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Entries tagged science

Soon, Your Pills Will Call Your Doctor

In what seems like crazy sci-fi, there’s a new type of pill that can tell your doctor whether or not you’ve taken it and the FDA just approved it.

With no battery and no sensor, it is powered by the body itself. The chip contains small amounts of copper and magnesium. After being ingested the chip will interact with digestive juices to produce a voltage that can be read from the surface of the skin through a detector patch, which then sends a signal via mobile phone to inform the doctor that the pill has been taken.

They mention that it’s not just about spying; it could also help doctors adjust dosage. A few more ideas that came to mind:

  • If grandpa doesn’t take his heart medicine at lunch, ring an alarm an hour later. If he doesn’t take it in two hours, text someone.
  • Implant these in vitamins (or broccoli!) and game-ify your kids health without all that pesky inputting.
  • Have the sensor know drug contraindications, so people who are on a variety of pills can be warned if they accidentally ingest something that could hurt them.

[via the always awesome NextDraft]

Underwater Icicle of Death

Near Antarctica, salt water gets excluded from the ice, forming bring, which sinks quickly. This brine creates an icicle that reaches down to the ocean floor, freezing everything its path. The BBC caught the phenomenon in a time-lapse film. Watch.

The science is pretty awesome (as is much science).

In winter, the air temperature above the sea ice can be below -20C, whereas the sea water is only about -1.9C. Heat flows from the warmer sea up to the very cold air, forming new ice from the bottom. The salt in this newly formed ice is concentrated and pushed into the brine channels. And because it is very cold and salty, it is denser than the water beneath.

The result is the brine sinks in a descending plume. But as this extremely cold brine leaves the sea ice, it freezes the relatively fresh seawater it comes in contact with. This forms a fragile tube of ice around the descending plume, which grows into what has been called a brinicle.

[via buzzfeed]

Using HIV's Logic, Doctor's Come Closer to Cancer Cure

The concept has been around since the 80s, but a team at UPenn have found a way to beat leukemia and lymphoma (in medical studies) by harnessing HIV’s ability to invite your T-cells. Unlike HIV, it doesn’t destroy them but teach them to fight cancer. Rarely am I giddy at the prospect of tricking mother nature, but this one puts a smile on my face. We just have to be really careful.

Engineered T-cells have attacked healthy tissue in patients at other centers. Such a reaction killed a 39-year-old woman with advanced colon cancer in a study at the National Cancer Institute, researchers there reported last year in the journal Molecular Therapy.

She developed severe breathing trouble 15 minutes after receiving the T-cells, had to be put on a ventilator and died a few days later. Apparently, a protein target on the cancer cells was also present in her lungs, and the T-cells homed in on it.

New Scientist on the perfect way to slice a pizza

"Readers were invited to prove two specific cases of the pizza theorem. First, that if a pizza is cut three times (into six slices), the person who eats the slice containing the pizza's centre eats more. Second, that if the pizza is cut five times (making 10 slices), the opposite is true and the person who eats the centre eats less."

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