February 20, 2018

Week In STEM-21 Nov

Heart rate tracking with the use of smartphone

An MIT group project called BioPhone is doing research that involves biological signals from a smartphone’s accelerometer. In their approach, motion sensors would recover heart and breathing rates of the users during stationary positions and activities such as listening on the phone.

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Animal magnetic sense comes from protein that acts as a compass

Quick – can you tell where north is? Animals as diverse as sea turtles, birds, worms, butterflies and wolves can, thanks to sensing Earth’s magnetic field.

But the magnet-sensing structures inside their cells that allow them to do this have evaded scientists – until now.

A team led by Can Xie’s at Peking University in China has now found a protein in fruit flies, butterflies and pigeons that they believe to be responsible for this magnetic sense.

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Researchers create cheaper, high performing LED

A team of Florida State University materials researchers has developed a new type of light-emitting diode, or LED, using an organic-inorganic hybrid that could lead to cheaper, brighter and mass produced lights and displays in the future.

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Firefighter receives full face transplant in surgery called ‘historic’

Surgeons in New York have declared the most extensive face transplant ever a success, saying the procedure to give a firefighter the face of a brain-dead man stands as a “historic” achievement.

In August surgeons at New York University’s Langone Medical Center performed the transplant for 41-year-old Patrick Hardison, a retired fireman from Mississippiwho suffered disfiguring injuries when a burning roof collapsed on him, melting his mask, in 2001.

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The Surprising Benefits of Sarcasm

There may also be some unexpected benefits from sarcasm: greater creativity. The use of sarcasm, in fact, promotes creativity for those on both the giving and receiving end of sarcastic exchanges. Instead of avoiding sarcasm completely in the office, the research suggests sarcasm, used with care and in moderation, can be effectively used and trigger some creative sparks.

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Merck launches production of its anti-diabetes medicine in Algeria

A leading science and technology company Merck, on Tuesday announced the commissioning of its medicine production unit for the treatment of both diabetes and high blood pressure. A joint venture project has subsequently been set up between the company and its partner, the Algerian laboratory Novapharm.

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Pigeons taught to diagnose breast cancer on X-rays

Job opportunities for pigeons have been few and far between since electronic communication made their skills as messengers obsolete. But now it seems they could be put to work analysing medical images. So says the team who trained pigeons to distinguish between healthy and cancerous breast tissue.

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One of the year’s game-changing technologies

University of Washington engineers have developed a novel technology that uses a Wi-Fi router—a source of ubiquitous but untapped energy in indoor environments—to power devices.

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Gene mutation linked to reckless drunken behavior

University of Helsinki researchers have identified a genetic mutation which renders carriers susceptible to particularly impulsive and reckless behaviour when drunk. More than one hundred thousand Finns carry this mutation.

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Human vocal cords built from scratch

Doctors have grown the world’s first vocal cords from scratch. The breakthrough could one day restore speech to people who have lost their own vocal cords through surgery or disease.

Doctors built the vocal cords using cells from human donors. The cells were coaxed into forming tissue that mimics vocal fold mucosa – the flaps in the larynx that vibrate to create the sounds of the human voice.

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Neuroscientists reveal how the brain can enhance connections

When the brain forms memories or learns a new task, it encodes the new information by tuning connections between neurons. MIT neuroscientists have discovered a novel mechanism that contributes to the strengthening of these connections, also called synapses.

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New camouflage mechanism fish use in open ocean

Scientists have solved a longstanding mystery about how some fish seem to disappear from predators in the open waters of the ocean, a discovery that could help materials scientists and military technologists create more effective methods of ocean camouflage.

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Universal diets don’t work

Israeli researchers tracked the blood sugar levels of 800 participants over the course of a week and found that even if people all eat the same meal, how they end up metabolising it will differ from person to person. In other words, what might be healthy for you won’t necessarily be equally healthy for somebody else.

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