dnameasurement.jpgHeidelberg scientists study interactions between proteins and DNA in living cells

Using a new measurement technique, Heidelberg researchers have succeeded in tracking interactions between proteins and DNA in the cell nucleus at a resolution of 1/1000 of a second. They were able to measure the binding of highly specialised protein complexes that specifically change the spatial structure of the genetic information, thereby controlling the readout of the DNA information. The work of Dr. Karsten Rippe and his team was carried out at the BioQuant Center of Heidelberg University and the German Cancer Research Center. Their research has demonstrated that the positioning of nucleosomes – complexes of DNA and specialised proteins – is a precisely regulated molecular process. Aberrant regulation can be linked to several types of cancer. The results of these studies were published in the journal PNAS.

radiation.jpgRadiation, like alcohol, is a double-edged sword. It has indisputable medical advantages: Radiation can reveal hidden problems, from broken bones and lung lesions to heart defects and tumors. And it can be used to treat and sometimes cure certain cancers.

But it also has a potentially serious medical downside: the ability to damage DNA and, 10 to 20 years later, to cause cancer. CT scans alone, which deliver 100 to 500 times the radiation associated with an ordinary X-ray and now provide three-fourths of Americans’ radiation exposure, are believed to account for 1.5 percent of all cancers that occur in the United States.

Recognition of this hazard and alarm over recent increases in radiological imaging have prompted numerous experts, including some radiologists, to call for more careful consideration before ordering tests that involve radiation.

 

3dtv.jpgAs striking as it is, the illusion of depth now routinely offered by 3-D movies is a paltry facsimile of a true three-dimensional visual experience. In the real world, as you move around an object, your perspective on it changes. But in a movie theater showing a 3-D movie, everyone in the audience has the same, fixed perspective — and has to wear cumbersome glasses, to boot.

Despite impressive recent advances, holographic television, which would present images that vary with varying perspectives, probably remains some distance in the future. But in a new paper featured as a research highlight at this summer’s Siggraph computer-graphics conference, the MIT Media Lab’s Camera Culture group offers a new approach to multiple-perspective, glasses-free 3-D that could prove much more practical in the short term.

Instead of the complex hardware required to produce holograms, the Media Lab system, dubbed a Tensor Display, uses several layers of liquid-crystal displays (LCDs), the technology currently found in most flat-panel TVs. To produce a convincing 3-D illusion, the LCDs would need to refresh at a rate of about 360 times a second, or 360 hertz. Such displays may not be far off: LCD TVs that boast 240-hertz refresh rates have already appeared on the market, just a few years after 120-hertz TVs made their debut.
 

 

quantumlight.jpgA long-time staple of science fiction is the tractor beam, a technology in which light is used to move massive objects – recall the tractor beam in the movie Star Wars that captured the Millennium Falcon and pulled it into the Death Star. While tractor beams of this sort remain science fiction, beams of light today are being used to mechanically manipulate atoms or tiny glass beads, with rapid progress being made to control increasingly larger objects. Those who see major roles for optomechanical systems in a host of future technologies will take heart in the latest results from a first-of-its-kind experiment. 

The axon is a part of the neuron through which nerve impulses are transmitted, and at the end of which is located the synapse, which connects it to another neuron. In the event of a lesion, the axon is the component which must be regenerated in order to restore the connections between the different neurons and re-form the nerve.

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This news service is provided by Good Samaritan Institute, located in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.

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