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Showing posts from February, 2022

Nano-Engineered Concrete Sealer: Building Optimistic Future of the Construction Industry

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Photo credit: Washington University Researchers at Washington University (WU) have developed a nano-engineered sealer that can prevent concrete from damage. The sealer protects concrete from deteriorating after exposure to salt and water.  In laboratory studies, the sealer showed a 44 percent improvement against the damage due to salt and a 77 percent increment in water-repelling abilities. This study suggests new approaches to deal with infrastructure problems in the U.S. "We focused on one of the main culprits that compromise the integrity and durability of concrete, which is moisture," said Xianming Shi , study lead author and WU professor. "If you can keep concrete dry, the vast majority of durability problems would go away." Most of the infrastructure in the U.S. was developed in the mid 20th century and now is at the end of its lifetime. Since the late 1990s, the American Society of Civil Engineers has released reports on the U.S. infrastructure every four ye

Fungal Diseases Threatened Banana Monocultures. Now They Are a Risk to Wild Bananas Too.

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Image credit: Pixabay Fusarium is a species of fungus that affects the cultivation of a variety of crops. It is a plant pathogen that causes several diseases such as Fusarium wilt in bananas and solanaceous crops, head blight, crown rot and scab on cereals, etc.   Fusarium oxysporum , a Fusarium fungus species affects the cultivation of solanaceous crops such as potatoes, tomatoes, chillies, etc. Due to this, thousands of solanaceous cultivators had to face agricultural losses leading to low income and subsistence. Fusarium oxysporum or Foc is a soil-borne fungus that affects the tissues of plants. It enters the plant's vascular tissues through roots and deteriorates them. Vascular tissues help to transport minerals and nutrients within a plant. Any infection in these tissues can lead to plant death. Moreover, tackling this fungus is difficult as its spores remain in the soil even when infected plants and tissues are removed. As far as commercial trade is concerned, the banana ex

New Armbands Can Help Prosthesis Users 'Feel' Objects They Hold

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Image credit: Pexels Loss of sensation is a major problem for people who don't have an upper limb. This prevents them from using the full functionality of their prosthetic hands. Although modern artificial hands are capable of controlling all 5 fingers mechanically, users can control one grasping movement at a time. Researchers at Florida Atlantic University of Engineering (FAU) investigated whether people could control grip forces applied simultaneously to two different objects held in artificial hands. To do so, they developed a novel wearable robotic armband which can transport touch sensations to the arms of  users. They also studied the role of visual and haptic (touch) sensations in grasping.  Haptic feedback is a technology that can create a sense of touch by applying vibrations, forces to the user. Using haptic feedback, users could complete activity without dropping or breaking objects even as their vision was blocked.  This approach of transporting objects also saved ti

Foamy Cells Help in More Accurate Prediction of Heart Attacks

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CREDITS: Wikipedia A heart attack or stroke can catch people off guard, even if they believe they are not at risk. Now, a new model developed by UConn Health researchers might  help us detect cardiac disease  better. Heart  attacks and strokes are the leading causes of mortality in the United States, with cholesterol plaques obstructing blood arteries accounting for 70% of all deaths. Despite the high incidence of cardiovascular illness, our best efforts to forecast who is at risk of catastrophic events such as a stroke or heart attack have been unsuccessful.  Body mass, waist circumference, and the percentage of different fats in a person's blood are all factors in current risk models. However, using that model to correctly forecast whether someone would have a heart attack in the next five years, for example, is difficult. Other elements, according to many academics, must be at play. Cardiologists have a negative opinion of foamy macrophages. They're frequently observed as pl

Sonogenetics : The Ability to Control Cells With Sound Frequencies

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Image credit: Pixabay Researchers at Salk Institute for Biological Studies, California , have engineered mammalian cells that can be controlled with ultrasound. The method used by the team can support non-invasive treatment methods where no medical devices are inserted into the body to treat conditions, nor is there a need to undergo surgeries. This new technique can be used to develop non-invasive forms of pacemakers and insulin pumps for future use. "Going wireless is the future for just about everything," said Sreekanth Chalasani, associate professor at Salk Institute. "We already know that ultrasound is safe, and it can go through bone, muscle, and other tissues, making it the ultimate tool for manipulating cells deep in the body." Ten years ago, Chalasani got an idea of using ultrasound to activate a specific group of cells. Later, he coined the term "Sonogenetics" to describe this process. In medicine, Sonogentics is the use of ultrasound to manipul

Biologists Discover Smallest of Propellers That Make Archae Faster Than Cheetahs

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The molecular structure of the propellers. Source Exeter University Biologists at the University of Exeter, England , have discovered new information on tiny locomotive structures or propellers used by archaea. The study also identified the structural elements that helped propellers to improve flexibility. Like bacteria , archaea are single-celled organisms found in large habitats. They are found living in extreme conditions, such as in high salt concentrations, pressures and temperatures. Some species also live in human bodies but unlike bacteria, they do not cause any disease. Archaea have a spiral-shaped filament-like structure called archaellum for locomotion. Some species are able to propel themselves at high speeds by rotating the archaellum. These filaments have intracellular motors that are responsible for rotating these extracellular filaments. The motors use ATP (Adenosine Tri-Phosphate) source of energy for the process. Methanocaldococcus villosus is a species of archaea fo

Human Gut Bacteria Have 'Sex' to Share Vitamin B12

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Pixabay Researchers at the University of California Riverside (UCR) have found that human gut bacteria have sex to pass or share vitamin B12 with each other.   Vitamin B12 is one of the essential nutrients that is required for the growth and development of different body parts, including the brain, blood cells, nerves, in humans. Without this nutrient, many living cells, including, bacteria can not function. Thus, beneficial gut bacteria share the ability to capture this nutrient with one another. "The process involves one cell forming a tube that DNA can pass through to another cell," said Patrick Degnan , UCR microbiologist and study head. "It's as if two humans had sex, and now they both have red hair." Scientists have been aware of this process for years. They knew that 'jumping genes' were responsible for transferring DNA between organisms. Many studies have shown that these genes helped bacteria stay alive in the presence of antibiotics (medicine

Researchers Discover Heat Transfer That Expands the Liedenfrost Effect, an 18th-Century Principle

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Image credit: Pexels The researchers at Virginia Tech Research University, have found properties of water that could give a new look to the 18th-century phenomenon, the Liedenfrost effect. This discovery can help in using the basic properties of water to cool industrial devices. The research was conducted by Associate Professor Jonathan Boreyko and a graduate student Mojtaba Edalatpour . Like most matter, water also exists in three forms- solid, liquid and gas. Solid-state ice changes into a liquid state, water and liquid state change into the gaseous state when heat is applied. This shows that the behavior of water changes in the presence of heat.  According to Professor Boreyko , the water droplets do not boil when placed on aluminum plates that are heated above 150 degrees Celsius (302 degrees Fahrenheit). He explained this phenomenon using the Liedenfrost effect . This is a physical phenomenon in which a liquid produces an insulating surface or vapor layer that prevents it from bo

Effectiveness of Chemotherapy Changes With the Time of Day, Suggests New Study

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Image credit:  Pixabay Researchers at West Virginia University (WVU) have found that the effectiveness of chemotherapy may change with the time of day that it is administered.  Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment in which two or more anti-cancer drugs are used. It is a part of a standard cancer treatment plan that defines drugs to be used, frequency and duration of treatment and their dosage.  During the chemotherapy process, however, the blood-brain barrier (BBB) prevents drugs from entering the brain. The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a network of tissues and blood vessels made up of closely spaced cells. It helps keep harmful substances from reaching the brain. It allows some substances such as oxygen, water and carbon dioxide to pass into the brain. This is a good physiological process when it comes to infectious agents like bacteria, viruses and toxins. But, it also blocks anticancer drugs from entering the brain, thus making the chemotherapy process ineffective in treatin

Getting COVID Infection After Vaccination Results in Strong Antibody Response, Shows a New Study

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Photo by  Edward Jenner  from  Pexels When compared to the ancestral pandemic coronavirus, the Delta and Omicron coronavirus variants have increased transmissibility and immune evasion even in non-immunologically naive people. When otherwise healthy people who have been vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 get the virus, they usually do not have severe symptoms.  The researchers sought to explore how getting the virus after being vaccinated affects neutralising antibodies and how long and wide these responses are. The researchers discovered that whether a person has had one, two, three, or four exposures to the spike protein through infection, vaccination, or a combination of the two, the degree of antibody response varies. The strength, durability, and breadth of neutralizing antibody responses produced by breakthrough infections in people who had been vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 were investigated in recent research. The project was led by Alexandra Walls and David Veesler in the Depart

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