Stroke, traumatic injury, and metabolic disorder are major causes of brain damage and permanent disabilities, including motor dysfunction, psychological disorders, memory loss, and more. Current therapy and rehab programs aim to help patients heal, but they often have limited success.
Now Dr. Shai Efrati of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine has found a way to restore a significant amount of neurological function in brain tissue thought to be chronically damaged — even years after initial injury. Theorizing that high levels of oxygen could reinvigorate dormant neurons, Dr. Efrati and his fellow researchers, including Prof. Eshel Ben-Jacob of TAU’s School of Physics and Astronomy and the Sagol School of Neuroscience, recruited post-stroke patients for hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) — sessions in high pressure chambers that contain oxygen-rich air — which increases oxygen levels in the body tenfold.
Analysis of brain imaging showed significantly increased neuronal activity after a two-month period of HBOT treatment compared to control periods of non-treatment, reported Dr. Efrati in PLoS ONE. Patients experienced improvements such as a reversal of paralysis, increased sensation, and renewed use of language. These changes can make a world of difference in daily life, helping patients recover their independence and complete tasks such as bathing, cooking, climbing stairs, or reading a book.
Adults with migraine will soon have a new treatment option — Zecuity, a transdermal, battery-powered sumatriptan patch.
NuPathe, maker of the patch, said the FDA has approved the single-use patch to treat headache pain and nausea caused by migraine, with or without aura.
The patch is applied to the upper arm or thigh during a migraine and can deliver 6.5 mg of sumatriptan over the course of 4 hours once activated by push button.
The treatment system was approved based on the results of a phase III, placebo-controlled trial of 800 patients that showed the sumatriptan delivery method was safe and effective, the drugmaker said in a statement.
In a complete response letter, the agency asked the company for additional data on Zelrix, citing concerns over the patch’s safety, chemistry, and manufacturing. The FDA’s approval of Zecuity may obviate the need for those additional studies.
The device is contraindicated in patients with heart disease, a history of heart disease or stroke, peripheral vascular disease, transient ischemic attack, blood circulation problems, uncontrolled blood pressure, basilar migraines, contraindication to sumatriptan or parts of the device, or Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome or similar heart rhythm disturbances.
The system should not be used if taken within 24 hours of using another migraine medication or within 2 weeks of using a monoamine oxidase-A inhibitor.
Triptans, such as sumatriptan, can cause serotonin syndrome, which can be exacerbated when used with certain antidepressants.
Patients with heart disease, a family history of heart disease, stroke, high cholesterol or diabetes, have gone through menopause, who smoke, have had epilepsy or seizures, or are pregnant, nursing, or thinking about becoming a parent should consult a healthcare professional before using Zecuity.
Acoustical analysis reveals the anatomy behind the fascinating array of sounds people can make.
Using the mouth, lips, tongue and voice to generate sounds that one might never expect to come from the human body is the specialty of the artists known as beatboxers. Now scientists have used scanners to peer into a beatboxer as he performed his craft to reveal the secrets of this mysterious art.
The human voice has long been used to generate percussion effects in many cultures, including North American scat singing, Celtic lilting and diddling, and Chinese kouji performances. In southern Indian classical music, konnakol is the percussive speech of the solkattu rhythmic form. In contemporary pop music, the relatively young vocal art form of beatboxing is an element of hip-hop culture.
Until now, the phonetics of these percussion effects were not examined in detail. For instance, it was unknown to what extent beatboxers produced sounds already used within human language.
To learn more about beatboxing, scientists analyzed a 27-year-old male performing in real-time using MRI. This gave researchers “an opportunity to study the sounds people produce in much greater detail than has previously been possible,” said Shrikanth Narayanan, a speech and audio engineer at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. “The overarching goals of our work drive at larger questions related to the nature of sound production and mental processing in human communication, and a study like this is a small part of the larger puzzle.”
The investigators made 40 recordings each lasting 20-40 seconds long as the beatboxer produced all the effects in his repertoire, as individual sounds, composite beats, rapped lyrics, sung lyrics and freestyle combinations of these elements. He categorized 17 distinct percussion sounds into five instrumental classes — kick drums, rim shots, snare drums, hi-hats, and cymbals. The artist demonstrated his repertoire at several different tempos, ranging from slower at roughly 88 beats per minute, to faster at 104.
“We were astonished by the complex elegance of the vocal movements and the sounds being created in beatboxing, which in itself is an amazing artistic display,” Narayanan said. “This incredible vocal instrument and its many capabilities continue to amaze us, from the intricate choreography of the ‘dance of the tongue’ to the complex aerodynamics that work together to create a rich tapestry of sounds that encode not only meaning but also a wide range of emotions.”
“It is absolutely amazing that a person can make these sounds — that a person has such control over the timing of various parts of the speech apparatus,” said phonetician Donna Erickson at the Showa University of Music and Sophia University, both in Japan, who did not participate in this study. “It is very exciting to see how far technology has come — that we can see these movements in real time. It gives us a much better understanding of how the various parts of our speech anatomy work.”
People who’ve lost sight in one eye can still see with the other, but they lack binocular depth perception.
Some of them could benefit from a pair of augmented reality glasses being built at the University of Yamanashi in Japan, that artificially introduces a feeling of depth in a person’s healthy eye.
The group, led by Xiaoyang Mao, started out with a pair of commercially available 3D glasses, the daintily named Wrap 920AR, manufactured by Vuzix Corporation. (Vuzix is also building another AR headset called the M100 that on first sight looks like quite the competitor to to Google Glass.)
The Wrap 920AR looks like a pair of regular tinted glasses, but with small cameras poking out of each lens. The lenses are transparent and the device, Vuzix explains on its website, both captures and projects images, giving the wearer of the device front-row seats to a 2D or 3D AR show transmitted from a computer.
The group at Yamanashi have created software that makes use of the twin cameras. When a person puts the glasses on, each camera scopes out the scene that each eye would see. The images are funneled into software on a computer, which combines the perspective of both cameras and creates a “defocus” effect. That is, some objects to stay in focus while others stay out of focus, resulting in a feeling of depth. That version of the scene in front of them is projected to the single healthy eye of the wearer.
The system isn’t quite ready to be taken for spin around town yet. It’s bulky still, the creators write, and needs a computer by its side, creating and projecting images in real time. But the creators admit such computing power is likely to be found on mobile devices soon, and when it is, they’ll be ready.
Up to 100,000 Britons suffering from cancer and rare diseases are to have their genetic codes fully sequenced and mapped as part of government plans to build a DNA database to boost drug discovery and development.
Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday he wanted Britain to “push the boundaries” of scientific research by being the first country to introduce genetic sequencing into a mainstream health service.
His government has set aside 100 million pounds ($160 million) for the project in the taxpayer-funded National Health Service (NHS) over the next three to five years.
“Britain has often led the world in scientific breakthroughs and medical innovations, from the first CT scan and test-tube baby through to decoding DNA,” he said in a statement.
“It is crucial that we continue to push the boundaries and this new plan will mean we are the first country in the world to use DNA codes in the mainstream of the health service.”
The government said building a database of DNA profiles will give doctors more advanced understanding of a patient’s genetic make-up, their illness and their treatment needs. This should help those who are sick get access to the right drugs and more personalized care more quickly.
The database should also help scientists develop new drugs and other treatments which experts predict “could significantly reduce the number of premature deaths from cancer within a generation”, Cameron’s office said in a statement,
“By unlocking the power of DNA data, the NHS will lead the global race for better tests, better drugs and above all better care,” Cameron said.
“If we get this right, we could transform how we diagnose and treat our most complex diseases not only here but across the world, while enabling our best scientists to discover the next wonder drug or breakthrough technology.”
Would you make your DNA and health data public if it may help cure disease?
The 39-year-old Toronto professional is the brave or, perhaps, foolhardy Canadian volunteer who will be first to go public this week in a project that will reveal the coded secrets hidden in her genome, the six billion chemical units of her DNA.
They may include not only her susceptibility to diseases such as cancer but the levels of her propensities to alcoholism, depression or obesity, or even personality traits such as risk-taking. She will also provide the personal context required to make sense of the biological data – her age, height, weight; medical records; details about how she lives, works and plays; and even her photo if she’s game.
This information – everything but her name and address – will be placed on an online database that will be open and available to anyone in the world. Even in this digital age of perpetual show and tell, exposing oneself so completely amounts to a molecular full monty: Even without a name attached, any participant might be identifiable.
Ms. Davies is making a leap of faith that at least 100,000 of her fellow citizens are also being asked to take – even though Canadian law has no strict guidelines on how this confidential knowledge might be used or misused by any insurance company, employer, police force or identity thief.
First constructed by Theodorus of Cyrene, the spiral (also called the square root spiral, Einstein spiral or Pythagorean spiral) is composed of contiguous right triangles. It is begun with an isosceles right triangle with each leg having a length of 1 - then another right triangle is formed next to it with one leg being the hypotenuse of the prior triangle and the other leg having a length of 1.Thus, each successive nth triangle has side lengths √n and 1, with a hypotenuse of √(n + 1).
The mystery of the Phaistos Disc is a story that sounds like something out of an Indiana Jones movie. Discovered by Italian archaeologist Luigi Pernier in 1908 in the Minoan palace-site of Phaistos, the disc is made of fired clay and contains mysterious symbols that may represent an unknown form of hieroglyphics. It is believed that it was designed sometime in the second millennium BC. Some scholars believe that the hieroglyphs resemble symbols of Linear A and Linear B, scripts once used in ancient Crete. The only problem? Linear A also eludes decipherment. Today the disc remains one of the most famous puzzles of archaeology. 10 of the world’s biggest unsolved mysteries
In mathematics, four-dimensional space (“4D”) is an abstract concept derived by generalizing the rules of three-dimensional space. It has been studied by mathematicians and philosophers for almost three hundred years, both for its own interest and for the insights it offered into mathematics and related fields (…)