Weak gravitational lensing is a uniquely promising way to learn how much dark matter there is in the Universe and how its distribution has evolved since the distant past. New work by a team led by a cosmologist from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has made major progress in extending the use of gravitational lensing to the study of much older and smaller structures than was previously possible.

Until recently, weak lensing had been limited to calculating the total mass of relatively nearby groups and clusters of galaxies. Their total mass includes both ordinary, visible matter like stars and dust – what astronomers call “baryonic” matter – plus the much more massive invisible concentrations of dark matter that form groups and clusters by pulling galaxies together.

Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) process sound and language a fraction of a second slower than children without ASDs, and measuring magnetic signals that mark this delay may become a standardized way to diagnose autism.

“More work needs to be done before this can become a standard tool, but this pattern of delayed brain response may be refined into the first imaging biomarker for autism,” said study leader Timothy P.L. Roberts, Ph.D., vice chair of Radiology Research at Children’s Hospital.

by Ingfei Chen

Will advances in neuroscience make the justice system more accurate and unbiased? Or could brain-based testing wrongly condemn some and trample the civil liberties of others? The new field of neurolaw is cross-examining for answers.

In August 2008, Hank Greely received an e-mail from an International Herald Tribune correspondent in Mumbai seeking a bioethicist's perspective on an unusual murder case in India: A woman had been convicted of killing her ex-fiancé with arsenic, and the circumstantial evidence against her included a brain-scan test that purportedly showed she had a memory—or "experiential knowledge"—of committing the crime.

by Anne Trafton

Quantum mechanics could help build ultra-high-resolution electron microscopes that won't destroy living cells, according to MIT electrical engineers.

Electron microscopes are the most powerful type of microscope, capable of distinguishing even individual atoms. However, these microscopes cannot be used to image living cells because the electrons destroy the samples.

James Oliver picked up an Xbox game controller, looked up to a video screen and used the device's buttons and joystick to fly through a patient's chest cavity for an up-close look at the bottom of the heart.

And there was a sight doctors had never seen before: an accurate, 3-D view inside a patient's body accessible with a personal computer. A view doctors can shift, adjust, turn, zoom and replay at will. Software that uses real patient data from CT and MRI scans. Software doctors can use to plan a surgery or a round of radiation therapy. Software that can be used to teach physiology and anatomy. Software that puts virtual reality technology developed at Iowa State University to work helping doctors and patients, teachers and students. Software that's now being sold by an Ames startup company, BodyViz.com.

A recently devised method of imaging the chemical communication and warfare between microorganisms could lead to new antibiotics, antifungal, antiviral and anti-cancer drugs, said a Texas AgriLife Research scientist.

"Translating metabolic exchange with imaging mass spectrometry," was published Nov. 8 in Nature Chemical Biology, a prominent scientific journal. The article describes a technique developed by a collaborative team that includes Dr. Paul Straight, AgriLife Research scientist in the department of biochemistry and biophysics at Texas A&M University in College Station, Dr. Pieter Dorrestein, Yu-Liang Yang and Yuquan Xu, all at the University of California, San Diego.

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