New dinosaur discovered in Utah, scientists say
Scientists from Chicago’s Field Museum have discovered a new “top predator” dinosaur in a region of 100-million-year-old rock in Utah.
The 4-ton, 30-foot animal is a significant precursor to Tyrannosaurus rex and an important part of an emerging fossil record for the continent, the museum says.
DNA study suggests dogs originated in Europe
This large DNA study aligns with the earliest known doglike fossils, which also came from Europe. Other DNA studies have suggested that dogs originated in east Asia and the Middle East.
Scientists agree that dogs became the first domesticated animals after emerging from wolves.
Photo: This photo provided by the Center for American Archaeology on Nov. 12, 2013 shows canine bones buried at the Koster site in Greene County, Ill.(AP Photo/Center for American Archaeology, Del Baston)
Harry Potter is still the most invisible of all, though.
More than two decades ago, Ryan Vincent had open brain surgery to remove a malignant brain tumor, resulting in a lengthy hospital stay and weeks of recovery at home. Recently, neurosurgeons at Houston Methodist Hospital removed a different lesion from Vincent’s brain through a tube inserted into a hole smaller than a dime and he went home the next day.
Gavin Britz, MBBCh, MPH, FAANS, chairman of neurosurgery at Houston Methodist Neurological Institute, used a minimally-invasive technique to remove a vascular lesion from deep within the 44-year-old patient’s brain, the first to use this technique in the region. Traditionally, vascular lesions or brain tumors that are located deep within the brain can cause damage just by surgical removal.
“With this new approach, we can navigate through millions of important brain fibers and tracts to access deep areas of the brain where these benign tumors or hemorrhages are located with minimal injury to normal brain,” said Britz. “Ryan’s surgery took less than an hour.”
Houston Methodist neurosurgeons Britz and David Baskin, M.D., director of the Kenneth R. Peak Brain & Pituitary Tumor Center, are using this “six-pillar approach” that encompasses the latest technology in minimally-invasive surgeries — mapping of the brain; navigating the brain like a GPS system; safely accessing the brain and tumor/lesion; using high-end optics for visualization; successfully removing the tumor without disrupting tissues around it; and directed therapy using tissue collected for evaluation that can then be used for personalized treatments.
The new surgical technique is used to remove cancerous and non-cancerous tumors, lesions and cysts deep inside the brain. This approach reduces risks of damage to speech, memory, muscle strength, balance, vision, coordination and other function areas of the brain.
This lamp absorbs 150 times more CO2 than a tree
It’s still in the “so crazy it just might work” stage, but these microalgae-powered lamps, invented by French biochemist Pierre Calleja, could absorb a ton of carbon from the air every year. That’s as much as 150 to 200 trees. [x]
Hearing Loops Give Music Back to Composer Who Went Deaf in a Day
Three years ago Richard Einhorn, an orchestra composer who reveled in the symphony and Broadway performances, went deaf – overnight.
"It was horrifying," said Einhorn, 61, who lives in New York City and had sensory neural hearing loss caused by a virus.
"One day, I felt like I had allergies, and my head was stuffed up and I couldn’t hear well and was dizzy," he said. "The next morning my head was spinning with total vertigo and raging tinnitus. I knew immediately I was deaf in my right ear."
Einhorn jumped out of bed and instantly fell to the floor. By the time he got to the hospital, it was too late – the damage to his inner ear had been done.
Today, he has lost 70 percent of his hearing in one ear. Einhorn said he can still use his training and “imagination” to compose, but hearing in theaters and other public places is next to impossible – even with a hearing aid — because of the background noise.
"To be blunt, it sucks," said Einhorn. "I go to a noisy restaurant and I literally can’t hear. It’s totally wiped out by the sound of all the noise around you."
But all that changed, when he saw a special production of “Wicked” at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., where hearing loops were installed.
The fossil gives researchers insight into the types of creatures that lived together at Dinosaur Cove during the Early Cretaceous period.
Scientists have discovered a “lost world” of unknown creatures in a remote rainforest perched on a giant boulder plateau in Queensland, Australia.
In an expedition bearing parallels to Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic novel, the team of biologists found three unidentified reptile species living on the upland plateau, which is accessible only by helicopter because of a “monstrous wall” of “millions of giant, piled up boulders the size of houses and cars”.
It is believed that the species have been isolated from their closest cousins for millions of years. “We’re talking about animals that are ancient” said Dr. Conrad Hoskin, from James Cook University.
Photo: CONRAD HOSKIN/AFP/Getty Images
A novel autism intervention program using theatre to teach reciprocal communication skills is improving social deficits in adolescents with the disorder that now affects an estimated one in 88 children, Vanderbilt University researchers released today in the journal Autism Research.
The newly released study assessed the effectiveness of a two-week theatre camp on children with autism spectrum disorder and found significant improvements were made in social perception, social cognition and home living skills by the end of the camp. There were also positive changes in the participants’ physiological stress and reductions in self-reported parental stress.
Called SENSE Theatre, the Social Emotional Neuroscience & Endocrinology (SENSE) program evaluates the social functioning of children with autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders.
Camp participants ages 8 to 17 years join with typically developing peers who are specially trained to serve as models for social interaction and communication, skills that are difficult for children with autism. The camp uses techniques such as role-play and improvisation and culminates in public performances of a play.
“The findings show that treatment can be delivered in an unconventional setting, and children with autism can learn from unconventional ‘interventionists’ – their typically developing peer,” said lead author Blythe Corbett, Ph.D., associate professor of Psychiatry.
Social perception and interaction skills were measured before and after the camp using neuropsychological measures, play with peers and parental reporting. Significant differences were found in face processing, social awareness and social cognition, and duration of interaction with familiar peers increased significantly over the course of the camp.
Additionally, the stress hormone cortisol was measured through saliva samples taken both at home and throughout the camp to compare the stress level of participants at home, at the beginning of the camp and at the end of the camp. Cortisol levels rose on the first day of camp when compared to home values but declined by the end of treatment and during post-treatment play with peers.
“Our findings show that the SENSE Theatre program contributes to improvement in core social deficits when engaging with peers both on and off the stage,” Corbett said. “This research also shows it’s never too late to make a significant difference in the lives of children and youth with autism spectrum disorder, as [this program] targets children who are much older than kids who are participating in early intervention, yet we are still seeing significant gains in the core deficits of autism, and in a rather brief intervention.”
This research was supported by the Martin McCoy-Jesperson Discovery Grant in Positive Psychology and a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (Grant No. R01 MH085717).
Corbett will continue using theatre techniques to study areas of social functioning among children with autism through a newly awarded grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (Grant No. R34 MH097793). This forthcoming study will explore treatment length and peer familiarity as factors in optimizing and generalizing gains and will enroll more than 30 youth with autism ages 8 to 16 in a 10-week program model beginning January 2014.
Scientists make breakthrough solar technology
In the near future, solar panels will not only be more efficient but also a lot cheaper and affordable for everyone, thanks to research by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) scientists.
Perovskite is known to be a remarkable solar cell material as it can convert up to 15 per cent of sunlight to electricity, close to the efficiency of the current solar cells, but scientists did not know why or how, until now.
In a paper published last Friday (18 Oct) in the world’s most prestigious academic journal, Science, NTU’s interdisciplinary research team was the first in the world to explain this phenomenon.
The team of eight researchers led by Assistant Professor Sum Tze Chien and Dr Nripan Mathews had worked closely with NTU Visiting Professor Michael Grätzel, who currently holds the record for perovskite solar cell efficiency of 15 per cent, and is a co-author of the paper. Prof Grätzel, who is based at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), has won multiple awards for his invention of dye-sensitised solar cells.
Around 60 animals and plants that are thought to be new to science have been discovered in the mountainous rainforests of south eastern Suriname.
B.C. firm finds way to mass produce telescopes that see billions of light years
If the inventors of a so-called game-changing telescope have their way, there will be a lot more discoveries about our solar system, galaxy and the universe.
The British Columbia firm Dynamic Structures has developed a new generation of telescopes that makes them financially feasible to build.
Company CEO Guy Nelson said Friday that many universities dream of having an observatory, but traditional telescopes require heavy mirrors supported by large observatories.
But using robots and the company’s new optical technology, Dynamic said it can mass produce light-weight mirrors with the ability to see millions, and even billions of light years away.
Dynamic Structures founder David Halliday said they’ve developed the 30 Metre Telescope that is able to take atmosphere away with a flexible lens, focusing on nothing but what the viewer wants to see.
"And behind that flexible lens you’ve got a series of actuators — which are little pistons that can move very, very rapidly, these pistons can change the shape of the surface," he explained.
In order for the telescope to get a reference point, a laser is sent into the sodium layer, creating a star of reference, he said.
"So you measure that, it gives you a wave and then through a giant mathematical model you reverse that, and make it even. Now you’ve got a straight line and that information, you poke that back into the servers that control the flexible mirror and if you control it properly, you take the atmosphere away," he said.
The company has always made telescopes, but over the last 20 years has used that technology for amusement rides.
Nelson said it started when Halliday and an engineer with the U.S. government collaborated on a project. That engineer later became the head of “imagineering” at The Walt Disney Company.
He said Dynamic was called in when the engineer thought the firm could solve a problem on one of its rides at Epcot Centre.
Halliday said they’re simply transferring their manufacturing ability, sharing it with academia and converting it into real solutions.
"Many times what happens is it stops at the academic level and you’d not be able to cultivate that into a practical, applied solution. That’s what we’re doing," he said.
The firm, which employees about 130 people in Port Coquitlam, B.C., has a backlog of about $100 million worth of amusement park rides to be exported to the U.S. and China. [x]
Doctors now have convincing evidence that they put HIV into remission, hopefully for good, in a Mississippi baby born with the AIDS virus — a medical first that is prompting a new look at how hard and fast such cases should be treated.
The case was reported earlier this year but some doctors were skeptical that the baby was really infected rather than testing positive because of exposure to virus in the mom’s blood.
The new report, published online Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine, makes clear that the girl, now 3, was infected in the womb. She was treated unusually aggressively and shows no active infection despite stopping AIDS medicines 18 months ago.
“At minimum, the baby is in a clear remission. It is possible that the baby has actually been cured. We don’t have a definition for cure as we do for certain cancers, where after five years or so you can be relatively certain the person is not going to go and relapse,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said.
(Photo: AP Photo/Johns Hopkins Medicine)
Up to 2.5 million patients with high blood pressure could in the future have a simple operation on an artery in the throat to treat the condition.