Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Northwestern University

According to researchers, Blu-ray disc patterns markedly improve the efficiency of solar c...

Blu-ray discs have proven themselves superior to DVDs as storage media in light of their high capacity, high definition, and higher transfer rate. Now researchers claim that Blu-ray discs have one more advantage over DVDs: they also have the ability to help markedly improve the efficiency of solar cells, when their etched information patterns are repurposed for use as light concentrators.  Read More

Ampy is also pocketable at 3 inches square

Kinetic chargers have been around for a few years, but have typically been big and bulky. Ampy is much smaller and fashionable enough to wear around.  Read More

The skin-like patch changes color as it detects changes in temperature of the skin's surfa...

Researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a health monitor capable of tracking heart and skin condition while worn discretely on the skin. Measuring around 5 cm squared (0.8 in sq), the patch is designed to be inconspicuous and alert the user to conditions ranging from dry skin to cardiovascular problems.  Read More

 Researchers have developed a blood test that can diagnose depression in adults (Photo: Sh...

Diagnosing depression can be a difficult task, currently relying on patients reporting symptoms – something those suffering depression don't always do – and doctors correctly interpreting them – which isn't easy as the symptoms are non-specific. Now researchers have developed a blood test to diagnose depression in adults, providing the first objective, scientific diagnosis for the condition.  Read More

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) improved the memory of participants in a Northwest...

Failing memory is one of the (many) drawbacks of old age, but can also impact younger people suffering stroke, early-stage Alzheimer's disease, traumatic brain injury and cardiac arrest. In a breakthrough that opens up the potential for new treatments for memory impairments in the young and old, researchers at Northwestern University have shown that electrical stimulation of the brain can improve memory, with the benefits lasting long after treatment.  Read More

An injection of polymer nanoparticles could save the lives of heart attack victims (Image:...

After a heart attack has occurred, inflammatory cells known as monocytes rush to the damaged tissue. This causes the heart to swell, reducing its ability to pump blood, and further damaging the tissue – a potentially lethal situation. Now, however, scientists have discovered that injectable microparticles can help stop that from happening.  Read More

The tenofovir disoproxil fumarate intravaginal ring – or TDF-IVR, for short

According to UNAIDS, a member of the United Nations Development Group, 58 percent of people living with HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa are women. Although preventative drugs and condoms do block the transmission of HIV, neither are always practical, available or affordable in developing nations. Help could be on its way, however, in the form of an anti-HIV intravaginal ring that is worn continuously for up to 30 days.  Read More

Dissolving polyphenols found in green tea in a saline solution instantly produces transpar...

Researchers at Northwestern University have discovered new ways of utilizing the properties of naturally occurring polyphenols found in green tea, red wine and dark chocolate. Dissolving polyphenol powders in water with a small amount of salt instantly produces transparent coatings that kill bacteria on contact, have antioxidant qualities and are non-toxic. The sticky nature of polyphenols and the low cost of materials could open the door to a wide range of uses for these coatings.  Read More

The love hormone has a dark side (Photo: Shutterstock)

Often called the love hormone, oxytocin has shown the ability to enhance social bonding, decrease anxiety and encourage an overall feeling of satisfaction with life. A new study out of Northwestern University, however, finds that this ancient hormone has a dark side, and is capable of strengthening unpleasant memories, fear, and anxiety. This Jeckyll and Hyde behavior results from the fact that oxytocin has a general strengthening effect on social memories, without regard to their polarity.  Read More

A normal nerve cell, with the myelin (brown) intact (Image: Shutterstock)

In multiple sclerosis, the body’s immune system attacks and damages myelin, which is the insulating layer on nerves in the spinal cord, brain and optic nerve. Just as would happen with an electrical cord with compromised insulation, this causes the nerves to short-circuit and cease functioning properly. An international team of scientists, however, have recently reported success in the first phase of clinical trials in which MS victims’ immune systems were conditioned to become much more tolerant of myelin.  Read More

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