alphadogg writes "Medical device makers should take new steps to protect their products from malware and cyberattacks or face the possibility that U.S. Food and Drug Administration won't approve their devices for use, the FDA said. The FDA issued new cybersecurity recommendations for medical devices on Thursday, following reports that some devices have been compromised. Recent vulnerabilities involving Philips fetal monitors and in Oracle software used in body fluid analysis machines are among the incidents that prompted the FDA to issue the recommendations."
Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook
aarondubrow writes "Researchers recently created OpenfMRI, a web-based, supercomputer-powered tool that makes it easier for researchers to process, share, compare and rapidly analyze fMRI brain scans from many different studies. Applying supercomputing to the fMRI analysis allows researchers to conduct larger studies, test more hypotheses, and accommodate the growing spatial and time resolution of brain scans. The ultimate goal is to collect enough brain data to develop a bottom-up understanding of brain function."
An anonymous reader writes "Today Mozilla announced the Mozilla Science Lab, a project to help modernize scientific practices to make better use of the open web. "Scientists created the web — but the open web still hasn't transformed scientific practice to the same extent we've seen in other areas like media, education and business. For all of the incredible discoveries of the last century, science is still largely rooted in the "analog" age. Credit systems in science are still largely based around "papers," for example, and as a result researchers are often discouraged from sharing, learning, reusing, and adopting the type of open and collaborative learning that the web makes possible.' Hopefully this can be another step in moving away from traditional publishing practices, and encourage a new generation of scientists to make their data available in more useful ways."
taikedz writes "Fiona Fox, chief executive of the Science Media Center, has claimed that leading scientists independently advising the UK government are being actively prevented from speaking to the public and media, especially in times of crisis when scientific evidence is necessary for a fully open and educated public debate, such as the current badger culling policy, and the past volcanic eruptions and ash fallout and their effects. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whom many of these scientists are advising, denies any such practices."
Freshly Exhumed writes "Dave Siever always fancied himself as something of a musician, but also realized he did not necessarily sing or play in perfect key. Then he strapped on the electrodes of a device made by his Edmonton company, and zapped his brain's auditory cortex with a mild dose of electricity. The result, he claims, was a dramatic improvement in his ability to hear pitch, including the sour notes he produced himself. 'Now I tune everything and I practise my singing over and over and over again, because I'm more sensitive to it.' Mr. Siever was not under the supervision of a doctor or psychologist, and nor is he one himself. He is part of an extraordinary trend that has amateur enthusiasts excited, and some scientists deeply nervous: do-it-yourself brain stimulation." With studies suggesting that small doses of electricity can: increase your memory, help you learn new tasks, make you better at math, turn you into a sniper in minutes, and most importantly make the ugly seem attractive, we can expect a lot of brain zapping in the next few years.
William Robinson writes "Astronomers have discovered 26 new likely black holes in the neighboring Andromeda galaxy — the largest haul of black hole candidates ever found in a galaxy apart from our own. The central region of the Andromeda galaxy is chock-full of black holes, according to extensive observations with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory." These 26 black hole candidates add to nine previously known for a grand total of 35.
vinces99 writes "A new analysis shows that world population could reach nearly 11 billion by the end of this century, according to a United Nations report issued June 13. That's about 800 million, or about 8 percent, more than the previous projection issued in 2011. The change is largely because birth rates in Africa have not declined as quickly as had been expected, according to Adrian Raftery of the University of Washington's Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences. The U.N. estimates use statistical methods developed at the center. The current African population is about 1.1 billion and it is now expected to reach 4.2 billion, nearly a fourfold increase, by 2100, Raftery said."
ColdWetDog writes "The ongoing story of Myriad Genetics versus the rest of the world has come to an end. In a 9-0 decision, the US Supreme Court has decided that human genes cannot be patented. From a brief Bloomberg article: 'Writing for the court, Justice Clarence Thomas said isolated DNA is a "product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated." At the same time, Thomas said synthetic molecules known as complementary DNA, or cDNA, can be patented because they require a significant amount of human manipulation to create.' Seems perfectly sane. Raw genes, the ones you find in nature are, wait for it — natural. Other bits of manipulated DNA / RNA / protein which take skill and time to create are potentially patentable. Oddly, Myriad Genetics stock actually rose on that information." Adds reader the eric conspiracy: "The result for Myriad is that they still have protection for their test, however the decision also allows researchers to work with the DNA sequences that are predecessors to the cDNA used in the test." Here's an AP report on the ruling, as carried by the Washington Post.
puddingebola writes with this excerpt: "A previously undetected layer in the cornea, the clear window at the front of the human eye, has been discovered by scientists at The University of Nottingham. This new layer, called the Dua's Layer after Professor Harminder Dua who discovered it, could help surgeons to dramatically improve outcomes for patients undergoing corneal grafts and transplants. This is a major discovery that will mean that ophthalmology textbooks will literally need to be re-written. Having identified this new and distinct layer deep in the tissue of the cornea, we can now exploit its presence to make operations much safer and simpler for patients," said Dua, Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences."
trendspotter writes in with the latest news about the 2045 Project. "If Russian billionaire Dmitry Itskov has his way, the human lifespan will soon no longer depend on the limitations of the human body. Itskov, a Russian tycoon and former media mogul, is the founder of the 2045 Project — a venture that seeks to replace flesh-and-blood bodies with robotic avatars, each one uploaded with the contents of a human brain. The goal: to extend human lives by hundreds or thousands of years, if not indefinitely."
sciencehabit writes "Despite a slow economy, business in genomics has boomed and has directly and indirectly boosted the U.S. economy by $965 billion since 1988, according to a new study (pdf). In 2012 alone, genomics-related research and development, along with relevant industry activities, contributed $31 billion to the U.S. gross national product and helped support 152,000 jobs, the biomedical funding advocacy group United for Medical Research announced today in Washington, D.C. Based on total U.S. spending, the country gets $65 back for every $1 it spends on the field."
astroengine writes "In the hope of uniting people around the globe in a long-duration project to send a radio 'message in a bottle' METI (Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence) signal, a crowd-funded project utilizing a refurbished radio telescope in California has begun its work. Lone Signal is a project initiated by scientists, businessmen and entrepreneurs to set up a continuous radio beacon from Earth. To support the operations of the Jamesburg Earth Station radio dish in Carmel Valley, Calif. (a dish built to support the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969), a crowd-funding effort has been set up so that for a small fee, users can send images to the stars. If you're content with sending a text message, your first message is free. The radio dish's first target is Gliese 526, a red dwarf star 18 light-years from Earth, but the project will be considering other stellar targets believed to be harboring habitable worlds."
New submitter ScienceMon writes "Emma Maris reports in Nature how unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, are starting to catch on among scientific researchers who are using them to keep tabs on volcanoes, track endangered species, hunt down weeds, and a range of other uses. At the same time, engineers are designing ever-more sophisticated drones that can navigate and collect data autonomously. '[R]esearchers from UC Boulder have used UAVs to measure jets of wind that scream down from the Antarctic plateau into Terra Nova Bay. Such measurements could help scientists to understand the dynamics of sea-ice formation around Antarctica, which creates dense salty water that sinks and helps to drive global ocean currents. "Nobody had an aircraft out there during winter when the winds are strongest and took measurements because the conditions are too extreme," says Maslanik. The data collected so far, he says, show unexpectedly complex wind patterns, including fierce, localized jets that push sea ice off shore and speed up its formation.'"
ananyo writes "A new kind of computer memory can be read 10,000 times faster than flash memory using pulses of light, taking advantage of principles used in solar panel design. Researchers built the prototype device using bismuth ferrite. In conventional computer memory, information is stored in cells that hold different amounts of electric charge, each representing a binary '1' or '0.' Bismuth ferrite, by contrast, and can represent those binary digits, or bits, as one of two polarization states, and, because of its photovoltaic properties, can switch between these states in response to visible light."
Via El Reg comes news that the International Linear Collider's Technical Design Report is finished, leaving only funding in the way of construction. From the article: "A five volume report containing the plans for the International Linear Collider has been handed over to the International Committee for Future Accelerators (ICFA) for approval. The Technical Design Report contains costings for the project, along with the design of the new collider. The new machine is significantly more powerful than the hoary European Large Hadron Collider and is likely to be sited in Japan, because the Pacific island nation has reportedly offered to pay for half of the construction costs. ... Jonathan Bagger, chair of the International Linear Collider Steering Committee, said the particle collider was 'ready to go.' 'The publication of the Technical Design Report represents a major accomplishment,' he continued. ... The ILC consists of two linear accelerators facing each other. " A few years late, but hopefully not never.
vinces99 writes "Small electrodes placed on or inside the brain allow patients to interact with computers or control robotic limbs simply by thinking about how to execute those actions. This technology could improve communication and daily life for a person who is paralyzed or has lost the ability to speak from a stroke or neurodegenerative disease. Now researchers have demonstrated that when humans use this brain-computer interface, the brain behaves much like it does when completing simple motor skills such as kicking a ball, typing or waving a hand (abstract). That means learning to control a robotic arm or a prosthetic limb could become second nature for people who are paralyzed."
trendspotter points out this research from Duke University: "Hours spent at the video gaming console not only train a player's hands to work the buttons on the controller, they probably also train the brain to make better and faster use of visual input, according to Duke University researchers (abstract). 'Gamers see the world differently,' said Greg Appelbaum, an assistant professor of psychiatry in the Duke School of Medicine. 'They are able to extract more information from a visual scene.' ... Each participant was run though a visual sensory memory task that flashed a circular arrangement of eight letters for just one-tenth of a second. After a delay ranging from 13 milliseconds to 2.5 seconds, an arrow appeared, pointing to one spot on the circle where a letter had been. Participants were asked to identify which letter had been in that spot. At every time interval, intensive players of action video games outperformed non-gamers in recalling the letter."
davide-nature writes "The mysterious blast that flattened 2,000 square km of a remote Siberian forest in 1908 has been blamed on the most bizarre causes, such as an exotic elementary particle left over from the Big Bang, a black hole or, of course, aliens, including in the double-episode 'Tunguska' of The X-Files. But a new analysis of tiny rock samples suggests that a more mundane explanation — a meteor exploding in the atmosphere — may be the right one. The blast is estimated to have packed between 3 and 5 megatons, 10 times the energy of the meteor that exploded over Russia earlier this year."
eldavojohn writes "PBS's NewsHour interviewed Geoffrey Donovan on his recent research published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine that noted a correlation between trees (at least the 22 North American ash varieties) and human health: 'Well my basic hypothesis was that trees improve people's health. And if that's true, then killing 100 million of them in 10 years should have an effect. So if we take away these 100 million trees, does the health of humans suffer? We found that it does.' The basis of this research is Agrilus planipennis, the emerald ash borer, has systematically destroyed 100 million trees in the eastern half of the United States since 2002. After accounting for all variables, the research found that an additional 15,000 people died from cardiovascular disease and 6,000 more from lower respiratory disease in the 15 states infected with the bug, compared with uninfected areas of the country. While the exact cause and effect remains unknown, this research appears to be reinforcing data for people who regularly enjoy forest bathing as well as providing evidence that the natural environment provides major public health benefits."
This is our second video starring Backyard Brains (Motto: "Neuroscience for Everyone!"). The first one was pretty lab-oriented, with a twitching roach leg here and there. This one has more roaches, with most of them crawling on command. Will the DoD see this and decide to make cockroach soldiers? Or roboroach bomb detectors and defusers? Or cockroach drone pilots? Anything's possible these days. But meanwhile, relax and enjoy learning about roboroaches and watching how, with little circuit boards on their little backs, they scurry hither and yon under control of their human masters. WARNING: Excessively squeamish people should not watch this video, but should stick to the transcript.