Commercial quantities of lithium discovered in the Volta Region

Ghana has discovered Lithium in commercial quantities. Lithium, which is among the top 10 most expensive minerals in the world was discovered in the Volta Region by the Minerals Commission. According to the Chief Executive of the Commission, Kwaku Addai Antwi-Boasiako, the mineral was identified during a nationwide exploration exercise. “The mining activities will start but we want to attract investments into the Volta Region. That is where we have the Lithium and all these rare minerals. These are the minerals of the future. Lithium is about green energy and renewable energy. So if you have lithium and all these rare minerals in the Volta Region, you will want to expand the base of mineral production. The presence of these minerals is as important as having the money to mine them… for now, we know we have it,” he said. […]

3D Printing Drug Manufacturing System

A new and compact drug manufacturing system, which relies on 3-D printing and chemical analysis software, has the potential to quickly and conveniently produce a variety of medications on-site. The advancement sidesteps many challenges that come with mass production of drugs at large-scale facilitates. For example, central drug manufacturing plants are costly to maintain and to repurpose for the production of different drugs. In contrast, the system created by Philip J. Kitson and colleagues yields a customized blueprint for drug synthesis using simple plastic modules that can easily be assembled on-site, at low cost. First, software is used to identify the chemical reactions and processes that are necessary for the desired drug, and then the ideal chambers and components of the system are created using a cheap 3-D printer (that costs about $2,000). In this study, the researchers chose to […]

Self-healing fungi concrete could provide sustainable solution to crumbling infrastructure

A new self-healing fungi concrete, co-developed by researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York, could help repair cracks in aging concrete permanently, and help save America’s crumbling infrastructure. Congrui Jin, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Binghamton University, has researched concrete and found that the problem stems from the smallest of cracks. “Without proper treatment, cracks tend to progress further and eventually require costly repair,” said Jin. “If micro-cracks expand and reach the steel reinforcement, not only the concrete will be attacked, but also the reinforcement will be corroded, as it is exposed to water, oxygen, possibly CO2 and chlorides, leading to structural failure.” These cracks can cause huge and sometimes unseen problems for infrastructure. One potentially critical example is the case of nuclear power plants that may use concrete for radiation shielding. While remaking a structure would replace […]

Recording a thought through the brain

University of California, Berkeley neuroscientists have tracked the progress of a thought through the brain, showing clearly how the prefrontal cortex at the front of the brain coordinates activity to help us act in response to a perception. Recording the electrical activity of neurons directly from the surface of the brain, the scientists found that for a simple task, such as repeating a word presented visually or aurally, the visual and auditory cortexes reacted first to perceive the word. The prefrontal cortex then kicked in to interpret the meaning, followed by activation of the motor cortex in preparation for a response. During the half-second between stimulus and response, the prefrontal cortex remained active to coordinate all the other brain areas. For a particularly hard task, like determining the antonym of a word, the brain required several seconds to respond, during […]

A high-salt diet produces dementia

A high-salt diet reduces resting blood flow to the brain and causes dementia in mice, according to a new study by scientists from Weill Cornell Medicine. The study, published Jan. 15 in Nature Neuroscience, is the first to unveil a gut-brain connection linking high dietary salt intake to neurovascular and cognitive impairment. The findings illuminate a potential future target for countering harmful effects to the brain caused by excess salt consumption. “We discovered that mice fed a high-salt diet developed dementia even when blood pressure did not rise,” said senior author Dr. Costantino Iadecola, director of the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute (BMRI) and the Anne Parrish Titzell Professor of Neurology at Weill Cornell Medicine. “This was surprising since, in humans, the deleterious effects of salt on cognition were attributed to hypertension.” A vast majority, about 90 percent of […]

Don’t hold your nose and close your mouth when you sneeze

Pinching your nose while clamping your mouth shut to contain a forceful sneeze isn’t a good idea, warn doctors in the journal BMJ Case Reports. One young man managed to rupture the back of his throat during this manoeuvre, leaving him barely able to speak or swallow, and in considerable pain. Spontaneous rupture of the back of the throat is rare, and usually caused by trauma, or sometimes by vomiting, retching or heavy coughing, so the 34 year old’s symptoms initially surprised the emergency care doctors. The young man explained that he had developed a popping sensation in his neck which immediately swelled up after he tried to contain a forceful sneeze by pinching his nose and keeping his mouth clamped shut at the same time. A little later he found it extremely painful to swallow and all but lost his […]

Swallowable Balloon Offers Noninvasive Detection for Esophageal Cancer Risk

Scientists have finally invented a minimally invasive way to detect if people are at risk for esophageal cancer. The new approach – a small, swallowable balloon for collecting samples coupled with DNA analysis – could be a promising alternative to endoscopy (a time-consuming procedure that requires sedation) in diagnosing Barret’s esophagus (BE), which is a precursor for esophageal carcinoma. Approximately 95% of BE cases go undetected until a patient progresses to esophageal adenocarcinoma, which has a poor prognosis and a five-year survival rate of less than 20%. The incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma has more than quadrupled over the past three decades, spurring Helen Moinova and colleagues to devise a device and biomarker-based detection method that could help make BE screening part of routine clinical procedure. After analyzing samples from hundreds of individuals, Moinova et al. zeroed in on a DNA […]

A major step forward in organic electronics

Researchers at the Laboratory of Organic Electronics, Linköping University, have developed the world’s first complementary electrochemical logic circuits that can function stably for long periods in water. This is a highly significant breakthrough in the development of bioelectronics. The first printable organic electrochemical transistors were presented by researchers at LiU as early as 2002, and research since then has progressed rapidly. Several organic electronic components, such as light-emitting diodes and electrochromic displays, are already commercially available. The dominating material used until now has been PEDOT:PSS, which is a p-type material, in which the charge carriers are holes. In order to construct effective electron components, a complementary material, n-type, is required, in which the charge carriers are electrons. It has been difficult to find a sufficiently stable polymer material, one that can operate in water media and in which the long […]