New test detects drug use from a single fingerprint

Research published today in the journal Analyst has demonstrated a new, noninvasive test that can detect cocaine use through a simple fingerprint. For the first time, this new fingerprint method can determine whether cocaine has been ingested, rather than just touched.

Led by the University of Surrey, a team of researchers from the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NL), the National Physical Laboratory (UK), King’s College London (UK) and Sheffield Hallam University (UK), used different types of an analytical chemistry technique known as mass spectrometry to analyse the of patients attending treatment services. They tested these prints against more commonly used saliva samples to determine whether the two tests correlated. While previous fingerprint tests have employed similar methods, they have only been able to show whether a person had touched cocaine, and not whether they have actually taken the drug.

“When someone has taken cocaine, they excrete traces of benzoylecgonine and methylecgonine as they metabolise the drug, and these chemical indicators are present in fingerprint residue,” said lead author Dr Melanie Bailey from the University of Surrey. “For our part of the investigations, we sprayed a beam of solvent onto the fingerprint slide (a technique known as Desorption Electrospray Ionisation, or DESI) to determine if these substances were present. DESI has been used for a number of forensic applications, but no other studies have shown it to demonstrate drug use.”

Researchers believe that the applications for this test could be far-reaching. Drug testing is used routinely by probation services, prisons, courts and other law enforcement agencies. However, traditional testing methods have limitations. For example, blood testing requires trained staff and there are privacy concerns about urine testing. Where bodily fluids are tested, there can be biological hazards and often a requirement for particular storage and disposal methods. Often these tests also require analysis off-site.

“The beauty of this method is that, not only is it non-invasive and more hygienic than testing blood or saliva, it can’t be faked,” added Dr Bailey. “By the very nature of the test, the identity of the subject is captured within the fingerprint ridge detail itself.”

It is anticipated that this technology could see the introduction of portable drug tests for to use within the next decade.

“We are only bound by the size of the current technology. Companies are already working on miniaturised mass spectrometers, and in the future portable fingerprint drugs tests could be deployed. This will help to protect the public and indeed provide a much safer test for drug users,” said Dr Bailey.

A unique vaccine for lifetime protection against flu

Scientists are now investigating a vaccination that offers lifelong protection against the infectious disease.

flu-mainRecent research from an Australian university has unveiled that flu-killing immunity cells memorise different virus strains, a clue which could help develop a unique vaccine for lifetime protection against the flu

Recent research from an Australian university has unveiled that flu-killing immunity cells memorise different virus strains, a clue which could help develop a unique vaccine for lifetime protection against the flu, press reported on Thursday.

These Lymphocyte T CD8+ cells “are like hit men of our immune system and they can efficiently eliminate the virus-infected cells,” Katherine Kedzierska, research team-leader from Melbourne University, said.

“This is the first time we’ve shown that those killer T-cells are important in protecting against very serious disease very early on in the infection,” Kedzierska told ABC channel.

In collaboration with Shanghai Public Health Centre and Fudan University in China, the research was based on observations that some patients who contracted the H7N9 bird flu in 2013 were able to recover more quickly than others.

After taking samples, the researchers noted that the patients who managed to recover seemed to have a prior immunity thanks to T-cells, while those who lacked these cells suffered severely or died, ABC added.

Scientists are now investigating a vaccination that offers lifelong protection against the infectious disease, which affects humans, birds and other animals like pigs.

“We can provide universal immunity that will recognize a vast array of influenza strains and subtypes including new influenza viruses emerging and infecting humans,” Kedzierska explained.

Similarly, the scientists considered that the findings, published in weekly magazine Nature Communications, will help early diagnosis and gathering information about how a patient’s immune system responds to attacks from a variety of viruses.

Even Treated Depression May Raise Stroke Risk .

Depression in older adults appears to significantly increase the risk of a stroke, even after depression symptoms have gotten better, a new study suggests.

The researchers found that people who had severe symptoms of depression were more than twice as likely to have a stroke as those with no symptoms. People who had symptoms at the first interview, but had gotten better by the second interview still had a 66 percent higher stroke risk, the study authors said.

“The surprising finding that stroke risk remains elevated even if symptoms seem to have gone away make replicating this study urgent,” said lead researcher Paola Gilsanz, a research fellow at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.
How Does Ketamine Work and Who Does It Help?
“If replicated, these findings suggest that doctors should seek to identify and treat depressive symptoms before harmful effects on stroke risk start to accumulate,” she said.

It’s important to note, however, that this study only found an association between depression and stroke risk. It can’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship between these conditions, due to the study’s design.

Although how stroke and depression might be linked isn’t clear, other research has shown that depression increases the risk of high blood pressure, abnormalities in the nervous system and increased inflammation, the researchers said.

Moreover, depression might trigger conditions such as infection and an abnormal heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation, which can increase the risk of stroke, the study authors said. In addition, depressed people are more likely to smoke and be less physically active, they added.

The report was published online May 13 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

“The results of this study underscore the powerful medical risks associated with major depression,” said Simon Rego, director of psychology training at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.

The most compelling finding is that the risk of stroke associated with depressive symptoms is unlikely to be completely eliminated in the short-term, even with successful treatment of depression, he said.

For the study, Gilsanz and colleagues collected data on more than 16,000 men and women. They were all 50 and older. And they were part of the Health and Retirement Study that ran from 1998 to 2010.

Over 12 years, nearly 1,200 people had a stroke. Throughout the study period, between 10 and 12 percent of participants had high levels of depressive symptoms. Another 8 to 10 percent of study volunteers reported depression that had recently remitted. The researchers didn’t ask whether depressive symptoms lessened because of treatment or for other reasons.

In addition to the overall increased risk of stroke for people with depression, the findings suggested that stroke risk remains elevated even when depression has eased, especially for women, the researchers said. They also noted that people under 65 who had depressive symptoms had a greater risk of stroke compared to those over 65 with depression.

The study also found that people with recent-onset depression — depressive symptoms that started in-between the study interviews — didn’t have a significantly increased stroke risk. The researchers said that suggests that depression may contribute to physiological changes over the long-term.

Mindfulness-Based Therapy as Good as Meds for Depression, Study Says
Whether or not treatment of depression can quickly lower stroke risk, it’s still crucial to get treatment for depressive symptoms, experts say.

“The good news is that there are a number of treatments such as a specialized type of talk therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy, as well as medications that are available to effectively treat depression, once it has been identified,” Rego said.


Indian students create plane that generates power by wing vibrations – The Times of India

A team of Indian students, spread across four countries in three continents, have jointly created the world’s first airplane that generates its own power by the vibration of its wings.

The path breaking idea has made it to the finals of a global competition floated by Airbus.

The team which includes students presently studying in Bangalore, Netherlands, US and London envisages a future when the aircraft wings can be dressed in a composite skin that harvests energy from natural vibrations or flex in the wings.

The team now travels to Hamburg, Germany, to make their case for the top prize to Airbus.
The winners of ” Fly Your Ideas” competition to be announced on May 27 will win a 30,000 euro jackpot.

Team leader Sathiskumar Anusuya Ponnusami from Delft University of Technology (Netherlands) told TOI, “There is a natural vibration that exists in every aircraft when it flies during which energy is generated. At present this energy goes wasted. We intend to harvest the energy from those vibrations which will be sufficient enough to power inflight operations like lighting and on board entertainment.”

The team uses piezoelectric fibres which gather electrical charges from even the smallest movements during flight, storing the energy generated in battery panels integrated in the fuselage and using it to power auxiliary in-flight systems. This reduces the energy footprint of aircraft during flight and could even replace the entire power source for ground operations.

“Also we convert the body of the aircraft into a gigantic battery. On an average the plane needs to fly for about 12 hours to have enough energy. So the idea will cater to long haul flights. At present, for taxing, the airplane keeps both its main engines running which is a total waste. Instead the plane can use the energy it saved up through the vibration during flight time,” Ponnusami added.

Ponnusami calls his team “Multifun” because of the varied factors that bring the team and their idea together.

“Though we are one team, all of us are based at different parts of the world. Though we are from India, we speak different languages. Our idea is also about a multi-functional materiel,” Ponnusami told TOI from Netherlands. The team includes Dhamotharan Veerasamy from City University London, Shashank Agrawal and Ajith Moses from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and Mohit Gupta from Georgia Institute of Technology (USA). They all met while studying at IISc’s NM Cad Lab of the aerospace engineering department. They have been working on the project for the past half year.

The Indian team is among the five finalists with other teams too floating innovative ideas.

The ideas include creating drones to keep birds away from airports and guide them to an artificial safe environment nearby, video game-style sensors to guide planes when taxiing, an automatic on-board recycling trolley and wireless power transmitters around the airport that use energy from the moving aircraft to power ground operations.

To take part of the competition, 518 multi-disciplinary teams representing 3,700 students from 104 countries submitted projects by December 2014. Around 100 teams were selected for round two, representing 413 students of 48 nationalities. Around 45% of the teams are based in Asia-Pacific, 35% in Europe, 15% in Americas.

11 Ways to Detoxify Your Third Eye And Reignite Your Pineal Gland .

The pineal gland is derived from the Latin word Pinea and is the size of  a grain of rice. It received its name because of its likeness to a pine cone. The pineal gland is responsible for production of melatonin. When your body is deficient in melatonin, symptoms will erupt such as premature sexual development, insomnia, cancer, alzheimers and mental disorders such as Bi-polar.

The pineal gland is known as the third eye, because of its resemblance to the retina in the physical eyes. Light enters the body through the retina of the eyes and is sent to the brain which then sends it to the gland.









The third eyes’ function gives also the ability of extra-sensory perception, enhanced intuition, psychic awareness, and is the house of your inner wisdom or inner eye (I) of the metaphysical body or spirit. It is your vortex of command.

The pineal gland or third eye is a crucial piece of the brain and one that is the most susceptible to danger of calcination.

The accumulation of fluoride, mercury thimerosal (in vaccines) and other toxins in the blood, cause it to calcify by forming a protective layer over the gland. Its like having a cataract on your third eye.

Artificial foods and ingredients, toxic hormones in animal bi-products, poor nutrition, a weak immune system and sodium fluoride in our drinking water, can be considered to blame for the calcification of the pineal gland on a world wide level.

When you’re pineal gland is calcified the following symptoms can appear:

  • weight gain
  • digestive disorders
  • poor circulation
  • confusion
  • lack of vision
  • mood disorders
  • mental disorders

Not to mention the fact that with a inactive pineal gland, the ability to tap into universal knowing, oneness, and heaven like euphoria that is all around you, at every moment has been stripped away. Which is largely where humanity is at today as a whole. With our third eyes closed we are unable to see the realms and beings that are around us all the time. Our connection has been cut off before we even had the time to understand what was happening.

Here are 11 Ways to Decalcify and Reignite the Health of Your Pineal Gland
  1.  Clean Drinking Water (fluoride free)
  2. DMT-Ayahuasca (plant medicine)
  3. Eat Organic
  4. No GMO Foods
  5. Sun Gazing
  6. Citric Acid (acid breaks down calcium deposits)
  7. Iodine (helps release fluoride in the body)
  8. Boron (known fluoride remover in the body)
  9. Meditate
  10. Chakra Healing with Essential Oils
  11. Eating Raw Chocolate (detoxify-er & antioxidant)

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Brains Of Smokers Who Successfully Quit May Be Wired For Success – AskMen

Why Is This Important?

Because if you were able to kick that nasty habit, there may be a lot more you’re capable of as well.

Long Story Short

A new study has found “greater connectivity among certain brain regions in people who successfully quit smoking compared to those who tried and failed” that may hard-wire them for success.

Long Story

A new study has found that smokers who quit the habit successfully tend to display greater connectivity between two regions of the brain that may hard-wire them for success in general.

During the study, which was published in Neuropsychopharmacology, researchers analyzed the MRI scans of 85 patients one month before they attempted to quit smoking. The researchers tracked the participants’ efforts to stop smoking over a ten-week period. Out of the 85, 41 smokers relapsed and 44 quit successfully (an interesting fact in itself…)

All 44 smokers who quit successfully had one thing in common: “better synchrony (coordinated activity) between the insula, home to urges and cravings, and the somatosensory cortex, a part of the brain that is central to our sense of touch and motor control.”

“Simply put, the insula is sending messages to other parts of the brain that then make the decision to pick up a cigarette or not,” said Merideth Addicott, Ph.D., assistant professor at Duke and lead author of the study.

Researchers believe that the insula is the key to understanding cigarette addiction. According to Science Daily, “other studies have found that smokers who suffer damage to the insula appear to spontaneously lose interest in smoking.”

“Our data…suggests that targeting connectivity between insula and somatosensory cortex could be a good strategy [in developing cessation interventions with respect to smoking],” said Joseph McClernon, Ph.D., associate professor at Duke and the study’s senior author.

“If we can increase connectivity in smokers to look more like those who quit successfully, that would be a place to start.”

Own The Conversation

Ask The Big Question: Will scientists be able to re-wire brains prone to addiction?

Disrupt Your Feed: If you’re capable of quitting smoking, your brain may be on your side for other endeavors as well.

Drop This Fact: Smoking rates are generally five times higher amongst men than women.

Ever Noticed These Holes In Plane Windows? This Is How They Save Your Life

For all those who have traveled in an airplane, you might have pondered upon the question of why is there a hole at the bottom of an airplane window.

Why Do Plane Windows Have Holes

It is a common feature of passenger planes and Director of Technology, Marlowe Moncur, from GKN Aerospace explained its importance. It is part of the safety features of the aircraft. The hole is responsible for regulating the pressure within the cabin.

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The ‘breather hole’ works as a bleed valve. According to a patent that was filed by Daimlerchrysler Aerospace Airbus in 1997, this ‘air conduit’ maintains ‘external atmospheric pressure inside’ the panes. The air is pressurized by engines which compress it so as to create the thrust. This pressurized air is held inside the cabin with an outflow valve.

Sensors ascertain how much of pressure is in the cabin and this valve (the hole) then releases air at a maintained rate so as to keep the pressure at a specified level. The valve is open when the plane is stationary and begins to close once the plane has taken off. The air at the sea level is at 14.7 PSI and a conventional flight travels at a height that is between 9,150 and 12,200 meters. Pressure drops to 4.3 PSI at this height and since oxygen is available in low quantity at high altitudes the plane’s cabin has to be pressurized for safety and comfort of passengers.

Philip Spiers, Head of Advanced Structural Testing Centre at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing said, “at high altitudes there are not enough oxygen molecules to sustain life. Low pressure lowers the boiling points inside the body and at the edge of space, this can cause blood and tears to boil.”

He further added, “Planes have a higher pressure inside than outside. It’s like a bottle of Coca-Cola – shaking a bottle makes it go stiff and hard but when you undo it, it becomes floppy again. This stretches the skin around the plane.” The pressure inside the cabin is maintained at 11 PSI – same level of pressure experienced at around 2,130 meters.Why Do Plane Windows Have Holes 2

“If the pane was sealed [and didn’t have a hole in it], all the pressure in the cabin would act on the inside pane of glass,” further added by Mr Spiers. “You want [this pressure] to act on the outside pane because if there is a problem with the outside it would be possible to see it during inspection. If this pressure blows that pane out, the inside pane is still strong enough to hold the pressure. You don’t want to see the inside pane fail first as the inspectors wouldn’t see that. Plus, this gives enough time for the plane to drop to a lower altitude to manage the issue.”

Michal Weiszer, research fellow at the School of Engineering at the University of Lincoln added, “During flight, the cabin is pressurized and therefore it is necessary to equalize the pressure between the inner pane and the actual window, so the outer window holds the load of the pressure difference. Furthermore, the hole prevents from moisture building up between the panes.”

Fast Blood Test For Radiation Exposure Could Save Lives .


In the aftermath of a nuclear event like the Fukushima disaster, medical professionals have to quickly determine which victims they should treat for radiation poisoning, and which are beyond help. Right now, the only way doctors can figure it out is to estimate how much medication to give a patient based on her estimated distance from the center of the radiation leak, or to look at how many white blood cells had died in a patient’s blood sample. But at the moment it’s nearly impossible to be more exact within the 24 hours after the initial exposure, according to Popular Mechanics. Now, a team of researchers has found a tiny genetic indicator that reflects how much radiation the patient has been exposed to and the amount of damage it has done in the body.

The hematopoietic system–blood and the organs that produce it–are a great place to look for the first signs of radiation damage because it’s the most vulnerable. In the study, published yesterday in Science Translational Medicine, researchers exposed mice to low, medium, and lethal amounts of radiation. When they checked the rodents’ blood, they found that genes floating in the blood, called microRNA, were excellent indicators for the level of radiation to which the mice had been exposed. For one kind of microRNA–there are more than 60 that have been used as biomarkers for various diseases–the code is almost identical in everyone, but radiation scrambles the code. Higher levels of radiation lead to more mutations.

When researchers tried the same thing on “humanized” mice that had received transplants of human blood stem cells, they found that the microRNA changed the same way when exposed to radiation.

Armed with knowledge of such a clear indicator of radiation damage, the researchers hope to create a test that could detect microRNA signatures, though the researchers admit that it won’t be easy to work around the ethical issues of exposing humans to radiation. It’s not clear how long this type of test would take, but it would likely be faster than the current methods of determining radiation damage, and could be used in the first few hours after a nuclear event.

Grape surgery demonstrates delicacy of new surgical robot .

How does operating on a grape help anyone? Well, it’s a great demonstration of medical technology, for one thing!

Da Vinci, the robot surgeon

This surgical system, aptly named the ‘Da Vinci,’ acts as an extension of the surgeon’s hands as it performs extraordinarily delicate cuts and sutures on the skin of a grape. The cool thing being that it might as well be an organ that’s being operated on here.

Steady hands, delicate operations

With operations on a scale as small as this, having a steady hand is paramount in order to prevent any unintended damage from the implements in highly sensitive areas.
And they don’t come much more steady than robotic, do they?

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Gene regulation underlies the evolution of social complexity in bees

Explaining the evolution of insect society, with sterile society members displaying extreme levels of altruism, has long been a major scientific challenge, dating back to Charles Darwin’s day. A new genomic study of 10 species of bees representing a spectrum of social living – from solitary bees to those in complex, highly social colonies – offers new insights into the genetic changes that accompany the evolution of bee societies.

The new findings are reported in the journal Science.

By sequencing and comparing the genomes of ten bee species that vary in , the researchers made three important discoveries.

“First, there is no single road map to eusociality – the complex, cooperative social system in which animals behave more like superorganisms than individuals fending for themselves,” said Gene Robinson, a lead on the study who is a professor of entomology and director of the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois. “In this study, we found that independent evolutionary transitions in social life have independent genetic underpinnings.”

The second insight involved changes in the evolution of gene regulation: As social complexity increased, so did the speed of changes to parts of the genome involved in regulating gene activity, located in the promoters of the genes, the researchers report.

By contrast, evolution seems to have put the brakes on changes in many parts of the genome that code for the actual proteins, Robinson said. Similarly, there was an increase in DNA methylation as social complexity increased, which also means enhanced gene regulatory capacity, he said.

“It appears from these results that gene networks get more complex as gets more complex, with network complexity driving social complexity,” Robinson said.

A third major finding was that increases in social complexity were accompanied by a slowing, or “relaxation,” of changes in the genome associated with natural selection. This effect on some genes may be a result of the buffering effect of living in a complex, interdependent society, where the “collective genome” is less vulnerable to dramatic environmental changes or other external threats, Robinson said.

“These results demonstrate once again that important new insights into evolution can be obtained by using genomes as history books,” Robinson said. “We have now learned what have occurred during the of the bees, notable for their elaborate societies and essential pollination services.”