In a study to be published Sept. 1 in Nature, Stanford University School of Medicine scientists have found substances in the blood of old mice that makes young brains act older. These substances, whose levels rise with increasing age, appear to inhibit the brain’s ability to produce new nerve cells critical to memory and learning.
The findings raise the question of whether it might be possible to shield the brain from aging by eliminating or mitigating the effects of these apparently detrimental blood-borne substances, or perhaps by identifying other blood-borne substances that exert rejuvenating effects on the brain but whose levels decline with age, said associate professor of neurology and neurological sciences Tony Wyss-Coray, PhD, the study’s senior author. Wyss-Coray is also associate director of the Center for Tissue Regeneration, Repair and Restoration at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System.
Professor Zhipeng Wu at the University of Manchester has developed a novel radiofrequency scanner to be used for real-time breast tumor detection. Unlike traditional mammography, which relies on the varying X-ray attenuation properties of tissues to produce image contrast, the portable scanner uses radiofrequency waves to perform complex permittivity mapping of tissue. Benign and malignant breast tumors have (complex) permittivity characteristics that differ from surrounding tissue, and although the scanner is not able to differentiate between benign and malignant structures, it could prove to be a sensitive and inexpensive screening tool. Such a device could potentially improve breast cancer detection in women under 50 and would be very welcome in the developing world.
“This tool gives us a treatment for patients with tumors that were previously deemed inoperable,” says Eric C. Leuthardt, MD, assistant professor of neurological surgery and of neurobiology. “It offers hope to certain patients who had few or no options before.”
The tool is an MRI-guided high-intensity laser probe that “cooks” cancer cells deep within the brain, while leaving surrounding brain tissue undamaged.
Barnes-Jewish Hospital is the third hospital in the United States to have the device.
Ralph G. Dacey Jr., MD, chief of neurosurgery at Washington University School of Medicine, and Leuthardt used the new system for the first time last month in a procedure on a patient with a recurrent brain tumor located deep in the brain.
Researchers at the University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE) are taking part in a European project aimed at creating an intelligent system comprising a robot and smart sensors that can support independent living for elderly people…
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Blogging the Singularity Bloggers:
Chris Williamson: Filmmaker, science enthusiast, and futurist concerned with the accelerating nature of technological growth and where it's headed. He is currently studying for his MFA in Film Production.
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