Thomas A. Edison
Protective Effects of Black Rice Bran against Chemically-Induced Inflammation of Mouse Skin
We investigated the inhibitory effects of black rice (cv. LK1âˆ'3âˆ'6âˆ'12âˆ'1âˆ'1) bran against 12-O-tetradecanolylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-induced skin edema and 2,4-dinitrofluorobenzene (DNFB)-induced allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) in inflammatory mouse models. We also determined the effects of the bran extract on the following biomarkers: pro-inflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor-¦Á (TNF-¦Á), interleukin-1¦Â (IL-1¦Â), interleukin-6 (IL-6), eicosanoids leukotriene B4 (LTB4), and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). Topical application of TPA to ears of CD-1 mice induced inflammation accompanied with substantial increase in TNF-¦Á, IL-1¦Â, IL-6, LTB4, and PGE2 levels and an elevation in intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) gene expressions in ear skin tissues. Intraperitoneal injection of black rice bran extract prior to TPA application in mice significantly suppressed TPA-induced inflammation (edema) and induced a marked decrease in the production of TNF-¦Á, IL-1¦Â, IL-6, and LTB4. Feeding mice a standard diet with added 10% black rice bran also significantly suppressed DNFB-induced allergic contact dermatitis on the skin of the mice. By contrast, a nonpigmented brown rice bran extract did not inhibit the TPA-induced edema and failed to significantly suppress production of pro-inflammatory biomarkers (mediators). These in vivo findings further demonstrate the potential value of black rice bran as an anti-inflammatory and antiallergic food ingredient and possibly also as a therapeutic agent for the treatment and prevention of diseases associated with chronic inflammation.
The use of metabolic markers to track health over time will help improve healthcare and lower costs. Devices that can use the air we exhale, a drop of blood, urine, or spit will make this easy and affordable to detect problems and thus enable a fix before the problem is is morbid or mortal. See previous articles on cell phones and spectroscopic analysis. Eric
Cancer: Discovery of a very promising biological marker
The follicle stimulating hormone, FSH, targets the human reproductive organs: the ovaries and testicles. In women, it stimulates maturation of ovarian follicles and production of oestrogens (via its action on granulosa cells). In men, it stimulates production of spermatozoa (via its action on the Sertoli cells).
FSH receptor, which was the subject of the work carried out by the Inserm researchers, is normally only found in cells stimulated by FSH (granulosa cells in women and Sertoli cells in men). However, it is also present in very small quantities in the blood vessels of the ovaries and testicles...and this is what alerted the researchers.
The vascular network is one of the most important constituents of cancerous tumours. It is essential to their maintenance and growth in the organism. The majority of cancerous tumours can even create new vessels in order to survive. The researchers, therefore, undertook an in-depth study aimed at determining if FSH receptor was present in the blood vessels of tumours.
1336 patients and 11 cancers
Nicolae Ghinea and his colleagues from Inserm studied biopsies taken, after surgery, from 1336 patients afflicted with cancer. The presence of FSH receptor was monitored in the tumours, which ranged from being at a very early stage to being at the later stages, for 11 types of cancer (cancers of the prostate, breast, colon, pancreas, bladder, kidneys, lungs, liver, stomach, testicles and ovaries).
The results obtained demonstrated the presence of this receptor in all the samples, regardless of the type or stage of the tumour. By contrast, this receptor was totally absent in the other normal tissues of the organism, including the normal tissue of the organ that was carrying the tumour.
Simple detection by imaging
In general, blood vessels which express FSH receptor are found at the periphery of the tumour. The receptor is specifically localized on the surface exposed to the blood (luminal) of the endothelial cells, which carpet the vessel walls (see box), making them an easy target for diagnostic and therapeutic agents injected in the blood.
These two characteristics (absence from normal tissues and localization on the luminal surface of endothelial cells) make it a very promising biological marker and an interesting candidate for imaging and therapy. The researchers have already performed successful detection experiments through imaging in mice.
Towards clinical confirmation
Further experiments are required to confirm the detection of the FSH receptor by testing imaging procedures currently used in hospitals (MRI, PET and ultrasound imaging). The researchers believe that this receptor will be able to act as a general target for anti-cancer drugs as well as for agents which destroy or block blood vessels in tumours.
Maybe a good topic for April 2011 along with Uri Night.
The planet Mars, like Earth, has clouds in its atmosphere, a deposit of ice at its north pole, and caves, probably with water. (NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science)
Paul Davies, a physicist and cosmologist from Arizona State University, and Dirk Schulze-Makuch, a Washington State University associate professor, argue for a one-way manned mission to Mars.
In an article, ¡°To Boldly Go: A One-Way Human Mission to Mars,¡± published in Volume 12 of the Journal of Cosmology, the authors write that while technically feasible, a manned mission to Mars and back is unlikely to lift off anytime soon, largely because it is a hugely expensive proposition, both in terms of financial resources and political will.
And because the greatest portion of the expense is tied up in safely returning the crew and spacecraft to earth, they reason that a manned one-way mission would not only cut the costs by several fold, but also mark the beginning of long-term human colonization of the planet.
¡°One approach could be to send four astronauts initially, two on each of two space craft, each with a lander and sufficient supplies, to stake a single outpost on Mars. A one-way human mission to Mars would be the first step in establishing a permanent human presence on the planet.¡±
While acknowledging that the mission would necessarily be crewed by volunteers, Schulze-Makuch and Davies stress that they aren¡¯t suggesting that astronauts simply be abandoned on the Red Planet for the sake of science. Unlike the Apollo moon missions, they propose a series of missions over time, sufficient to support long-term colonization.
¡°It would really be little different from the first white settlers of the North American continent, who left Europe with little expectation of return,¡± Davies said of the proposed one-way Martian mission. ¡°Explorers such as Columbus, Frobisher, Scott and Amundsen, while not embarking on their voyages with the intention of staying at their destination, nevertheless took huge personal risks to explore new lands, in the knowledge that there was a significant likelihood that they would perish in the attempt.¡±
The authors propose the astronauts would be re-supplied on a periodic basis from Earth with basic necessities, but otherwise would be expected to become increasingly proficient at harvesting and utilizing resources available on Mars. Eventually they envision that outpost would reach self-sufficiency, and then it could serve as a hub for a greatly expanded colonization program.
The proposed project would begin with the selection of an appropriate site for the colony, preferentially associated with a cave or some other natural shelter, as well as other nearby resources, such as water, minerals and nutrients.
¡°Mars has natural and quite large lava caves, and some of them are located at a low elevation in close proximity to the former northern ocean, which means that they could harbor ice deposits inside similar to many ice-containing caves on Earth,¡± said Schulze-Makuch.¡°Ice caves would go a long way to solving the needs of a settlement for water and oxygen. Mars has no ozone shield and no magnetospheric shielding, and ice caves would also provide shelter from ionizing and ultraviolet radiation.¡±
The ultimate adventure
The article suggests that, in addition to offering humanity a ¡°lifeboat¡± in the event of a mega-catastrophe on Earth, a Mars colony would provide a platform for further scientific research. Astrobiologists agree that there is a fair probability that Mars hosts, or once hosted, microbial life, perhaps deep beneath the surface and Davies and Schulze-Makuch suggest a scientific facility on Mars might therefore be a unique opportunity to study an alien life form and a second evolutionary record.
¡°Mars also conceals a wealth of geological and astronomical data that is almost impossible to access from Earth using robotic probes,¡± the authors write. ¡°A permanent human presence on Mars would open the way to comparative planetology on a scale unimagined by any former generation¡ A Mars base would offer a springboard for human/robotic exploration of the outer solar system and the asteroid belt. And establishing a permanent multicultural and multinational human presence on another world would have major beneficial political and social implications for Earth, and serve as a strong unifying and uplifting theme for all humanity.¡±
Although they believe the strategy of colonizing Mars with one-way missions brings the goal of colonizing another planet technologically and financially within our reach, Schulze-Makuch and Davies acknowledge that such a project would require not only major international cooperation, but a return to the exploration spirit and risk-taking ethos of the great period of the Earth¡¯s exploration.
They write that when they raise the idea of a one-way Mars colonization mission among their scientific colleagues, a number express an interest in making the trip. ¡°Informal surveys conducted after lectures and conference presentations on our proposal have repeatedly shown that many people are willing to volunteer for a one-way mission, both for reasons of scientific curiosity and in a spirit of adventure and human destiny,¡± they write.
And yes, Schulze-Makuch offered that he too would be prepared to ¡°boldly go¡± on a one-way mission to the Red Planet. But he hedges just a bit, holding out the single caveat that he would want the launch to wait until his young children have all grown into adults.
Adapted from materials provided by Washington State University.
This is a fascinating proposal. Most people involved in this field, of opening
the frontier, agree
that the easy part will be finding willing volunteers for such a mission.
The hard part will be choosing amongst them.
But before we send people to start a permanent settlement on Mars, we need a bit
of research first.
We don't yet know if humans, or other Terrestrial species, can safely reproduce
in lighter gravity.
We have two data points so far. Full one-gee works, obviously, we're all
evolved for it.
And experiments with mammals on the ISS in microgravity, approaching zero-gee,
problems in that situation. The first trimester goes fine, but in the later
phases there is a serious lack
of development of 'skeletal muscles', the core development of a healthy newborn.
Now, this has not yet been tested for humans, but it is a worry.
So before we send those Martian settlers, on a one-way gig, we need research
into reproduction of various
mammalian species at gravity levels between zero and one-gee. Specific values
of interest are:
one-sixth gee, e.g. the Moon, and
0.38 gee, for Mars.
Rotating labs simulating these gravity levels could be established in low-Earth
This is an essential matter to research, before we send human groups out to
Mars, to stay and begin a new
branch of humanity. If the settlers cannot birth healthy children, the
settlement will not succeed.
member, Space Frontier Foundation
Las Vegas, NV
Ask youself this: Is there any evidence that could convince you man made global warming is either true or false? If you are a true believer then your mind is closed to this isssue. The future will provide more evidence to support or refute the claims. Do not be FROZEN in your mindset on this isssue if you consider youself to be open minded and rational. Eric
Global warming may just be statistical fluctuations
By V¨¢clav Klaus
The global warming dispute starts with a doctrine which claims that the rough coexistence of climate changes, of growing temperatures and of man-made increments of CO2 in the atmosphere ¡ª and what is more, only in a relatively short period of time ¡ª is a proof of a causal relationship between these phenomena. To the best of my knowledge there is no such relationship between them. It is, nevertheless, this claim that forms the basis for the doctrine of environmentalism.
It is not a new doctrine. It has existed under various headings and in various forms and manifestations for centuries, always based on the idea that the starting point of our thinking should be the Earth, the planet or nature, not man or mankind. It has always been accompanied by the plan that we have to come back to the original state of the Earth, unspoiled by us, humans. The adherents of this doctrine have always considered us, the people, a foreign element. They forget that it doesn¡¯t make sense to speak about the world without people because there would be no one to speak. If we take the reasoning of the environmentalists seriously, we find that theirs is an anti-human ideology.
To reduce the interpretation of the causality of all kinds of climate changes and of global warming to one variable, CO2, or to a small proportion of one variable ¡ª human-induced CO2 ¡ª is impossible to accept. Elementary rationality and my decades-long experience with econometric modelling and statistical testing of scientific hypotheses tell me that it is impossible to make strong conclusions based on mere correlation of two (or more) time series.
In addition to this, it is relevant that in this case such a simple correlation does not exist. The rise of global temperature started approximately 150 years ago, but man-made CO2 emissions did not start to grow visibly before the 1940s. Temperature changes also repeatedly moved in the opposite direction than the CO2 emissions trend suggests.
Theory is crucial and in this case it is missing. Pure statistical analysis does not explain or confirm anything. Two Chinese scientists, Guang Wu and Shaomin Yan, published a study in which they used the random walk model to analyze the global temperature fluctuations in the last 160 years. Their results ¡ª rather unpleasantly for the global-warming alarmists ¡ª show that the random walk model perfectly fits the temperature changes. Because ¡°the random walk model has a perfect fit for the recorded temperature ¡ there is no need to include various man-made factors such as CO2, and non-human factors, such as the Sun¡± to improve the quality of the model fit, they say. It is an important result. Do other models give a better fit? I have not seen any.
The untenable argument that there exists a simple causal nexus, a simple functional relationship, between temperature and man-made CO2 is only one part of the whole story and only one tenet of environmentalism. The other, not less important aspect of this doctrine is the claim that there is a very strong and exclusively damaging relationship between temperature and its impact upon nature, upon the Earth and upon the planet.
The original ambition probably used to be saving the planet for human beings, but we see now that this target has gradually become less and less important. Many environmentalists want to save the planet, not mankind. For them, the sophisticated economic reasoning we offer is irrelevant.
Only some of them look at mankind. Only with them the debate about the intergenerational discrimination and solidarity and about the proper size of discount rates used in any intertemporal analysis comes into consideration, only here can the economists make use of some of their concepts. The unjustifiably low rate of discount used by the environmentalists was for me the original motivation to enter the discussion.
The choice of discount rate is critical in assessing which policies might make sense, and which clearly do not. With a higher discount rate, the argument for radical action over global warming collapses completely.
Many serious economists argue the same way and are in favour of using higher discount rates. University of Chicago Prof. Murphy says quite strongly: ¡°we should use the market rate as the discount rate because it is the opportunity cost of climate mitigation.¡± This is what alarmists clearly do not want to do. They think in misconceived ethical terms, but it is wrong. We do not deny that if the existing trend continues, rising temperatures will have both its winners and losers. Even if the overall impact happens to be detrimental ¡ª which is something I am not convinced of ¡ª the appropriately defined discount for the future will ensure that the loss of value in the years to come will be too small for the present generation to worry about.
How is it possible that so many politicians, their huge bureaucracies, important groups in the scientific establishment, an important segment of business people and almost all journalists see it differently? The only reasonable explanation is that ¡ª without having paid sufficient attention to the arguments ¡ª they have already invested too much into global warming alarmism. Some of them are afraid that by losing this doctrine their political and professional pride would suffer. Others are earning a lot of money on it and are afraid of losing that source of income. Business people hope they will make a fortune out of it and are not ready to write it off. They all have a very tangible vested interest in it. We should say loudly: This coalition of powerful special interests is endangering us.
Our interest is, or should be, a free, democratic and prosperous society. That is the reason why we have to stand up against all attempts to undermine it. We should be prepared to adapt to all kinds of future climate changes (including cooling), but we should never accept losing our freedom.
V¨¢clav Klaus is President of the Czech Republic. His comments, excerpted here, were made on Tuesday at the Global Warming Policy Foundation annual lecture in London. The full text of his speech is available at http://thegwpf.org
Read more: http://opinion.financialpost.com/2010/10/20/vaclav-klaus-an-anti-human-ideology/#ixzz131w3sAWn
On Thu, Oct 21, 2010 at 09:22:56PM -0000, eric25001 wrote:
> Ask youself this: Is there any evidence that could convince you man
> made global warming is either true or false? If you are a true believer
> then your mind is closed to this isssue. The future will provide more
> evidence to support or refute the claims. Do not be FROZEN in your
> mindset on this isssue if you consider youself to be open minded and
> rational. Eric
where the author models the warming with Total Solar Irradiance and a
two tap filter.
|Oct. 22-- There's more water on the moon than on certain places on Earth.|
That's the conclusion of many scientists who have spent the past year analyzing data from NASA's LCROSS spacecraft, the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, which was intentionally crashed into the south polar region of the moon.
LCROSS's original 2009 mission was to search for traces of water when it hit the perpetually shadowed crater called Cabeus. Not only did it find water, it found tons of it.
"There are areas that are in sunlight, not in permanent darkness, that have hydrogen signals," said Peter H. Schultz, a professor of geological sciences at Brown University and the lead author of one of numerous studies in the journal Science.
Science / AAAS / AP
This image shows a close-up of debris ejected from the Cabeus crater, center, about 20 seconds after the LCROSS -- Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite -- impacted the lunar south pole, looking for evidence of water, in October 2009.
"Where there's smoke, there's fire, and in this case, where there's hydrogen, there's probably other things like water."
Schultz told AOL News it's not out of the question that the 60-mile-wide Cabeus crater may be wetter than some places on Earth and could contain a billion gallons of water.
"Well, just do the math. The average water content was about 5.6 percent, and if you take the size of the crater and simply calculate a depth of maybe a couple meters, you end up with a lot of stuff, and an enormous amount of water ice.
"Keep in mind, we only measured the material that got up into sunlight to an altitude of almost a half-mile. That means that most of the mass ended up around the crater, so we didn't sample anything that was super deep."
The LCROSS spacecraft was launched into space on a Centaur rocket. The rocket was released first and headed for a crash into Cabeus. When the rocket hit the crater, LCROSS recorded information based on the debris plume created by the impact. Minutes later, LCROSS itself crashed into the crater. On the way down to its own smashing demise, it transmitted all of its data back to Earth.
And then the analysis began.
But it wasn't just copious amounts of water that LCROSS discovered; there were other things, as well. After analyzing the infrared light spectrum from the debris caused by the LCROSS impact, Schultz and his team detected other, unexpected items.
"As in any mission of discovery or exploration, you get more than you bargained for -- you find something else," he said.
So far, the relatively small amount of material investigated from the LCROSS impact debris confirms evidence of a menu of compounds including hydrogen, carbon monoxide, sodium, silver, mercury, magnesium, ammonia, methane, calcium and gold.
"It was definitely a treasure trove," Schultz said. "I kind of think of it as the moon's closet -- this is where the moon hid all its secrets. It threw them into this closet at the poles."
This has all been surprising to scientists who originally believed the moon was a completely waterless body. And the significance of this discovery is only now being understood.
"In fact, the books will have to be rewritten. To me, the thing that's so exciting is that we don't know specifically where all this material came from and we don't know how old it is," Schultz said.
For future sojourns to the moon, Schultz says astronauts could use water-laden craters for refining drinking water and also as a component for rocket fuel.
It's no secret that President Barack Obama doesn't have further manned moon exploration at the top of his to-do list. Schultz hopes that will all change now with these latest lunar revelations.
"I think the assumption is that we've already been there. But my argument is that we've been to the Antarctic, but we still keep going back, and the reason is because these places hold clues to our past," he said.
"It's just our nature. Whether or not we go hook ourselves to an asteroid, or land on the moon or go to Mars, I think that will always be in our culture -- we'll always want to do a little bit more.
"I certainly would like to see us go back to the moon."
Personalized energy systems for heating, cooling, and powering cars
September 2, 2010 by Editor
MIT scientists envision inexpensive home-brewed solar energy systems for powering homes and plug-in cars during the day (left) and for producing electricity from a fuel cell at night (right). (Patrick Gillooly/MIT)
MIT researchers have developed a new concept of personalized energy systems, in which individual homes and small businesses produce their own energy for heating, cooling and powering cars.
"Our goal is to make each home its own power station," said study leader Daniel Nocera, Ph.D of MIT. "We're working toward development of `personalized' energy units that can be manufactured, distributed and installed inexpensively. There certainly are major obstacles to be overcome — existing fuel cells and solar cells must be improved, for instance. Nevertheless, one can envision villages in India and Africa not long from now purchasing an affordable basic system."
Such a system would consist of rooftop solar energy panels to produce electricity for heating, cooking, lighting, and to charge the batteries on the homeowners' electric cars. Surplus electricity would go to an "electrolyzer," a device that breaks down ordinary water into its two components, hydrogen and oxygen. Both would be stored in tanks. At night, when the solar panels cease production, the system would shift gears, feeding the stored hydrogen and oxygen into a fuel cell that produces electricity (and clean drinking water as a byproduct). Such a system would produce clean electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Atomic-level manufacturing === ==+++ How soon and what cost? Eric
Manufacturing With Every Atom in Its Proper Place May Be Coming Soon
ScienceDaily (Oct. 24, 2010) ¡ª The long-held dream of creating atomically precise three-dimensional structures in a manufacturing environment is approaching reality, according to the top scientist at a company making tools aimed at that ambitious goal.
John Randall, Vice President of Zyvex Labs in Richardson, Tex., says his researchers have demonstrated a process that uses a scanning tunneling microscope tip to remove protective surface hydrogen atoms from silicon one at a time and then adds single atomic layers of silicon only to those meticulously cleared areas. Randall describes the achievement at the AVS 57th International Symposium & Exhibition, which takes place this week in the Albuquerque Convention Center in New Mexico.
To date, Zyvex Labs researchers have demonstrated removal of 50 hydrogen atoms per second. But with experience and innovation, Randall predicts large improvements in the speed of this limiting factor.
"There are many paths to scale-up, including parallelism," he says. "A thousand-fold increase in speed will be fairly easy to achieve."
Within seven years, Randall expects that Zyvex Labs will be selling initial production tools that can remove more than a million hydrogen atoms a second using 10 parallel tips at a cost of about $2,000 per cubic micrometer of added silicon (48 billion atoms).
Applications that would benefit most from having tiny atomically precise structures include nanopore membranes, qubit structures for quantum computers and nanometrology standards. Larger-scale applications, such as nanoimprint templates, would need still further cost-performance improvements to become economically viable.
The Zyvex process is currently used only on silicon surfaces, which are typically coated with hydrogen atoms bound to any exposed silicon atoms. The process has two steps: first, in an ultra high vacuum, a scanning tunneling microscope is directed to remove individual hydrogen atoms from only those locations where additional silicon will later be added. Second, a silicon hydride gas is introduced. A single layer of these molecules adheres to any exposed hydrogen-free silicon atoms. After deposition, the gas is removed and the process is repeated to build up as many three-dimensional layers of atomically pure silicon as is needed.
This effort is funded in part by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Emerging Technology Fund of the State of Texas.
Along the same lines as usi ng a cell phone for Spectoscopic use is the ability to use your cell phone as a microscope.
Here is the article from MIT Technology Review.
A $1.50 Lens-Free Microscope
The device could diagnose disease in the developing world and enable rapid drug screening.
Using a $1.50 digital camera sensor, scientists at Caltech have created the simplest and cheapest lens-free microscope yet. Such a device could have many applications, including helping diagnose disease in the developing world, and enabling rapid screening of new drugs.
|No lens required: Researcher Guoan Zheng injects a sample into the inlet of the optofluidic microscope. |
Credit: Changhuei Yang Research Group, Caltech
The best current way to diagnose malaria is for a skilled technician to examine blood samples using a conventional optical microscope. But this is impractical in parts of the world where malaria is common. A simple lens-free imaging device connected to a smart phone or a PDA could automatically diagnose disease. A lensless microscope could also be used for rapid cancer or drug screening, with dozens or hundreds of microscopes working simultaneously.
The Caltech device is remarkably simple. A system of microscopic channels called microfluidics lead a sample across the light-sensing chip, which snaps images in rapid succession as the sample passes across. Unlike previous iterations, there are no other parts. Earlier versions featured pinhole apertures and an electrokinetic drive for moving cells in a fixed orientation with an electric field. In the new device, this complexity is eliminated thanks to a clever design and more sophisticated software algorithms. Samples flow through the channel because of a tiny difference in pressure from one end of the chip to the other. The device's makers call it a subpixel resolving optofluidic microscope, or SROFM.
"The advantage here is that it's simpler than their previous approaches," says David Erickson, a microfluidics expert at Cornell University.
Cells tend to roll end over end as they pass through a microfluidic channel. The new device uses this behavior to its advantage by capturing images and producing a video. By imaging a cell from every angle, a clinician can determine its volume, which can be useful when looking for cancer cells, for example. Changhuei Yang, who leads the lab where the microscope was developed, says this means samples, such as blood, do not have to be prepared on slides beforehand.
The current resolution of the SROFM is 0.75 microns, which is comparable to a light microscope at 20 times magnification, says Guoan Zheng, lead author of a recent paper on the work, published in the journal Lab on a Chip.
The sensor has pixels that are 0.32 microns on each side, so this resolution was only possible using a "super resolution" algorithm, which assembles multiple images--50 for each high-resolution image-- to create an enhanced resolution image. However, super-resolution techniques can only distinguish features that are separated by at least one pixel, meaning the final resolution must be at least twice the pixel size. This is why a .32 micron pixel size yields only a resolution of .75 microns.
Zheng's technique uses only a small portion of the chip, allowing him to capture cells at a relatively high frame rate of 300 frames per second. This yields a super-resolution "movie" of a cells at six frames per second.
Using a higher-resolution CMOS sensor should allow an even better ultimate resolution, says Seung Ah Lee, another collaborator on the project. Lee wants to get the resolution up to the equivalent of 40x magnification, so that the technique can be used for diagnosis of malaria via automated recognition of abnormal blood cells.
Aydogan Ozcan, a professor at UCLA who is developing a competing approach, says that Zheng's work is "a valuable advance for optofluidic microscopy," in that this system is simpler, offers higher resolution, and is easier to use than previous microscopes. However, Ozcan says that the technique has limitations.
The microfluidic channel must be quite small, says Ozcan, which means the approach can't be applied to particles that might vary greatly in size, and the channel must be built to accommodate the largest particle that might flow through it. Ozcan's own lensless microscope does not use microfluidic channels, and instead captures a "hologram" of the sample by interpreting the interference pattern of an LED lamp shining through it. This method has no such limitations.
"From my perspective, these are complementary approaches," says Ozcan, whose ultimate aim is cheap, cell-phone based medical diagnostic tools for the developing world.
Is MIM the answer to extending gordon moore's observation about two fold increases in chips? Maybe!
Is MIM the answer to cheap solar electric energy? Maybe!
Cheaper and with earth abundant material sounds good. Eric
Advance could change modern electronics
CORVALLIS, Ore. ¨C Researchers at Oregon State University have solved a quest in fundamental material science that has eluded scientists since the 1960s, and could form the basis of a new approach to electronics.
The discovery, just reported online in the professional journal Advanced Materials, outlines the creation for the first time of a high-performance "metal-insulator-metal" diode.
"Researchers have been trying to do this for decades, until now without success," said Douglas Keszler, a distinguished professor of chemistry at OSU and one of the nation's leading material science researchers. "Diodes made previously with other approaches always had poor yield and performance.
"This is a fundamental change in the way you could produce electronic products, at high speed on a huge scale at very low cost, even less than with conventional methods," Keszler said. "It's a basic way to eliminate the current speed limitations of electrons that have to move through materials."
A patent has been applied for on the new technology, university officials say. New companies, industries and high-tech jobs may ultimately emerge from this advance, they say.
The research was done in the Center for Green Materials Chemistry, and has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Army Research Laboratory and the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute.
Conventional electronics made with silicon-based materials work with transistors that help control the flow of electrons. Although fast and comparatively inexpensive, this approach is still limited by the speed with which electrons can move through these materials. And with the advent of ever-faster computers and more sophisticated products such as liquid crystal displays, current technologies are nearing the limit of what they can do, experts say.
By contrast, a metal-insulator-metal, or MIM diode can be used to perform some of the same functions, but in a fundamentally different way. In this system, the device is like a sandwich, with the insulator in the middle and two layers of metal above and below it. In order to function, the electron doesn't so much move through the materials as it "tunnels" through the insulator ¨C almost instantaneously appearing on the other side.
"When they first started to develop more sophisticated materials for the display industry, they knew this type of MIM diode was what they needed, but they couldn't make it work," Keszler said. "Now we can, and it could probably be used with a range of metals that are inexpensive and easily available, like copper, nickel or aluminum. It's also much simpler, less costly and easier to fabricate."
The findings were made by researchers in the OSU Department of Chemistry; School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; and School of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering.
In the new study, the OSU scientists and engineers describe use of an "amorphous metal contact" as a technology that solves problems that previously plagued MIM diodes. The OSU diodes were made at relatively low temperatures with techniques that would lend themselves to manufacture of devices on a variety of substrates over large areas.
OSU researchers have been leaders in a number of important material science advances in recent years, including the field of transparent electronics. University scientists will do some initial work with the new technology in electronic displays, but many applications are possible, they say.
High speed computers and electronics that don't depend on transistors are possibilities. Also on the horizon are "energy harvesting" technologies such as the nighttime capture of re-radiated solar energy, a way to produce energy from the Earth as it cools during the night.
"For a long time, everyone has wanted something that takes us beyond silicon," Keszler said. "This could be a way to simply print electronics on a huge size scale even less expensively than we can now. And when the products begin to emerge the increase in speed of operation could be enormous."
I wonder about cables or yarn made from bulk fluorographene; Strong enough and cheap enough for construction? maybe a space elevator? Strong enough for a vacuume for flight? No more fuel or hot air or helium gas just a vacuum! Maybe no need for an elevator to space if a vacuum will do the job. ERIC
ScienceDaily (Nov. 8, 2010) ¡ª University of Manchester scientists have created a new material which could replace or compete with Teflon in thousands of everyday applications.
Professor Andre Geim, who along with his colleague Professor Kostya Novoselov won the 2010 Nobel Prize for graphene -- the world's thinnest material, has now modified it to make fluorographene -- a one-molecule-thick material chemically similar to Teflon.
Fluorographene is fully-fluorinated graphene and is basically a two-dimensional version of Teflon, showing similar properties including chemical inertness and thermal stability.
The results are reported in the advanced online issue of the journal Small. The work is a large international effort and involved research groups from China, the Netherlands, Poland and Russia.
The team hope that fluorographene -- a flat, crystal version of Teflon and is mechanically as strong as graphene -- could be used as a thinner, lighter version of Teflon, and also find applications in electronics, such as for new types of LED devices.
Graphene, a one-atom-thick material that demonstrates a huge range of unusual and unique properties, has been at the centre of attention since groundbreaking research carried out at The University of Manchester six years ago.
Its potential is almost endless -- from ultrafast transistors just one atom thick to sensors that can detect just a single molecule of a toxic gas and even to replace carbon fibres in high performance materials that are used to build aircraft.
Professor Geim and his team have exploited a new perspective on graphene by considering it as a gigantic molecule that, like any other molecule, can be modified in chemical reactions.
Teflon is a fully-fluorinated chain of carbon atoms. These long molecules bound together make the polymer material that is used in a variety of applications including non-sticky cooking pans.
The Manchester team managed to attach fluorine to each carbon atom of graphene..
To get fluorographene, the Manchester researchers first obtained graphene as individual crystals and then fluorinated it by using atomic fluorine.
To demonstrate that it is possible to obtain fluorographene in industrial quantities, the researchers also fluorinated graphene powder and obtained fluorographene paper.
Fluorographene turned out to be a high-quality insulator which does not react with other chemicals and can sustain high temperatures even in air.
One of the most intense directions in graphene research has been to open a gap in graphene's electronic spectrum, that is, to make a semiconductor out of metallic graphene. This should allow many applications in electronics. Fluorographene is found to be a wide gap semiconductor and is optically transparent for visible light, unlike graphene that is a semimetal.
Professor Geim said: "Electronic quality of fluorographene has to be improved before speaking about applications in electronics but other applications are there up for grabs."
Rahul Nair, who led this research for the last two years and is a PhD student working with Professor Geim, added: "Properties of fluorographene are remarkably similar to those of Teflon but this is not a plastic.
"It is essentially a perfect one-molecule-thick crystal and, similar to its parent, fluorographene is also mechanically strong. This makes a big difference for possible applications.
"We plan to use fluorographene an ultra-thin tunnel barrier for development of light-emitting devices and diodes.
"More mundane uses can be everywhere Teflon is currently used, as an ultra-thin protective coating, or as a filler for composite materials if one needs to retain the mechanical strength of graphene but avoid any electrical conductivity or optical opacity of a composite."
Industrial scale production of fluorographene is not seen as a problem as it would involve following the same steps as mass production of graphene.
The Manchester researchers believe that the next important step is to make proof-of-concept devices and demonstrate various applications of fluorographene.
Professor Geim added: "There is no point in using it just as a substitute for Teflon. The mix of the incredible properties of graphene and Teflon is so inviting that you do not need to stretch your imagination to think of applications for the two-dimensional Teflon. The challenge is to exploit this uniqueness."
Chip-in-a-pill may be approved in 2012
November 10, 2010 by Lin Edwards Image credit: Proteus Biomedical
(PhysOrg.com) -- Giant Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG, based in Basel,
is developing a pill containing an embedded microchip, which it hopes to submit
for regulatory approval in Europe within 18 months. The chip is activated by the
stomach acid, and transmits information to a patch attached to the patient's
skin, which then sends it on to a doctor via the Internet or a smartphone.
The first application of the chip-in-a-pill -- or as it is officially known, the
Ingestible Event Marker (IEM) -- is expected to be for transplant patients, to
help avoid organ rejection. A common problem that occurs after transplant
operations is the dose and timing of taking anti-rejection drugs has to be
monitored and frequently adjusted to prevent rejection of the transplanted
organ, such as a kidney. The microchip would overcome this problem since it
would closely monitor the patients to determine if the drugs are being taken at
the right time, and in the correct dosage.
In January this year Novartis spent $24 million on securing access to the
ingestible medical microchips technology, which was invented and developed by a
privately-owned Californian company, Proteus Biomedical. Licensing the
technology puts Novartis ahead of all its competitors. The Proteus microchip is
capable of collecting a range of biometric data such as heart rate, body
temperature and body movements, which may indicate if drugs are working as
Spokesman Dr. Trevor Mundel, the company's Global Head of Development, said
Novartis does not expect full clinical trials of the "smart pills" will be
needed because the microchips will be added to existing drugs, and the company
intends to carry out bioequivalence tests instead to show the effects of the
pills are unchanged by the addition of a tiny microchip.
Mundel said the regulators had been encouraging and like the concept, but "they
want to understand" how patients' privacy will be protected in a system in which
information is transmitted via wireless or Bluetooth technology from inside
their bodies, and which could presumably therefore be intercepted by someone
other than the doctor for whom it was intended.
Mr Mundel said the first application for the technology would be for
anti-rejection drugs for transplant patients, but added he sees "the promise as
going much beyond that."
© 2010 PhysOrg.com
I, for one, quite appreciate your efforts on behalf of
Futurist Studies. Years back I tended towards becoming
a futurist, but opted for Scientific Philosophy instead.
About depleted philosophically, I've decided to dip
slowly into Futurism--and your many posts on this
list provide lots and lots of background. Have miles
and miles to go, plus deep research, before I even
move into this field. But thanks for the "jump start"
so to speak.
Here is an article on the same topic:
'Racetrack' Magnetic Memory Could Make Computer Memory 100,000 Times Faster
ScienceDaily (Nov. 15, 2010) — Imagine a computer equipped with shock-proof memory that's 100,000 times faster and consumes less power than current hard disks. EPFL Professor Mathias Kläui is working on a new kind of "Racetrack" memory, a high-volume, ultra-rapid non-volatile read-write magnetic memory that may soon make such a device possible.
Annoyed by how long it took his computer to boot up, Kläui began to think about an alternative. Hard disks are cheap and can store enormous quantities of data, but they are slow; every time a computer boots up, 2-3 minutes are lost while information is transferred from the hard disk into RAM (random access memory). The global cost in terms of lost productivity and energy consumption runs into the hundreds of millions of dollars a day.
Like the tried and true VHS videocassette, the proposed solution involves data recorded on magnetic tape. But the similarity ends there; in this system the tape would be a nickel-iron nanowire, a million times smaller than the classic tape. And unlike a magnetic videotape, in this system nothing moves mechanically. The bits of information stored in the wire are simply pushed around inside the tape using a spin polarized current, attaining the breakneck speed of several hundred meters per second in the process. It's like reading an entire VHS cassette in less than a second.
In order for the idea to be feasible, each bit of information must be clearly separated from the next so that the data can be read reliably. This is achieved by using domain walls with magnetic vortices to delineate two adjacent bits. To estimate the maximum velocity at which the bits can be moved, Kläui and his colleagues* carried out measurements on vortices and found that the physical mechanism could allow for possible higher access speeds than expected.
Their results were published online October 25, 2010, in the journal Physical Review Letters. Scientists at the Zurich Research Center of IBM (which is developing a racetrack memory) have confirmed the importance of the results in a Viewpoint article. Millions or even billions of nanowires would be embedded in a chip, providing enormous capacity on a shock-proof platform. A market-ready device could be available in as little as 5-7 years.
Racetrack memory promises to be a real breakthrough in data storage and retrieval. Racetrack-equipped computers would boot up instantly, and their information could be accessed 100,000 times more rapidly than with a traditional hard disk. They would also save energy. RAM needs to be powered every millionth of a second, so an idle computer consumes up to 300 mW just maintaining data in RAM. Because Racetrack memory doesn't have this constraint, energy consumption could be slashed by nearly a factor of 300, to a few mW while the memory is idle. It's an important consideration: computing and electronics currently consumes 6% of worldwide electricity, and is forecast to increase to 15% by 2025.
Email or share this story:
The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), via AlphaGalileo.
- Rolf Allenspach, Philipp Eib. The alphabet of spin in nanostructures. Physics, 2010; 3: 91 DOI: 10.1103/Physics.3.91
- L. Heyne, J. Rhensius, D. Ilgaz, A. Bisig, U. Rüdiger, M. Kläui, L. Joly, F. Nolting, L. J. Heyderman, J. U. Thiele, and F. Kronast. Direct Determination of Large Spin-Torque Nonadiabaticity in Vortex Core Dynamics. Physical Review Letters, 2010; 105 (18): 187203 DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.105.187203
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Futuretalk" <futuretalk@...> wrote:
> Information technologies drive the future, By Dick Pelletier
> Information technologies provide the major force for change as we
> move through the 21st century. During the last century, we learned much
> of how science and technologies control our world. Today, we are just
> beginning to exploit this knowledge, and we're finding there's
> much more to learn. As we begin the 2010s, advances seem to rush by at
> breathtaking speeds, all fueled by information technologies.
> Between 2015 and 2020, inexpensive chips and new networking systems
> promise to merge TV, phones, radio, and the Internet into a single
> invisible device that responds to voice commands, gestures, and
> eventually, will even read our thoughts. We will view images from this
> system on wall-size screens, or directly onto the retina with active
> contact lenses, bypassing the need for a display.
> As we begin the 2020s, this communications wonder will be available
> for our needs anytime anywhere. Using thoughts or voice to direct the
> system, we can talk to business associates, friends, or relatives from
> anywhere on Earth, view any movie or TV program ever produced, or
> satisfy our hunger for entertainment on the edge with virtual reality
> programs indiscernible from reality.
> Information technologies will also speed breakthroughs in genetics,
> nanotechnology, and materials industries. By 2018, doctors hope to grow
> tissues to replace faulty hearts, brains, even aging skin and bones, and
> by mid-2020s, provide all Americans with a healthy disease-free body.
> Some dream of a time when human aging, even death, could become only
> distant memories of our crude past.
> By late 2020s, nanoreplicators are predicted to appear on kitchen
> counters filling our material needs. We could eat a
> nutritionally-perfect meal created automatically with information
> downloaded from the Internet, using only inexpensive dirt or seawater
> for materials.
> Other miracles complete this amazing future time. Driverless cars
> carry us about, scramjets whisk us to anywhere on Earth in an hour, and
> personal robots satisfy our every whim. Is this our future? Absolutely,
> say experts; and it's all driven by information technologies.
> Comments welcome.
This is part of the trend of more testing and being able to track trends and give better medical outcomes. Who is at risk? How high is the risk? What increases or decreases risk? DNA, Diet, Active, or medicine or medical intervention. Eric
New Blood Test May Help Predict Heart Failure in Apparently Healthy Older Adults
ScienceDaily (Nov. 15, 2010) ¡ª Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore report that a new, highly sensitive investigative blood test may help predict the risk of heart failure and cardiovascular death much earlier than previously possible in older people who do not have symptoms of heart failure.
Results of a study were presented at the Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association on November 15, 2010, and simultaneously published online in JAMA, Journal of the American Medical Association.
The new test measures troponin T, a marker for the biological process of cell death that leads to heart failure. Current cardiac troponin T blood tests do not detect troponin in seemingly healthy people and are often used in hospital emergency rooms to clarify whether the source of chest pain is a heart attack or something else. The new test, not commercially available in the United States, detects troponin levels that are 10 times lower than previous tests. The researchers found the marker in two-thirds of people without symptoms age 65 or older whose blood samples were collected and stored for up to 18 years as part of a long-term cardiovascular research project.
"This is a very unique finding," says principal investigator Christopher deFilippi, M.D., associate professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and a cardiologist at the University of Maryland Medical Center. "We found that the higher the level of troponin, the greater the individual was at risk for symptoms of heart failure or death from cardiovascular disease over the next 10-15 years. The meaning of these elevated levels was unknown until this point."
Eighty percent of new cases of congestive heart failure occur in people who are 65 and older. For people in this group with no symptoms, it has been difficult to gauge their risk for heart disease, the number one killer of men and women in the United States.
The study was based on a national research project, the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS), which began in 1989 and followed more than 4,000 people age 65 and older who were not hospitalized, did not have symptoms of heart failure and were not experiencing an acute medical illness. Blood samples of the study participants, who were ethnically and geographically diverse, were taken when they first entered the study and repeated after two-three years. Each participant was followed for about 12 years to see what, if any, heart-related diseases they developed, with the most recent follow-up visit in 2008.
The blood samples were stored at very low temperatures to stabilize the proteins in the samples for a period of 10-15 years. By preserving the blood samples in this way, researchers such as the University of Maryland team could look back in time with modern testing tools.
"The availability of the blood samples is one of the great strengths of the Cardiovascular Health Study," says senior author and designer of the current study, Stephen L. Seliger, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and a nephrologist at the University of Maryland Medical Center. "Another strength of the CHS is its longstanding and rich database which carefully characterized the participants' risk factors for heart disease as well as the actual outcomes."
The researchers also found that troponin levels can change over time. Troponin levels rose in some study participants between the first and second blood samples, with a corresponding increase in their risk for heart disease. Conversely, the risks dropped in other participants whose blood samples showed a reduction in troponin levels. "These fluctuations suggest that even in people without clinical symptoms of heart disease, we may be able to intervene with lifestyle modifications to lower their risks," says Dr. deFilippi.
"This study may have important clinical implications, since it suggests that physicians need to consider that test results are more dynamic over time and that risk factors are also likely to change over time," says E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., vice president for medical affairs at the University of Maryland and dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
This study did not take into account the impact of new cardiovascular therapies such as statins that could blunt the predictive value of the troponin level, nor was it possible for the study to explain what was physically happening to the participants to produce detectable levels and the frequent changes over time of troponin in older adults. The researchers say more study is needed to confirm their findings.
The University of Maryland study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the University of Pittsburgh Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center and Roche Diagnostics. Roche Diagnostics provided funding and laboratory reagents for the highly sensitive cardiac troponin T assay.
Editor's Note: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Just address an email to email@example.com
Jump to a particular message