Patrick Cox's Tech Digest

Quantitative Approaches Provide New Perspective on Development of Antibiotic Resistance

December 4, 2013

“If scientists can better understand how bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, the hope is that they can more easily design better and stronger antibiotics that work against even more bacteria. Recently, researchers at UC San Diego used quantitative analysis to study how various bacteria build resistance. Here’s the surprising discovery they made…”

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Hong Kong Gets First Case of Avian Flu Virus

December 4, 2013

“The New York Times reports Hong Kong has announced its first known case of Avian Flu. A 36-year-old Indonesian woman traveled from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, bought a chicken, slaughtered it and ate it. Upon her return to Hong Kong she began to show H7N9 (avian flu) symptoms. As the NYT reports, contact with poultry is believed to be the main transmission method of the H7N9 virus…”

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Scientists Find Brain Region That Helps You Make Up Your Mind

December 3, 2013

"Contrary to conventional wisdom, scientists and researchers today know little about the human brain compared to other organs. New research, for example, suggests that the tiny part of the brain called the lateral habenula, once thought to play a role in depression and avoidance behaviors, could actually drive cost-benefit decisions you make on a daily basis. Better understanding which parts of the brain drive specific actions holds enormous promise for a map of full cognitive function…"

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European Regulators Provide Boost to Cambridge Biotechs

December 3, 2013

"For small biotech firms with new treatments, the process of regulatory approval can be a minefield. In some cases, in fact, it makes sense for US-based companies to take their treatments abroad. Recently, one Boston-area biotech did just that, and received clearance and patent protection for a decade regarding its multiple sclerosis treatment…"

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Study Linking Genetically Modified Corn to Rat Tumors Is Retracted

December 3, 2013

"If scientists can better understand how bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, the hope is that they can more easily design better and stronger antibiotics that work against even more bacteria. Recently, researchers at UC San Diego used quantitative analysis to study how various bacteria build resistance. Here's the surprising discovery they made..."

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Already Anticipating “Terminator” Ethics

December 2, 2013

“Recently, a group of the world’s leading robotics researchers and experts met to discuss the latest breakthroughs. They also discussed the ethical questions facing the robotics industry. It’s been 50 years since Isaac Asimov suggested the idea of commanding robots to function ethically, and today determining exactly what that means is becoming more and more important given the rapid pace of progress in robotics research. The days of robots walking among us is nearly here…”

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Gene-Silencing Study Finds New Targets for Parkinson’s Disease

December 2, 2013

“National Institutes of Health researchers have located specific gene targets that could prove useful in developing new Parkinson’s Disease treatments. The scientists used a technique known as RNA interference or RNAi. This technology holds the promise to someday give doctors a way to target and ‘turn off’ certain genetic traits, potentially years before those traits become problematic for a patient…”

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FDA Issues Warning to 23andMe

December 2, 2013

“23andMe, the company known for its saliva-based DNA-testing service, recently received a warning letter from the Food and Drug Administration claiming the company can no longer market their services until they prove…”

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World’s Tiniest FM Transmitter Made from Graphene

November 27, 2013

“As you know, graphene manufacturing makes goods smaller, stronger, and more powerful. Recently, researchers used a strip of graphene less than 5 micrometers long to build the smallest FM transmitter…”

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How Clinical Guidelines Can Fail Both Doctors and Patients

November 27, 2013

“How can a physician stay current on the latest research, review available data, and still find time to give all their patients the attention they deserve? The truth is, most doctors cannot. They are sometimes forced to rely on ‘one size fits all’ guidelines that can change rather quickly. Here’s what that means in daily practice…”

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