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Technology Tuesday: November 17


This week: A new anti-aging drug, Earth’s water could be native, meaning other planets may be more likely to have water, animal hair could inspire self cleaning devices, computers with neural networks, and google takes aim at heart disease.


Alzheimer’s Drug Has Anti-Aging Proporties


New research from the Salk Institute shows that the experimental Alzheimer’s drug J147 has a host of unexpected anti-aging effects in animals.

The Salk team expanded upon their previous development of a drug candidate, called J147, which takes a different tack by targeting Alzheimer’s major risk factor–old age. In the new work, the team showed that the drug candidate worked well in a mouse model of aging not typically used in Alzheimer’s research. When these mice were treated with J147, they had better memory and cognition, healthier blood vessels in the brain and other improved physiological features, as detailed November 12, 2015 in the journal Aging.



Earth’s Water May Be Native


Fragments of Earth’s earliest rock, preserved unchanged deep in the mantle until they were coughed up by volcanic eruptions, suggest that our planet has had water from the very beginning.

If so, that raises the likelihood that water – one of the key prerequisites for life – could be native to other planets, too.

The origin of Earth’s water has long been a mystery to planetary scientists, because the young sun would have burned hot enough to vaporise any ice that was present as dust coalesced to form our planet.

Scientists therefore assumed that newborn Earth must have formed from dry material and acquired its water through bombardment by objects from more distant, icy reaches of the solar system.



Studying Animal Hair Could Lead To Self Cleaning Technologies


Watch a fly land on the kitchen table, and the first thing it does is clean itself, very, very carefully. Although we can’t see it, the animal’s surface is covered with dust, pollen and even insidious mites that could burrow into its body if not removed.

Staying clean can be a matter of life and death. All animals, including us human beings, take cleaning just as seriously. Each year, we spend an entire day bathing, and another two weeks cleaning our houses. Cleaning may be as fundamental to life as eating, breathing and mating.

Yet somehow, cleaning has gotten little attention.



Building Computers With Neural Networks


If you’ve ever tried to hold a conversation with a chatbot like CleverBot, you know how quickly the conversation turns to nonsense, no matter how hard you try to keep it together.

But now, a research team led by Bruno Golosio, assistant professor of applied physics at Università di Sassari in Italy, has taken a significant step toward improving human-to-computer conversation. Golosio and colleagues built an artificial neural network, called ANNABELL, that aims to emulate the large-scale structure of human working memory in the brain — and its ability to hold a conversation is eerily human-like.



Google Aims To Cure Heart Disease


Heart disease is responsible for one in every four deaths in the United States according to the CDC, making it the leading cause of death in this country for both men and women. To slow its lethal effects, doctors can recommend lifestyle changes, prescribe blood thinners, perform bypasses, or stent arteries, but these mitigation strategies are limited; despite how much researchers have learned about heart disease, they still don’t know exactly what causes it, or how to cure it. A new partnership between Google Life Sciences and the American Heart Association (AHA) might change all that: Together, the companies will give $50 million over five years to a single team, “tasked with developing a richer, deeper understanding of cardiovascular disease,” according to a press release.


Know any interesting stories we missed?Let us know in the comments!

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