Week in Tech (6 – 12 Mar 2021)

Health News related to Brain Sensor Offering Alzheimer’s Answers, Head Injury and Increased Risk of Dementia, Monitoring of Heart Rhythm Using Smart Speakers, Role of AI in Medicine, Adaptive Immune System, Alzheimer’s Disease Protein Linked with Common Sight, Memory-Forming Genetics, Electricity Helping Speed Wound Healing, Dry Eye Disease, A Path to Eating Less Fast Food, Loss 50 New Genes for Eye Colour, Uncovering Clues To COVID-19 Using MRI and CT

Note: None of the news bits (and cover picture) given here are written/owned by NewAnced's authors. The links on each of the news bits will redirect to the news source. Content given under each headline is a basic gist and not the full story.

1. New Brain Sensor Offers Alzheimer’s Answers


Source: University of Virginia Health System 8 Mar 2021


Scientists have developed a tool to monitor communications within the brain in a way never before possible, and their creation has already offered an explanation for why Alzheimer’s drugs have limited effectiveness and why patients get much worse after going off of them. The researchers expect their new method will have tremendous impact on our understanding of depression, sleep disorders, autism, neurological diseases, and major psychiatric conditions.

2. Head Injury 25 Years Later - Study Finds Increased Risk of Dementia


Source: University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine 9 Mar 2021


New research shows that a single head injury could lead to dementia later in life. This risk further increases as the number of head injuries sustained by an individual increases. The findings also suggest stronger associations of head injury with risk of dementia among women compared to among men and among white as compared to among Black populations.

3. First AI System for Contactless Monitoring of Heart Rhythm Using Smart Speakers


Source: University of Washington 9 Mar 2021


Researchers have developed a new skill for a smart speaker that for the first time monitors both regular and irregular heartbeats without physical contact. The system sends inaudible sounds from the speaker out into a room and, based on the way the sounds are reflected back to the speaker, it can identify and monitor individual heartbeats. The team’s system uses machine learning to help the smart speaker locate signals from both regular and irregular heartbeats.


Original written by: Sarah McQuate

4. Making the Role of AI in Medicine Explainable


Source: Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin 9 Mar 2021


Researchers have developed a new tissue-section analysis system for diagnosing breast cancer based on AI. Two further developments make this system unique: For the first time, morphological, molecular, and histological data are integrated in a single analysis. Secondly, the system provides a clarification of the AI decision process in the form of heatmaps.

5. Learning to Help the Adaptive Immune System


Source: Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo 9 Mar 2021


Scientists demonstrated how the adaptive immune system uses a method similar to reinforcement learning to control the immune reaction to repeat infections. This work may lead to significant improvements in vaccine development and interventions to boost the immune system.

6. New Study Links Protein Causing Alzheimer’s Disease with Common Sight Loss


Source: University of Southampton 10 Mar 2021


New research has revealed a close link between proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease and age-related sight loss. The findings could open the way to new treatments for patients with deteriorating vision and through this study, the scientists believe they could reduce the need for using animals in future research into blinding conditions.

7. Riding the Wave to Memory-Forming Genetics


Source: UT Southwestern Medical Center 10 Mar 2021


Making a memory involves groups of brain cells firing cooperatively at various frequencies, a phenomenon known as neural oscillations. Scientists have identified key genes involved in brain waves that are pivotal for encoding memories. The findings could eventually be used to develop novel therapies for people with memory loss disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

8. Electricity Could Help Speed Wound Healing, New Study Shows


Source: Ohio State University 11 Mar 2021


Electric stimulation may be able to help blood vessels carry white blood cells and oxygen to wounds, speeding healing, a new study suggests. The study found that steady electrical stimulation generates increased permeability across blood vessels, providing new insight into the ways new blood vessels might grow.


Original written by: Laura Arenschield

9. Dry Eye Disease Negatively Affects Physical and Mental Health as Well as Vision


Source: University of Southampton 11 Mar 2021


Patients suffering from dry eye disease symptoms have a lower quality of life compared to those without symptoms, a new study reports. The findings showed that patients with the condition reported negative effects on visual function, their ability to carry out daily activities, and their work productivity.

10. Stress Reduction as A Path to Eating Less Fast Food


Source: Ohio State University 11 Mar 2021


Overweight low-income mothers of young kids ate fewer fast-food meals and high-fat snacks after participating in a study – not because researchers told them what not to eat, but because the lifestyle intervention being evaluated helped lower the moms’ stress, research suggests.


Original written by: Emily Caldwell

11. 50 New Genes for Eye Colour


Source: King's College London 11 Mar 2021


An international team of researchers has identified 50 new genes for eye colour in the largest genetic study of its kind to date. The study involved the genetic analysis of almost 195,000 people across Europe and Asia. These findings will help to improve the understanding of eye diseases such as pigmentary glaucoma and ocular albinism, where eye pigment levels play a role.

12. Study Uncovers Clues To COVID-19 Using MRI, CT


Source: University of Cincinnati 12 Mar 2021


For the first time, a visual correlation has been found between the severity of the disease in the lungs using CT scans and the severity of effects on patient’s brains, using MRI scans. The results show that by looking at lung CT scans of patients diagnosed with COVID-19, physicians may be able to predict just how badly they’ll experience other neurological problems that could show up on brain MRIs, helping improve patient outcomes and identify symptoms for earlier treatment.


Original written by: Katie Pence


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