Health

They’re alive! Harvested fruits and veggies respond to light cycles, study says

Publication: NBC News   Date: June 20, 2013   View Article

The fruits and vegetables lining grocery store shelves respond to light signals, according to a new finding that may have profound implications for how food is stored, when it is eaten and, ultimately, human health.

While biologists knew that certain cells in harvested crops keep living after they are picked from a tree, plucked from a vine, or pulled from the ground, the responsiveness of fruits and veggies to the daily cycle of light and dark is a surprise, said study co-author Janet Braam from Rice University.

“The idea that postharvest you could keep circadian rhythms going is new,” the cell biologist told NBC News. “And that it would have a consequence for the accumulation of certain types of metabolites, some of which may have relevance to human health” is also new.

Shoes could help charge artificial heart pumps

Publication: NBC News   Date: May 22, 2013   View Article

Cellphones, MP3 players and — one day — artificial heart pumps may get charged up as their owners walk or run around in a pair of electricity-generating shoes designed by college kids.

The shoes join a growing list of wearable energy-harvesting devices from a knee brace, and backpack to other shoes envisioned as a way to keep gadgets carried by everyone from soldiers in the field to kids on the go supplied with electricity.

Student program wins $100K prize for health innovations for developing world

Publication: NBC News   Date: May 1, 2013   View Article

Getting the correct dose of liquid medicine into a syringe is a challenge — just ask any parent treating a toddler’s fever at 3 am. Enter the DoseRight Syringe Clip, a seemingly simple L-shaped plastic gizmo that fits into the barrel of a standard oral syringe to ensure accurate dosages. It was designed by students, and will likely save lives.

The gadget is the brainchild of Rice University’s Beyond Traditional Borders, an engineering design initiative established and run by bioengineering professors Rebecca Richards Kortum and Maria Oden with the goal of developing and improving access to health innovations for the world’s poorest communities. On Wednesday, they were honored with the $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Award for Global Innovation.

17-year-old builds protein decoder tool to help cure cancer

Publication: NBC News   Date: March 13, 2013   View Article

A new class of drugs may soon be developed to treat everything from breast and ovarian cancer to tuberculosis, thanks to a 17-year-old’s system for declassifying the interactions between two types of proteins.

Johah Kallenbach, a high school senior at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pa., won second place and a $75,000 scholarship Tuesday at the Intel Science Talent Search, an elite science fair, for his development of the computer program.

Global warming to make work miserable, study says

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 24, 2013   View Article

Hot and muggy weather over the past few decades has led to about a 10 percent drop in the physiological capacity of people to do their work safely and those drops will be even greater as the climate continues to warm, a new study finds.

People may continue to work in the hot and muggy conditions, “but their misery will increase while they are productive,” John Dunne, a research oceanographer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Princeton, N.J., told NBC News.

Mini microscopes see inside the brains of mice

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 20, 2013   View Article

Mini microscopes embedded into the brains of genetically engineered mice are providing researchers a window onto the inner workings of the mammalian mind.

The tool provides an unprecedentedly wide field of view on the mouse brain – in one mouse, for example, the team recorded the firing of more than 1,000 individual neurons – and it can record for weeks on end, allowing scientists to study how brain activity evolves over time.

Software may help predict cholera outbreaks

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 4, 2013   View Article

New software under development aims to stop history from repeating itself by using old news and related data to warn of pending trouble in time to take corrective action.

The system could, for example, help international aid agencies assess the likelihood of a cholera outbreak in time to treat a population with a limited-duration cholera vaccine, explained Kira Radinsky, a researcher at Technion-Israel.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach