New research is paving the way for new, smart prosthetics that connect directly to the nervous system. The benefits are more versatile prosthetics with intuitive motor control and realistic sensory feedbac - in essence, they could one day return dexterity and the sensation of touch to an amputee.
A Basque research consortium has managed to halt the progress of colon cancer and its metastasis in the liver in an experimental model with mice. This advance, that may open a new path for the future treatment of such pathologies, has been achieved by creating molecules which interfere with the adhesion of tumour cells to other cells of the organism.
Researchers have given rats the ability to "touch" infrared light, normally invisible to them, by fitting them with an infrared detector wired to microscopic electrodes implanted in the part of the mammalian brain that processes tactile information. The achievement represents the first time a brain-machine interface has augmented a sense in adult animals.
Digesting lignin, a highly stable polymer that accounts for up to a third of biomass, is a limiting step to producing a variety of biofuels. Researchers at Brown have figured out the microscopic chemical switch that allows Streptomyces bacteria to get to work, breaking lignin down into its constituent parts.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota's Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology and the Lillehei Heart Institute have utilized molecular genetic engineering to optimize heart performance in models of diastolic heart failure by creating an optimized protein that can aid in high-speed relaxation similar to fast twitching muscles.
MIT engineers have created genetic circuits in bacterial cells that not only perform logic functions, but also remember the results, which are encoded in the cell's DNA and passed on for dozens of generations.
Genes relocated from their correct position in the nucleus cause them to malfunction and this may lead to the heart, blood vessels and muscles breaking down. This new discovery by A*STAR scientists may be the key to finding new cures in the future.
Prof. Eran Halperin has found that advances in DNA sequencing carry with them an enormous risk - the theft of personal information from genetics databases poses a serious threat to privacy. He urges that new legislation concerning the maintenance of private and public databases, as well as anti-genetic-discrimination laws, should be drafted.