From the desk of Zedie.
Researchers have created a graphene-like material that generates electricity every time its stretched, and could power the wearable technology of the future.
Scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Columbia Engineering in the US have shown they can generate electricity from a layer of material that’s just one atom thick. The generator is made from molybdenum disulphide (MoS2), which is a clear, flexible and extremely light material that opens up huge possibilities for the future of electricity generation.
The new electrical generator is an example of piezoelectricity, or electricity that’s generated from pressure. Piezoelectric materials have huge potential to be used to create materials that can charge devices, such as footwear that powers an iPod. But until now, scientists have struggled to make these materials thin and flexible enough to be practical.
However, it’s been predicted that a substance capable of forming single-atom-thick molecules, or two-dimensional layers, would be highly piezoelectric.
To test whether MoS2 would be piezoelectric on the atomic scale, the team flaked off extremely thin layers of MoS2 onto a flexible substrate with electrical contact.
Because of the way these flakes were created, each had a slightly different number of layers – for example, while some were just one-atom-thick, others were eight-atoms-thick.
The scientists tested the piezoelectric response of these flakes by stretching the material, and measuring the flow of electrons into an external circuit.
Interestingly, they discovered that when the material had an odd number of layers, it generated electricity when stretched. But when it had an even number of layers, there was no current generated.
A single one-atom-thick layer of the material was able to generate 15 megavolts of electricity when stretched.
They also found that as the number of layers increased, the amount of current generated decreased, until eventually the material got too thick and stopped producing any electricity at all.
Computational studies suggest that this is because the atomic layers all have random orientations, and they eventually cancel each other out.
The research team also arranged these one-atom-thick layers of MoS2 into arrays, and found that together they were capable of generating a large amount of electricity.
This suggests that they’re a promising candidate for powering nano electronics, and could be used to create wearable technologies.
“This material – just a single layer of atoms – could be made as a wearable device, perhaps integrated into clothing, to convert energy from your body movement to electricity and power wearable sensors or medical devices, or perhaps supply enough energy to charge your cell phone in your pocket,” said James Hone, professor of mechanical engineering at Columbia engineering and co-leader of the research,
We’re saved! The CDC has now partnered with the FDA to approve a new medical treatment for Ebola, guaranteed to offer 100% protection against the coming pandemic. The new anti-Ebola drug is called “Vitamin D-Nial” and will be offered free of charge at all voting booths on November 4.
CDC director Thomas Frieden held a well-attended press conference this morning, announcing that “When it comes to Ebola, D-Nial is the answer!” He also promised to send thousands of CDC agents into the field, “armed with D-Nial” to halt the perception of the pandemic.
When asked why a CDC employee called “clipboard man” was recently seen walking around the airport tarmac right next to an infected Ebola patient surrounded by medical staffers in hazmat suits, Dr. Frieden simply answered that “D-Nial is the only Ebola protection anyone really needs.”
D-Nial is the answer to Ebola hysteria
Upon seeing the CDC’s astounding news, media outlets such as the New York Times immediately followed with front-page headlines like, “D-Nial is Answer to Ebola Hysteria!” and “America cheers for D-Nial!”
While taking credit for providing the research funding that resulted in the commercialization of D-Nial, the NIH also complained about the small size of its multi-billion-dollar budget which is sadly only larger than 153 world nations. “If we had been granted another billion dollars in research funding earlier,” NIH spokesperson Dr. Fauci explained, “We all could have achieved the power of D-Nial far sooner.”
In honoring the invention of Vitamin D-Nial, President Obama announced a plan to cover the drug free of charge for all Obamacare participants, calling it the “Obamacare Health Insurance D-Nial Plan.”
Offering further praise of D-Nial, President Barack Obama signed an executive order this morning declaring the month of November, 2014 to be “D-Nial Month.” During this month, the President said, “Americans should celebrate the power of D-Nial and the brilliant people who came up with it.” A Nobel Prize in Science is expected to be awarded, shortly after President Obama bombs another country or two in honor of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Vitamin D-Nial is administered rectally
Vitamin D-Nial is unfortunately administered rectally, but former TSA agents have been hired by Walgreens and CVS to deliver the medicine with experience and precision. The CDC is now preparing to plaster retail pharmacies with posters that declare, “Bend over for public health! Your dose of D-Nial is ready!”
Other patriotic posters in the planning stages will depict a line of smiling Americans bent over at the hips, saluting to the Con-mander in Chief while receiving their mandated doses, accompanied by the slogan, “My D-Nial saved my baby” and “When it comes to public health, nothing works as good as D-Nial.”
D-Nial might also work on superbugs
The inventors of D-Nial, a team of brilliant Big Pharma researchers who also invented ADHD and other fictional diseases, is now hopeful that D-Nial can be applied to many other potential health care challenges of our time.
“We think that D-Nial might also work to solve the problem of superbugs spreading through U.S. hospitals due to the medical abuse of antibiotics,” the researchers stated. “D-Nial has already proven itself to be such a powerful component of modern medicine that we see a wealth of applications across the industry.”
Vitamin D-Nial now takes its place among extraordinary government-funded medical discoveries such as the now-famous “Vitamin C Something Say Something” medicine invented by President Obama’s paranoia ministers.
A similar medical discovery expected to be announced later this year is reportedly called “Vitamin B Afraid of ISIS” whose sales will help fund the endless U.S. war effort against imaginary enemies that are used to frighten the American public into supporting a military surveillance state.
When it comes to solving problems with drugs, nothing beats government ingenuity. Because when times get tough, the one thing all U.S. government leaders have learned and mastered is that D-Nial is always the answer
Researchers from The Miriam Hospital have studied the effects of smoking during pregnancy and its impact on the stress response in newborn babies. Their research indicates that newborns of mothers who smoke cigarettes during pregnancy show lower levels of stress hormones, lowered stress response, and alterations in DNA for a gene that regulates passage of stress hormones from mother to fetus. The study and its findings have been published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.
“Our results suggest that these newborns may not be mounting adequate hormonal response to daily stressors. Their stress systems may not be prepared for the stressors of daily life,” says lead researcher Laura Stroud, Ph.D., of the Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine at The Miriam Hospital. “This may be particularly detrimental in babies born to mothers who lack resources and parenting skills and whose babies may encounter more daily stressors.”
National health statistics show that despite the warnings and known health risks, approximately one in 10 expectant moms in the United States continue to smoke during pregnancy, with higher rates among young, poor, and underserved moms. Babies born to smoking mothers are born smaller, are more likely to be premature, and are at greater risk for medical complications. Smoking during pregnancy is also associated with long-term behavioral and health problems in child and adult offspring, including asthma, behavior and attention problems, and nicotine addiction. However, biological mechanisms underlying short and long-term effects of smoking during pregnancy on offspring are not well understood.
“One possibility is alterations in stress hormones and epigenetic changes (chemical modifications) in DNA” Stroud says. “We were interested in stress hormones because alterations in stress hormones have been linked to both smoking and behavior problems and because maternal stress hormones during pregnancy exert potent long-term effects on offspring. In particular, we sought to investigate effects of smoking during pregnancy on the newborn stress hormone cortisol.” Cortisol is part of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenocortical system that works synergistically with the “fight flight” stress system.
Stroud also investigated the effects of smoking during pregnancy on DNA in the placenta, the temporary organ joining the mother and fetus during pregnancy. Stroud was interested in studying epigenetic changes, or chemical modifications that turn genes on and off, in DNA for the glucocorticoid receptor gene that regulates passage of cortisol from mother to fetus.
Stroud’s study included 100 mother-newborn pairs from a low-income, racially and ethnically diverse sample. Smoking in the mothers was examined through interviews that covered each day of pregnancy — with mothers’ reports confirmed by measuring nicotine levels. After babies were born, placentas were collected and DNA was analyzed for alterations in the glucocorticoid receptor. Newborns’ cortisol levels were measured during and after neurobehavioral exams (involving behavioral responses to different stimuli, reflex testing, and observation) conducted seven times over the first month of life.
Results showed that infants exposed to smoking showed lowered cortisol levels at baseline and in response to the neurobehavioral exam, a behavioral stressor. The lowered cortisol responses were consistent across seven behavioral exams over the first month of life. In addition, effects of smoking during pregnancy on infant cortisol and stress response were explained by alterations in DNA for a gene that regulates passage of cortisol from mother to fetus.
“Our results also suggest that effects of smoking during pregnancy on infant stress response are explained by changes in DNA,” Stroud says. “Because these DNA changes are epigenetic, there is a hopeful message that perhaps some of these changes could be undone by environment or medications.”
Stroud concludes, “These alterations in stress hormones, stress response, and DNA may explain links between moms’ smoking during pregnancy and the risk for their children to have behavior problems and nicotine addiction in later life. Our results offer one more reason for mothers to quit smoking, and also highlight the need for early intervention with babies born to mothers who smoke during pregnancy and the mothers themselves.”
- Laura R. Stroud, George D. Papandonatos, Daniel Rodriguez, Meaghan McCallum, Amy L. Salisbury, Maureen G. Phipps, Barry Lester, Marilyn A. Huestis, Raymond Niaura, James F. Padbury, Carmen J. Marsit. Maternal smoking during pregnancy and infant stress response: Test of a prenatal programming hypothesis. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2014; 48: 29 DOI:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2014.05.017
Scientists have figured out how to reprogram the blood of cancer patients to attack their leukaemia, and 19 of the 30 patients who received the treatment remain in complete remission.
A team of researchers led by immunotherapist Carl June from the University of Pennsylvania in the US has announced the results of a new treatment for leukaemia patients that turns their own blood cells against their disease.
The researchers chose to work with patients who were dealing with particularly aggressive cases of leukaemia. All of the participants in the study had cancers that had returned at least four times before.
According to Elizabeth Lopatto at the Verge, the treatment works by first having a patient’s T cells – a type of white blood cell that plays a crucial role in the body’s immune response – harvested through a blood transfusion process. These T cells are then engineered to seek out a particular protein called a B cell receptor, found on the surface of the patient’s B cells. B cells are another type of white blood cell that’s specifically targeted by leukaemia.
The patient’s altered T cells will then be transplanted back into their blood stream so they can start hunting B cell receptor proteins, and kill the leukaemia and the B cells they’re attached to.
Of course, this means that the patient’s entire supply of B cells will be wiped out by this treatment. Because the main role of B cells is to produce antibodies to fight anything that might threaten our bodies, including viruses and bacteria, the patients will be left extremely vulnerable until they can generate more. This is something that hospitals will need to be aware of if the treatment ends up being used more widely, but the benefit of this treatment is that it only has to be administered once for it to work.
According to the study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, of the 30 children and adults that received the treatment, complete remission was achieved in 27 patients (90 percent). Remission was sustained past the six-month point in 19 of the 30 patients. One of the early success stories is a nine-year-old girl called Emily Whitehead, who started the treatment when she was six. She’s been cancer-free now for two years.
“This is unlike almost all cell and gene therapies in that it’s actually ahead of the schedule we set for ourselves when we first started treating patients,” June told Lopatto at the Verge. “We pinch ourselves because, you know, until recently we didn’t know if we got lucky or if it would last. Our initial patients are still in remission, so we know it’s durable and reproducible. That’s something that makes us excited every day.”
The team is now working on easing the side effects of the treatment, which include fever, nausea, muscle pain and difficulty breathing.
Resembling a small space shuttle, the X-37B landed in southern California after 674 days in orbit on a secret mission
The plane spent nearly two years circling Earth on a classified mission. Known as the X-37B, it resembles a mini space shuttle.
It safely touched down at 9.24am Friday, officials at Vandenberg Air Force Base said.
Just what the plane was doing during its 674 days in orbit has been the subject of sometimes spectacular speculation.
Several experts have theorized it carried a payload of spy gear in its cargo bay. Other theories sound straight out of a James Bond film, including that the spacecraft would be able to capture the satellites of other nations or shadow China’s space lab.
In a written release announcing the return of the craft, the air force only said it had been conducting “on-orbit experiments”.
The X-37B program has been an orphan of sorts, bouncing since its inception in 1999 between several federal agencies, Nasa among them. It now resides under the air force’s rapid capabilities office.
The plane that landed Friday is one of two built by Boeing. This is the program’s third mission, and began in December 2012.
The plane stands 9.5ft tall and is just over 29ft long, with a wingspan under 15ft. It weighs 11,000lbs and has solar panels that unfurl to charge its batteries once in orbit.
The air force said it plans to launch the fourth X-37B mission from Cape Canaveral, Florida, next year.
Mercury is one of the most toxic heavy metals known to man and is categorized as one of the top 10 most dangerous chemicals by the World Health Organization.
Despite knowing the health risks associated with mercury for over 100 years, the toxic heavy metal is steadily finding its way into our systems in forms that could be prevented.
Dental amalgam fillings and seafood are the two most common sources of mercury exposure, with the fillings containing up to 50% mercury and the rest a combination of silver, tin and copper.
Due to these primary sources, one doctor says that more than 80% of his patients have tested positive for having elevated levels of mercury via hair, serum and/or urine testing.
After 20 years of testing, doctors found that 80% of their patients have elevated levels of mercury
Dr. David Brownstein is a board-certified family physician who specializes in holistic medicine and has lectured tirelessly about his success in using natural hormones and nutritional therapies in his practice.
He and his partners have spent the last 20 years testing nearly all of their patients for heavy metal levels, all of whom have shown that “mercury toxicity is alive and well in the 21st century.”
Recently, Brownstein presented at the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) in Austin, Texas. A group of 13 dentists who believed mercury fillings were hazardous formed IAMOT in 1984. Today, the organization has more than 700 active members, with affiliated chapters in 14 other countries. Its goal is to promote safe, non-toxic methods in dental care.
During a break at the conference, Brownstein was asked why he wasn’t more outspoken about the dangers of mercury. Brownstein thought his views on mercury were crystal clear, so he was actually shocked by the question. The inquiry led him to write a blog clarifying his views on mercury.
“Mercury is a poison with no known therapeutic value to the human body. Mercury is known to destroy the functioning of hundreds of enzymes in the body.
It is a neurotoxin that has been associated with a host of neurological and immune system disorders, such as depression, anxiety, seizures, autism, ADHD, Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s disease. We should all try to limit our exposure to mercury.”
The EPA estimates that about 120,000 dental offices in the U.S. use or dispose of amalgam fillings that contain mercury
Amalgam fillings, one of the main sources for mercury exposure, are responsible for releasing 28.5 tons of mercury into the environment each year, a figure Brownstein says the American Dental Association (ADA) should be ashamed of and held liable for. The ADA still backs mercury fillings 100%.
Any dentists who still use dental amalgam fillings should have his or her license revoked and doesn’t deserve your business, insists Brownstein. Claims that mercury fillings are inert, meaning no mercury will be released from the filling, has been disproven in http://www.optimaldental.com.au/upload/modules/file_storage/ASOMAT preliminary NHMRC submission Sept 97.pdf”>several studies.
“Every time you chew or expose the filling to hot food or drink, mercury is released as a vapor, which is quickly taken up by the body. Studies have clearly shown a direct correlation with the amount of mercury in the body and the number of mercury amalgam fillings.”
Brownstein recommends avoiding all mercury-containing flu shots as well, stressing that completely averting the metal can help protect your body and brain.
As mercury is so common in the environment, getting yourself tested for high mercury levels is a smart move, especially if you’re unknowingly suffering from illnesses caused by the metal.
Here is a link for finding a holistic healthcare provider who can help test and treat elevated mercury levels.
A new kind of solar cell could store electrical energy without any help from traditional batteries, according to a new study.
Researchers at Ohio State University, in Columbus, have developed what they’re calling the world’s first solar battery — a hybrid device that combines the energy-capturing abilities of a solar cell with the energy-storing capabilities of a battery.
The new cell could lower the cost of harvesting renewable energy from the sun by as much as 25 percent, according to the researchers. [Top 10 Craziest Environmental Ideas]
The key to the device’s success is a mesh solar panel that allows both sunlight and air to enter the cell. This porous material represents a departure from the solid semiconductor materials typically used to make solar cells. Allowing both light and oxygen into the cell enables the chemical reactions that typically occur inside a battery to occur within the solar cell itself.
“The state of the art is to use a solar panel to capture the light, and then use a cheap battery to store the energy,” lead researcher Yiying Wu, a professor of chemistry at Ohio State, said in a statement. “We’ve integrated both functions into one device. Any time you can do that, you reduce cost.”
But this innovative device can do more than just lower the cost of renewable energy, Wu said. It can also help solve a problem that’s been plaguing scientists for years: how to store energy from the sun without losing a lot of that energyin the process.
A loss of electricity naturally occurs within any solar cell when the electrons released by the cell’s semiconductor materials travel outside the cell and into a battery. Only about 80 percent of the electrons produced by solar cells successfully complete this journey. But the new solar cell is designed to ensure that 100 percent of the electrons captured find their way into a battery, the researchers said.
This high efficiency is possible because the conversion of sunlight to electric current isn’t happening inside the solar cell before being transferred to the battery. Since the battery is located inside the cell, electrons are not able to escape, the researchers said.
The hybrid solar cell-battery is made up of three electrodes, or materials that conduct electricity. The first electrode is the mesh solar panel (which is really a collection of solar cells), the second electrode is made of a thin sheet of porous carbon and the third electrode is a sheet of lithium metal. Between these three electrodes is an electrolyte that can shuttle charges back and forth.
When the battery is in use — a phase known as “discharge” — the lithium metal and porous carbon electrodes are connected to an external circuit. Lithium ions can then travel to the carbon electrode and form lithium peroxide. This chemical process drives an external electrical current, Wu told Live Science in an email.
To recharge the solar battery, light hits the mesh panel and generates electron-hole pairs, which can carry an electrical charge. One of the most important features of the device is that it uses added molecules, known as redox shuttle additives, to transfer these charges from the mesh solar panel to the lithium electrode, where they cause the lithium peroxide to decompose into oxygen and lithium ions.
The oxygen is released out of the cell, but the lithium ions, as well as electrical charges, are stored inside the battery in the lithium electrode, Wu said.
“Basically, it’s a breathing battery,” he said. “It breathes in air when it discharges, and breathes out when it charges.”
The researchers are still experimenting with other ways to improve the design of their solar battery, a project that is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Becoming a victim of dismemberment due to a car accident, time spent on the battlefield, or being born with a genital abnormality, can lead to grievous psychological complications throughout a man’s life. Researchers at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in North Carolina recognized the mental and emotional hurdles a man without a penis would lead with the possibility of gender identity loss and a self-conscious romantic life. After nearly 25 years of laboratory grown penis experiments, researchers have reached the safety stage and will soon be testing on human men.
“The rabbit studies were very encouraging,” Dr. Anthony Atala, a pediatric urological surgeon and the director of the Institute, who oversaw the team’s successful engineering of penises for rabbits in 2002 and 2008, told The Guardian. “But to get approval for humans we need all the safety and quality assurance data, we need to show that the materials aren’t toxic, and we have to spell out the manufacturing process, step by step.”
Atala began his work in 1992, specializing in treating children born with genital abnormalities. After finding success in the earlier stages of Atala’s penis project in 2002, he said it was not only impressive that they were able to reconstruct a penis, but a real medical milestone in tissue and organ engineering because the penis is one of the most complex organs they’ve attempted to engineer. His team already successfully created fully functional bladders in 1999, but the penis has several functions to complicate the process, unlike the bladder.
The penis is still unable to achieve an erection, which limits them from penetration and ultimately our most fundamental instinct: reproduction. But the function of a penis goes beyond the physical aspect and enters an important realm in a male’s mental perspective. Without a penis, a man can experience castration anxiety, which Sigmund Freud discussed in one of his earliest psychoanalytic theories based on the overwhelming fear of damage or loss of one’s penis. It’s typically caused by already existing penile damage that haunts a man throughout his life, even if it hasn’t limited his sexual reproduction.
With the alarming rate of mutilation to the U.S. troops in Afghanistan, it is of utmost importance a man reinstates his identity by having a penis despite its inability to achieve an erection. The number of U.S. soldiers who experienced severe genital wounds tripled in 2011, and the loss of one limb doubled from 2008 to 2010 because of an increase in improvised explosive devices (IED) used on the battlefield, according to the Army Times. One Marine, and undoubtedly many more, reported if he lost his manhood he wouldn’t want to live through it. This isn’t about just being able to have sex; this is ensuring men have the ability to identify their gender and to reinstate strength and masculinity after such a devastating loss.
“Our target is to get the organs into patients with injuries or congenital abnormalities,” said Atala, whose research is currently funded by the U.S. Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine with a long-term goal of providing penis regrowth procedures for soldiers sustaining battlefield injuries. However, his original passion stemmed from preventing newborn baby boys from being given a sex-change at birth due to being born with ambiguous genitalia. “Imagine being genetically male but living as a woman. It’s a firmly devastating problem that we hope to help with.”
Limitations Of Laboratory Penises
Currently, the method limits Atala’s team from providing female-to-male sex reassignment surgery because it requires a patient’s own penis-specific cells. These newly grown penises have only gone through testing with rabbits and are currently undergoing the safety, function, and durability testing to prepare them for human testing in the next five years. The penises are used with a donor penis and sanitized to expunge any donor cells and then the male patient’s own cells are grown in culture for four to six weeks and injected into the shaft — muscle and blood vessel cells and all. The trick is using a male’s own cells to dramatically decrease the risk of immunological rejection, which occurs when the body recognizes it as a foreign and dangerous invader.
“My concern is that they might struggle to recreate a natural erection,” Atala said. “Erectile function is a coordinated neurophysiological process starting in the brain, so I wonder if they can reproduce that function or whether this is just an aesthetic improvement. That will be their challenge.”
When first tested with genetically engineered penises in 2002, once the 18 rabbits recovered from their surgery, they attempted to have sex within 30 seconds of being placed in a cage with a female. Atala reported they were able to penetrate and produce sperm with their new generated penises, but at about the stamina and efficacy of a 60-year-old penis, versus their goal of a 30-year-old. Now with the advent of a nearly complete lab-generated penis, Atala and his team hope to achieve erections for sexual intercourse. What is the point of having a penis if you can’t fulfill the most fundamental and innate function of reproduction — arguably the reason for our existence?
“If we can engineer and replace this tissue, these men can have erections again,” said Dr. James Yoo, a collaborator of Atala’s at Wake Forest Institute, who is working on bioengineering and replacing parts of the penis to help treat erectile dysfunction. “As a scientist and clinician, it’s this possibility of pushing forward current treatment practice that really keeps you awake at night.”