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Blood pressure can be detected with a video shot from a smartphone

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In the future, detecting blood pressure could be at least as easy as taking a selfie: this is what makes us understand research published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging according to which a transdermal optical imaging technology can be used to measure human blood pressure by detecting only micro-changes in the face through a video, even one shot from a smartphone.

Even today, smartphones have cameras that are sensitive enough to detect the ambient light that enters the external state of the skin of the face. With this information, you can create a model of blood flow that can then be used to monitor the same blood pressure without having to resort to complicated devices.

As reported by Kang Lee, professor of neuroscience at the University of Toronto, Canada, today arterial hypertension is one of the main human diseases and one of the main causes of death precisely because adequate daily or periodic monitoring is not performed in subjects risk.

Furthermore, the devices available today are quite inconvenient to use or not very precise so that often the same manufacturers of these devices recommend making multiple measurements each time and making an average. Lee and his new device have already been tested on 1328 Canadian and Chinese adults.

The software was installed on an iPhone and through the app installed on the device, the researchers were able to measure the systolic, diastolic and pulse pressure, measurements taken from a video shot from the same camera as the smartphone.

Currently, the video to obtain the necessary data must last at least two minutes but the researchers are trying to lower this duration to 30 seconds to make the process even more user-friendly.

Bill Stern

I am a professor of Biology at Marquette University and the founder of Jubobarta News. Throughout my life I have always had a strong interest in science and learning more about how the world works, and have always wanted to eventually become a science popularizer and educator myself. Jubobarta News, along with my responsibilities as a professor, is my attempt at improving science education and literacy.

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A new species of turtle in Texas that lived almost 100 million years ago has been classified

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Analyzing the remains found at the Arlington Archosaur Site, a site with various fossil remains from the late Cretaceous period in Texas, a team of researchers described four species of extinct turtles, one of which is named after paleontologist Derek Main.

This site was discovered in 2003 and proved to be a prolific location for late Cretaceous remains, remnants of life forms that lived more than 90 million years ago. It is a wetland located near the shore of a peninsula and already in the past has provided several fossils of ancient crocodiles, dinosaurs, mammals, amphibians, fish, invertebrates and even plants.

However, the turtle fossils discovered at this site had proved quite rare, at least until this study that was published in Palaeontology Electronica. The new species was named Trinitichelys maini. It is a Baenidae turtle, an extinct group of North American aquatic turtles that lived from the Cretaceous to the Eocene era.

Of medium size, these turtles showed strongly fused bones and upper shell and lived near rivers. The Trinitichelys maini is the oldest turtle of this group found in the North American subcontinent of Appalachia, a region that during the Cretaceous period was separated from Laramidia, the western subcontinent of North America.

In addition to the new classification, researchers described three other turtles, one of which is the oldest side-necked turtle (Pleurodira order) ever found in North America. These turtles are characterized by the particular way they withdraw their heads inside their shells: they do so by bending their necks on the horizontal plane.

The other two turtles described are one belonging to the group of trionichids (Trionychidae), or soft-shelled turtles, and another belonging to the genus Naomichelys (family Helochelydridae ).

Bill Stern

I am a professor of Biology at Marquette University and the founder of Jubobarta News. Throughout my life I have always had a strong interest in science and learning more about how the world works, and have always wanted to eventually become a science popularizer and educator myself. Jubobarta News, along with my responsibilities as a professor, is my attempt at improving science education and literacy.

3560 Sycamore Lake Road, Mayville Wisconsin, 53050
920-387-9926
[email protected]
Bill Stern
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Key mechanism of epilepsy in Angelman syndrome discovered by researchers

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In the course of research defined as “innovative,” a team of researchers from the Duke-NUS Medical School and the National Neuroscience Institute (NNI), Singapore, discovered a mechanism considered to be basic with regard to epilepsy in Angelman syndrome. This discovery, according to the researchers themselves, could lead to new therapies in the future.

Angelman’s syndrome (AS) is a rare genetic disease due to a defect in the process of chromosome duplication, often accompanied by delays in psychological and motor development, cognitive disabilities and other symptoms including epilepsy. In the course of the study, researchers at the Singapore Institutes used a new experimental methodology with human neural cells and brain organelles to understand the mechanism of epileptic seizures in this syndrome.

The researchers discovered the role of the ion channel in the hyperactivity of the brain network that triggers convulsions. The latter would be linked to gene deficiency of the ubiquitin ligase protein E3A (UBE3A) within neurons. As this is a syndrome that cannot be treated at present, this discovery could, therefore, be very important.

“Our study used 2D human neuronal cultures that allowed the accelerated discovery of functional differences at the single-cell level in the brain of normal individuals compared to those with AS,” explains Hyunsoo Shawn Je, the senior author of the study. “The use of mini 3D human brains allowed us to monitor spontaneous network activities, linking the results of abnormal firing from individual neurons and convulsive-like activities, just like those observed in the brains of AS patients.”

Bill Stern

I am a professor of Biology at Marquette University and the founder of Jubobarta News. Throughout my life I have always had a strong interest in science and learning more about how the world works, and have always wanted to eventually become a science popularizer and educator myself. Jubobarta News, along with my responsibilities as a professor, is my attempt at improving science education and literacy.

3560 Sycamore Lake Road, Mayville Wisconsin, 53050
920-387-9926
[email protected]
Bill Stern
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Psilocybin produced by Escherichia coli modified with magic mushroom genes

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A team of researchers at Miami University in Ohio has managed to engineer Escherichia coli bacteria to produce psilocybin, a psychedelic substance usually produced by so-called “magic mushrooms” and which in recent years is proving increasingly interesting in the treatment of people suffering from depression or other mental illnesses such as addiction.

Since mushroom cultivation can be quite difficult and can take months, it has never proved to be very practical for the production of drugs. On the other hand, the synthetic production of psilocybin itself is equally difficult and the process is very expensive. The researchers have therefore thought of modifying these microbes so that they can generate up to 1.16 grams of psilocybin per litre of culture medium. This is the highest yield to date for engineered microorganisms producing this substance and opens the door to more widespread therapeutic use.

They have in particular ensured that the Escherichia coli bacteria incorporated three genes of the fungus Psilocybe cubensis. In this way the bacteria began to synthesize psilocybin from the 4-hydroxyindol molecule.

As Alexandra Adams, a chemical engineering student at the above mentioned university and one of the authors of the study published in Scientific American, explains, the main advantage of this procedure is that it is much cheaper than all the other methods.

Currently the only limit is represented by the danger that these bacteria could also generate toxic or allergenic microbial material and the latter must be absolutely removed before any possible use of the resulting psilocybin but in any case the results seem impressive.

Bill Stern

I am a professor of Biology at Marquette University and the founder of Jubobarta News. Throughout my life I have always had a strong interest in science and learning more about how the world works, and have always wanted to eventually become a science popularizer and educator myself. Jubobarta News, along with my responsibilities as a professor, is my attempt at improving science education and literacy.

3560 Sycamore Lake Road, Mayville Wisconsin, 53050
920-387-9926
[email protected]
Bill Stern
Continue Reading

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