Cancer cells manage to attract a suitable place to kill them

One factor that characterizes glioblastoma as a difficult cancer to treat, it is that malignant tumor cells are distributed throughout the brain through nerve fibers and blood vessels invading new places.

S. Balakrishna Pai

Now researchers have found a way to take control of this migration mechanism, for use against the same cancer, using a layer thinner than human hair nanofibers to attract tumor cells to a death trap on the outside brain.

With this new technique, instead of invading new areas, migratory cells focus their attention on the nanofibers specially designed and continue until you reach an area, ideally outside the brain, which can be retained and exterminated. Read the rest of this entry »

Authenticating objects microparticles

Some chemical engineers have developed a system based on a particle that can be read by smartphones, and it could enormously facilitate the fight against counterfeit products system.

Authenticating objects microparticles

Between 2 and 5 percent of all international trade is related to counterfeit goods, according to a report by the United Nations, 2013. These illicit products, including electronics, aircraft parts and automotive vehicles and pharmaceuticals and even food, can involve security risks to the consumer and cost hundreds of billions of dollars annually to governments and private companies.

Many strategies have been developed to try to label legitimate products and prevent illegal trade, but these labels are often too easy to fake, unreliable or too costly to implement them. Read the rest of this entry »

Wolves are not just a primitive version of dogs

Although dogs have a very close evolutionary relationship with wolves, there are notable differences between them. Enough people see wolves as merely primitive versions of the dogs, and therefore less intelligent than these in all aspects. But it is not. In some intellectual abilities, Wolves beat out the dogs, as has been demonstrated in a recent study.


Investigating Friederike Range and Zsofia Viranyi, the Messerli Institute at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria, have conducted experiments whose results suggest that wolves are observed each other more closely than they do dogs together, and because of that the wolves are better to learn from other congeners, including dogs, these. Scientific believe that ability, which helps the cooperation among wolves, is one of the main bases of understanding between dogs and humans. Read the rest of this entry »

A smart elastic patch to control remote patient

Researchers at the University of Illinois (USA) in collaboration with experts in materials from China and Korea have created patches containing elastic inside circuits, sensors and radio communication systems. These new devices are gently adhering to the skin, thanks to its silicone coating. The results of the study are published in the latest issue of the journal Science.

A smart elastic patch

According to John Rogers, one of the study authors, “the salient features of these new devices is that they are ultra-thin (about 1 mm), elastic and physically similar to the skin. Gently adhere without any restraint, so that it does not limit the natural movement of people”. Therefore, he adds, “the system is ideal for long-term continuous monitoring of patients.”

In developing two essential ideas for assembling integrated circuits, sensors and radio systems and power is applied. First, Rogers says, “all of these elements float on a thin microfluidic chamber with soft elastomeric membranes as upper and lower substrates.” Read the rest of this entry »

Cheaper solar cells thin film to further reduce its thickness

It has been possible to devise a “superabsorbent” design that would significantly improve the efficiency of light absorption of the thin film solar cell and reduce manufacturing costs.

Diagram of the new design

The superabsorbent design could reduce the thickness of the semiconductor materials used in thin film solar cells in more than one order of magnitude, without reducing their ability to absorb sunlight.

The best solar cell thin film in use today need an amorphous silicon layer of about 100 nanometers thick which is what captures most of the available solar energy. The structure designed by the team of Linyou Cao, Yiling Yu and Lujun Huang, of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, United States, can absorb 90 percent of the available solar energy using only 10 nanometers thick amorphous silicon layer. Read the rest of this entry »

A possible way to detect the hypothetical gravitons

Among the four fundamental forces of nature, gravity is the only one that was not detected you a basic unit. Physicists hope that the gravitational force is transmitted by a theoretical elementary particle called the graviton, as the electromagnetic force is transmitted by the photon.

Artist's impression of a graviton

Although there are theoretical reasons for why gravitons must exist, would be physically impossible to detect on Earth.

For example, it would be possible to use the conventional way to measure gravitational forces (bouncing light into an array of mirrors for measuring minute changes in the separation of these) for gravitons. According to physicist Freeman Dyson, the sensitivity to detect the change in distance caused by so tiny a graviton would have to use so massive mirrors that would collapse on themselves and form a black hole. Read the rest of this entry »

Getting more efficient synthetic natural gas from excess electricity

Solar panels and wind turbines can produce sometimes during times generally short, more energy that can be transferred to the grid at the time. A concept already exploited, although still on a small scale, to use that electricity is to use it to produce hydrogen by water electrolysis.


In combination with carbon dioxide (CO2), hydrogen, a renewable resource, can be used to produce methane, which can be stored and transferred to grids of natural gas, as it is composed mostly of methane gas.

Scientists at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Science and Technology of Materials (EMPA, also known collectively as EMPA Institute) have now achieved significantly optimize this process. Read the rest of this entry »

More mystery on the origin of supermassive black holes

Smaller black holes whose mass is only several times that of our Sun, are formed from exploding stars. The largest black holes, with a mass of thousands of million times that of our star, grow in the heart of their host galaxies over time. But the initial part of the growth in the mass of black holes is such a mystery that remains unsolved.

Galaxy NGC 4395

Researchers at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, United States, have explored this question with no clear answer by searching and examining black holes in smaller or “dwarf” galaxies. These galaxies have not undergone many changes since its inception, so they are more pristine than “normal” galaxies more massive.

In many respects, resemble the types of galaxies that must have existed when the universe was very young, and therefore allow a glimpse of how were the host galaxies in which these black holes are so massive today were formed. Read the rest of this entry »

Robots working on computer in unpredictable situations

In experiments with very similar to the popular Roomba robots, has been achieved, through special software, enable them to work as a team without a centralized control and coordinating between them according to the needs of the moment, without prior planning of the sequence of actions to do or know in advance what exact situations will face.


The new system makes it possible for fleets of robots, and other multi-agent systems, collaborate in ways that were previously very difficult to achieve or even unworkable on a practical scale.

Write a computer program capable of controlling a single autonomous robot circulating in an unpredictable environment and only has a link to irregular communications, is a difficult challenge, write a program to multiple robots that may or may not work together depending on each task at hand, is even more difficult. Read the rest of this entry »

Revealing the underlying biology in bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder, a serious mental illness that affects between 1 and 2 percent of the population, causes unusual and dramatic in mood changes, also alternating between dynamic and apathy, and interferes with the ability to perform everyday tasks. People with this disorder may experience mood and very high and very low energy, to the point of not wanting to get out of bed or when they are depressed.

bipolar disorder

The genetic causes of bipolar disorder are complex and probably involve many different genes. The scientific community has been facing many difficulties in attempting to identify all the genes that cause it. A team of scientists from the U.S., Colombia and Costa Rica has tried to tackle the challenge with a new approach.

Instead of using only a standard clinical interview to determine if individuals meet the criteria for clinical diagnosis of bipolar disorder, the researchers pooled the results of brain scans, cognitive tests, and a series of evaluations on temperament and behavior. Read the rest of this entry »