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Stanford articles

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Cellular 'guillotine' helps understand how single cells heal

Cellular 'guillotine' helps understand how single cells heal
While doing research at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory in Massachusetts, Sindy Tang learned of a remarkable organism: Stentor coeruleus. It’s a single-celled, free-living freshwater organism, shaped like a trumpet and big enough to see with the naked eye. And, to Tang’s amazement, if cut in half it can heal itself into two healthy cells. Tang, who is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Stanford University, knew right away that she had to study this incredible ability.
27th June 2017

Photosynthesis could help damaged hearts

Photosynthesis could help damaged hearts
In the ongoing hunt to find better treatments for heart disease, the top cause of death globally, new research from Stanford shows promising results using an unusual strategy: photosynthetic bacteria and light. Researchers found that by injecting a type of bacteria into the hearts of anaesthestised rats with cardiac disease, then using light to trigger photosynthesis, they were able to increase the flow of oxygen and improve heart function, according to a study published in Science Advances.
16th June 2017

Viruses could treat childhood brain tumours

Viruses could treat childhood brain tumours
Scientists have tested a new therapy based on oncolytic viruses for the treatment of paediatric gliomas. Used in combination with chemotherapy, it represents a more effective treatment of this malignancy. Childhood brain tumours known as high-grade gliomas (HGGs) pose a great challenge to paediatric oncology with just 10% survival. The current therapeutic choices are limited and cause severe neurologic and cognitive side-effects.
19th May 2017


Genetic patterns could aid scientists and police

Genetic patterns could aid scientists and police
How much could one really figure out about a person from 13 tiny snippets of DNA? At first glance, not much – in the world of genetics, 13 is tiny. But a new study suggests it may be enough to infer hundreds of thousands more markers, potentially revealing a wealth of genetic information, Stanford biologists report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
16th May 2017

Experimental tech monitors drug levels in the body

Experimental tech monitors drug levels in the body
As with coffee or alcohol, the way each person processes medication is unique. One person's perfect dose may be another person's deadly overdose. With such variability, it can be hard to prescribe exactly the right amount of critical drugs, such as chemotherapy or insulin. Now, a team led by Stanford electrical engineer H. Tom Soh and postdoctoral fellow Peter Mage has developed a drug delivery tool that could make it easier for people to get the correct dose of lifesaving drugs.
10th May 2017

Assembling working human forebrain circuits in a lab dish

Assembling working human forebrain circuits in a lab dish
Peering into laboratory glassware, Stanford University School of Medicine researchers have watched stem-cell-derived nerve cells arising in a specific region of the human brain migrate into another brain region. This process recapitulates what's been believed to occur in a developing fetus, but has never previously been viewed in real time. The investigators saw the migrating nerve cells, or neurons, hook up with other neurons in the target region to form functioning circuits characteristic of the cerebral cortex.
27th April 2017

Stanford undergrads win Lemelson-MIT Student Prize

Stanford undergrads win Lemelson-MIT Student Prize
  A team of Stanford ChEM-H undergraduates has won the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for their development of proteins that could combat multidrug-resistant bacteria, which the World Health Organisation has described as one of the most serious public health threats the world faces today.
21st April 2017

Wearable sweat sensor can diagnose cystic fibrosis

Wearable sweat sensor can diagnose cystic fibrosis
A wristband-type wearable sweat sensor could transform diagnostics and drug evaluation for cystic fibrosis, diabetes and other diseases. The sensor collects sweat, measures its molecular constituents and then electronically transmits the results for analysis and diagnostics, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine, in collaboration with the University of California-Berkeley.
20th April 2017

Brain’s navigation more complex than previously thought

Brain’s navigation more complex than previously thought
Just like a driver in a car, the brain needs some basic navigational instruments to get around, and it is not an idle analogy. In fact, scientists have found brain cells that are similar to speedometers, compasses, GPS and even collision warning systems. That simple analogy, however, may belie the more complex way our brains actually map out the world, Stanford researchers report in Neuron.
7th April 2017

Studying Pavlovian conditioning in neural networks

Studying Pavlovian conditioning in neural networks
In the decades following the work by physiologist Ivan Pavlov and his famous salivating dogs, scientists have discovered how molecules and cells in the brain learn to associate stimuli, like Pavlov’s bell and the resulting food. What they haven’t been able to study is how whole groups of neurons work together to form that association. Now, Stanford University researchers have observed how large groups of neurons in the brain both learn and unlearn a new association.
23rd March 2017

Imaging technology creates 3D bladder reconstruction

Imaging technology creates 3D bladder reconstruction
The way doctors examine the bladder for tumors or stones is like exploring the contours of a cave with a flashlight. Using cameras attached to long, flexible instruments called endoscopes, they find that it’s sometimes difficult to orient the location of masses within the bladder’s blood vessel-lined walls. This could change with a new computer vision technique developed by Stanford researchers that creates 3D bladder reconstructions out of the endoscope’s otherwise fleeting images.
17th March 2017

Low-energy artificial synapse aids neural network computing

Low-energy artificial synapse aids neural network computing
For all the improvements in computer technology over the years, we still struggle to recreate the low-energy, elegant processing of the human brain. Now, researchers at Stanford University and Sandia National Laboratories have made an advance that could help computers mimic one piece of the brain’s efficient design – an artificial version of the space over which neurons communicate, called a synapse.
22nd February 2017

Brain-computer interface allows typing by people with paralysis

Brain-computer interface allows typing by people with paralysis
A clinical research publication led by Stanford University investigators has demonstrated that a brain-to-computer hookup can enable people with paralysis to type via direct brain control at the highest speeds and accuracy levels reported to date. The report involved three study participants with severe limb weakness—two from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also called Lou Gehrig's disease, and one from a spinal cord injury.
21st February 2017

Simulations can improve heart surgeries

Simulations can improve heart surgeries
MRI and CT scans provide physicians with a detailed picture of their patients’ internal anatomy. Heart surgeons often use these images to plan surgeries. Unfortunately, these anatomical images don’t show how the blood is flowing through the vessels — which is critical, according to Alison Marsden, PhD, a Stanford associate professor of pediatrics and of bioengineering. In the video above, she explains that many surgeons now use a pencil and paper to sketch out their surgical plan based on the patient’s images.
16th February 2017

'Lab on a chip' costs 1 cent to produce

'Lab on a chip' costs 1 cent to produce
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have developed a way to produce a cheap and reusable diagnostic "lab on a chip" with the help of an ordinary inkjet printer. At a production cost of as little as 1 cent per chip, the new technology could usher in a medical diagnostics revolution like the kind brought on by low-cost genome sequencing, said Ron Davis, PhD, professor of biochemistry and of genetics and director of the Stanford Genome Technology Center.
9th February 2017

Technique reveals circuitry of Parkinson’s disease tremours

Technique reveals circuitry of Parkinson’s disease tremours
If a piece of electronics isn’t working, troubleshooting the problem often involves probing the flow of electricity through the various components of the circuit to locate any faulty parts. Stanford bioengineer and neuroscientist Jin Hyung Lee, who studies Parkinson’s disease, has adapted that idea to diseases of the brain, creating a new way to turn on specific types of neurons in order to observe how this affects the whole brain. The work is described in Neuron.
27th January 2017

Deep learning algorithm helps identify skin cancer

Deep learning algorithm helps identify skin cancer
Universal access to health care was on the minds of computer scientists at Stanford when they set out to create an artificially intelligent diagnosis algorithm for skin cancer. They made a database of nearly 130,000 skin disease images and trained their algorithm to visually diagnose potential cancer. From the very first test, it performed with inspiring accuracy.
26th January 2017

Wearable sensors can tell when you are getting ill

Wearable sensors can tell when you are getting ill
  Wearable sensors that monitor heart rate, activity, skin temperature and other variables can reveal a lot about what is going on inside a person, including the onset of infection, inflammation and even insulin resistance, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
13th January 2017

Hand-powered blood centrifuge aids diagnosis and treatment

Hand-powered blood centrifuge aids diagnosis and treatment
Here’s how to build a whirligig: Thread a loop of twine through two holes in a button. Grab the loop ends, then rhythmically pull. As the twine coils and uncoils, the button spins at a dizzying speed. Inspired by a toy, Stanford bioengineers have developed an inexpensive, human-powered blood centrifuge that will enable precise diagnosis and treatment of diseases like malaria, African sleeping sickness and tuberculosis in the poor, off-the-grid regions where these diseases are most prevalent.
11th January 2017

Tissue in the brain may underlie better face recognition

Tissue in the brain may underlie better face recognition
People are born with brains riddled with excess neural connections. Those are slowly pruned back until early childhood when, scientists thought, the brain’s structure becomes relatively stable. Now a pair of studies, published in the issues of Science and in Cerebral Cortex, suggest this process is more complicated than previously thought. For the first time, the group found microscopic tissue growth in the brain continues in regions that also show changes in function.
6th January 2017


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