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 […]

Breastfeeding reduces hypertension risk

A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension indicates that women who breastfeed more children, and for longer periods of time, are less likely to suffer from hypertension after they reach menopause. This is less true of obese women, however. Elevated blood pressure is the greatest single risk factor for disease and mortality. Evidence from epidemiologic data has also shown the beneficial effects of breastfeeding on the health of infants and their mothers. It has been well documented that long-term breastfeeding is associated with reduced children’s allergies, celiac disease, obesity, and diabetes mellitus. However, the effects of breastfeeding on maternal health have been little studied compared with the effects on the children. Several studies consistently found that absent breastfeeding or premature discontinuation was associated with increased risks of diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, metabolic syndrome, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular diseases. However few […]

Study finds bacteria in milk linked to rheumatoid arthritis

A strain of common bacteria in milk and beef may be a trigger for developing rheumatoid arthritis in people who are genetically at risk, according to a new study from the University of Central Florida. A team of UCF College of Medicine researchers has discovered a link between rheumatoid arthritis and Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis, known as MAP, a bacteria found in cows. The bacteria can be spread to humans through the consumption of infected milk, beef and produce fertilized by cow manure. The UCF researchers are the first to report this connection between MAP and rheumatoid arthritis in a study published in the Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology journal this week. The study, funded in part by a $500,000 grant from the Florida Legislative, was a collaboration between Saleh Naser, UCF infectious disease specialist, Dr. Shazia Bég, rheumatologist at UCF’s […]

Scientists make cells that enable the sense of touch

Researchers at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA have, for the first time, coaxed human stem cells to become sensory interneurons — the cells that give us our sense of touch. The new protocol could be a step toward stem cell-based therapies to restore sensation in paralyzed people who have lost feeling in parts of their body. The study, which was led by Samantha Butler, a UCLA associate professor of neurobiology and member of the Broad Stem Cell Research Center, was published today in the journal Stem Cell Reports. Sensory interneurons, a class of neurons in the spinal cord, are responsible for relaying information from throughout the body to the central nervous system, which enables the sense of touch. The lack of a sense of touch greatly affects people who are paralyzed. […]