Monthly Archives: September 2016

Random DNA + high-tech math = ‘universal microbial diagnostic’

Rice University scientists have invented a technology that could potentially identify hundreds of bacterial pathogens simply, quickly and at low cost using a single set of random DNA probes. Rice’s “universal microbial diagnostic,” or UMD, uses pieces of randomly assembled DNA and mathematical techniques that were originally pioneered for signal processors inside digital phones and cameras.

NICE Says Yes to Another Hepatitis C Drug

Sofosbuvir-velpatasvir – a tablet taken once daily – works by blocking the virus from multiplying and infecting new cells. Trials of the drug showed cure rates of 89% and above for all genotypes.

People who have genotype 3 are currently treated with an older type of anti-viral drug, which can cause unwanted side effects. Sofosbuvir-velpatasvir will be the first drug that offers more effective treatment to this group of patients – who make up 44% of the patient population with chronic hepatitis C.

IAEA Reports Highlight Nuclear Power’s Role on Global Climate, Sustainable Development Goals

According to the two reports published by IAEA, nuclear power can significantly contribute to two of the world’s most pressing priorities—combating climate change and ensuring sustainable development.

Clean house

The Matiss experiment is investigating antibacterial properties of materials in space to see if future spacecraft could be made easier to clean.

The experiment consists of four identical plaques that ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet will place in the European Columbus laboratory and leave for at least three months. France’s CNES space agency, in collaboration with theENS universityof Lyon, research institute CEA-Leti and construction company St Gobain, selected five advanced materials that could stop bacteria from settling and growing on the surface. A sixth element, made of glass, is used as control material.

Traffic noise reduces wild owls’ foraging efficiency

The team of researchers from Hokkaido University’s Graduate School of Agriculture, the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, and California Polytechnic State University developed an artificial prey rustling sound to attract owls and thus facilitate observation of the birds’ nighttime hunting pursuits. From December 2014 to March 2015, the team conducted experiments at 103 locations in Yufutsu Plain in Hokkaido and Sendai Plain in Miyagi Prefecture—both in northern Japan—where owls overwinter. In the experiments, researchers scrutinized the foraging activities of 78 owls (45 short-eared owls and 33 long-eared owls) while playing back different levels of recorded traffic noise and a constant level of an artificial prey rustling sound.

Life in ancient oceans enabled by erosion from land

As scientists continue finding evidence for life in the ocean more than 3 billion years ago, those ancient fossils pose a paradox. Organisms, including the single-celled bacteria living in the…

Sharpshooting nanoparticles hit the target

Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) researchers created the multifunctional nanocapsules by wrapping magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles inside a biocompatible polymer coat that could be tuned to respond to acidity or temperature. The team has already shown that the nanoparticles can selectively deliver the toxic antitumor drug doxorubicin to cancer cells.

How to Power up Graphene Implants Without Frying Cells

Now, engineers from MIT and Tsinghua University in Beijing have precisely simulated how electrical power may generate heat between a single layer of graphene and a simple cell membrane. While direct contact between the two layers inevitably overheats and kills the cell, the researchers found they could prevent this effect with a very thin, in-between layer of water.

Moon and Mars on plane

“Partial-gravity flights are rare and offer a unique opportunity to conduct research in conditions that have only been reproduced a handful of times,” notes ESA’s head of human research, Jennifer Ngo-Anh.

ESA often conducts ‘parabolic’ flights using a refitted Airbus A310 that flies up and down on a rollercoaster ride. At the top of the curve the passengers and experiments experience reduced gravity.

35 US States Sue British Drugmaker Over Opioid Marketing

The complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania also names New Jersey’s MonoSol Rx, a pharmaceutical dissolving-film company, for conspiring to corner the market on the popular medication used to treat people hooked on heroin and other painkillers.

According to the lawsuit, the company known today as Indivior was granted exclusive rights in 2002 to sell Suboxone tablets for seven years. When its rights expired, the company worked with MonoSol Rx to make an oral strip form of the drug that they then marketed as safer than tablets, the complaint said.

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