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Author pays 50 a month towards plan to have head cut off and brain cryogenically frozen after death –

Posted: February 20, 2017 at 5:44 am

An author is paying 50 a month towards a plan to have his head cut off and his brain cryogenically frozen after his death.

DJ MacLennan is handing over the cash to the Alcor Institute in Arizona, USA – in the hope that he can one day be brought back to life.

The Daily Record reports that when he dies, the writer wants a team of volunteers to fill his body with anti-freezing liquid before plunging it into ice water.

DJ’s body will then be wrapped in polyethylene, submerged in alcohol and lowered into ice before being shipped to Arizona.

It’s at this point that his head will be removed and frozen in liquid nitrogen and put into storage.

The full-body procedure costs 75,000 but DJ, who is from Skye, has opted for the 40,000 brain freeze instead.

He said: We dont waste organs any more, so why do we waste brains?

“Why do we plant people in the ground to rot?

“Shouldnt we consider dealing with dead bodies in a different way? Cryonics is potentially exponential technology.

When people see the price come down therell come a point when they see a benefit.

“The cost will be finite and the benefits will potentially be infinite.

In a recent article, he wrote: You are your brain, so thats the important part to store.

A society capable of reviving a person from a cryo-preserved state is going to be capable of creating an appropriate body or uploading the brains unique connectome to a computational substrate.

Cryogenics hit the headlines in November when a 14-year-old girl who died of cancer had her remains put into a deep freeze.

The procedure was carried out after she won a landmark court case in her final days.

The girls parents had disagreed over whether her wish to be frozen should be followed so she asked a High Court judge to intervene.

In a heartbreaking letter to the court, she wrote: I dont want to die but I know I am going to

“I want to live longer I want to have this chance.

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Author pays 50 a month towards plan to have head cut off and brain cryogenically frozen after death –

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‘Mike and Mike’ chemistry was real – Altoona Mirror

Posted: February 20, 2017 at 5:44 am

News, and even new rumors, out of ESPN has been almost nonexistent as the supposed breakup of ESPN Radios longtime morning drive program, Mike & Mike, nears its apparent end.

Sports Illustrated first reported the program might end, but no timetable has been specified since that initial report weeks ago.

Still, the report seems logical, and its probably just a matter of the all-sports network finding the right timing.

Maybe it will happen around the Final Four, or maybe it will be in the somewhat slower summer months when a replacement program makes its debut.

Whenever it happens, whats next for Mike Greenberg might be a New York City-based morning program that airs on ESPN, perhaps a rebranded SportsCenter in the way the network turned its late-night show into a vehicle for Scott Van Pelt and, more recently, its approach to the 6 p.m. SportsCenter featuring Jemele Hill and Michael Smith.

Whats next for Mike Golic might be another morning partner on radio or some combination of partners.

Greenberg, who recently earned a big contract from ESPN, has seemingly sparked any potential changes to the show.

The most recent was an ill-fated move to the Big Apple a couple of years ago. That was to include an additional host, with the show possibly emanating from Times Square. It never happened.

For more than a decade and half, Mike and Mike has been the flag bearer for ESPN. The odd-couple chemistry of the two hosts might be a bit contrived at times, but it works. Still, with demographics changing, ESPN has been trying to find ways to broaden the shows audience even while the hosts age a bit.

The show is rarely intentionally controversial and never mean spirited. For the most part, its good talk radio.

ESPN often uses Mike and Mike to test out talent, too. A good performance by guests in that safe environment can often lead to bigger opportunities.

Heres the thing, though: Mike and Mike might be better as a sum than in individual pieces.

Greenbergs anti-germ sensibilities and lack of athletic experience, despite his journalism chops, still need a personality to play against. He has that in spades with self-deprecating Golic, the former NFL veteran who invariably puts his college career at Notre Dame front and center as well.

Together, theyre fun and informative. Separately, they might be nearly as good.

No matter what happens, they will be missed if the breakup occurs. From a program some thought might not last more than a few months, Mike and Mike has grown and earned a spot in the sports media landscape. The hosts and the show have earned respect throughout the industry.

For example, when Rich Russo, the Penn State alum who directed the Super Bowl for Fox Sports a pretty heady job was told his name was mentioned on Mike and Mike before the big game he sounded genuinely thrilled.

Mike and Mike is not take-a-side talk just for kicks. Its not a schtick, and that might be the biggest reason it will be a loss if the show ends. Its heart is in the fact that its genuine a rare find in sports-talk related programming anymore.

Pirates plans

With spring training underway, Pirates fans can pencil in Feb. 26 for the seasons first radio broadcast a 1:05 p.m. start in Sarasota, Florida, against the Orioles.

The Pirates first televised spring training game will be March 6, a home game in Bradenton against the Yankees.

Sampsell comments on TV and radio for the Mirror. He can be reached at [email protected].

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‘Mike and Mike’ chemistry was real – Altoona Mirror

Recommendation and review posted by Guinevere Smith

Chemistry research lab at SUNY-ESF works to lessen the harsh side effects of chemotherapy – The Daily Orange

Posted: February 20, 2017 at 5:44 am

Courtesy of Christopher Nomura

Nomura and his team have worked for years to develop a safer way to deliver chemotherapy.

Christopher Nomura, the vice president of research at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, is making strides to eliminate chemotherapys harsh side effects.

Most chemotherapeutic drugs induce nausea and hair loss because they attack a persons cells indiscriminately, killing healthy cells as well as cancerous ones. Up until recently, there has never been a delivery system capable of targeting specific types of cancer cells.

That problem is the basis of Nomura and SUNY-ESF postdoctoral fellow Ata Pintos work. They found that by feeding certain fatty acids to a strand of E. coli, the bacteria would produce polymer molecules with azide groups linking to specific cell receptors. When strapped with chemotherapy drugs, these molecules effectively trick cancerous cells into ingesting the medication, destroying them from the inside, rather than systemically as they pass through the body.

Only cancer cells are killed in this new process, not healthy ones.

If we could more specifically target a cancer cell, our hope is that we could reduce some of the dosages (of chemotherapy drugs) and still have the killing efficacy of the drug if its delivered more specifically to its target, Nomura said.

The hope of Nomuras lab is that the precision of this newfound technique what the team refers to as a Trojan horse maneuver will ease the discomfort of cancer treatment. The SUNY Technology Accelerator Fund with a grant helped finance the research for this new Trojan horse method.

Nomura said their new approach first involves modifying the drug-carrying particles to a size small enough to be ingested through leaks in the tumors blood vessels, but large enough to withstand being flushed away by the kidneys.

In this case, Nomuras lab engineered nanoparticles that are about 70 nanometers in diameter. The nanoparticles are then imbedded with azide groups that allow them to target cancer cell receptors. Thats where click chemistry comes into play.

This process, which was developed by Pinto, who is part of Nomuras team, places azide groups onto the ends of fatty acids that are then fed to the E. coli and ultimately replicated in the resulting polymers.

The idea is that the polymer is so flexible in what we can do to it that were given an example of how simple the process of producing these Trojan horses has become with our process, Pinto said.

Once an azide group is present in the polymer, it can be modified to target specific cancer cells. Pinto said click chemistry is innovative and markedly more efficient than techniques used elsewhere.

The process done by other labs is lengthier, Pinto said. Its much more prevalent in the literature because, generally speaking, this work has been done by engineers and not biosynthetic chemists like us.

Nomura and Pinto started their own company last year called Alba Solutions because Nomura said the team was excited that their work could be used as a commercial product.

The lab at ESF has a partnership with Juntao Luo at SUNY-Upstate Medical University to catalyze the polymers for different types of cancers.

We want to test whether (the teams) nanoparticle by itself is toxic or not. That is kind of a safety issue, Lou said.

Luo added that he wants to test the drug loading of the nanoparticle to see whether it is effective with acute cells compared to other types of cancer treatment drugs that are already being sold on the market.

Nomura said he hopes that the polymer delivery system will reopen the doors for highly effective chemotherapy drugs that were too toxic for traditional cancer targeting methods, but may be well utilized with a directed delivery system.

Published on February 19, 2017 at 7:01 pm

Contact Mary: [email protected]

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Chemistry research lab at SUNY-ESF works to lessen the harsh side effects of chemotherapy – The Daily Orange

Recommendation and review posted by Guinevere Smith

Students frustrated trying to get into UW’s strict engineering program – The Seattle Times

Posted: February 20, 2017 at 5:43 am

It gets harder every year to get into some of the University of Washingtons most in-demand majors, creating a cutthroat system of competition at the flagship university.

By the end of his freshman year at the University of Washington, Jack Kussick believed there was no point in even applying to get into the UWs bioengineering program.

Kussick had sailed through Seattles Roosevelt High with top grades. When he entered the UW, the Seattle native was thinking about a career designing cutting-edge rehabilitation tools that could help wounded veterans get back on their feet, or athletes devastated by injury return to their sports.

But college required an entirely different type of studying. As a freshman, Kussick stumbled in a few classes before he figured out a system that worked for him.

By then, he believed, it was already too late.

In order to be competitive for bioengineering, a counselor told him, hed need to begin making As in nearly every class. Even then, his chances of being admitted were slim.

At a time when students are encouraged to go into careers in science and technology, as well as business, its becoming harder and harder to do so in some majors at the states largest flagship university.

Of the roughly 2,000 students in each class who say they want to major in one of the engineering disciplines, fewer than half will get in. And for the business administration major at the Foster School of Business, the admission rate is 40 percent.

Some faculty say thats created a cutthroat system that forces students to compete against one another at a time when they should be learning how to work together.

In high-demand majors, the university is having to select from a group of students who are amazing, and bright, and capable, and could do well, said Patricia Kramer, an anthropology professor who heads a faculty committee trying to solve the problem.

This isnt weeding out students who are not good, she added.

The pressure to build a perfect transcript also means students sacrifice many other experiences that make up the fabric of a good college experience, said Brian Fabien, the associate dean of academic affairs for the College of Engineering.

Theyre not participating in student organizations, in clubs theyre not doing the things wed like them to do, Fabien said. This is not a good environment for learning.

Theres no easy solution. But the UW will be asking more questions about a students area of interest on its freshman and transfer admissions applications. At some point, that information might be used to decide who becomes a Husky, and who does not.

On the third floor of Loew Hall one day last week, a half-dozen pre-engineering students waited in line for appointments with academic counselors to fine-tune their schedules, or ask for advice. Most were upbeat about their chances of being accepted into engineerings disciplines mechanical, civil and computer engineering, to name a few.

But the reality is that fewer than half will be admitted, Fabien said. Students get several chances to apply, but in the meantime they are in limbo about their major, and some wont know for certain until their third year, which is actually pretty cruel, he said.

Taylor Ishida, a sophomore who wants to major in bioengineering, stays in the library studying until 10 or 11 p.m. every night. Its definitely stressful, knowing the level of competition, she said.

Ishida, who grew up in Oregon, says her academic record is strong, but shes an anxious test-taker, and often wakes up at night worrying about how she did on her last exam. If she doesnt get into the program, shell transfer to another university.

Allen Putich, a first-quarter transfer student who earned his associate degree from Skagit Valley College, knows its hard to get into his intended major, computer science; he spent an entire week studying for his first midterm. He thinks his chances are good, but hes got a backup plan: electrical engineering.

Khanh Le, a sophomore, has been turned down once already trying to get into either industrial or civil engineering, and says shes under a lot of pressure now to get in. Le, who graduated from Mariner High School in Everett, said if she doesnt get in on her second attempt, she may take a year off or transfer elsewhere.

No major is more competitive than computer science only about a third of the students who apply get in. For those students, some help is on the way; the UW has gotten millions from private industry and the state Legislature to construct a new computer science building, which will allow it to double the number of students it can handle in the coming years.

Students who cant get into engineering often choose math, chemistry or physics and that puts stress on those majors, too, Fabien said. Those who dont get into the Foster School, for example, often choose economics as a backup. That major is no shoo-in, either it only admits about two-thirds of applicants.

Engineers are trained to be collaborative, so they can solve problems together. But the hypercompetitive environment at the UW means students are in a race to beat one another. Its exactly the opposite of the skills theyll need in the workplace, Fabien said.

Why cant the UW simply eliminate majors that are falling out of favor, and use the money to hire more engineering professors?

Its not that easy.

Engineers need to learn on expensive and space-consuming equipment, Fabien said. For example, mechanical engineers at the UW work with machining equipment similar to whats used in a Boeing facility.

The engineering college also needs students who can write, and have an understanding of history, political science and the humanities not just good grades in math and science. You cant be a good engineer if you cant communicate, he said.

Kramer said the slowness with which the university builds up, or cuts back, on majors is an important check on chasing the latest fad.

Ten years ago, for example, the university resisted pressure to reduce instruction in Eastern European languages. Now, because of unrest in Ukraine, an understanding of those languages and cultures is in demand, she said.

Before the university starts considering a students area of academic interest in deciding who is admitted, all three campuses would have to approve that change. Kramer expects there will be changes in the way the university makes its choice on offering admission to out-of-state and international students.

For in-state students, in contrast, she thinks the changes will be minor.

Our obligation to Washington state students is really different from the universitys commitment to out-of-state and international students, she said.

But she emphasized that no decisions have been made yet, and that the intent is not to decrease overall chances of admission into the UW for any student, but rather to give students the best chances of being able to gain entry into, and to complete, majors in the field of their interest.

For transfer students, an applicants intended major already has a bearing on whether he or she is admitted. A transfer student who selects only one major on the application, and is not admitted into that major, also is not admitted into the university, she said.

Meanwhile, the College of Engineering has proposed a system in which about 50 percent of engineering-major prospects would be directly admitted to the college at the same time they are admitted to the UW as freshmen or transfer students, although they would still need to apply for their specific major. No decision has been made, but Fabien noted that its a practice already in use at most other major engineering schools. And last year, the UW Student Senate passed a resolution calling for that change.

The trouble with direct admission, Kramer said, is that it can deprive students of the chance to explore different subjects, or pursue careers they might never have heard of in high school.

That can be especially hard on those who come from rural or low-income schools students who may have never met an engineer, or explored a great science lab, she said.

Computer science professor Ed Lazowska said theres no right way to handle the overcrowded-majors issue.

Elite private universities allow students to choose any major they want, Lazowska said, but getting admitted to those universities in the first place is like winning the lottery.

On the other hand, some major public universities give students a relatively free choice of their major, but use weed-out courses extremely difficult prerequisites to reduce the number of students going into certain majors, he said.

Meanwhile, just up the road in Everett, Washington State Universitys new North Puget Sound campus is adding more slots in electrical, mechanical and software engineering. The mechanical engineering program, which can accommodate 40 new students each year, had twice that number of applicants this January.

Kussick, the UW student who thought he would never get into bioengineering, solved his dilemma by transferring to Oregon State University at the start of his sophomore year. He is making As in all his classes Im doing better than Ive ever done at school and was admitted to the pre-bioengineering program. His interests have expanded into robotics, and hes also thinking about medical school or earning a Ph.D.

Kussick is 250 miles from home, and because hes an out-of-state-student, his familys paying about $13,000 more a year in tuition and living expenses than they did while he was at the UW.

But hes happy with his decision to move to Corvallis. Im loving it down here, he said.

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Students frustrated trying to get into UW’s strict engineering program – The Seattle Times

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

Framework for building bio-bots – Next Big Future

Posted: February 20, 2017 at 5:43 am

For the past several years, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been developing a class of walking “bio-bots” powered by muscle cells and controlled with electrical and optical pulses. Now, Bioengineering Professor Rashid Bashirs research group is sharing the recipe for the current generation of bio-bots. Their how-to paper is the cover article in Nature Protocols.

The protocol teaches every step of building a bio-bot, from 3D printing the skeleton to tissue engineering the skeletal muscle actuator, including manufacturers and part numbers for every single thing we use in the lab, explained Ritu Raman, now a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Bioengineering and first author of the paper

This protocol is essentially intended to be a one-stop reference for any scientist around the world who wants to replicate the results we showed in our PNAS 2016 and PNAS 2014 papers, and give them a framework for building their own bio-bots for a variety of applications, Raman said.

Nature Protocols – A modular approach to the design, fabrication, and characterization of muscle-powered biological machines

As stated in the paper, “Biological machines consisting of cells and biomaterials have the potential to dynamically sense, process, respond, and adapt to environmental signals in real time.” This can result in exciting possibilities where these “systems could one day demonstrate complex behaviors including self-assembly, self-organization, self-healing, and adaptation of composition and functionality to best suit their environment.” Bashir’s group has been a pioneer in designing and building bio-bots, less than a centimeter in size, made of flexible 3D printed hydrogels and living cells. In 2012, the group demonstrated bio-bots that could “walk” on their own, powered by beating heart cells from rats. However, heart cells constantly contract, denying researchers control over the bot’s motion.

The purpose of the paper was to provide the detailed recipes and protocols so that others can easily duplicate the work and help to further permeate the idea of ‘building with biology–so that other researchers and educators can have the tools and the knowledge to build these bio-hybrid systems and attempt to address challenges in health, medicine, and environment that we face as a society, stated Rashid Bashir, a Grainger Distinguished Chair in Engineering and head of the Department of Bioengineering.

The 3D printing revolution has given us the tools required to build with biology in this way. Raman said. We re-designed the 3D-printed injection mold to produce skeletal muscle rings that could be manually transferred to any of a wide variety of bio-bot skeletons. These rings were shown to produce passive and active tension forces similar to those generated by muscle strips.

“Using optogenetics techniques, we worked with collaborators at MIT to genetically engineer a light-responsive skeletal muscle cell line that could be stimulated to contract by pulses of 470-nm blue light,” Raman added. “The resultant optogenetic muscle rings were coupled to multi-legged bio-bot skeletons with symmetric geometric designs. Localized stimulation of contraction, rendered possible by the greater spatiotemporal control of light stimuli over electrical stimuli, was used to drive directional locomotion and 2D rotational steering.


Biological machines consisting of cells and biomaterials have the potential to dynamically sense, process, respond, and adapt to environmental signals in real time. As a first step toward the realization of such machines, which will require biological actuators that can generate force and perform mechanical work, we have developed a method of manufacturing modular skeletal muscle actuators that can generate up to 1.7 mN (3.2 kPa) of passive tension force and 300 N (0.56 kPa) of active tension force in response to external stimulation. Such millimeter-scale biological actuators can be coupled to a wide variety of 3D-printed skeletons to power complex output behaviors such as controllable locomotion. This article provides a comprehensive protocol for forward engineering of biological actuators and 3D-printed skeletons for any design application. 3D printing of the injection molds and skeletons requires 3 hours, seeding the muscle actuators takes 2 hours, and differentiating the muscle takes 7 days.

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Framework for building bio-bots – Next Big Future

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Biochemical tricks of the hibernating bear – Science Daily

Posted: February 20, 2017 at 5:42 am

Winter is in full swing, and many of us have fantasized about curling up in a warm cave and slumbering until the warmth of spring arrives, just like a bear. Bears have the ability to sleep away the harsh winter months when food is scarce. They can spend five to seven months in hibernation. During this time, bears do not eat, drink, excrete or exercise. Despite the length of inactivity, bears do not experience bone loss, muscle loss, heart complications or blood clots like humans do during extended bouts of inactivity.

In a recent paper published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Karen Gjesing Welinder at Aalborg University in Denmark and colleagues set out to understand how wild Scandinavian brown bears protect their health and save energy during hibernation.

“The bear’s tricks for hibernation adaptations can inspire and teach us to prevent effects of the restricted mobility of astronauts and of long-term hospitalized patients,” says Welinder. “Immobile people lose muscle and bone mass, get blood clots, atherosclerosis and cardiac diseases. Immobile bears do not. Our deeper understanding of the tremendous physiological placidity encoded in animal genomes might be exploited in healthier lifestyles and medical treatments.”

To understand how bears maintain their health during hibernation, Welinder and colleagues decided to look for differences in the levels of blood constituents between hibernating and nonhibernating brown bears. The molecules circulating in the bloodstream play important roles in cellular defenses, nutrient transport and cell signaling. The researchers used a multitude of screening tools in this study to analyze the molecular components in the blood, including mass spectrometry-based quantitative proteomic, metabolomic and hematological analyses of blood cells.

The investigators discovered that the bears’ secret to maintaining their health during hibernation lies in saving energy on protein synthesis. During hibernation, complex pathways with many proteins are turned down or eliminated and are replaced with a small number of proteins with broader specificity and wide ranges of functions. This switch from complexity to simplicity allows bears to decrease the energy necessary to maintain important molecular processes for survival during hibernation.

Welinder and colleagues found that while the large majority of protein levels decreased during hibernation, the overall protein concentration increased due to dehydration and an increased level of serum albumin. The change allowed the bear to spend less energy synthesizing proteins to maintain functional protein concentration levels. Additionally, protein degradation was repressed by a 6 C decrease in body temperature and an increase in expression of alpha-2-macroglobulin, a broadly acting protease inhibitor. This further saved energy on costly protein synthesis by decreasing protein turnover.

Welinder and colleagues found that even though protein expression decreased overall, there were a few select proteins that were drastically elevated during hibernation. Bile salt-activated lipase, which can hydrolyze both triglycerides and cholesterol esters, was elevated 32-fold during hibernation and allowed the bears efficiently to harvest energy from stored fat. Only the three central coagulation factors, fibrinogen, thrombin and factor Xa, were increased during hibernation; together, these factors facilitate wound healing, only permitting local formation of blood clots when needed. Furthermore, the immune response was simplified to a few antimicrobial proteins, such as lysozyme, which acts as the innate line of defense against infection.

The sex hormone-binding globulin increased a dramatic 45-fold during hibernation, suggesting that this molecule must play a central role in the maintenance of hibernation. Welinder says the mechanism of action of sex hormone-binding globulin during hibernation still remains elusive.

Story Source:

Materials provided by American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB). Original written by Amber Lucas. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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Biochemical tricks of the hibernating bear – Science Daily

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