The new incredibles: Enhanced humans

May 11, 2006

People with enhanced senses, superhuman bodies and sharpened minds are already walking among us. Are you ready for your upgrade? It is 2050, and Peter Schwartz is deciding what to do with the rest of his life. He has already had two successful careers and he wants another one before he dies, which he expects to happen in around 50 years. By then he’ll be about 150, which isn’t bad for a baby boomer, but he expects his son, now 60, to live a lot longer than that.

Site – http://www.newscientist.com

Advertisements

Blueprinting the human brain

May 11, 2006

A 3D computer simulation of 10,000 neurons firing in the human brain produces a terabyte of data–a fraction of what it would take to map the brain’s billions of neurons in algorithms. That’s according to Henry Markham, a scientist working on the Blue Brain project, a collaboration of IBM, the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, or EPFL, in Lausanne, Switzerland, and others. The project is an attempt to create a blueprint of the human brain to advance cognition research.

Site – http://news.com.com


In 2021 You’ll Grow a New Heart

May 11, 2006

The protein-based drug molecules penetrate heart-muscle cells and suppress production of an enzyme called p38 that ordinarily limits tissue growth. With p38 turned off, mature heart-muscle cells de-differentiate, which allows them to multiply rapidly and mature into new heart muscle.

Site – http://www.popsci.com


Wrinkled cell nuclei may make us age

May 1, 2006

A new study shows that cells from people over the age of 80 tend to have specific problems with the nucleus. The elderly nucleus loses its pert, rounded shape and becomes warped and wrinkled. The National Cancer Institute team suggests that healthy cells always make a trace amount of an aberrant form of lamin A protein, but that young cells can sense and eliminate it. Elderly cells, it seems, cannot. Blocking production of this deviant protein corrected all the problems with the nucleus, suggesting that drugs might slow or stay some symptoms of aging.

Site – http://www.nature.com


‘Word-vision’ brain area confirmed

April 20, 2006

French neuroscientists have ended a long controversy, confirming a specific area of the human brain plays a causal role in our ability to recognize words. Humans have an uncanny ability to skim through text, instantly recognizing words by their shape — even though writing developed only about 6000 years ago, long after humans evolved. Thus, scientists have hotly debated whether an area of the cortex called the Visual Word Form Area, or VWFA, is a specific and necessary area for recognizing words.

Site – http://www.physorg.com


Watching the brain ‘switch off’ self-awareness

April 20, 2006

Everybody has experienced a sense of “losing oneself” in an activity – being totally absorbed in a task, a movie or sex. Now researchers have caught the brain in the act. Self-awareness, regarded as a key element of being human, is switched off when the brain needs to concentrate hard on a tricky task, found the neurobiologists from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. The team conducted a series of experiments to pinpoint the brain activity associated with introspection and that linked to sensory function. They found that the brain assumes a robotic functionality when it has to concentrate all its efforts on a difficult, timed task – only becoming “human” again when it has the luxury of time.

Site – http://www.newscientist.com


First molecular-machine combination revealed

March 24, 2006

University of Tokyo researchers have constructed the first molecular machine, comprising a pair of double-bonded nitrogen atoms strung between two plier “handles” that open or close by exposure to visible or ultraviolet light. A twisting motion prompted by the light exposure causes attached pedals to flap. The result is the first example of one molecular machine controllably driving the action of another, say the researchers.

Site – http://www.newscientist.com