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Star-shaped grippers could help doctors operate and take biopsies

Evolution of surgery: Then and Now
Thu 26 Feb 10:26

Remember the shiver down your back when you went to a museum of medicine and saw the surgical instruments?

Cutters, saws, holders, forceps, clamps and countless other accessories...

All of them probably made you close your eyes and whisper "uuhhhh" with disgust and repulsion. And now, can you envision the same museum being... empty?

What if there comes a day when surgeries would become "tool free"?

Imagine this: you come to the hospital for a surgical intervention and no stainless steel gadgets are used.

Does it sound like science fiction? Perhaps it should not any more.

Last month a team of American scientists announced they have developed tiny mechanized structures, which could be used in robotics or...

Here's Why Scientists Tallied Plastic Waste in the Ocean

Scientists estimate a worrisome trend of plastic pollution in the ocean
Tue 24 Feb 00:37
Lots of plastic ends up in the ocean. Discarded soda bottles and food wrappers blow into the water from the beach. Children abandon plastic sand toys. Plastic lighters slip out of pockets.

Scientists have studied plastic pollution in the oceans since the 1970s, focusing on plastic waste from ships, wrecks, or military operations.

But for Jenna Jambeck, assistant professor at the University of Georgia, and a team of multidisciplinary researchers, an important question remained: How much of the ocean's plastic pollution comes from people on land?

The team looked at data from 192 coastal...

Submarine drones carry out ice algal census

Underwater Drones Make the Quest to Map Ice Algae Easier
Tue 20 Jan 15:14
The metallic underwater drone starkly contrasted Antarctica's blue sky and blue ice. Stretching 2.5 meters long, its sleek body epitomized modern technology. The drone was the eighth member of an international research expedition to Antarctica last October. On its maiden voyage, it mapped hundreds of meters of ice algae with an enviable ease.

Ice algae play an important role in the ecosystem at both poles. Every year, the brownish phytoplanktons beneath the sea ice herald the spring. As sunlight returns, the algae populations grow, nourishing each subsequent link in the food chain.

"There are...

Imprinting dad's love

Role of father is important in raising a stress resilient child.
Tue 16 Dec 19:54
We know that in humans, people who have faced adversity as children show an inclination towards anti-social behavior and other neurological disorders such as bipolar depression, borderline personality disorder amongst others, later in life.

As a result, maternal care in many species, including humans has been shown to influence how an infant views his/her surroundings and grows a personality. As parents we hope to teach children how to face adversities. However, two recent studies suggest quite an unconventional method of passing on this information in fishes and mice!

The study from the...

Banking on lies

Banking industry culture promotes deception
Mon 24 Nov 21:52
The world is still recovering from the devastating effects of the massive economic recession that occurred in 2008. Recently, Germany breathed with relief as it narrowly avoided returning to recession. This recent recession, considered to be one of the worst in history since the Great Depression, has produced huge income inequalities across North America. Since economic scams perpetrated by some of the world's biggest banks were instrumental in the collapse of the global economy, it is not surprising that the business culture in the financial industry is met with increasing skepticism and...

And now...Alzheimer's in a dish

Alzeihmer patient
Thu 23 Oct 00:27
Alzheimer's is a common form of dementia that is irreversible and slowly but progressively destroys thinking and memory skills. The World Health Organization estimates nearly 35 million people living with Alzheimer's worldwide and that this number could double within the next couple of decades. Treating and caring for people with this neurodegenerative disease can be a very expensive affair and also prove to be emotionally taxing on the caregivers. As a result, a search for cure that detects symptoms and alleviates the problems caused by Alzheimer's assumes a lot of importance. However,...

The gray matter of Risk

King of Gamblers, 1937 movie directed by Robert Florey, main character played by Akim Tamiroff
Mon 22 Sep 20:03
Do you feel the adrenaline rush kick in when you are sitting at the roulette table in a casino at Las Vegas? Or do your better instincts prevail with a sense of foreboding, warning against gambling away your hard earned money? Well, believe it or not, your brain scan may predict which category you belong to! New research from a global scientific collaboration, led by Dr. Ifat Levy at the Yale School of Medicine shows that, a picture speaks a thousand words! And in this case- about your personality. Specifically, the scientists address, how big of a risk taker are you?

Now, how did the...

Life is just a game: a perfect strategy to solve real-life problems

A new computer algorithm is capable of making intelligent decisions.
Wed 11 Feb 18:36
"Real life consists of bluffing, of little tactics of deception, of asking yourself what is the other man going to think I mean to do", said the great mathematician John von Neumann.

This uncertainty seldom appears in chess, checkers or other "perfect information" games, where all information is on the board for all players to see, but it's fundamental in "imperfect information" games, like poker. These games are then great tests for computers designed to make hard decisions in real life, spurring scientists to a decade-long search for machines capable, of playing poker.

This search reached a...

Does old wine fit in a new bottle?

Despite cognitive ageing older people are good at making financial decisions.
Tue 23 Dec 22:57
Human longevity and improved healthcare makes ageing population a socio-economic challenge for all European countries. Over the next decade, the European commission reports that more than 25% of Europeans would be more than 65 years or older. Specifically, there will be a bigger rise of adults with ages above 80.

Ageing is characterized by decrease in logical thinking and processing new information. Thus having a majority of older adults in the population would require tailored policy decisions. Since investment is a major source of income for retired and older adults, could the ageing process...

Running on Mathematics

Mathematics helps predict optimal running strategy
Wed 03 Dec 20:20
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of sports and mathematics? Most likely, chalk and cheese, right?

Believe it or not, recent research by a team of French mathematicians led by Dr. Amandine Aftalion at the Laboratoire de Mathematiques de Versailles has showed how sports can benefit greatly from mathematics.

When asked about the motivation behind this study, Dr. Aftalion says her love for mathematics and all kinds of sports including swimming-which she practices regularly-kindled her interest as to how one could use mathematical equations to improve human...

The need for a water revolution

Water, a precious commodity
Tue 28 Oct 12:08
Everyone needs water in sufficient quantity and portable quality to live a healthy life. The many uses of water, Agricultural, domestic, power generation, quenching thirsty and leisure activities - are related to the economic, social mental and physical health of the world's population. Almost two (2) billion people drink water you wouldn't use to wash your car or clothes. Another 1.4 billion wish they had that water to drink. In many parts of the world, getting enough water to survive is a daily crisis. The magnet of attraction of people to water has no "like" and "unlike" poles- both sides...

We see what we want to see

Wed 08 Oct 23:58
 

  We all live in world of information overload. Our visual and auditory senses are constantly bombarded with an abundance of data that needs to be parsed! Often times our brain processes information way too quickly with too little data. So given a colossal amount of noisy and chaotic information, how does one make up his/her mind? A global team of scientists along with Dr. Quiroga as the lead author, from the Center for Systems Neuroscience at the University of Leicester, has tried to answer this question using a very unique visual experiment. 
However, the scientists were faced with a lot...

Making the brain say, "I love Kale!"

Brain can be trained to actually prefer healthy foods
Wed 10 Sep 22:48
Tempted to order dessert after dinner even though you know you shouldn't? Well, you are certainly not an exception! Most of us at some point in our lives have been victims of irresistible fried foods and decadent desserts. But what if you could train your brain to drool over kale instead of cake and baked chips instead of French fries? Sounds incredible right? Not quite impossible, says Dr. Susan Roberts from Tufts University, who along with her team of researchers, has recently, shown that you can train your brain to actually prefer healthy foods!

How did the scientists conduct their study?...

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