Cyborg Crickets Could Save Human Lives

1-cricket

Modified insects could soon be joining rescue workers in the search for survivors

IF YOU’RE trapped under rubble after an earthquake, wondering if you’ll see daylight again, the last thing you need is an insect buzzing around your face. But that insect could save your life, if a scheme funded by the Pentagon comes off.

 

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Hooked On Light – Could Reveal The Biochemistry Of Addiction

Hooked On Light - Could Reveal The Biochemistry Of Addiction

mouse responding to light 

A newly created set of light-sensitive proteins grants scientists unprecedented control over the brain’s biochemistry, potentially shedding light on addiction and other complex neural processes. To demonstrate the potential of this novel molecular toolbox, researchers from Stanford University engineered mice to carry light-sensitive proteins in the brain’s reward center, which responds to drugs of abuse. Using pulses of light delivered directly to the brain, researchers were able to induce a druglike state, ultimately conditioning the mice to behave like drug-addicted animals.

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Transplanted Stem Cells Undo Birth Defects

Transplanted Stem Cells Undo Birth Defects 

 Neural stem cells, tagged green with a fluorescent dye, have been transplanted among the brain cells (red) of a mouse born with brain damage after its mother was given heroin during pregnancy.

By injecting stem cells directly into the brain, scientists have successfully reversed neural birth defects in mice whose mothers were given heroin during pregnancy. Even though most of the transplanted cells did not survive, they induced the brain’s own cells to carry out extensive repairs.

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The Emerging Field Of Nutrigenomics

Diets Based On Your Genes 

The emerging field of nutrigenomics, which aims to identify the genetic factors that influence the body’s response to diet and studies how the bioactive constituents of food affect gene expression, is explored in a series of provocative, interdisciplinary reports and analyses in the December 2008 Special Issue (Volume 12, number 4) of OMICS: A Journal of Integrative Biology.

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New Test Diagnoses Heart Attack In Minutes, Not Hours

New Test Diagnoses Heart Attack In Minutes, Not Hours 

 Early-warning system

A new method for diagnosing heart attacks very early on could improve a patient’s chances of survival and reduce the amount of permanent damage that he or she suffers. Normally, it takes up to six hours to diagnose a heart attack with certainty. The new approach can do so in just 10 minutes by analyzing tiny biochemical markers in the blood, such as lipids, sugars, and amino acids–a technique known as metabolic profiling.

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