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AI may mistake chess discussions as racist talk
'The Queen's Gambit,' the recent TV mini-series about a chess master, may have stirred increased interest in chess, but a word to the wise: social media talk about game-piece colors could lead to misunderstandings, at least for hate-speech detection software. (2021-02-18)

A boost for plant research
Optogenetics can be used to activate and study cells in a targeted manner using light. Scientists at the University of Würzburg have now succeeded in transferring this technique to plants. (2021-02-16)

Nanowire could provide a stable, easy-to-make superconducting transistor
MIT researchers developed a superconducting nanowire that could enable efficient, easy-to-make electronics. The advance could boost quantum computing, as well as magnetic sensors for applications in brain imaging and telescopes. (2021-02-11)

The therapeutic potential of peptides
There are more than 80 peptide drugs on the global market and about twice as many in clinical development. Due to their beneficial properties, these biomolecules play already an important role in the treatment of diseases. In Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, a team of Austrian and Australian scientists led by Markus Muttenthaler of the University of Vienna present an outlook on the latest trends in peptide drug discovery and development. (2021-02-10)

Pioneering technique paves way for fast and cheap fabrication of rapid medical diagnostic tools
New technology developed by the University of Bristol has the potential to accelerate uptake and development of on-chip diagnostic techniques in parts of the world where rapid diagnoses are desperately needed to improve public health, mortality and morbidity. (2021-02-03)

Double delight: New synthetic transmembrane ion channel can be activated in two ways
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and University of Tokyo, Japan, have, for the first time, synthesized a novel artificial transmembrane ion channel--modelled on a naturally found transmembrane channel involved in neuron signaling--that responds to both chemical and electrical stimuli. Given its overall properties, this artificial channel opens doors to novel fundamental research into cellular transport and signaling, new possibilities in drug development, and the potential for new types of biosensors. (2021-02-01)

Not too big, not too small: Goldilocks analogy found in maze navigation
Research from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University has taken a close look at how fluids navigate around mazes and obstacles and has found a surprising randomness in how they choose their path. (2021-02-01)

Accurate drug dosages with proton traps
Researchers at Linköping University, Sweden, have developed a proton trap that makes organic electronic ion pumps more precise when delivering drugs. The new technique may reduce drug side effects, and in the long term, ion pumps may help patients with symptoms of neurological diseases for which effective treatments are not available. The results have been published in Science Advances. (2021-01-29)

Dalian coherent light source reveals the origin of interstellar medium S2 fragments
Researchers observed the C+S2 product channel from CS2 photodissociation for the first time using a home-made Time-Sliced Velocity Map Ion Imaging (TS-VMI) experimental setup, based on the Dalian Coherent Light Source (DCLS). (2021-01-28)

An ancient economy
As one of the most experienced archaeologists studying California's Native Americans, Lynn Gamble(link is external) knew the Chumash Indians had been using shell beads as money for at least 800 years. (2021-01-28)

Parkinson's disease risk and severity is tied to a channel in cells' 'recycling centers
Genetic variations associated with both increases and reductions in risk of the neurodegenerative disease alter the action of ion channels within cellular organelles called lysosomes, a new Penn study finds. (2021-01-27)

DNA origami enables fabricating superconducting nanowires
In AIP Advances, researchers describe how to exploit DNA origami as a platform to build superconducting nanoarchitectures. The structures they built are addressable with nanometric precision that can be used as a template for 3D architectures that are not possible today via conventional fabrication techniques. Inspired by previous works using the DNA molecule as a template for superconducting nanowires, the group took advantage of a recent bioengineering advance known as DNA origami. (2021-01-19)

Cancer models created by mechanical engineers offer new insight into tumor growth
In research published today in Integrative Biology, a team of engineers from Rensselaer developed an in vitro -- in the lab -- lymphatic vessel model to study the growth of tumor emboli, collections of tumor cells within vessels that are often associated with increased metastasis and tumor recurrence. (2021-01-14)

Wearable electronics for continuous cardiac, respiratory monitoring
A small and inexpensive sensor, announced in Applied Physics Letters and based on an electrochemical system, could potentially be worn continuously by cardiac patients or others who require constant monitoring. A solution containing electrolyte substances is placed into a small circular cavity that is capped with a thin flexible diaphragm, allowing detection of subtle movements when placed on a patient's chest. The authors suggest their sensor could be used for diagnosis of respiratory diseases. (2021-01-12)

Modulating cells' chloride channels
Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST) researchers gain deeper insight into a cell membrane channel, with potential implications for drug development. (2020-12-16)

The pressure sensor of the venus flytrap
The display of a smartphone reacts to finger pressure. The carnivorous Venus flytrap, on the other hand, even notices when a lightweight like a fly lands on it. Special genes make this possible. (2020-12-11)

Atom-thin transistor uses half the voltage of common semiconductors, boosts current density
University at Buffalo researchers report a new, two-dimensional transistor made of graphene and molybdenum disulfide that needs less voltage and can handle more current than today's semiconductors. (2020-12-10)

No refuge from the heat
Over the past several decades, marine protected areas (MPAs) have emerged as a favored conservation tool. By protecting marine species and safeguarding habitat, these reserves help buffer ecosystems against natural and human-made shocks alike. (2020-12-07)

Adaptive Image Receive (AIR) coil from GE shows promise for whole-brain imaging
According to an article in ARRS' American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR), a prototype 16-channel head Adaptive Image Receive (AIR) radiofrequency coil from GE Healthcare outperformed a conventional 8-channel head coil for in vivo whole-brain imaging, though it did not perform as well as a conventional 32-channel head coil. (2020-12-03)

No poaching occurring within most Channel Islands marine protected areas
Fish are thriving and poachers are staying out of marine protected areas around California's Channel Islands, a new population analysis by an Oregon State University researcher shows. (2020-12-02)

Researchers study influence of cultural factors on gesture design
Freehand gesture-based interfaces in interactive systems are becoming more common, but what if your preferred way to gesture a command - say, changing the TV to channel 10 - significantly differed from that of a user from another culture? Would the system recognize your command? Researchers from the Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology and their collaborators explored this question and found that some gesture choices are significantly influenced by the cultural backgrounds of participants. (2020-12-01)

RASi associated with reduced risk of KRT compared with CCB in CKD patients
In a population-based Swedish database, researchers studied the clinical outcomes of starting renin-angiotensin system inhibitor (RASi) or calcium channel blockers (CCB) in 2,458 patients with CKD G4-5. Compared with CCB, RASi initiation was associated with a lower risk of KRT, but similar risks of mortality and major adverse cardiovascular events. These findings suggest that RASi initiation might slow the progression of kidney disease compared with CCB in patients with advanced CKD, and offer similar cardiovascular protection. (2020-11-24)

Understanding ion channel inhibition to open doors in drug discovery
Scientists have discovered how drug-like small molecules can regulate the activity of therapeutically relevant ion channels - and their findings could transform ongoing drug development efforts. The study reveals how a drug-like small molecule, called Pico145, binds to the TRPC5 channel, thereby preventing the channel from opening.  (2020-11-23)

Tarantula toxin attacks with molecular stinger
A bird-catching Chinese tarantula bite contains a stinger-like poison that plunges into a molecular target in the electrical signaling system of their prey's nerve cells. New cryo-electron microscopy studies show how this venom traps the voltage sensors of sodium channels in a resting state so they can't be activated. Such research may suggest designs for better drugs for chronic pain. (2020-11-23)

Pharmacology - An unconventional ion channel
Scientists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have identified the first mechanosensitive ion channel to be found in an intracellular vesicle system. It responds to concentration changes within the vesicle, and probably controls the initiation of immune reactions. (2020-11-13)

Worms reveal why melatonin promotes sleep
Melatonin is used as a dietary supplement to promote sleep and get over jet lag, but nobody really understands how it works in the brain. Now, researchers at UConn Health show that melatonin helps worms sleep, too, and they suspect they've identified what it does in us. (2020-11-13)

Chemists discover the structure of a key coronavirus protein
MIT chemists have determined the molecular structure of a protein found in the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This protein forms a cation-selective channel and plays a key role in the virus's ability to replicate itself. If researchers could devise ways to block this channel, they may be able to reduce the pathogenicity of the virus and interfere with viral replication. (2020-11-12)

Scientists identify sensor protein that underlies bladder control
A team co-led by scientists at Scripps Research has found that the main sensor protein enabling our sense of touch also underlies the feeling of having a full bladder and makes normal bladder function possible. The discovery, published Oct. 14 in Nature, marks a key advance in basic neurobiology and may also lead to better treatments for bladder control and urination problems, which are common especially among the elderly. (2020-10-14)

New mechanism affecting nerve impulses discovered
Researchers at Linköping University, Sweden, have discovered a new mechanism by which substances can open a certain type of ion channel and in this way regulate nerve impulses. The study, published in the scientific journal PNAS, identifies a large group of substances that influence the coupling between the various functional parts of an ion channel. The discovery may help in the development of future drugs. (2020-10-12)

RUDN University linguist: learning foreign language is harder for visually impaired people
A scientist from RUDN University analysed the effect of visual impairment on a person's perception of unfamiliar sounds when learning a foreign language. The experiment showed that lack of access to visual cues makes learning difficult. (2020-10-06)

All-2D light-emitting field-effect transistors
All-2D light-emitting field-effect transistors. (2020-10-04)

80-year-old antibiotic redesigned for new medical uses
Chemists at the University of Tokyo have transformed one of the world's oldest antibiotics into new versions that - in preliminary lab tests - appear to be safer, stronger drugs to combat antibiotic resistance. Moreover, these altered versions of the antibiotic exhibit species-specific ion channel activity. (2020-10-04)

Cardiac arrhythmias linked to gene mutations
Life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias can be linked to the functional and structural consequences of gene mutations. (2020-09-29)

Vessel noise present year-round at Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary
The environment in the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of San Francisco is not a refuge from the noise generated by ship traffic, the first underwater marine acoustic study of the region has shown. (2020-09-29)

Water at the end of the tunnel
We humans need oxygen to breath - for a lot of microbes it is a lethal poison. That is why microorganisms have developed ways to render oxygen molecules harmless. Microbiologists from Bremen, Marburg and Grenoble have now succeeded in decrypting such a mechanism. They show, how methane-generating microbes transform oxygen into water without causing any damage to the cell. These findings are relevant for future bio-inspired processes. (2020-09-28)

Human acid-sensing ion channel 1a inhibition by snake toxin Mambalgin1
USTC initially resolved the hASIC1a and freeze electron structure of the compound of hASCI1a and Mambalgin1 through freeze electron microscopic technology. (2020-09-27)

How a giant short-faced bear reached the California Channel Islands
Researchers at the University of Oklahoma, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, University of Oregon, and others report the unexpected discovery of an isolated short-faced bear toe bone from California's Channel Islands, presenting a puzzling scenario for how the largest mammalian carnivore to ever walk North America ended up in an island cave. (2020-09-16)

Scientists uncover secret of material for promising thermal imagers
Russian researchers have discovered what makes vanadium dioxide films conduct electricity. Published in Physical Review B, their findings will enable thermal imaging devices with a sensitivity and reaction rate superior to those of the currently existing analogues. (2020-09-07)

Paving the way for tunable graphene plasmonic THz amplifiers
Tohoku University Professor Taiichi Otsuji has led a team of international researchers in successfully demonstrating a room-temperature coherent amplification of terahertz (THz) radiation in graphene, electrically driven by a dry cell battery. (2020-09-07)

Excitable cells
A study led by researchers from Tasmania, Chile and Germany has furthered our understanding of plant evolution by tracking the origins of electrical signalling components that plants developed to communicate and adapt to life on land. (2020-09-02)

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