This Old Cough Medicine May Be The Cure For Parkinson’s DiseaseA cough medicine that was used since the late 1970s is now being tested to see if it can combat Parkinson’s disease. A placebo-controlled Phase III trial in the UK will test if the drug, called ambroxol, can slow down the progression of the condition. Additionally, researchers will check if it can also improve the quality of life of those afflicted with the disease.For reference, ambroxol can thin out mucus, which allows people with colds and coughs clear phlegm easily from their airways. It can also reduce inflammation, which can soothe those with sore throats. As a potential drug for Parkinson’s, experts looked at how ambroxol can raise the levels of glucocerebrosidase, or GCase.This protein is responsible for helping the brain’s waste-clearance systems. Researchers also noticed that the levels of GCase seem to go down as levels of abnormal alpha-synuclein (a driving force in killing or impairing the neurons that provide the brain with dopamine) rise in those with Parkinson’s. Scientists in the lab hope that ambroxol can indirectly lower levels of abnormal alpha-synuclein in people with Parkinson’s as it raises the levels of GCase. The trial for the drug will utilize 330 people with Parkinson’s, who will be randomized into either a placebo or treatment group. Learn more about the trials and the drug here!Image credit: cottonbro studio#medicine #Parkinsons #neurological #disorders #research #clinicaltrials #UK #UCL #ambroxol
The Best and Worse US Cities…For Your Skin It’s a valid consideration, we think. If you’re looking for more parameters in deciding where in the United States should you move, well, consider the future state of your skin. Since that part of our body will be the one most exposed to the elements in a city, it’s best to avoid places that can be very harmful, right?So here comes the question: what are the best and worse cities in the US for the skin? Well, The Gate has compiled relevant data from the Air Quality Data by the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States, as well as the State of the Air report by the American Lung Association. This is done to determine just how bad the air pollution is in any of the cities they've assessed. Unhealthy levels of air pollution can cause various health issues, as well as aging the skin prematurely and can worsen conditions like eczema. They have also considered the UV Index Scale, which is for measuring the strength of sunburn-producing UV radiation, to fully rate the cities in the country. UV light from the sun can cause skin damage, and in worse cases, skin cancer.The Gate collaborated with  HouseFresh in assessing 328 US cities in terms of how good they are for the skin. Out of all the places in their research, they’ve found out that Scottsdale, Arizona, is the worst city in the U.S. for skin health. On the other hand, the best area in the country would be Auburn, Maine.Image credit: Leah Kelley#cities #skinhealth #research #TheGate #HouseFresh #US 
The New Scientific Way To Refrigerate ThingsResearchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley, have created an alternative cooling system for refrigerators. The typical method is for devices to transport heat away from it through a gas, which can be harmful to the environment.The new process introduced by the researchers in their paper, published in Science, is called ionocaloric cooling. This method removes that gas part of the cooling process and replaces it with ions. Under this new system, the researchers propose having a current with ions running through a refrigerator. This will shift the melting point inside to change the temperature. The charged particles or ions can melt a block of ice, and the experts also added salt to the ionocaloric cycle to cool the surroundings of the device, which in turn will lower the temperature of the refrigerator inside. The team now aims to get the newly-developed technology out of their lab and into systems that can be used commercially. "We have this brand-new thermodynamic cycle and framework that brings together elements from different fields, and we've shown that it can work," mechanical engineer Ravi Prasher shared. "Now, it's time for experimentation to test different combinations of materials and techniques to meet the engineering challenges."Image credit: cottonbro studio#refrigerators #coolingsystems #device #technology #research #ionocaloriccycle
This Material Can Turn Any Surface Into A Power Source The bonus is, the material is so light and thin you wouldn’t really expect its complexity! Engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have created ultralight fabric solar cells that can quickly turn any surface into a power source.The team, led by Vladimir Bulović, the leader of the Organic and Nanostructured Electronics Laboratory (ONE Lab), and director of MIT.nano, published their results in Small Methods. Bulovic was joined by Mayuran Saravanapavanantham, an electrical engineering, and computer science graduate student at MIT; and Jeremiah Mwaura, a research scientist in the MIT Research Laboratory of Electronics.The new cells are durable and flexible. They are also thinner than a human hair. They are easy to use, as they are glued to a lightweight fabric that allows installation on a fixed surface. They can generate 18 times more power per kilogram than conventional heavy solar panels.Created from semiconducting inks, what makes these power cells unique, aside from their thinness, is that you can integrate them to any surface, and they will be able to provide power. The material can be attached to the sails of the boat, tents, tarps, and even drones. “The lightweight solar fabrics enable integrability, providing impetus for the current work. We strive to accelerate solar adoption, given the present urgent need to deploy new carbon-free sources of energy,” Bulović said. Image credit: Melanie Gonick, MIT#power #sources #solarpower #MIT #research #solarcells
Oceanic Water Vapor As The New Source of Fresh WaterWith the demand for water increasing every year, a lot of people don’t have access to clean and safe drinking water. At our estimate, over one billion people have this issue.Easy access to water is one of the most basic rights we should have. The lack of accessibility to this need moved experts to find alternative sources of water. While the option of obtaining seawater is there, the costs of removing the salt from them are expensive and energy-intensive. It will require specially-made desalination plants for people to constantly access drinkable seawater.A recent study published in the journal Scientific Reports has proposed a potential water source: the air above our oceans. This is because oceanic water vapor is usually there as long as the sun shines above the oceans. University of Illinois’ civil and environmental engineering professor Praveen Kumar and his colleagues proposed capturing the moisture via towering structures offshore. Once these buildings have successfully obtained the vapor, it will then be sent onshore where it can be condensed to become freshwater.As a proof of concept, the researchers analyzed the amount of oceanic water vapor available at 14 different locations around the globe from the year 1990 to 2019. Their calculations showed that their proposed towering structures could extract enough to meet the daily needs of around 500,000 people.Image credit: Kumar et.al via Scientific Reports#research #water #seawater #freshwater #desalination #alternative #ScientificReports
This New Battery Is Made From Low-Cost Materials Will this new battery be the next cheap alternative for limited power sources in a container?Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a new battery from inexpensive materials that are very much available in big amounts in the world. This project was done to provide an alternative option to lithium-ion batteries, which are too expensive for operations and other processes.The new battery architecture uses aluminum, sulfur, and a molten salt electrolyte to provide power to machines and systems. The researchers used aluminum and sulfur as the electrode materials for the battery in charge of providing electrons to the external circuit. Researchers picked aluminum for being the second most abundant metal in the market, as it has the right electrochemical properties for an efficient battery. The dominant one, iron, did not fit what the experts wanted for their battery.Sulfur became the second electrode material because of its accessibility and cheap market price. The salt electrolyte was chosen because the team didn’t want to use volatile, flammable organic liquids. This is because they can lead to fires in cars and other technologies that need a battery.The study was done by MIT Professor Donald Sadoway, along with 15 others at MIT and in China, Canada, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Image credit: Rebecca Miller#MIT #research #development #battery #aluminum #sulfur #alternatives #energy #power #science
Labs Are Using AI To Invent New Drugs This new development is all thanks to artificial intelligence. Well, to be specific, thanks to the explosion of text-to-image models, also known as diffusion models (such as the OpenAI’s DALL-E 2 diffusion model) are being used to create new types of drugs.For reference, this kind of generative AI is used to create new designs for proteins that have never been seen before. This is done by providing the model with a random mess of pixels, which it will try to turn into an image.Multiple biotech labs have announced their embarkment into using these models. One of them is the Boston-based startup Generate Biomedicines which created a new diffusion model called Chroma. According to the company, their program is the “DALL-E 2 of biology.” So we expect that it sort of operates the same way as the mentioned diffusion model. But why are these establishments focused on protein creation for drugs? Well, it’s because these components are in charge of a lot of bodily functions. They digest food, contract muscles, detect light, drive the immune system, and so much more. Proteins also play a big part in driving ailments out of the body. The promise in finding new protein structures that can help the body is immense, according to Gevorg Grigoryan, CEO of Generate Biomedicines. He also hopes that AI can help them discover more in minutes, which can speed up the production and creation of new medicine.Image credit: Generate Biomedicines#medicine #drugs #biotech #laboratories #research #artificialintelligence #computers #diffusionmodels #DALLE #OpenAI
The Potential Cause of Alzheimer’s Disease Has Been Discovered In research done by scientists from Yale University,an overlooked mechanism has been found that can be a possible reason for manifesting Alzheimer’s Disease. This new discovery changes the perspective of experts. Initially believing the predominant hypothesis of the ailment being caused by amyloid plaques. These refer to the tangled clumps of a protein called beta-amyloid that was observed to occur in big amounts in patients that are suffering from the said disease.Now, however, the new discovery points out that the small swellings on neurons can also be a mechanism related to the sickness. Additionally, a newly-identified protein can be used as a biomarker for early detection and future treatments. The study focused on looking at the small, spheroid-shaped swellings that form near the long, wiry part of the neuron. Researchers found out that the swellings can dampen the transmission of electrical signals through other neurons, which may contribute to neurological degeneration. The bigger the swellings get, the more the patient will be prone to the symptoms of Alzheimer’s or other brain-related diseases, such as dementia. “We have identified a potential signature of Alzheimer’s which has functional repercussions on brain circuitry, with each spheroid having the potential to disrupt activity in hundreds of neuronal axons and thousands of interconnected neurons,” said Dr. Jaime Grutzendler, the senior author of the study.Image credit: MART PRODUCTION#Alzheimers #disease #neuroscience #brain #illness #research
Mosquito Larva Catches Prey by Launching Its Head like a Tiny HarpoonWho knew that even at such an early stage in their lives, these insects are already killing it (quite literally).In research that spanned over a decade, scientists have finally published their findings on how mosquito larvae actually get their prey for nourishment. It turns out that these baby insects react with lightning speed. As published in the journal Annals of the Entomological Society of America, the researchers showed that two species of mosquitos, namely, Toxorhynchites amboinensis and Psorophora ciliata display unique mannerisms when it comes to hunting their prey. The larvae of these insects can launch their heads to snap up a meal in just 15 milliseconds. This was found through high-speed film footage obtained by the researchers. According to lead study author Robert Hancock, it was all just a blur to them. "We all saw a blur; then we saw a captured larva being shoveled into the mouth of a predator. That's all we saw," he said.Image credit: Hancock et.al#research #insects #science #biology #larvae #mosquitos
Webcam Peeking Attack: Researchers Can Read People's Screens During Zoom Meetings by Reading Reflections in Their EyeglassesWell, this seems to be a new cause for concern for those who find themselves frequently in online meetings.Researchers have found a threat called “webcam peeking attack,” which involves a program that can reconstruct text reflected in an online meeting participant’s eyeglasses or other reflective objects in a video conference. This kind of threat may be used in the future if webcam technology is be further improved and developed. The academics involved in the study created a model of how this attack will work and it was found to have an accuracy of over 75% when reconstructing and recognizing text obtained by a 720p webcam. If this threat appears in the future, attackers could also identify the websites and other forms of information their victims are using. It can certainly be a tool for phishing important and sensitive information. Yikes! Image credit: Diva Plavalaguna/Pexels#cybersecurity #threat #research #technology #webcams #onlinemeetings #webcampeekingattack #textrecognition #models 
Adding Googly Eyes to Self-Driving Cars Can Reduce AccidentsA new study from the University of Tokyo has discovered a possible way to improve pedestrian safety, especially during busy commute hours. All it takes is a pair of large, googly eyes.Yes, you’ve read that right– these fun and weird little trinkets can actually help avoid road accidents. The team recruited several people to participate in virtual reality (VR) scenarios to test if they would cross the road in front of a moving vehicle. They found out that the subjects actually made safer or more efficient choices when the vehicle had… googly eyes on them. Note that the eyes were robotic though, and looked at the pedestrian as it registered their presence. There was a difference between genders, which surprised Chia-Ming Chang, one of the members of the research team. “While other factors like age and background might have also influenced the participants’ reactions, we believe this is an important point, as it shows that different road users may have different behaviors and needs, that require different communication ways in our future self-driving world.”Image credit: Chang et.al #googlyeyes #research #technology #cars #selfdriving #UniversityofTokyo
Dolphins Use Corals to Treat Skin InfectionsJust like humans, dolphins have their skincare routine too!Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins have been seen lining up to rub themselves against the corals in the Northern sea, off the coast of Egypt. Apparently, these corals have medicinal properties that treat the dolphins' skin conditions. This dolphin phenomenon was spotted way back in 2009. Ever since that year, researchers have been spending time and effort to continuously observe and learn about the behavior. Scientifically speaking, the mucus that is being released by corals and sponges regulate the dolphins' microbiome and treats their infections. Being the smart animals that they are, these dolphins probably know what these corals can do to their skin which is why they know the exact corals that they should rub their bodies on.Image credit: Angela Ziltener#Dolphins #Corals #UnderwaterLife #Research #IndoPacificBottlenoseDolphins
Common Arthritis Drug May Treat Alopecia and Let Patients Regrow HairAlopecia, also known as Alopecia areata, is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks hair follicles. Alopecia can cause people to fully lose their hair. This condition usually occurs in people aged 40 years old and below and has no FDA-approved treatment.It seems that there is now new hope for Alopecia treatment, thanks to a new study that showed one in three patients were able to regrow hair after taking a common arthritis drug. The medicine is baricitinib, a Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor that is used for arthritis. “Alopecia areata is a crazy journey, marked by chaos, confusion, and profound sadness for many who suffer from it,” Lead author Brett King said. “It will be incredible to have a medicine to help people emerge on the other side, normalcy restored, recognizable again to themselves and those around them.”Image credit: King et.al #alopecia #treatment #research #medicine #barincitinib
Gender Bias in Face Pareidolia: Illusory Faces Tend to be Seen as MalePareidolia is a phenomenon where your eyes play a trick on you by showing you a face that isn’t on the area you were staring at. A new study discovered that while we usually see an illusory face, we also tend to see age, emotion, and gender.According to one of the researchers, Jessica Taubert, the study was done to find out if the examples of the perceived illusions from the phenomenon carry social signals, such as gender and expression. From the 3,815 participants, Taubert and her colleagues found a pattern. The pattern showed a bias in gender perception– more illusory faces were seen as male than female. When it comes to emotions, the responses were varied, with 34 percent of the images perceived as happy, 19 percent surprised, 19 percent neutral, and 14 percent angry.Image credit: Harry Grout, Taubert et.al #research #pareidolia #illusion #genderbias #perception
Scientists Translated Spider's Web Into MusicThese scientists never run out of new ideas, huh!Spider's Canvas is an interactive musical instrument that was derived from the three-dimensional structure of a spider’s web and translated into music. This project was a result of a collaboration between scientists and artist Tomás Saraceno. The researchers behind the instrument now refined and built a new interactive virtual reality feature that allows people to interact with the web. "The spider lives in an environment of vibrating strings," engineer Markus Buehler of MIT explained in 2021. "They don't see very well, so they sense their world through vibrations, which have different frequencies."Image credit: Torbjørn Helgesen#music #spider #science #research #SpidersCanvas
Do Mushrooms Communicate with Each Other with Electrical Impulses as "Words"?The short answer is: sort of. The rest of the scientific community still wants more studies to be conducted, though.Experts have noticed that fungi tend to send electric signals to one another. A mathematical analysis of these signals shows a pattern that is somehow similar to human speech. Scientists hypothesized that there is a possibility that fungi use this electrical “language” to share information about food or injury with distant parts of themselves, or with hyphae-connected partners such as trees.Sure, it's like a messaging system. With the similarities noticed in the electrical signals sent by fungi and human speech, an interesting question was raised: do they actually use human words [or the equivalent of it]?University of the West of England’s Andrew Adamatzky aimed to answer this question by analyzing the signals sent by a species of fungi – enoki, split gill, ghost, and caterpillar fungi. “We do not know if there is a direct relationship between spiking patterns in fungi and human speech. Possibly not,” Adamatzky said. “On the other hand, there are many similarities in information processing in living substrates of different classes, families and species. I was just curious to compare.”Image credit: Hans Veth#fungi #mushroom #communication #science #research #electricsignals 
Scientists Can Now Make Tissue Samples and Body Parts TransparentAll it needs is some good tissue cleaning.Experts from Scripps Research developed a new cleaning method that allows large biological samples to turn transparent. As to the importance of having that kind of opacity for samples, it turns out that this would make it easier for scientists to visualize and study biological processes occurring across multiple organ systems. According to the study’s senior author, Li Ye, PhD, the method is a “simple and universal tissue-clearing technique for studies of large body parts or even entire animals.” The new method uses a combination of organic solvents and water-based detergents, which can be used in an ordinary lab. For protecting the molecules within the tissue during the cleaning processes, water-based hydrogels will be used. “In many cases, you can just put the whole thing in a jar and keep it in a shaker on your benchtop until it’s done,” said co-first author Victoria Nudell. “This makes it practical and scalable enough for routine use.”Image credit: Ye et.al #tissue #research #study #biology #science #cleaning #solvents
Researchers Identified the Most Boring Person in the WorldUh, is this a compliment? I mean, congratulations, I guess?Research from the University of Essex has determined the most boring person in the world. The team behind this study looked at more than 500 people to determine the jobs, characteristics, and hobbies that are perceived as boring. The blandest jobs were data analysis, accounting, cleaning, and banking. In addition, the dullest hobbies were seen to be religion, watching TV, bird watching, and smoking.Aside from the stereotypical discoveries, the study determined that the most boring person in the world is a religious data entry worker, who likes watching TV, and lives in a town. According to Dr. Wijnand Van Tilburg, the lead researcher of the study, the topic was chosen to explore the stigma of boredom and the stereotypes that are associated with it. “These papers show how persuasive perceptions of boredom are and what an impact this can have on people.” In addition, Tilburg shared that the research was done to show how these stereotypes can affect preconceptions. “Perceptions can change but people may not take time to speak to those with ‘boring’ jobs and hobbies, instead choosing to avoid them. They don’t get a chance to prove people wrong and break these negative stereotypes,” he explained. Image credit: Javier Cañada#boredom #research #study #UniversityofEssex
Researchers Stack "Holobricks" to Generate Large Seamless Holographic 3D ImagesShould this be fully produced and utilized in the future, this newest technology could enable scalable holographic 3D displays. Imagine the possibilities!Developed by researchers from the University of Cambridge and Disney Research, the holobrick is a proof-of-concept tool. The holobrick can tile holograms together to form a large seamless 3D image. The research was done to hopefully provide a way to procure a method for generating high-quality visual experiences. “Delivering an adequate 3D experience using the current technology is a huge challenge,” explained Professor Daping Chu from Cambridge’s Department of Engineering, who led the research. “Over the past ten years, we’ve been working with our industrial partners to develop holographic displays which allow the simultaneous realization of large size and large field-of-view, which needs to be matched with a hologram with a large optical information content.”The holobrick unit was based on a seven-year-old concept developed by CAPE with Disney Research. They utilized the coarse integrated holographic displays for angularly tiled 3D images to form the holograms with large viewing areas and fields of view. Image credit: Li, et.al #research #display #holograms #3D #Disney #UniversityofCambridge #holobrick
AI-Powered Simulations Let Robot Cheetah Teach Itself How to Run Faster Than EverA robot developed at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has successfully broken the record for the fastest run ever recorded.The unique aspect about this android cheetah was that it wasn’t programmed to run at an incredible speed, it was tasked to figure out how to run that fast through trial and error. Usually, programming machines involve humans doing all the work. Humans typically install precise instructions on what to do and how to do it. According to Gabriel Margolis and Ge Yang, the problem with this approach is that it isn’t scalable. A huge chunk of time is needed to manually program a robot to operate in many different environments. The robot cheetah is a manifestation of experts attempting to create a robot that functions through a learn-by-experience model. Through the project, the robot was able to hit a top speed of 3.9 meters per second, or roughly 8.7 mph, when sprinting. Check out MIT’s video on the project and its results below. image credit: MIT #robotics #MIT #research #AI #reinforcementmodel #programming 
"Opposites Attract" Debunked by Science: Friends and Lovers Actually Tend to Share Core Beliefs, Values and HobbiesWould you actually spend long periods of time with someone who doesn’t have the same interests, beliefs, or values as you? Let’s ponder a more specific example. Would you willingly spend time or romance someone who has different political and moral values than you? Personally, not really. Most friendships and relationships to some extent rely on people having almost similar or compatible interests and beliefs. With that being said, does that mean that the phrase “opposites attract” still applies? Apparently not. According to science, that is.Clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula believes, “people who have shared interests, temperaments and all that do tend to be more likely to date.” Other researchers have also debunked the idea of “opposites” dating for years. Studies show that friends and romantic partners tend to share core beliefs, values and hobbies. In addition, some suggest that people go for others with similar personalities. Aside from debunking this popular trope in romance, research also points to opposites repelling. In a world where social, political, and cultural awareness is much more evident, it is less likely that people will fall for someone who thinks very differently from them. Image credit: Annette Sousa#romance #research #science
"Acoustic Fabric" Converts Sound into Electrical SignalsEngineers from MIT worked with people from the Rhode Island School of Design to create a fabric that can capture sound and turn it into electric signals. The item, called an “acoustic fabric,” works like a microphone. The resulting cloth, aside from being able to detect and convert sounds, is soft, durable, and comfortable.This special cloth was developed from a flexible fiber, a “piezoelectric” material that produces an electrical signal when bent or mechanically deformed. The special trait of this material enables the fabric to convert sound vibrations into electrical signals. According to Wei Yan, the lead author of the study, their invention has a lot of potential uses. “Wearing an acoustic garment, you might talk through it to answer phone calls and communicate with others,” says Yan, who is now an assistant professor at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. “In addition, this fabric can imperceptibly interface with the human skin, enabling wearers to monitor their heart and respiratory condition in a comfortable, continuous, real-time, and long-term manner.”Image credit: Greg Hren #acousticfabric #research #MIT #RhodeIslandSchoolofDesign #clothing #sounds
Rose-Veiled Fairy Wrasse is a Newly Discovered Fish in the MaldivesOh, this fish is pretty!The Rose-Veiled Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus finifenmaa) is a newly-discovered fish species off the coast of Maldives. The creature’s pink hues earned it the name  ‘finifenmaa’ which meant ‘rose’ in the local Dhivehi language. In addition, its name was a tribute to the island nation’s national flower. Local Maldinevian scientists were involved in describing and analyzing the new species. “This time it is different and getting to be part of something for the first time has been really exciting, especially having the opportunity to work alongside top ichthyologists on such an elegant and beautiful species,” said study co-author and Maldives Marine Research Institute biologist Ahmed Najeeb.The researchers involved in the study took note of the anatomy and other details of the fish and compared it to a discovered specimen (C. rubrisquamis ) to confirm that C. finifenmaa is indeed a unique species. They have discovered that the two species are unique and are different from each other. However, before the C. finifenmaa was given its scientific name, it had already been exploited through the aquarium hobbyist trade. Image credit, in order of appearance: Yi-Kai Tea; Luiz Rocha © California Academy of Sciences#marinebiology #science #research #Maldives #newspecies
Neuroscientists Identify Neurons in the Brain that Light Up When We Hear Human Singing But Not Other Types of MusicScientists, following the same vein of research in specific areas of the brain that work during different tasks, have successfully identified the part of the human brain that lights up when we hear singing. It is important to note that this area only responds when the combination of voice and music is heard. The area, found in the auditory cortex, does not respond to regular speech or instrumental music.Neuroscientists from MIT followed up a 2015 study that they worked on. The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to identify a population of neurons in the brain’s auditory cortex that responds specifically to music. This new study used a different method to determine brain activity through recordings of electrical activity taken at the surface of the brain to obtain more information. According to Sam Norman-Haignere, the lead author of the study, the recordings gave them a higher resolution where they were able to pick the neurons apart.Image credit: Josh Rocklage#neuroscience #brain #neurons #research #study #science