A start-up reimagining e-bikes

Founded by two IIT-Madras alumni, Ather Energy hopes to build “ground up” an electric bike designed and manufactured in India

The office of Ather Energy, a startup incubated at IIT-Madras Research Park in Taramani, typifies the spirit of its young and restless workers: a dartboard at a corner has sustained heavy damage; there is a mini chaos of papers in almost all the cubicles; there are plenty of sudden huddles; and some of the employees even leave their wallets lying around.

And at the entrance, one can almost miss the prototype e-bike that the team has been working on for more than a year now.

The Ather Energy team that is building an e-bike at the IIT-Madras Research Park in Chennai. Photo: Karthik Subramanian

There is no dearth of intensity with the team of 17 engineers in their attempt to re-imagine the electric bike for Indian conditions. The founders – Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain – both alumni of the IIT-Madras’s Department of Engineering Design, and their team are currently riding the high of having received a 1 million US dollar seed funding from Flipkart founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal.

“Our intention is to build a zero compromise electric bike that will compete with the best petrol scooters in the market,” says Tarun Mehta. “The electric scooters that have so far been sold here have all been puny and have been marketed in the space in between a cycle and the low-end motor cycle. But we believe there is a market for a really well engineered product.”

Prof.R.Krishna Kumar of the Engineering Design department of IIT-Madras, who has mentored Ather Energy, says the startup is unique in its ambition. “They are not simply assembling an electric bike with components that are available off the shelf. This is a systematic attempt at creating a product through rigorous mathematical modelling. They are working on every important component – from battery management system to ‘ride comfort’ to handling.”

Big change is in battery

One of the big changes that the team is bringing to the electric scooter is in its battery pack. While most electric scooters in the market so far have used Lead-Acid batteries, the team at Ather Energy is trying to use a Lithium Ion battery commonly found in laptops. (The founders has applied for a patent for a new Lithium Ion battery pack.) There has been a company that has used Lithium Ion battery in the Indian market before but they have imported the battery pack. Ather plans to get the battery packs assembled in India.

Ather’s efforts come at a time when the sale of electric scooters has been on the decline in the country.The number of electric scooters that were sold in the country has dropped from close to one lakh units in 2009 to just 20,000 last year.

This is where both Tarun and Swapnil see the big opportunity. “We did a research before launching Ather Energy on the reasons for the failure of the electric scooter. We met people who had purchased electric scooters and asked them what their biggest grouse with the vehicle were. Most of them said the battery pack had failed, and they also complaints about the performance. Nobody wants to be on a scooter at a traffic signal and then watch other vehicles whiz past. This is where we presented our proposition for a powerful vehicle, with good pickup, shorter charging time and better comfort. We even got 25 pre-orders and the Rs.Six lakhs we received was the start to our company,” 25-year-old Tarun says.

Both Tarun and Swapnil, class mates from IIT-Madras, quit their jobs in different automobile companies after just six months on the line, in March 2013, and Ather Energy was formally incubated at the IIT-M Research Park in November that year. They had received a first round of funding in February this year from The Technology Development Board and another IIT alumni and founder of Aerospike Srini V.Srinivasan.

Another Chennai-based startup Termsheet, which provides standardised legal documents to startups for seed round funding, helped Ather secure its deal with the Bansals in quick time.

Move to Bangalore

The Ather team, which so far leveraged the ecosystem that Chennai had to offer in terms of prototype building or its rich heritage of automobile spare-parts manufacturing, will soon be shifting to a bigger office in Bangalore. A small team will still work out of Chennai, but Tarun says being closer to the scooter manufacturing hub of Hosur will help to roll out their e-bike by end of 2015 or first half of 2016.

For now, those interested in getting a feel of where Ather Energy is headed can log on to http://www.atherenergy.com and sign up for test rides. The team plans to get one of their new running prototypes for the test rides within the next few months.


The Hangover Cure: 6 Best Ways To Feel Like A Person Again, Backed By Research.

Woman having a headache and holding ice bag
Filled with head-pounding and body-aching regret the morning after drinking? Try these research-based hangover cures — from drinking Sprite to eating asparagus — to alleviate symptoms.

A few of us have, at one point or another, shamelessly downed one too many drinks in a single night out on the town. Unforgettable memories (or lack of) usually follow that night of drinking beer, wine, or spirits — along with the dreaded hangover the morning after. While the only way to cure a hangover is to drink in moderation, or avoid getting one altogether, there are a few hangover remedies to ease the head-pounding, body-aching regret we feel the next day.

Since more than 75 percent of people who’ve had alcohol have experienced a hangover and missed work due to one, it is essential to know how to tackle the alcohol-induced pain. To avoid hangover-related poor job performance and to ace your board room meeting the next morning, it’s best to sober up the smart way. To separate fact from fiction when it comes to folk wisdom of hangovers, add these scientifically-proven cures that have helped some of us get through college and will hopefully continue to help us get through life:

1. Water

During or after a night of excessive drinking, most of us will turn to water to quench our thirst, since our body is absolutely parched. While the thought of putting more liquid into your body may sound revolting, water can actually help. Typically, the negative symptoms of alcohol derive from the dehydration of the body.

Aicacia Young, a Registered Dietitian in Austin, Texas, and founder at Climb Healthy, believes water can lessen the severity of headaches, fatigue, nausea, and confusion. “Rehydrating before you go to sleep can help lessen the blow the next morning,” Young toldMedical Daily in an email. Rehydrating will allow us to be more equipped to tackle the symptoms.

2. Sprite

Ironically, chugging on sweet, caffeine-free soda, may provide much solace during a hangover. In a 2013 study published in the journal Food and Function, Chinese researchers found the drink helps the body better metabolize alcohol by speeding up our ability to process aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), believed to be the culprit for hangover symptoms. Contrary to popular belief, the study also found herbal and other supplements actually have pharmacological activities that both harm and benefit our health. Sipping on herbal tea may slow down the ALDH process and could possibly prolong the hangover.

3. Ginger or Peppermint Tea

Although the previous study found Sprite may be more effective than herbal teas, other studies suggest sipping on ginger or peppermint tea is the perfect soothing brew for hangover-related nausea and stomachaches. A 2003 study published in the American Journal of Physiology and a 2008 study published in Prescrire International both found the teas can reduce nausea and motion sickness when used appropriately. Green tea is also known to be helpful to the liver, as EGCG (Epigallocatechin galate) has been shown to stimulate key detoxification pathways.

4. Asparagus

While the spring vegetable may not be the food craving we have after a few drinks, asparagus may actually protect our body from booze. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Food Science found the amino acids in asparagus improves the speed of how human cells break down alcohol, which can prevent some of the long-term damage from alcohol’s toxic byproducts, such as hydrogen peroxide. It is the biological functions of asparagus that can help alleviate alcohol hangover, while protecting liver cells.

5. Bananas and Pretzels

This may seem like a peculiar combination but eating pretzels and bananas can cure a hangover. These foods high in salt and potassium content, respectively, are the way to go.Alyssa Cellini, nutritionist in Bridgewater, N.J., suggests eating these two foods because they are good sources to prevent further dehydration. “[B]oth salt and potassium are electrolytes, that hold onto water to decrease dehydration,” she told Medical Daily in an email. “[A]dding in natural electrolytes that ALSO come with carbohydrates (which are depleted during the liver-detoxing) will make for one less step to feeling better.” Cellini reminds us alternative sources of electrolytes are anything that contains salt and potassium.

6. Coffee and an Aspirin

The most predictable and simple combination has actually been proven to work. A 2010study published in the journal PlOS ONE found caffeine in coffee and the anti-inflammatory ingredients of aspirin and other painkillers, reacted against the chemical compounds of ethanol, or pure alcohol. Ethanol is know to bring on headaches due to the chemical acetate. Cellini cautions, “coffee further dehydrates you and is acidic, but it will force adrenaline up which will give you a false energy boost.” It’s best to take precaution when it comes to drinking coffee and painkillers together.

Bonus tip:

Cellini’s recommended hangover cure, the “pH Shot,” contains: kale(1 cup) + lemon (1/2 without rind) + ginger root(thumb size) + 1/4 cucumber + 1/4 cup pineapple + 3oz water. She then recommends to blend that up for antioxidant and gastrointestinal inflammation.

These six scientifically-proven hangover cures will help alleviate the negative symptoms of alcohol for the morning after, so you’ll be on your way to feeling like a person again.

10 benefits of the raw food diet.

Let’s get right into it shall we?


1) Reduced risk of cancer.

A review of medical literature from 1994 to 2003 concluded that the increased consumption of raw vegetables reduced the risk of cancer by a greater degree than the consumption of cooked vegetables. (1)

2) Decreased bad cholesterol levels.

A 2005 study found that consuming a lot of raw fruits and vegetables (about 70% of the diet) notably reduced the blood concentration of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, which promote health problems and cardiovascular disease. (2)

3) Increased beta-carotene levels.

Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that boosts immunity and protects our cells. A German study from 2007 found that a strict raw food diet increases beta-carotene blood levels considerably. (3)

4) Reduced obesity and hypertension.

A study on the impact of raw food diets on obesity and hypertension found that high raw food consumption can help people lose weight and lower their blood pressure. (4)

5) Less pain.

Low salt, raw vegan diets were found to reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia, which refers to long-term body-wide pain and tenderness. (5)

6) Lessened symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

In a 1998 study, raw vegan probiotic rich diets were shown to have positive effects on the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, while returning to an omnivorous diet aggravated these symptoms. (6)

7) Reduced vulnerability to allergies.

Based on the premise that farmers’ children are less susceptible to allergies, a 2006 study found that the consumption of raw milk greatly reduced allergic sensitivity in children. (7)

8) Enzymes help digestion.

Weston-Price Foundation research concluded that enzymes that are released by chewing raw vegetables can assist digestion by staying in the upper stomach for about 30 minutes, before being moved to the lower stomach where they are destroyed. (8)

9) Supports women’s health.

A 2003 study from Germany found a positive correlation between raw vegetable based diets and a reduced incidence of breast cancer. These effects were not observed in cooked vegetable diets. The scientists speculated that phytonutrients that are vulnerable to heat may be responsible for the health benefits. (9)

10) Happier, longer life.

A pilot study at a raw vegan institute found that people tend feel happier and more emotionally stable after consuming raw foods and associating with other healthy raw vegans. (10)

Sources for this article include:

1) http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/13/9/1422.full
2) http://jn.nutrition.org/content/135/10/2372.long
3) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18028575
4) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4012382?dopt=Abstract
5) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11093597
6) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9566667
7) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16751000
8) http://www.realmilk.com/enzyme.html
9) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14690788
10) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18534324

The 20 Best and Worst Health News Stories of 2014 .

Wins, fails, and sensational headlines in medicine and public health

As far as sensational headlines go, the past 12 months provided no shortage of health-related material. Of course, 2014 had its share of doom-and-gloom stories about depression, domestic violence, untimely deaths, and disease outbreaks (at home and abroad), to name a few. But it also gave us reasons to celebrate: Promising new discoveries and legislation, inspiring role models and worthy causes, and healthy trends that are improving lives and changing the future. Here, in a nutshell, are the best and worst health stories of the year.

Despite its rocky beginnings in 2013 (and the fact that many Americans still don’t understand it), the Affordable Care Actachieved several of its major goals in its first year, according to a study published in July by the Commonwealth Fund. The report found that the number of uninsured Americans dropped by 25% and that most people like their new plans and find it easier to find a doctor.

Separate studies this year also found that the ACA, also known as Obamacare, has helped young adults receive mental health treatment and could potentially lead to a decline in deaths.

Worst: Ebola outbreak in Africa (and freakout in America)

By far the biggest and most devastating health story this year has been the thousands of West Africans sickened and killed by the Ebola virus, which hit the areas of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone particularly hard.

And although the virus can only be spread through contact with bodily fluids—and despite the fact that no American has yet contracted Ebola who has not spent time treating patients with the disease—that didn’t stop hysteria in the United States. Amid calls for a travel ban and anger directed toward doctors and nurses returning home from Africa, mental health experts stated in October that anxiety about Ebola was now a bigger threat than the virus itself.

Best: Medical devices lose some of their stigma

Women who enter beauty pageants and pose for Internet selfies are often seen as vain and materialistic, but in 2014 two women fought to dispel those notions, while at the same time showcased health conditions that aren’t often seen as beautiful.

In July, Miss Idaho contestant (and eventual winner) Sierra Sandison wore an insulin pump she uses to treat her Type 1 diabetes clipped to her swimsuit during a competition. One month earlier, UK resident and Crohn’s disease sufferer Brittany Townsend had shared her own bikini photo on Facebook, complete with the colostomy bags she needs to remove waste from her body. Both photos went viral, sending messages that women like Sandison and Townsend don’t have to be ashamed.

Worst: Measles outbreak fueled by anti-vaccinators

The CDC reported in May that measles cases in the United Stateswere at a 20-year high so far this year, largely due to unvaccinated people who contracted disease while traveling abroad and then returned home and spread it among unvaccinated members of their communities.

The number of parents who choose not to vaccinate their children in the United States is growing, despite a scientific consensus that childhood vaccines are safe and don’t cause serious health problems like autism or leukemia. Unvaccinated children have also contributed to recent outbreaks of whooping cough and mumps.

Best: CVS stops selling cigarettes; FDA limits e-cigs

Customers can no longer pick up cigarettes along with their prescriptions at CVS pharmacies, thanks to a ban in all stores implemented in September—four weeks earlier than the date the chain had originally announced. Carnival Cruise lines also jumped on the bandwagon this year, banning smoking on its stateroom balconies in October.

E-cigarettes have seen plenty of regulations this year as well. In April, the FDA proposed regulations to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors and to include health warnings on their packages, and in August, the World Health Organization recommended that countriesregulate electronic cigarettes and ban their indoor use.

Worst: Enterovirus outbreak hits children nationwide

At last count, a severe respiratory illness called Enterovirus D68 has been reported in 43 states and the District of Columbia. More than 500 cases have been confirmed across the United States, mostly children, with four suspected deaths (and one confirmed).

ED68 has been described as a polio-like illness that can cause paralysis. Most infected children recover without serious illness, but those with lung conditions like asthma are at increased risk for severe symptoms.

Best: Orthorexia gets mainstream coverage

Being a diligently healthy eater may seem like a good problem to have, but a prominent blogger showed fans this year what can happen when it’s taken to an unhealthy extreme. Jordan Younger, also known as The Blonde Vegan, announced to her readers in June that she was moving away from her strict vegan lifestyle because she’d developed an eating disorder called orthorexia—an obsession with healthy foods that leads to more and more restrictions and, potentially, malnourishment.

Worst: Domestic violence rears its ugly head

The topic of domestic violence made national headlines this year when then-NFL player Ray Rice punched his then-fiancee (now wife) in an elevator; investigations since then have uncovered many more instances of spousal or partner abuse among professional football players, and cover-ups among their teams.

But a survey released in September revealed that one in five American men admits to using violence against his spouse or partner, and that domestic abuse affects people of all professions, races, and classes. A study in April also found that domestic violence can cause fear and anxiety for children who witness it, hear it, or see the resulting injuries.

Best: Science gets wise to the dangers of sugar, white bread

Doctors and nutritionists have known for decades that added sugar is linked to diabetes and heart disease, but a study published in February really hammered home just how dangerous it can be: The average American diet contains enough added sugar to increase the risk of heart-related death by nearly 20%, reported researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The health risks of white bread were exposed this year, as well: People who eat two or more servings of the refined stuff a day are more likely to become overweight or obese than those who eat less or who favor whole-grain bread, according to a Spanish study presented in May.

Worst: ‘Biggest Loser’ winner reveals shocking weight loss

When The Biggest Loser contestant Rachel Frederickson surprised viewers with her 155-pound weight loss during the show’s Season 15 finale, not everyone was pleased. Viewers expressed alarm on social media about Frederickson being too skinny, and even the show’s trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels were visibly shocked at her transformation.

Frederickson has since gained back 20 pounds and found her ’perfect weight,’ but the incident seems to have had at least one permanent impact: In April, People reported that Michaels wanted to distance herself from the show because of concern for the participants’ health and wellbeing, and in June, NBC announced that Michaels would not be returning. The celebrity trainer later revealed that the show’s producers weren’t willing to make certain changes she’d requested to the show’s format.

Best: Food labels are changing for the better

The “nutrition facts” box on food packages should soon become easier to understand, thanks to a makeover first proposed by the Food and Drug Administration in February. Under the new guidelines, serving sizes will be more straightforward, calorie counts highlighted more prominently, and “daily values” for nutrients will be revised.

Some food companies have spoken out against part of the proposal that would require “added sugars” to be included on nutrition labels, but a Change.org petition submitted by the American Heart Association in November showed that public support for the measure is still strong.

It’s not yet clear if or when these measures will be put into place, but one major food-label change did happen in 2014: Beginning in August, foods can only be labeled gluten-free if they truly are free of gluten—a major win for anyone with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

Worst: Smartphones and social media are making us sick

We can’t live without it—but more and more research is suggesting that if we’re not careful, personal technology can really mess with our health. Facebook makes us jealous of our friends and self-conscious of our bodies, texting gives us bad posture, and just having a smartphone in the same room can affect our parenting skills.

No one’s quite figured out the solution to these problems yet, but people are certainly trying; there’s no shortage of writers going on‘digital detoxes’ and reporting back what they’ve learned. Meanwhile, a new technology-related health risk surfaced this year, as well: Apaper published in October describes a man who became addicted to Google Glass.

Best: Ice Bucket Challenge raises millions for ALS

You probably got tired of seeing the videos in your Facebook feed, but the truth is they worked: Since the Ice Bucket Challengeexploded onto the social-media scene in July, ALS nonprofits and research organizations have received more than $100 million in donations.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a fatal neurodegenerative disease with no cure, but ALS researchers are hoping to change that. Nancy Frates, whose son Pete dreamed up the Ice Bucket Challenge after his own ALS diagnosis in 2012,recently shared in a TED Talk how clinical trials have been fast-tracked thanks to funding from the Challenge.

Worst: Robin Williams commits suicide after Parkinson’s diagnosis

America lost one of its most beloved actors in August when Robin Williams took his own life after years of struggling with depression. After his death, Williams’ wife revealed he had also recently beendiagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and an autopsy revealed his brain showed signs of Lewy Body Disease, a form of dementia that can cause hallucinations and concentration problems.

Although it’s not confirmed that these conditions played a role in Williams’ suicide, his death has shed light on several disorders that are often linked and frequently misdiagnosed or understood.

Best: Ninja warrior, curvy ballerina become unlikely fitness stars

When it comes to athlete role models, girls now have more than just soccer players and ice skaters to look up to. In July, Kacy Catanzarobecame the first female contestant to reach the finals of NBC’s fitness competition American Ninja Warrior. Catanzaro made the challenging course look easy, and her victory sparked a #MightyKacy Twitter hashtag that trended worldwide.

Then in August, UnderArmour introduced us to its newest spokesperson, American Ballet Theater soloist Misty Copeland. The brand’s first commercial starring the dancer—about how she triumphed over negativity after being told she lacked the right body and was too old to become a ballerina—has more than 6 million views on YouTube, and has been called stunning, mesmerizing, and jaw-dropping.

Worst: Joan Rivers’ death raises questions about surgery safety

Comedian Joan Rivers was known for her irreverent humor, her biting fashion critiques, and perhaps most famously, her self-proclaimed obsession with plastic surgery. She went under the knife frequently, always pushing the boundaries of what it meant to age healthfully and happily.

But when the 81-year-old stopped breathing during what should have been a routine throat procedure in September (her family eventually took her off life support), her death sparked a new controversy: whether her doctors were to blame—especially after it was suggested that her surgeon took a selfie with an unconscious Rivers before the operation. In November, TMZ reported that staff members did not weigh Rivers before sedating her, potentially giving her too much medication.

Best: ‘Angelina effect’ increases rates of genetic testing

Actress Angelina Jolie made headlines in 2013 when she had apreventative double mastectomy after testing positive for the BRCA1 gene. But the effects of her decision had wide implications in the months that followed. In September, Canadian cancer researchersrevealed that the number of women seeking genetic counseling and testing at their center rose dramatically after Jolie’s announcement.

Although cancer doctors caution that not every woman should be tested, most agree that extra education and awareness is certainly a good thing. Luckily, the increase in genetic testing is coming from women who actually do have a higher risk for breast cancer, and who will get the most benefit from what they might learn.

Worst: Antibiotics still being overprescribed

Despite warnings to physicians about the overuse of antibiotics, the drugs are still being prescribed when they’re not needed. Pediatricians, for example, dole out antibiotics twice as often as needed for throat and ear infections, found a study published in September. Researchers also discovered this year that doctors are more likely to prescribe unnecessary antibiotics later in the afternoon, as their decision-making skills wear down throughout the day.

Regardless of when it’s happening, the consequences could be deadly: Misuse of antibiotics fuels the growth of drug-resistant bacteria, reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in March, as it outlined new recommendations to keep the drugs from being overused in hospitals.

Best: Air quality is improving in U.S. cities

The Environmental Protection Agency shared some good news in August: The air in American cities has become significantly cleaner since 1990, with major reductions in levels of mercury, benzene, and lead. About 3 million tons per year of pollutants have also been reduced from cars and trucks, as well.

More good news for your lungs: in November, the United States announced a climate change agreement with China that aims to cut both countries’ greenhouse gas emissions by nearly a third over the next 20 years. In announcing the deal, President Obama said he hopes other nations will be inspired to make positive environmental changes, as well.

Worst: Internet flips out over Renee Zellweger’s face

As far as celebrity scandals go, Renee Zellweger’s appearance on the red carpet in October shouldn’t be anywhere near the top of this year’s list, but you’d never know it judging by the reactions she received on Twitter and in the media.

The 45-year-old actress attended an awards ceremony meant to honor the work of talented women in Hollywood, but all anyone could talk about was how different her face looked and whether she’d had plastic surgery or just, well, gotten old. Zellweger spoke out the following week, telling People that she’s glad people noticed her new look, adding, “I am healthy. For a long time I wasn’t doing such a good job with that.”

Insect-eating bats implicated as Ebola outbreak source

Tree in Guinea harbored suspects in infection of first victim

A hollow tree

GROUND ZERO  This hollow tree once housed insect-eating bats that may have been the source of the Ebola epidemic. The first person to contract Ebola in the outbreak was a toddler who often played in the tree.

The epicenter of the Ebola epidemic may be a hollow tree in Guinea.

A 2-year-old boy named Emile Ouamouno, who is thought to be the first person to contract Ebola in this outbreak, often played with other children in the hollow tree near his home in the village of Meliandou, Guinea. That tree was inhabited by small insect-eating free-tailed bats of a species (Mops condylurus) that previous research has suggested may harbor Ebola, Fabian Leendertz of the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin and colleagues report December 30 in EMBO Molecular Medicine.


Breakthrough of the Year: The top 10 scientific achievements of 2014

Each year, Science’s editors choose a singular scientific achievement as Breakthrough of the Year. Past winners have included the discovery of the Higgs boson, cancer immunotherapy, and the first quantum machine. This year’s winner captured the world’s attention and reminded us of the immense scope of human scientific accomplishment—as well as how far we have yet to go. Below we briefly summarize the winner and runners-up and link to the expanded stories, with references, in the magazine, which are freely available.


The Rosetta mission lands on a comet

Europe’s most ambitious space mission captured the public’s imagination with a series of hard-won pictures, beamed to Earth from a place beyond Mars. Rosetta’s continuous orbit around comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is helping scientists figure out how life began on Earth—and heralds a new age of comet science.


The birth of birds

It took a lot to turn lumbering cousins of Tyrannosaurus rex into agile hummingbirds and graceful swans. This year, evolutionary biologists figured out the mode and tempo of this spectacular evolutionary transition.*

Using young blood to fight old age

In work with profound implications for aging, researchers showed that blood from a young mouse can rejuvenate an old mouse’s muscles and brain. If the results hold up in people—an idea already in testing—factors in young blood could help fight the ravages of aging in people.

Robots that cooperate

Robots are getting better all the time at working with humans, but this year several teams demonstrated that these machines can also work together without our supervision, an important first step in their path to eventual world domination.

Chips that mimic the brain

Computer engineers rolled out the first large-scale “neuromorphic” chips, designed to process information similarly to living brains. Why? Unlike computers, human brains are good at tackling tasks that integrate massive amounts of data, like vision. These brainlike chips could transform the way computers handle complex jobs, revolutionizing machine vision and environmental monitoring.

The world’s oldest cave art

Scientists discovered prehistoric graffiti on Sulawesi Island in Indonesia that’s at least 40,000 years old, potentially usurping Europe as the location of the world’s oldest cave art. The finding could rewrite the history of a key stage in the development of the human mind.

Cells that might cure diabetes

Researchers have reported a significant step toward finding a cure for diabetes. They’ve figured out how to turn human stem cells into functional pancreatic β cells—the same cells that are destroyed by the body’s own immune system in type 1 diabetes patients.

Manipulating memories

If you think you can rely on your memories, think again. Last year, scientists figured out how to manipulate specific memories in mice by zapping their brains with laser beams. This year, they managed to change the actual emotional content of memories, turning good memories bad, and vice versa.

Rise of the CubeSat

A decade ago, CubeSats were just educational tools. Now, a record-breaking number of these 10-centimeter boxes, built with off-the-shelf technology and costing hundreds of thousands of dollars rather than hundreds of millions, have been launched into space—and they’re starting to do real science.

Giving life a bigger genetic alphabet

All life on Earth as we know it encodes genetic information using four DNA letters: A, T, G, and C. Not anymore! Researchers have created new DNA bases in the lab, expanding life’s genetic code and opening the door to creating new kinds of microbes.

People’s choice

From (lots of) official meetings to a suggestion jar in the office kitchen, Science spends a lot of time choosing each year’s Breakthrough. This year, we wanted to give you a say, too! After 35,676 total votes and two rounds of voting, “Giving life a bigger genetic alphabet” won the people’s choice for Breakthrough of the Year! Click through to see the rest of the results.

watch the video.URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3o9rsq3TYQk

Neuroscientist Exposes Dangers of Electromagnetic Fields

‘Neuroscience has come under scrutiny for its involvement in an array of mind control initiatives and other ethically questionable research. But at least one neuroscientist from Sweden has gone on record to caution against the increasing dangers of Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) on human beings and other living organisms, as you will see in the presentation

Our modern world is creating an electromagnetic soup filled with electrical pulses, radio frequencies, computer screens, wireless signals, as well as personal devices such as cell phones and gadgets that are emitting damaging radiation. There are many peer-reviewed scientific studies which are drawing conclusions that should concern us all, but particularly young children and pregnant women. In fact, the debate is heating up to such a level that government agencies are even infighting over the matter, as evidenced when the Department of the Interior recently sent a letter with their own scientific papers chastising the FCC for using standards that are 30 years out of date. As the DOI stated, the concern is not only in the negative health effects upon people, but upon wildlife as well.

Please listen to Professor Olle Johansson, PhD as he offers a comprehensive view of the many issues surrounding EMFs, including an industry-wide attempt by telecom to cover up the negative consequences. His information is echoed by the recent reversal of a ruling in Maine which had everything to do with industry pressure and influence. Professor Johansson also addresses what we can do to protect ourselves and our environment from the impact of EMFs.’

watch the video. URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=I5udG8OCZWY

Superfoods that strengthen the immune system


From the desk of Zedie.

Gates’ Human experimentation with GM bananas in Africa condemned by scientists

‘At least 124 food and outreach organizations, as well as 26 individual scientists, have signed onto a letter sent to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation protesting ongoing human trials of genetically modified (GM), beta-carotene-enriched bananas intended for Africa.

The GM bananas, which never underwent animal trials, are currently being administered to 12 students attending Iowa State University (ISU), presumably without full disclosure as to the many unknown risks involved.

According to the letter, the trials are taking place under the guidance of Dr. Wendy White, an associate professor of food science and human nutrition. Funding for the trials came from a grant issued by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.’


Immunotherapy, Ovarian Cancer Treatment Top List of 2014 Cancer Developments .

Immunotherapy, treatments for ovarian cancer, and investigating game-changing drug therapies topped the list of the most important cancer research and clinical developments at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in 2014.

Here are some highlights from the last year in research:

Hodgkin lymphoma
Some of the most dramatic evidence of potential of immunotherapies was in the treatment of Hodgkin lymphoma.

In an early-phase clinical trial, research showed nivolumab, a drug that unleashes the immune system to attack cancer cells, achieved complete or partial remissions in Hodgkin lymphoma patients with resistant forms of the disease.

The success of nivolumab in this study prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to designate it a “breakthrough therapy” for treating relapsed Hodgkin lymphoma, and a large, multinational phase 2 trial is now under way.

“What makes these results especially encouraging is that they were achieved in patients who had exhausted other treatment options,” said the study’s co-senior author, Margaret Shipp, MD, chief, Division of Hematologic Neoplasia at Dana-Farber. “We’re also excited by the duration of responses to the drug: the majority of patients who had a response are still doing well more than a year after their treatment.”

Joyce Liu, MD, in her lab

Ovarian cancer
Research reported in Octobershowed a combination drug therapy may be highly effectivein recurrent ovarian cancer. This is the first ovarian cancer study to test a combination of drugs that could be taken orally.

A clinical trial compared the activity of the combination of the drug olaparib, which blocks DNA repair, and the blood vessel inhibitor drug cediranib, against olaparib by itself. Trial results showed a near doubling of progression-free survival benefit for the combination therapy over use of the single drug alone.

“The findings of this study are exciting because they support the idea that combining these two targeted oral therapies results in significant activity in ovarian cancer, more so than olaparib alone,” said Joyce Liu, MD, MPH, the lead investigator and medical oncologist at the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber. “We are looking forward to further exploring this combination in ovarian cancer and potentially increasing effective treatment options for our patients with this cancer.”

In December, the FDA also approved olaparib as a new treatment for advanced and recurrent ovarian cancer.

Stomach cancer
Based on results of a clinical trial led by Dana-Farber scientists, in 2014 the FDA approved a molecularly targeted drug as second-line treatment in advanced stomach cancer that has progressed after standard chemotherapy has failed.       

“For years we have looked for new and really effective drugs for stomach cancer,” saidCharles Fuchs, MD, MPH, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center at Dana-Farber.“We have relied on standard chemotherapies for a long time, and we’ve needed targeted agents based on the fundamental biology of stomach cancer.”

The drug, Ramucirumab, is a monoclonal antibody compound that attacks the cancer by preventing it from developing new blood vessels to nourish its growth.

Prostate Cancer
Dramatic results in a phase 3 trial reported this year should change the way physicians have routinely treated prostate cancer patients.

The study showed men with newly diagnosed metastatic, hormone-sensitive prostate cancer lived more than a year longer when they received a chemotherapy drug as initial treatment instead of waiting to for the disease to become resistant to hormone blockers.

“The benefit is substantial and warrants this being a new standard treatment for men who have high-extent disease and are fit for chemotherapy,” said Christopher J. Sweeney, MBBS, of Dana-Farber’s Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology and principal investigator for the study.

In September, the FDA approved a new type of immunotherapy drug for melanoma. The drug, pembrolizumab, was designated as a “breakthrough therapy” by the FDA and placed on a fast-tracked approval process. Marketed as Keytruda, the new drug was the first in the U.S. that blocked the PD-1 protein, which is used by melanoma and other cancer cells to avoid detection and attack by the body’s immune system.

A few months later, the FDA also approved Opdivo, another immunotherapy drug for skin cancer that blocks the PD-1 protein.