Modern medicine is amazing. Research is in development to help people with so-far-unfixable health problems (such as regenerating nerves in people with hearing loss, or helping to repair nerve damage among those who have experienced spinal cord injury). While a lot of research is still in its infancy and isn’t quite ready for primetime, we can’t help but marvel at the advances that are improving lives. If you need proof of just how far we’ve come with medical innovation, we’ve got some examples:
More and more scientists are publishing their results online. And as a result, it’s becoming easier to link to new knowledge. A Berlin-based platform called ScienceOpen wants to tap into that.
Scientists have created the first “semi-synthetic” micro-organism with a radically different genetic code from the rest of life on Earth.
The researchers believe the breakthrough is the first step towards creating new microbial life-forms with novel industrial or medical properties resulting from a potentially massive expansion of genetic information.
The semi-synthetic microbe, a genetically modified E. coli bacterium, has been endowed with an extra artificial piece of DNA with an expanded genetic alphabet – instead of the usual four “letters” of the alphabet its DNA molecule has six.
Today’s flexible electronics are already enabling a new generation of wearable sensors and other mobile electronic devices. But these flexible electronics, in which very thin semiconductor materials are applied to a thin, flexible substrate in wavy patterns and then applied to a deformable surface such as skin or fabric, are still built around hard composite materials that limit their elasticity.
Ever since the physician Scribonius Largus slapped an electric torpedo fish on the forehead of a headache sufferer in the early days of the Roman empire, electricity has been pursued as a cure for a seemingly endless variety of ailments–by serious scientists and profiteering quacks alike. The latest chapter in this long and colorful history (see sidebar below) involves something called transcranial direct current stimulation, in which a small electric current is delivered to the brain through electrodes placed on the head.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) signed memorandums of understanding earlier this month (7 April) with Nepalese research institutions the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and Tribhuvan University.
Researchers in MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, working with colleagues at the University of Washington, have developed a new computer system that can automatically solve the type of word problems common in introductory algebra classes.