Brains communicate from thousands of miles away

Brain study

Brain study

 

Brain-to-brain communication study conducted in coordination with Harvard Medical School has proven that extrasensory mind-to mind interaction can happen over great distances by leveraging different pathways in the mind. (Technological telepathy)

The study, coauthored by Alvaro Pascual-Leone, Director of the Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and a Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, found that information can be successfully transmitted between two intact human brains from distances over 5000 miles apart.

The following is excerpt from an article featured on Smithsonian Mag:

An international research team develops a way to say “hello” with your mind

In a recent experiment, a person in India said “hola” and “ciao” to three other people in France. Today, the Web, smartphones and international calling might make that not seem like an impressive feat, but it was. The greetings were not spoken, typed or texted. The communication in question happened between the brains of a set of study subjects, marking one of the first instances of brain-to-brain communication on record.

The team, whose members come from Barcelona-based research institute Starlab, French firm Axilum Robotics and Harvard Medical School, published its findings earlier this month in the journal PLOS One. Study co-author Alvaro Pascual-Leone, director of the Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and a neurology professor at Harvard Medical School, hopes this and forthcoming research in the field will one day provide a new communication pathway for patients who might not be able to speak.

“We want to improve the ways people can communicate in the face of limitations—those who might not be able to speak or have sensory impairments,” he says. “Can we work around those limitations and communicate with another person or a computer?”

Pascual-Leone’s experiment was successful—the correspondents neither spoke, nor typed, nor even looked at one another. But he freely concedes that the test was more a proof of concept than anything else, and the technique still has a long way to go. “It’s still very, very early,” he says, “[but] we can show that this is even possible with technology that’s available. It’s the difference between talking on the phone and sending Morse code. To get where we’re going, you need certain steps to be taken first.”

Indeed, the process was drawn out, if not downright inelegant. First, the team had to establish binary-code equivalents of letters; for example “h” is “0-0-1-1-1.” Then, with EEG (electroencephalography) sensors attached to the scalp, the sender moved either his hands or feet to indicate a 1 or a 0. The code then passed to the recipient over email. On the other end, the receiver was blindfolded with a transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) system on his head. (TMS is a non-invasive method of stimulating neurons in the brain; it’s most commonly used to treat depression.) The TMS headset stimulated the recipient’s brain, causing him to see quick flashes of light. A flash was equivalent to a “1” and a blank was a “0.” From there, the code was translated back into text.

 

Source:   earthweareone.com

Human cartilage grown in lab

Engineers grow functional human cartilage in lab:

Engineers grow functional human cartilage in lab

Engineers grow functional human cartilage in lab

 

 

Researchers at Columbia Engineering announced that they have successfully grown fully functional human cartilage in vitro from human stem cells derived from bone marrow tissue. Their study, which demonstrates new ways to better mimic the enormous complexity of tissue development, regeneration, and disease.
“We’ve been able — for the first time — to generate fully functional human cartilage from mesenchymal stem cells by mimicking in vitro the developmental process of mesenchymal condensation,” says Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, who led the study and is the Mikati Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia Engineering and professor of medical sciences. “This could have clinical impact, as this cartilage can be used to repair a cartilage defect, or in combination with bone in a composite graft grown in lab for more complex tissue reconstruction.”

 

For more than 20 years, researchers have unofficially called cartilage the “official tissue of tissue engineering,” Vunjak-Novakovic observes. Many groups studied cartilage as an apparently simple tissue: one single cell type, no blood vessels or nerves, a tissue built for bearing loads while protecting bone ends in the joints. While there has been great success in engineering pieces of cartilage using young animal cells, no one has, until now, been able to reproduce these results using adult human stem cells from bone marrow or fat, the most practical stem cell source.
Vunjak-Novakovic’s team succeeded in growing cartilage with physiologic architecture and strength by radically changing the tissue-engineering approach.
The general approach to cartilage tissue engineering has been to place cells into a hydrogel and culture them in the presence of nutrients and growth factors and sometimes also mechanical loading. But using this technique with adult human stem cells has invariably produced mechanically weak cartilage. So Vunjak-Novakovic and her team, who have had a longstanding interest in skeletal tissue engineering, wondered if a method resembling the normal development of the skeleton could lead to a higher quality of cartilage.

 

Sarindr Bhumiratana, postdoctoral fellow in Vunjak-Novakovic’s Laboratory for Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering, came up with a new approach: inducing the mesenchymal stem cells to undergo a condensation stage as they do in the body before starting to make cartilage. He discovered that this simple but major departure from how things were usually? being done resulted in a quality of human cartilage not seen before.

 

Gerard Ateshian, Andrew Walz Professor of Mechanical Engineering, professor of biomedical engineering, and chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and his PhD student, Sevan Oungoulian, helped perform measurements showing that the lubricative property and compressive strength — the two important functional properties — of the tissue-engineered cartilage approached those of native cartilage.
The researchers then used their method to regenerate large pieces of anatomically shaped and mechanically strong cartilage over the bone, and to repair defects in cartilage.

 

“Our whole approach to tissue engineering is biomimetic in nature, which means that our engineering designs are defined by biological principles,” Vunjak-Novakovic notes. “This approach has been effective in improving the quality of many engineered tissues — from bone to heart. Still, we were really surprised to see that our cartilage, grown by mimicking some aspects of biological development, was as strong as ‘normal’ human cartilage.”

 

The team plans next to test whether the engineered cartilage tissue maintains its structure and long-term function when implanted into a defect.

 

“This is a very exciting time for tissue engineers,” says Vunjak-Novakovic. “Stem cells are transforming the future of medicine, offering ways to overcome some of the human body’s fundamental limitations. We bioengineers are now working with stem cell scientists and clinicians to develop technologies that will make this dream possible. This project is a wonderful example that we need to ‘think as a cell’ to find out how exactly to coax the cells into making a functional human tissue of a specific kind. It’s emblematic of the progress being driven by the exceptional young talent we have among our postdocs and students at Columbia Engineering.”

 

Source:  sciencedaily.com

Gasoline made from thin air

Engineers create gasoline from thin air:

 British engineers create gasoline from thin air


British engineers create gasoline from thin air

Experts hailed the breakthrough as a potential “game-changer” as scientists seek to solve the world’s energy crisis. The small company from the north England has developed “air capture” technology which creates synthetic petrol with only air and electricity. Company chiefs say they have produced five litres of petrol in less than three months at a small refinery in Stockton-on-Tees, Teesside by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. They now hope to build a large plant generating more than a tonne of petrol per day within two years – and a REFINERY size operation within the next 15 years. The fuel works in any petrol tank and promises to be “completely carbon neutral” so long as renewable energy is used to provide the electricity. The technology, pioneered by company Air Fuel Synthesis, was presented to a London engineering conference this week. It mixes sodium hydroxide with carbon dioxide before zapping the resulting sodium carbonate with electricity, to form pure carbon dioxide. At the same time, hydrogen is produced by electrolysing water vapour captured with a dehumidifier.

 

Scientists hope it could help solve the energy crisis

Breakthrough … scientists hope it could help solve the energy crisis

The carbon dioxide and hydrogen are then used to produce methanol which in turn is passed through a gasoline fuel reactor, creating petrol. The £1.1m project has been in development for the past two years and is being funded by a group of anonymous philanthropists. They unnamed sponsors hope it could prove to be a lucrative way of creating renewable energy. Stephen Tetlow, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers chief executive, hailed the breakthrough as “truly groundbreaking”. “It has the potential to become a great British success story, which opens up a crucial opportunity to reduce carbon emissions,” he said. “It also has the potential to reduce our exposure to an increasingly volatile global energy market.”