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University of Leeds


— Science

Mice brainpower boosted with alteration of a single gene

"Ignorance is bliss," so the old saying goes, but who wouldn't give their brainpower a boost if they had the chance? By altering a single gene to inhibit the activity of an enzyme called phosphodiesterase (PDE4B), researchers have given mice the opportunity to see what an increase in intelligence is like. While many people would welcome such a treatment, the scientists say their research could lead to new treatments for those with cognitive disorders and age-related cognitive decline.

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— Science

Magnetism generated in non-magnetic metals

By subtly altering certain quantum interactions in matter, scientists from the University of Leeds have shown for the very first time how to generate magnetism in metals that aren’t normally magnetic. Synthetic magnets made using this technique may one day reduce our reliance on rare or toxic metals in such things as wind turbines, computer hard drives and magnetic field medical imaging devices.

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— Medical

Gold nanotubes used to image and destroy cancer cells

For some time, the potential of gold nanoparticles as a diagnostics and imaging tool has been known to scientists, but new research suggests they could prove even more useful than previously thought. A team at the University of Leeds has discovered that shaping the particles in the form of nanotubes sees them take on a number of new properties, including the ability to be heated up to destroy cancer cells. Read More
— Good Thinking

Mathematical model could streamline the development of new plastics

When it comes to the development of new plastics, two things have generally happened – a plastic is created and then a use is found for it, or a long trial-and-error process is undertaken in order to create a plastic with specific qualities. In a move that has been described as “comparable to cracking a plastics DNA,” however, scientists at the University of Leeds and Durham University have created a mathematical model that should allow specialty plastics to be created much more quickly and efficiently. Read More
— Electronics

New polymer gel for cheaper, flexible lithium ion batteries

Lithium-ion batteries have certainly been a boon to electronic devices, offering much longer run times than their alkaline counterparts. There is still room for improvement, however. Existing lithium batteries can short circuit, they don't stand up to damage, and they can only be made in a limited variety of shapes. Now, scientists from the University of Leeds have developed a polymer gel that could be used to make lithium batteries with none of those shortcomings - plus, they should be cheaper. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Doing away with the dentist’s drill by helping teeth regenerate themselves

The fear of having a mechanical drill crammed into one’s mouth is enough to keep many people from regularly seeing a dentist. New technology developed by researchers at the University of Leeds that is based on knowledge of how the tooth forms in the first place could soon be providing a pain-free way of tackling the first signs of tooth decay. It uses a peptide-based fluid that is literally painted onto the tooth’s surface to stimulate the tooth to regenerate itself. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

New ‘gene therapy’ vaccine approach gives hope in fight against cancer

Using a virus containing a ‘library’ of DNA, researchers from the University of Leeds in the U.K., working with the Mayo Clinic in the U.S., have developed a vaccine that was able to destroy prostate cancer tumors in mice, while leaving healthy tissue untouched. Because the virus contains multiple fragments of genes, the vaccine is able to produce many possible antigens thereby boosting its effectiveness. The technique could be used to create vaccines to treat a wide range of cancers, including breast, pancreatic and lung tumors. Read More
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