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Tag Archives: Light

Noninvasive brain control: New light-sensitive protein enables simpler, more powerful optogenetics

Noninvasive brain control: New light-sensitive protein enables simpler, more powerful optogenetics

Optogenetics, a technology that allows scientists to control brain activity by shining light on neurons, relies on light-sensitive proteins that can suppress or stimulate electrical signals within cells. This technique requires a light source to be implanted in the brain, where it can reach the cells to be controlled Continue reading

Exploring how the nervous system develops

Exploring how the nervous system develops

The circuitry of the central nervous system is immensely complex and, as a result, sometimes confounding. When scientists conduct research to unravel the inner workings at a cellular level, they are sometimes surprised by what they find. Patrick Keeley, a postdoctoral scholar in Benjamin Reese’s laboratory at UC Santa Barbara’s Neuroscience Research Institute, had such an experience Continue reading

Details of calcium ‘safety-valve’ in cells explained

Details of calcium ‘safety-valve’ in cells explained

Sometimes a cell has to die — when it’s done with its job or inflicted with injury that could otherwise harm an organism. Conversely, cells that refuse to die when expected can lead to cancer. So scientists interested in fighting cancer have been keenly interested in learning the details of “programmed cell death.” They want to understand what happens when this process goes awry and identify new targets for anticancer drugs. Continue reading

Progress on detecting glucose levels in saliva: New biochip sensor

Progress on detecting glucose levels in saliva: New biochip sensor

Researchers from Brown University have developed a new biochip sensor that can selectively measure concentrations of glucose in a complex solution similar to human saliva. The advance is an important step toward a device that would enable people with diabetes to test their glucose levels without drawing blood. The new chip makes use of a series of specific chemical reactions combined with plasmonic interferometry, a means of detecting chemical signature of compounds using light Continue reading

Measuring fine dust concentration via smartphone

Measuring fine dust concentration via smartphone

Big cities in the smog: Photos from Beijing and, more recently, Paris clearly illustrate the extent of fine dust pollution. But what about our direct environment? What is the pollution concentration near our favorite jogging route? Continue reading

Going beyond the surface: New tech could take light-based cancer treatment deep inside the body

Going beyond the surface: New tech could take light-based cancer treatment deep inside the body

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is an effective treatment for easily accessible tumors such as oral and skin cancer. But the procedure, which uses lasers to activate special drugs called photosensitizing agents, isn’t adept at fighting cancer deep inside the body. Thankfully, that’s changing due to new technology that could bring PDT into areas of the body which were previously inaccessible. Continue reading

Luminescent nanocrystal tags enable rapid detection of multiple pathogens in a single test

Luminescent nanocrystal tags enable rapid detection of multiple pathogens in a single test

A research team using tunable luminescent nanocrystals as tags to advance medical and security imaging have successfully applied them to high-speed scanning technology and detected multiple viruses within minutes. The research, led by Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia and Purdue University, builds on the team’s earlier success in developing a way to control the length of time light from a luminescent nanocrystal lingers, which introduced the dimension of time in addition to color and brightness in optical detection technology Continue reading

Faster dental treatment with new photoactive molecule

Faster dental treatment with new photoactive molecule

In modern dentistry, amalgam fillings have become unpopular. Instead, white composite materials are more commonly used, which at first glance can hardly be distinguished from the tooth Continue reading

Grandparents may worsen some moms’ baby blues

Grandparents may worsen some moms’ baby blues

Does living with grandparents ease or worsen a mothers’ baby blues? The answer may depend on the mother’s marital status, a new study from Duke University suggests Continue reading

Public smoking bans linked with rapid fall in preterm births, child hospital visits for asthma

Public smoking bans linked with rapid fall in preterm births, child hospital visits for asthma

The introduction of laws banning smoking in public places and workplaces in North America and Europe has been quickly followed by large drops in rates of preterm births and children attending hospital for asthma, according to the first systematic review and meta-analysis examining the effect of smoke-free legislation on child health, published in The Lancet. The analysis of 11 studies done in North America and Europe, involving more than 2.5 million births, and nearly 250 000 asthma exacerbations, showed that rates of both preterm births and hospital attendance for asthma were reduced by 10% within a year of smoke-free laws coming into effect. Continue reading