Converting heat into electricity with pencil and paper

The thermoelectric effect is nothing new – it was discovered almost 200 years ago by Thomas J. Seebeck. If two different metals are brought together, then an electrical voltage can develop if one metal is warmer than the other. This effect allows residual heat to be partially converted into electrical energy. Residual heat is a by-product of almost all technological and natural processes, such as in power plants and every household appliance, and the human body as well. It is one of the largest underutilised energy sources in the world – and usually goes completely unused. Tiny effect Unfortunately, as useful an effect as it is, it is extremely small in ordinary metals. This is because metals not only have high electrical conductivity, but high thermal conductivity as well, so that differences in temperature disappear immediately. Thermoelectric materials need to […]

Drug that treats psoriasis also reduces aortic vascular inflammation

An antibody used to treat the skin disease psoriasis is also effective at reducing aortic inflammation, a key marker of future risk of major cardiovascular events. Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, in collaboration with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, led a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study and found patients who took the drug ustekinumab had a 19 percent improvement in aortic inflammation, as measured and confirmed by imaging, when compared to the placebo group. Joel M. Gelfand, MD MSCE, a professor of Dermatology and Epidemiology at Penn and the study’s first author, will present the findings at the 2018 American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting in San Diego tomorrow. Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes skin cells to multiply faster than normal resulting in raised, red patches covered by silvery […]

Link between chronic pain and glutamate consumption

Chronic pain is among the most vexing health problems, including in the developing world, where most research suggests that the prevalence of pain is similar to the United States and other developed nations. Preliminary research from a small pilot study carried out in Meru, in eastern Kenya, shows a link between chronic pain and consumption of glutamate, a common flavor enhancer found in Western and non-Western diets worldwide. Results demonstrated that when study participants cut monosodium glutamate from their diets, their symptoms improved. The findings are published in the journal Nutrition. “This preliminary research in Kenya is consistent with what I am observing in my chronic pain research here in the United States,” said Kathleen Holton, lead author of the study and assistant professor of health studies at American University. “We don’t know what exposure is leading to this susceptibility to […]

Increased stress on fathers leads to brain development changes in offspring

New research in mice has found that a father’s stress affects the brain development of his offspring. This stress changes the father’s sperm, which can then alter the brain development of the child. This new research provides a much better understanding of the key role that fathers play in the brain development of offspring. Scientists have known that a mother’s environment during pregnancy, including factors such as poor diet, stress or infection, can cause damage negatively impact her offspring. This may be due in part to how this environment affects the expression of certain genes — known as epigenetics. But the researchers, led by neuroscientist Tracy Bale at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, now show that a father’s stress can also affect offspring development, by altering important aspects of his sperm. Bale will discuss this new, not-yet-published work […]

Sibling bullying makes psychotic disorders three times more likely

People who were bullied by siblings (sibling bullying) during childhood are up to three times more likely to develop psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia in early adulthood, according to new research by the University of Warwick. Led by Professor Dieter Wolke (senior author) at Warwick’s Department of Psychology, this is the first study to explore the relationship between sibling bullying and the development of psychotic disorders. Almost 3,600 children from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children completed a detailed questionnaire on sibling bullying at twelve years of age, and then subsequently filled out a standardized clinical examination assessing psychotic symptoms when they were eighteen years old. Of the adolescents, 664 were victims of sibling bullying, 486 children were pure bullies to their siblings and 771 children were bully-victims (victimized by siblings and bullied their siblings), at age twelve. […]

Evidence linking gut bacteria and obesity

A new Johns Hopkins study of mice with the rodent equivalent of metabolic syndrome has added to evidence that the intestinal microbiome — a “garden” of bacterial, viral and fungal genes — plays a substantial role in the development of obesity and insulin resistance in mammals, including humans. A report of the findings, published Jan. 24 in Mucosal Immunology, highlights the potential to prevent obesity and diabetes by manipulating levels and ratios of gut bacteria, and/or modifying the chemical and biological pathways for metabolism-activating genes. “This study adds to our understanding of how bacteria may cause obesity, and we found particular types of bacteria in mice that were strongly linked to metabolic syndrome,” says David Hackam, M.D., Ph.D., surgeon-in-chief and co-director of Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and the study’s senior author. “With this new knowledge we can look for ways to […]

Cancer-fighting nanorobots programmed to seek and destroy tumors

In a major advancement in nanomedicine, Arizona State University (ASU) scientists, in collaboration with researchers from the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology (NCNST), of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, have successfully programmed nanorobots to shrink tumors by cutting off their blood supply. “We have developed the first fully autonomous, DNA robotic system for a very precise drug design and targeted cancer therapy,” said Hao Yan, director of the ASU Biodesign Institute’s Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics and the Milton Glick Professor in the School of Molecular Sciences. “Moreover, this technology is a strategy that can be used for many types of cancer, since all solid tumor-feeding blood vessels are essentially the same,” said Yan. The successful demonstration of the technology, the first-of-its-kind study in mammals utilizing breast cancer, melanoma, ovarian and lung cancer mouse models, was published in […]

New ‘4-D goggles’ allow wearers to be ‘touched’ by approaching objects

A team of researchers at UC San Diego and San Diego State University has developed a pair of “4-D goggles” that allows wearers to be physically “touched” by a movie when they see a looming object on the screen, such as an approaching spacecraft. The device was developed based on a study conducted by the neuroscientists to map brain areas that integrate the sight and touch of a looming object and aid in their understanding of the perceptual and neural mechanisms of multisensory integration. But for the rest of us, the researchers said, it has a more practical purpose: The device can be synchronized with entertainment content, such as movies, music, games and virtual reality, to deliver immersive multisensory effects near the face and enhance the sense of presence. The advance is described in a paper published online February 6 […]