Tech ‘Nobel’ awarded to Finnish physicist for small smart devices

Finnish materials physicist Tuomo Suntola, who developed a groundbreaking technology to reduce the size of complex devices, on Tuesday won Finland’s take on the Nobel science prizes. The 74-year-old was awarded the Millennium Technology Prize worth one million euros ($1.18 million). “Suntola’s prize-winning ALD (atomic layer deposition) innovation is a nanoscale technology in use all over the world,” the Technology Academy Finland, which awards the biennial prize, said in a statement. His technology is used to manufacture ultra-thin material layers for a variety of devices such as computers, smartphones, microprocessors and digital memory devices, enabling high performance in small size. “The extremely thin isolating or conducting films needed in microprocessors and computer memory devices can only be manufactured using the ALD technology developed by Tuomo Suntola,” the academy said. He developed the technology in 1974 to initially replace bulky monitors in hospitals […]

Eating eggs everyday may reduce the rate of cardiovascular disease

People who consume an egg a day could significantly reduce their risk of cardiovascular diseases compared with eating no eggs, suggests a study carried out in China, published in the journal Heart. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death and disability worldwide, including China, mostly due to ischaemic heart disease and stroke (including both haemorrhagic and ischaemic stroke). Unlike ischaemic heart disease, which is the leading cause of premature death in most Western countries, stroke is the most responsible cause in China, followed by heart disease. Although ischaemic stroke accounted for the majority of strokes, the proportion of haemorrhagic stroke in China is still higher than that in high income countries. Eggs are a prominent source of dietary cholesterol, but they also contain high-quality protein, many vitamins and bioactive components such as phospholipids and carotenoids. Previous studies looking at […]

A Compound Found In Cannabis Can Treat Epilepsy

Cannabidiol (CBD), a compound derived from the cannabis can treat epilepsy. Cannabidiol which does not produce a “high” and has been an increasing focus of medical research, was shown in a new large-scale, randomized, controlled trial to significantly reduce the number of dangerous seizures in patients with a severe form of epilepsy called Lennox–Gastaut syndrome. In the new study comparing 2 doses of CBD to a placebo, the researchers reported a 41.9 percent reduction in “drop seizures”—a type of seizure that results in severe loss of muscle control and balance—in patients taking a 20 mg/kg/d CBD regimen, a 37.2 percent reduction in those on a 10 mg/kg/d CBD regimen, and a 17.2 percent reduction in a group given a placebo. The phase III trial was led by principal investigator and study first co-author Orrin Devinsky, MD, a professor of neurology, […]

78,000-year cave record from East Africa shows early cultural innovations

An international, interdisciplinary group of scholars working along the East African coast have discovered a major cave site which records substantial activities of hunter-gatherers and later, Iron Age communities. Detailed environmental research has demonstrated that human occupations and cultural innovations occur in a persistent tropical forest-grassland ecotone, adding new information about the habitats exploited by our species, and indicating that populations sought refuge in a relatively stable environment. Prior to this cave excavation, little information was available about the last 78,000 years from coastal East Africa, with the majority of archaeological research focused on the Rift Valley and in South Africa. Humans lived in the humid coastal forest A large-scale interdisciplinary study, including scientific analyses of archaeological plants, animals and shells from the cave indicates a broad perseverance of forest and grassland environments. As the cave environment underwent little variation […]

A Cure for Baldness ?

A new drug could ease the distress of men and women who suffer from baldness, according to researchers from The University of Manchester’s Centre for Dermatology Research. The study from the laboratory of Prof Ralf Paus, is published (8 May) in the open access journal PLOS Biology. It shows that a drug originally designed as a treatment for osteoporosis has a dramatic stimulatory effect on human hair follicles donated by patients undergoing hair transplantation surgery. Currently only two drugs – minoxidil and finasteride – are available for treatment of male-pattern balding (androgenetic alopecia). However, both agents have moderate side effects and often produce disappointing hair regrowth results. The only other option available to patients is hair transplantation surgery. The PhD project, led by Dr Nathan Hawkshaw and colleagues, sought to develop new ways to promote human hair growth with the hope […]

Living in better neighborhood may protect health of kids in poverty

While poverty has long been linked with poor health, a study from UC San Francisco has found that simply living in a more desirable neighborhood may act as a health booster for low-income children. UCSF researchers compared levels of the stress hormone cortisol in 338 kindergartners whose families’ annual incomes ranged from less than $10,000 to $200,000-plus. The research team found that the average cortisol level among 113 of low-income children who lived in poor neighborhoods reached the 75th percentile. But when they looked at cortisol levels in 32 low-income children living in better-quality neighborhoods, the average was in the 45th percentile, the researchers report in the May 8, 2018, issue of Psychosomatic Medicine. “Cortisol is a measure of biological stress arousal, and elevated levels can place children at risk for both poorer physical and mental health,” said first author Danielle Roubinov, […]

Fasting boosts stem cells’ regenerative capacity

As people age, their intestinal stem cells begin to lose their ability to regenerate. These stem cells are the source for all new intestinal cells, so this decline can make it more difficult to recover from gastrointestinal infections or other conditions that affect the intestine. This age-related loss of stem cell function can be reversed by a 24-hour fast, according to a new study from MIT biologists. The researchers found that fasting dramatically improves stem cells’ ability to regenerate, in both aged and young mice. In fasting mice, cells begin breaking down fatty acids instead of glucose, a change that stimulates the stem cells to become more regenerative. The researchers found that they could also boost regeneration with a molecule that activates the same metabolic switch. Such an intervention could potentially help older people recovering from GI infections or cancer […]

Study shows yogurt may dampen chronic inflammation linked to multiple diseases

Inflammation can be good. It’s part of the body’s innate immune system, our first line of defense against illness and injury. However, if the inflammatory response goes on for too long, it can lead to a condition called chronic inflammation, where the body essentially attacks itself, wreaking biological havoc on our organs and systems. Chronic inflammation is a factor in inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis and asthma. It is also associated with obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic diseases. A recent study—described in two papers, including one published today (May 14) in the Journal of Nutrition—provides new evidence that yogurt may help dampen chronic inflammation. The study explored the hypothesis that yogurt may help reduce inflammation by improving the integrity of the intestinal lining, thus preventing endotoxins—pro-inflammatory molecules produced by gut microbes—from crossing into the blood stream. “I wanted to look at the mechanism more closely […]