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Scientists use ultrasound to jump-start a man’s brain after coma

A 25-year-old man recovering from a coma has made remarkable progress following a treatment at UCLA to jump-start his brain using ultrasound. The technique uses sonic stimulation to excite the neurons in the thalamus, an egg-shaped structure that serves as the brain’s central hub for processing information. “It’s almost as if we were jump-starting the…

The first autonomous, entirely soft robot

A team of Harvard University researchers with expertise in 3D printing, mechanical engineering, and microfluidics has demonstrated the first autonomous, untethered, entirely soft robot. This small, 3D-printed robot — nicknamed the octobot — could pave the way for a new generation of completely soft, autonomous machines. Soft robotics could revolutionize how humans interact with machines….

Warbler genomes look to be 99.97 percent alike

For decades, conservationists have considered blue-winged warblers to be a threat to golden-winged warblers, a species being considered for federal Endangered Species protection. Blue-winged warbler populations have declined 66 percent since 1968, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. The two species are known to frequently interbreed where they co-occur, and scientists have been…

Total number of neurons — not enlarged prefrontal region — hallmark of human brain

A new scientific study puts the final nail in the coffin of a long-standing theory to explain human’s remarkable cognitive abilities: that human evolution involved the selective expansion of the brain’s prefrontal cortex. It does so by determining that the prefrontal region of the brain which orchestrates abstract thinking, complex planning and decision making contains…

Unsafe levels of toxic chemicals found in drinking water for six million Americans

Levels of a widely used class of industrial chemicals linked with cancer and other health problems polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) exceed federally recommended safety levels in public drinking water supplies for six million people in the U.S., according to a new study led by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and…

Ice Cube search for the ‘sterile neutrino’ draws a blank

In an effort to fill in the blanks of the Standard Model of particle physics, science has been conducting a diligent search for a hypothesized particle known as the “sterile neutrino.” Now, with the latest results from an icy particle detector at the South Pole, scientists are almost certain that there is no such particle….

Prototype chip could help make quantum computing practical

Quantum computers are largely hypothetical devices that could perform some calculations much more rapidly than conventional computers can. Instead of the bits of classical computation, which can represent 0 or 1, quantum computers consist of quantum bits, or qubits, which can, in some sense, represent 0 and 1 simultaneously. Although quantum systems with as many…

Early brain connections key to reading

A new study from MIT reveals that a brain region dedicated to reading has connections for that skill even before children learn to read. By scanning the brains of children before and after they learned to read, the researchers found that they could predict the precise location where each child’s visual word form area (VWFA)…

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