Don’t drop your diet yet, but scientists have discovered how CRISPR can burn fat

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A personalized therapy for metabolic conditions that are linked to obesity could involve removing a small amount of a person’s fat, transforming it into an energy-burning variation using CRISPR gene-editing, and then re-implanting it into the body, according to researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

In tests involving mice, the implanted human fat cells helped lower sugar concentrations in the blood and decrease fat in the liver. When the mice were put on a high-fat diet, the ones that had been implanted with the human beige fat only gained half as much weight as those that had been implanted with regular human fat.

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World-first gene therapy reverses Alzheimer’s memory loss in mice

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Research into Alzheimer’s-related memory loss has uncovered an exciting new breakthrough in the form of a world-first gene therapy

Scientists in Australia have made an exciting breakthrough in Alzheimer’s research, demonstrating what they describe as the first gene-therapy-based approach for treating advanced forms of the disease. Through experiments in mice, the team was able to show how activating a key enzyme in the brain can prevent the kind of memory loss associated with advanced forms of Alzheimer’s, and even reverse it.

The research was carried out at Macquarie University, where dementia researchers and brothers Lars and Arne Ittner were investigating the role of a key enzyme in the brain called p38gamma. Through previous research, the brothers had shown that by activating this enzyme in mice with advanced dementia, they could modify a protein that prevents the development of Alzheimer’s symptoms.

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Scientists discover how to implant false memories

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Implanting false memories could cure Alzheimer’s, PTSD, and depression. It could also make scapegoating easier, allow for witness tampering, or give those under a brutal dictatorship false patriotism.

MIT researchers Steve Ramirez and Xu Liu recently made history when they successfully implanted a false memory into the mind of a mouse. The proof was a simple reaction from the rodent, but the implications are vast. They placed the furry little creature inside a metal box, and it froze, displaying a distinct fear response. The mouse was reacting as if it had received an electrical shock there, when it hadn’t at all.

What makes it more riveting is that their success was considered a long-shot. The hypothesis was that not only could they identify those neurons associated with encoding memory, but could essentially rewrite one. Experts say that this an impressive feat which helps uncover more of the mystery of how memory operates. Though neuroscientists have considered such a possibility for years, they never thought this kind of experiment could actually work.

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A Nobel Prize-winning psychologist says most people don’t really want to be happy

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We think we want to be happy. Yet many of us are actually working toward some other end, according to cognitive psychologist Daniel Kahneman, winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in economics.

Kahneman contends that happiness and satisfaction are distinct. Happiness is a momentary experience that arises spontaneously and is fleeting. Meanwhile, satisfaction is a long-term feeling, built over time and based on achieving goals and building the kind of life you admire. On the Dec. 19 podcast “Conversations with Tyler,” hosted by economist Tyler Cowen, Kahneman explains that working toward one goal may undermine our ability to experience the other.

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This bizarre-looking font helps you remember what you read

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The half-finished letters are designed to make us more engaged with what we’re reading, which increases memory retention.

Could the shape of the words also shape your ability to remember them? MIT

Cramming for exams, learning new languages, and remembering your to-do list can be tough — but a team of Australian researchers think they can help. They’ve developed a font called “Sans Forgetica” that uses the principles of cognitive science to help readers better remember their typed notes.

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Photographing people in 3D through walls using Wi-Fi

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Wi-Fi can pass through walls.

This fact is easy to take for granted, yet it’s the reason we can surf the web using a wireless router located in another room. But not all of that microwave radiation makes it to (or from) our phones, tablets, and laptops. Routers scatter and bounce their signal off objects, illuminating our homes and offices like invisible light bulbs.

Now, German scientists have found a way to exploit this property to take holograms, or 3D photographs, of objects inside a room — from outside it.

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Robot completes 2-hour brain surgery in just 2.5 minutes

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Brain surgery is precision business, and one slip can spell doom for affected patients. Even in one of the most skilled jobs in the world, human error can still be a factor.

Researchers from the University of Utah are looking to provide less opportunity for those errors to occur. A robot that the team is developing is able to reduce the time it takes to complete a complicated procedure by 50 times.

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Technology is now forcing us to confront the ethics of bringing people back from the dead

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Imagine you have a close friend you frequently communicate with via text. One day, they suddenly die. You reel, you cry, you attend their funeral. Then you decide to pick up your phone and send them a message, just like old times. “I miss you,” you type. A little response bubble appears at the bottom of the screen. “I miss you too,” comes the reply. You keep texting back and forth. It’s just like they never left.

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The energy storage startup is transforming a $100 billion market

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The energy storage industry has grown to become a $100 billion market, projected to reach $250 billion by 2040. This massive valuation is due, in part, to more than 50% of consumer energy bills being attributed to peak hour charges. Noticing the need to make energy usage more affordable and efficient, paired with a passion to improve the planet, one entrepreneur launched a company aimed at transforming the way we use energy.

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The Pot-Belly of Ignorance

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What you eat makes a huge difference in how optimally your body operates. And what you spend time reading and learning equally affects how effectively your mind operates.

Increasingly, we’re filling our heads with soundbites, the mental equivalent of junk. Over a day or even a week, the changes, like those to our belly, are barely noticeable. However, if we extend the timeline to months and years, we face a worrying reality and may find ourselves looking down at the pot-belly of ignorance.

Chinese man famed superhuman memory beat an AI in a facial recognition contest

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At a competition in China to see who is better at recognizing faces, man or machine, Wang Yuheng, representing the humans, emerged victorious.

Wang is famous in China for his photographic memory. He successfully identified a specific glass of water out of 520 seemingly identical ones in a Chinese reality TV show. He also reportedly helped police crack a case by extracting “hidden clues” from surveillance camera footage, thanks to his exceptional observational skills.

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