Common experience tells us that particular scents of childhood can leave quite an impression, for better or for worse. Now, researchers reporting the results of a brain imaging study online on November 5th in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, show that first scents really do enjoy a "privileged" status in the brain.

"We found that the first pairing or association between an object and a smell had a distinct signature in the brain," even in adults, said Yaara Yeshurun of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. "This 'etching' of initial odor memories in the brain was equal for good and bad smells, yet was unique to odor." Sounds did not have the same effect, the research showed.

by Debra Kain

A study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine reports a significant breakthrough in explaining gaps in scientists’ understanding of human brain function.  The study – which provides a picture of language processing in the brain with unprecedented clarity – will be published in the October 16 issue of the journal Science.

It's big. It's ugly. And it's made from recycled parts, at least for now. It's called the "Frankencamera" — and it might someday change the way you take pictures.

Computer scientists at Stanford University say the new camera works something like an iPhone: It can be altered in nearly infinite ways, depending on the applications downloaded to it.

Even the best digital camera on the market today has lots of limitations, the professor behind the prototype, Marc Levoy, tells NPR's Guy Raz.

Scientists have deciphered the three-dimensional structure of the human genome, paving the way for new insights into genomic function and expanding our understanding of how cellular DNA folds at scales that dwarf the double helix. 

In a paper featured this week on the cover of the journal Science, they describe a new technology called Hi-C and apply it to answer the thorny question of how each of our cells stows some 3 billion base pairs of DNA while maintaining access to functionally crucial segments. The paper comes from a team led by scientists at Harvard University, the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The Case cryo-imaging system enables high resolution, 3D mapping of fluorescently-labeled stem and cancer cells throughout the mouse. The system consists of a mouse-sized cryomicrotome; microscope; low light camera; three axis robotic positioning system; and automation, visualization, and analysis software. It provides 3D fluoresence/bright-field imaging of the block face following serial sectioning. We made tail vein injections of about 5 million Lewis lung carcinoma (LLC) cells, a cell line used for studies of metastatic cancer and therapies. Seven days post injection, cryo-imaging surveys identified cells in the liver, adrenal gland, and tail near the injection site.

Diamonds, it has long been said, are a girl’s best friend. But a research team including a physicist from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has recently found* that the gems might turn out to be a patient’s best friend as well.

The team’s work has the long-term goal of developing quantum computers, but it has borne fruit that may have more immediate application in medical science. Their finding that a candidate “quantum bit” has great sensitivity to magnetic fields hints that MRI-like devices that can probe individual drug molecules and living cells may be possible.

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