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Researchers Found Perfect Contraceptives In Traditional Chinese Medicine

Researchers Found Perfect Contraceptives In Traditional Chinese Medicine

hackingbear writes:
Researchers at U.C. Berkeley found a birth control that was hormone-free, 100 percent natural, resulted in no side effects, didn’t harm either eggs nor sperm, could be used in the long-term or short-term, and — perhaps the best part of all — could be used either before or after conception, from ancient Chinese folk medicine… “Because these two plant compounds block fertilization at very, very low concentrations — about 10 times lower than levels of levonorgestrel in Plan B — they could be a new generation of emergency contraceptive we nicknamed ‘molecular condoms,'” team leader Polina Lishko.

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Posted by amiller in biotech, Blog
New Battery Technology Draws Energy Directly From The Human Body

New Battery Technology Draws Energy Directly From The Human Body

An anonymous reader quotes BleepingComputer:
A team of eleven scientists from UCLA and the University of Connecticut has created a new energy-storing device that can draw electrical power from the human body. What researchers created is a biological supercapacitor, a protein-based battery-like device that extracts energy from the human body and then releases it inside an electrical circuit â” the implantable medical device. According to a research paper published earlier this month, the supercapacitor is made up by a device called a “harvester” that operates by using the body’s heat and movements to extract electrical charges from ions found in human body fluids, such as blood, serum, or urine.

As electrodes, the harvester uses a carbon nanomaterial called graphene, layered with modified human proteins. The electrodes collect energy from the human body, relay it to the harvester, which then stores it for later use. Because graphene sheets can be drawn in sheets as thin as a few atoms, this allows for the creation of utra-thin supercapacitors that could be used as alternatives to classic batteries. For example, the bio-friendly supercapacitors researchers created are thinner than a human hair, and are also flexible, moving and twisting with the human body.

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Posted by amiller in biotech, Blog
Scientists 3D-Print Ovaries To Allow Infertile Mice To Mate and Give Birth

Scientists 3D-Print Ovaries To Allow Infertile Mice To Mate and Give Birth

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Infertile mice have given birth to healthy pups after having their fertility restored with ovary implants made with a 3D printer. Researchers created the synthetic ovaries by printing porous scaffolds from a gelatin ink and filling them with follicles, the tiny, fluid-holding sacs that contain immature egg cells. In tests on mice that had one ovary surgically removed, scientists found that the implants hooked up to the blood supply within a week and went on to release eggs naturally through the pores built into the gelatin structures. The work marks a step towards making artificial ovaries for young women whose reproductive systems have been damaged by cancer treatments, leaving them infertile or with hormone imbalances that require them to take regular hormone-boosting drugs. Of seven mice that mated after receiving the artificial ovaries, three gave birth to pups that had developed from eggs released by the implants. The mice fed normally on their mother’s milk and went on to have healthy litters of their own later in life. Writing in the journal Nature Communications, the scientists describe how they printed layered lattices of gelatin strips to make the ovary implants. The sizes and positions of the holes in the structures were carefully controlled to hold dozens of follicles and allow blood vessels to connect to the implants. Mature eggs were then released from the implants as happens in normal ovulation.

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Posted by amiller in biotech, Blog
Researcher Hacks Nine Sleep-Tracking Devices To Test Their Accuracy

Researcher Hacks Nine Sleep-Tracking Devices To Test Their Accuracy

A determined researcher at Brown University extracted “the previously irretrievable sleep tracking data from the Hello Sense, from the Microsoft Band, and nine other popular devices,” according to an anonymous reader, “by decompiling the apps and using man-in-the-middle attacks.” Then they compared each device’s data to that from a research-standard actigraph. Their results?
The Fitbit Alta seems to be the most accurate among the other nine in terms of sleep versus awake data… Our findings tell that these consumer-level sleep reports should be taken with a grain of salt, but regardless we’re happy to see more and more people investing in improving their sleep.

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Posted by amiller in biotech, Blog
18-Year-Old Mexican Student Designs Bra That Can Detect Breast Cancer

18-Year-Old Mexican Student Designs Bra That Can Detect Breast Cancer

An 18-year-old student from Mexico has won the top prize at the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) for his invention of a bra that can help in the early detection of breast cancer. “The bra, otherwise known as EVA, was developed with three friends through his company Higia Technologies, and was created primarily for women with genetic predisposition to cancer,” reports The Independent. From the report: Equipped with around 200 biosensors, the bra maps the surface of the breast and is able to monitor changes in temperature, shape and weight. “Why a bra? Because it allows us to have the breasts in the same position and it doesn’t have to be worn more than one hour a week,” he said in an interview with El Universal. Rios Cantu says that the biosensors are able to determine thermal conductivity by specific zones. In some instances, heat can indicate more blood flow, which therefore indicates that those blood vessels are “feeding” on something — typically some type of cancer. After beating 13 other student entrepreneurs from around the globe, Rios Cantu took home an impressive $20,000.

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Posted by amiller in biotech, Blog
Can Parents Sue If Their Kid Is Born With the 'Wrong' DNA?

Can Parents Sue If Their Kid Is Born With the 'Wrong' DNA?

Long-time reader randomErr quotes Gizmodo:
It’s a nightmare scenario straight out of a primetime drama: a child-seeking couple visits a fertility clinic to try their luck with in-vitro fertilization, only to wind up accidentally impregnated by the wrong sperm. In a fascinating legal case out of Singapore, the country’s Supreme Court ruled that this situation doesn’t just constitute medical malpractice. The fertility clinic, the court recently ruled, must pay the parents 30% of upkeep costs for the child for a loss of ‘genetic affinity.’ In other words, the clinic must pay the parents’ child support not only because they made a terrible medical mistake, but because the child didn’t wind up with the right genes…
“It’s suggesting that the child itself has something wrong with it, genetically, and that it has monetary value attached to it,” Todd Kuiken, a senior research scholar with the Genetic Engineering and Society Center at North Carolina State University, told Gizmodo. “They attached damages to the genetic makeup of the child, rather than the mistake. That’s the part that makes it uncomfortable. This can take you in all sort of fucked up directions.”

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Posted by amiller in biotech, Blog
Theranos Used Shell Company To Secretly Buy Outside Lab Equipment, Says Report

Theranos Used Shell Company To Secretly Buy Outside Lab Equipment, Says Report

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the company “allegedly misled company directors” regarding its lab tests and used a shell company to buy commercial lab gear. These are just a few of the new revelations made by the Journal, which also include fake demonstrations for potential investors. The new information came from unsealed depositions by 22 former Theranos employees or members of its board of directors. They were deposed by Partner Fund Management LP, a hedge fund currently suing Theranos in Delaware state court. Theranos is also facing multiple lawsuits in federal court in California and Arizona, among others. The Journal, which did not publish the new filings, quoted former Theranos director Admiral Gary Roughead (Ret.), as saying that he was not aware that the company was using “extensive commercial analyzers” until it was reported in the press. The Journal described the filings as “some of the first substantive details to emerge from several court proceedings against the company, though they include only short excerpts from the depositions.”

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Posted by amiller in biotech, Blog
Belgian Scientists Inhibit Protein Responsible For Allergic Reactions

Belgian Scientists Inhibit Protein Responsible For Allergic Reactions

lhunath writes: Scientists at the University of Gent exposed the TSLP protein’s function in triggering allergic reactions such as asthma and eczema. The team then developed a protein-based inhibitor used to capture TSLP and prevent its bioactivity as it associates with its natural receptors. Using this method, allergic reactions can be inhibited before they are triggered. The team’s results were recently published in Nature, where they share a vision that their work “will guide therapeutic approaches that manipulate human TSLP-mediated signalling to treat allergic diseases.”

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Posted by amiller in biotech, Blog
Y Combinator-Funded Startup To Do Quantum Computing — Only Better

Y Combinator-Funded Startup To Do Quantum Computing — Only Better

An anonymous reader writes:
A “spaceshot” company that emerged from Y Combinator three summers ago and is targeting a revolutionary change in the way computers work has landed $64 million to help it in the race against much bigger tech giants. Rigetti Computing, which operates out of Berkeley and Fremont, is tackling quantum computing and going up against research being done by the likes of IBM, Intel, Microsoft and others… Rigetti is building a cloud quantum computing platform for artificial intelligence and computational chemistry. It recently opened up private beta testing of ‘Forest’, its API for quantum computing in the cloud. It integrates directly with existing cloud infrastructure and treats the quantum computer as an accelerator.
“The potential to make a positive impact on humanity is enormous,” said Chad Rigetti, the startup’s founder and CEO — who declined to say whether the company is actually earning any revenue yet.

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Posted by amiller in biotech, Blog