Smartphone app may help detect opioid overdose

Opioid abuse is a national epidemic that continues to claim lives and cause significant economic burden. Opioids were introduced for the treatment of chronic pain and initially prescribed liberally, even though there was limited scientific evidence that these medications would not be addictive. Opioid overdose rates quickly increased and, in 2016 more than 40,000 people died from overdose. Computer scientists at the University of Washington in … Continue reading Smartphone app may help detect opioid overdose

How Marijuana Exposure Affects Developing Babies’ Brains

As states have begun to legalize marijuana, its use has been more openly discussed. While the effects of other commonly used drugs, such as alcohol, have been studied extensively, the effects of marijuana – especially on developing babies during pregnancy – have been much less studied and less widely publicized. This relative silence from the scientific community has affected the public’s opinion on the safety … Continue reading How Marijuana Exposure Affects Developing Babies’ Brains

‘Pacemaker for the brain’ may help prevent seizures and treat movement disorders

Anyone who has ever been scolded for talking over someone knows that speaking and listening simultaneously is a hard thing to do. Conducting an intelligent conversation requires active listening, understanding the received knowledge, and crafting a meaningful response, which often requires blending the new information with one’s own experiences. On a microscopic scale, each neuron in the brain must do exactly this – listen to … Continue reading ‘Pacemaker for the brain’ may help prevent seizures and treat movement disorders

Nano-antidote provides long-term protection against nerve agents

Nerve agents are toxic chemicals that disrupt signals in the nervous system. They can be absorbed easily through skin contact or by breathing. Exposure to nerve agents interferes with nerve cell signaling and prevents muscles from relaxing, quickly leading to muscle paralysis and eventually death by asphyxiation or cardiac arrest. Treatment is possible but must be administered within minutes of exposure. No long-term vaccine or … Continue reading Nano-antidote provides long-term protection against nerve agents

Recycling Carbon Dioxide with Copper Catalysts

The Earth is undergoing climate change due to human activity. One facet of this change is the Greenhouse Effect, where molecules in the atmosphere trap heat, resulting in globally increasing temperatures. Carbon dioxide is a molecule produced in dangerous amounts by activities like farming and burning fossil fuels. Thus far, sustainably converting carbon dioxide to useful chemicals has been difficult, but scientists at the Lawrence … Continue reading Recycling Carbon Dioxide with Copper Catalysts

3D Printed Robot Plays Jingle Bells and More on the Piano

When looking for the perfect soundtrack to accompany your holiday celebrations, consider putting away the traditional albums and opting for this technologically savvy rendition of Jingle Bells instead.  The performer, the latest work from Josie Hughes and colleagues at the University of Cambridge, is none other than a robot hand designed to play the piano without moving its fingers.  While it may not be a … Continue reading 3D Printed Robot Plays Jingle Bells and More on the Piano

A Joint Effort: Inheritance of Mitochondrial DNA from Both Parents

Researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center have found evidence in three families for inheritance of mitochondrial DNA from both mothers and fathers, in contrast to the conventional belief that this genetic transmission is exclusively maternal. This discovery opens new doorways in molecular biology and genetics to understand this inheritance pattern, and properly harnessing the process could dramatically reduce chances of inheriting mitochondrial disorders. Continue reading A Joint Effort: Inheritance of Mitochondrial DNA from Both Parents

Later school start times may help improve school performance

We can all relate to the dreaded early morning alarm, and the oh-so tempting snooze button.  Sufficient sleep is critical for health, cognitive function, and overall quality of life. Chronic sleep deprivation can be detrimental to physical health, behavior and mental wellbeing at any stage of life, and especially in adolescence. To make things worse, the onset of puberty lengthens the biological clocks of teens, … Continue reading Later school start times may help improve school performance

The Replacement Polio

by Joseph Cabral figures by Rebecca Senft cover by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Images In the middle of the 20th century, poliovirus could be found in every country of the world. Infection by poliovirus can lead to a severe disease called poliomyelitis, or simply polio, in which the patients become paralyzed when poliovirus inflames the spinal cord. To great public relief, the first … Continue reading The Replacement Polio

CHIP-ping Away at the Heart

by Sangrag Ganguli and Uche C. Ezeh figures by Rebecca Clements Every year, thousands of people are rushed into hospitals with crushing chest pain and shortness of breath. While some recognize these signs of a heart attack in time to receive proper treatment, over half a million others are not so fortunate. To combat these fatalities, doctors often warn patients about the common risk factors of … Continue reading CHIP-ping Away at the Heart