DNA-testing chip for smartphones

Scientists in Sweden have created a simple, 3D-printed microscope, which when attached to a smartphone can be used to analyze DNA.

The 3D-printed microscope attachment uses 2 LED lights and a special lens that magnify the image so researchers can view individual cells.

This allows them to analyze DNA chains and detect variants, telling them what form of cancer, bacteria or virus is involved.

It runs on the smartphone’s internal battery, meaning it’s not reliant on any external power source. The attachment can be manufactured for less than 500 dollars.

This kind of mobile DNA sequencing is a departure from big, expensive and complicated machines commonly used in labs. This raises the prospect of carrying out the same kind of analysis in remote areas or places where the technology is too costly.




Imagem relacionadaAt the Baltic Sea, 1933. Photo by Herbert List/Magnum

The body courses with currents of love and desire, pleasure and pain. Can neuroscience alone map this fluid terrain?

Steven M Phelps is associate professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas. His lab uses computational models and molecular analysis of gene expression to study animal behaviour, evolution and cognition. He lives in Austin. 

As a student of neuroanatomy, I was provided with a human brain in a half-gallon tub. Our lab manual depicted a brain in situ, half-exposed in the head of an aged Irishman cut open along the midline, where his part might have run. My lab partner and I spent a semester peeling away layers of our stranger’s accumulated experience. We sketched coarse outlines to label in Latin and Greek. In an exam, we might find pins in the pons and medulla, in their minor partitions. We might be asked to diagram the flow of information as a child touches a hot stove then withdraws her hand in a thin sliver of a second. This is the allure of neuroscience: it offers an atlas of experience, one whose pages can be laid out for view with a scalpel and steady hand. At 21, I was overwhelmed and enthralled.

Roughly a year later, I joined several graduate students for an afternoon spent kicking our way through ankle- and waist-deep waters, seining for tiny varieties of fishes. We were led by an ichthyology professor who was opinionated and clever. He taught me how to hold the seine, placing my hands on the posts in proper position, tilting them so the net could billow behind me. He showed me how to move through the water to drive fish into our net. And despite my ignorance, he addressed me with deference. ‘You’re a neurobiologist,’ he began, as I watched the Vermillion River work its way across a flat Illinois acre. ‘Why is water so mesmerising?’

Maybe it was the way light and sound leapt from the stream, at once constant and unpredictable. I kept this thought to myself. We could not have anticipated that we would discuss his strange question and our awkward silence for the next 20 years.

Perhaps we have become too easily ashamed of our wonder. Neuroscientists want more than ever to chart the brain’s navigable waters, its every tributary and purling riffle. We have performed meta-analyses of brains lit with love and desire. And when we have these maps, these intimate geographies, what then? As Walt Whitman has written, ‘Your facts are useful, and yet they are not my dwelling.’ Can we learn how a fleeting touch drives a frenzied heart, or why the delay between contact and withdrawal can span a decade? An answer worthy of our effort should begin at the skin’s surface, yet somehow end in poetry.

While walking on a Japanese beach at the end of the 19th century, the Scottish doctor Henry Faulds found pottery fragments that bore impressions from the fingertips of prehistoric craftsmen. Contemporary pots made by similar methods revealed finer details and alerted him to the minute variations of the human hand. Naturalists of the time often documented the delicate forms of exotic ferns by transferring a thin layer of printer’s ink from frond to paper. Faulds made similar records of the intricate ridges of fingers and palms, noting the variety of patterns he observed among the digits of his friends and colleagues…




Antidepressants: 10 Shocking Studies Everyone Should Know

Antidepressants: 10 Shocking Studies Everyone Should Know post image

Do antidepressants work? What are the real side-effects? And more…

1.Antidepressants are very hit-and-miss

Unfortunately, for around half of depressed patients, the first antidepressants prescribed do not work.

On top of that, around one-third of patients do not respond to any types of drugs (although psychological therapies may be useful).

At the moment, the only way to know is to try them and see what happens.

This means that many depressed people have to wait around three months to see if the drugs will work.

(From: Depression Breakthrough: Blood Test Predicts Correct Treatment)

2. Science of antidepressants based on backward facts

The scientific basis behind commonly used antidepressants is completely backwards, according to a new review of the research.

For almost 50 years it has been believed by scientists and the public alike that depression is related to low levels of serotonin in the brain.

In fact, the new review finds, the very best evidence available suggests people who are depressed actually have higher levels of serotonin in their brains, not lower.

This means that commonly used antidepressants are actually making the situation worse, not better.

3. Some scientists say they don’t work

New generation ‘SSRI’ antidepressants like Prozac or Seroxat mostly fall, “below the recommended criteria for clinical significance”, according to some scientists.

In other words, the most modern drugs prescribed for depression generally don’t work.

Their review of the evidence found the drugs had different effects on people with different levels of depression:

  • Mild depression: not tested as mild depression is usually treated with a ‘talk therapy’ rather than antidepressants.
  • Moderate depression: antidepressants made “virtually no difference”.
  • Severe depression: antidepressants had a “small and clinicallyinsignificant” effect.
  • Most severe depression: antidepressants had a significant clinical benefit – but see the full article.

For the full story: SSRI Antidepressants ‘Clinically Insignificant’ For Most People

4. Hidden side-effects

A recent survey of people taking antidepressants has found higher than expected levels of emotional numbness, sexual problems and even suicidal thoughts associated with the medication

The study, published in the journal Psychiatry Research, found that as many as half the people they surveyed had psychological problems due to their medication.

Of the 20 adverse effects that people were questioned about:

  • 62% said they had ‘sexual difficulties’,
  • 52% said they ‘didn’t feel like themselves’,
  • 42% noticed a ‘reduction in positive feelings’,
  • 39% found themselves ‘caring less about others’,
  • and 55% reported ‘withdrawal effects’.

Set against these findings, though, 82% said that the drugs had been useful in tackling their depression.

5. Most linked to weight gain

Bupropion, which is marketed as Wellbutrin, is the only antidepressant linked to weight loss, new research finds.

In contrast, those taking fluoxetine (known mainly as Prozac) gained an average of 4.6 pounds in the same time.

So, those taking Wellbutrin weighed an average of 7 pounds less than those who took Prozac over the two years.

6. Memory loss

The older type of antidepressants — known as tricyclics — have been linked to memory loss.

Some of the drug names include:

  • desipramine (Norpramin),
  • imipramine (Tofranil),
  • clomipramine (Anafranil),
  • and doxepin (Sinequan).

Around half of people taking them report problems concentrating and one-third say they have memory loss.

(From: 5 Common Prescription Drugs Linked To Memory Loss)

7. Natural supplements can boost effectiveness

Four natural supplements have been found by new research to increase the effectiveness of antidepressants.

The supplements are:

  1. Omega 3 fish oils,
  2. S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe),
  3. methylfolate (bioactive form of folate),
  4. and vitamin D.

The conclusions come from a new review of 40 clinical trials carried out worldwide.

Each tested the use of common antidepressants in tandem with dietary supplements.

8. Antidepressants linked to autism

Mothers who use antidepressants during pregnancy could double their children’s risk of develop autism.

The conclusions come from a new study covering 145,456 pregnancies.

Since around 7% of pregnant women take antidepressants, the study could have very important implications.

9. Self-harm and suicide

A common antidepressant thought safe for adolescents is actually ineffective, new research finds.

Worse, it has been linked to serious side-effects.

The drug is called paroxetine, which is marketed as Paxil, Seroxat and Aropax.

Read more about the study here.

10. Antidepressants and social anxiety

Social anxiety disorder is most commonly treated with antidepressants, but these are not the most effective treatment.

A new study finds that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is more effective and the benefits continue after the initial treatment has finished.

The researchers found that it was the psychological therapies that were the most effective.

As a result these should be the first choice treatment.

Antidepressants were also effective, but were associated with side-effects, and they don’t work for some people.


4 Signs You May Be A Statist Puppet

by Gary ‘Z’ McGee, Staff Writer,  Waking Times

“State is the name of the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it lies; and this lie slips from its mouth: I, the state am the people” ~Friedrich Nietzsche

Statism is a pandemic religion, a psychosocial disease that has swept the world up in a web of political delusions. It has convinced people, through conditioning and propaganda, to be dependent upon the state. When really it’s all just smoke and mirrors thrown up by an entrenched authority so that it can maintain its power and control over the people. And that’s the crux: the power dynamic. People should have power over the government, not the other way around. As Alan Moore said, “People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.” Indeed, self-rule is far superior to state-rule. The problem is, most people aren’t aware of it.

Amidst this rampant statism stands the mass-man, the ignorant majority, the statist puppet, naïve to the political power swings surrounding him, dumb to the way things actually work. Sadly, statist puppets represent the majority of “we the people.” It’s not their fault, really. It’s simply how the majority of us were culturally conditioned to believe. We were all born into it, to a certain extent. But there comes a time when we must choose: become aware of how power works, or remain ignorant and powerless.

Here are four signs you may be a statist puppet.

1. You Believe State Laws are Valid and Just

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.

Rather than question the validity of laws, you just go with the oppressive flow, unaware that most laws are outdated and immoral, and that many laws are set up just to maintain a “legal” extortion racket that makes the poor poorer and the rich richer. But you, being a statist puppet, don’t want to hear any of that “nonsense”. Cognitive dissonance kicks in and before you know it the comfortable, yet weak statist conditioning worms its way back in, whispering sweet lies into your ear, “The system works. Man-made laws are necessary. Obey!”

You would rather be kissed with lies than slapped with truth, and so you just go through the statist motions of thinking, “It’s just the way things are. Who am I to question it?” Not realizing that, if you want to change the world you must first change yourself. As Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” The first stage of self-change is questioning the way you perceive reality, which means questioning everything: society, politics, laws, the list goes on.

You have a choice: remain a statist puppet, ignorantly indifferent; or learn how to become free, purposefully proactive. The choice is yours. But, and here’s the misery of it all, remaining a statist puppet is easy, comfortable, and secure; where as becoming free is difficult, uncomfortable, and scary. It may mean challenging entrenched laws in ways that could get you in trouble with the law. It may even mean becoming David and challenging Goliath (the state) though it may be scary as hell.

2. You are Blindly Patriotic

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” ~Mark Twain

It’s more than just your stars and stripes underwear/blindfold combo that makes you a statist puppet, par excellence; it’s the way you bang your chest about randomly being born in one nation rather than another, and then proceed to holler as loud as you can about how your nation is the best in the world just because you happened to have been born into it. You’ve probably never even been to another country, but when you’re certain, you’re certain, right? Regardless of whether or not your nation is the greatest, the problem is your blind certitude, your willful ignorance stinking up the place and closing your mind into a xenophobic fly trap.

You’ve yet to mature into one with cosmopolitan disposition, someone who understands that everything is connected in an interdependent web that binds the planet into one organic whole. And so the superior ideal of world-patriot has eluded you. You’re so busy ballyhooing statist propaganda, you don’t even realize there are strings dancing you into a patriotic puppetry that keeps you blind to the way the world actually works. God forbid you should slip that blindfold off and learn how to see beyond the shadows cast within the cave of statism that has kept you in the dark for far too long.

3. You Think it’s Moral and Just That the Government Forces Taxation

“No man is free, who is not master of himself.” ~Epictetus






Gary ‘Z’ McGeea former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide awake view of the modern world.
This article (4 Signs You May Be A Statist Puppet) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is printed here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Gary ‘Z’ McGee and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this statement of copyright.