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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Rare Microbe To Help Make A Better Biofuel

Rare Bug To Help Make A Better Biofuel

Zymetis is testing genetically modified bacteria that efficiently convert biomass into sugar.  

A tiny microbe found in the Chesapeake Bay is the focus of intense study for a biotech startup in College Park, MD. Zymetis has genetically modified a rare, cellulose-eating bacterium to break down and convert cellulose into sugars necessary to make ethanol, and it recently completed its first commercial-scale trial. Earlier this year, the company ran the modified microbe through a series of tests in large fermenters and found that it was able to convert one ton of cellulosic plant fiber into sugar in 72 hours. The trial, researchers say, illustrates the organism’s potential in helping to produce ethanol cheaply and efficiently at industrial scales. Zymetis is now raising the first round of venture capital to bring the technology to commercial applications.

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Social Networking Surge on Mobile Phones

 Social Networking Surge on Mobile Phones

MySpace and Facebook aren’t the only players

Although the base of mobile social network users in the US is currently small, it is growing quickly. The percentage of mobile phone users who said they accessed social networks from their handset jumped 182% from September 2007 to October 2008, according to a study conducted by The Kelsey Group and ConStat. 

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Prostate Grown In Mice

 mice.jpg

Prostate Research

A team of scientist from San Francisco has been successful in growing new prostate glands in mice with the aid of stem cell technology, a breakthrough that may cast light on how prostate tumors develop.

The team from San Francisco were able to isolate single cells with the ability to generate an entire prostate. During the study, the researchers isolated and transplanted back into mice a type of stem cell that divides to form different cell types in the prostate gland, located near the bladder.

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Rewiring The Brain May Help Treat Paralysis

Rewiring The Brain May Help Treat Paralysis 

 Paralyzed monkeys regained the ability to move their wrists when their nervous systems were rewired.

Rerouting electrical signals around damaged nerves may one day help treat paralysis.  A pair of partially paralyzed monkeys regained the ability to move their wrists when researchers wired individual neurons directly to the monkey’s arm muscles, according to a study published online in Nature on Wednesday.

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DriveAssist Will Hold Your Calls While You Are Driving

DriveAssist Will Hold Your Calls While You Are Driving

When you get a call while you’re driving, what do you do? Do you pick it up, or let it go to your voicemail? Of course there’s always a temptation to grab it, especially if you think it may be an emergency. Driving while distracted, however, is starting to become more and more of a problem, and one that’s costing lives.

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Zeemote – Bluetooth Controller For Mobile Phone Gamers

Zeemote - Bluetooth Controller For Mobile Phone Gamers 

 Zeemote

If those XL-sized fingers of yours have given you sores while gaming and forced you to tearfully bid farewell to this hobby, the Zeemote joystick could offer some respite. Designed specifically for mobile phone gamers, the Bluetooth-enabled controller offers you a “console-style gaming experience.” Ergonomically designed to snuggle into your closed palm, the Zeemote is ultra-light at 47g and measures just 95×35x20mm. The wireless controller is compatible with a wide range of mobile phones from all leading manufacturers.

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Ring-Cellphone: Cell Phone Worn On Finger

Ring-Cellphone:  Cell Phone Worn On Finger 

 Ring-Cellphone

Even though it’s one of the tiniest cell phones you’ve probably ever seen, it would be difficult to lose this one. As its name implies, the “ring-cellphone” is worn on the finger, and includes all the components of a functional cell phone.

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Point and Find – Nokia’s Brilliant New Feature

 Point and Find - Nokia’s Brilliant New Feature

 Nokia’s ‘Point and Find’ feature

Similar to Microsoft’s hopes for the Windows Mobile platform, as mentioned at Bill Gates’s last keynote speech at CES, Nokia’s ‘Point and Find’ feature, first announced last year, will be launching shortly in beta according to Nokia today.

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