Many people living with dementia reside in long-term care facilities, where the lack of stimulation can result in behaviors such as hitting, screaming, and wandering. Common measures to avoid such “responsive” behaviors, such as antipsychotic medications and personalized recreational and music therapy programs, can cause adverse health effects in the former case and be difficult for staff to find time to carry out in the latter case. A team of human factors/ergonomics researchers helped to evaluate and refine Ambient Activity (or AA; Ambient Activity Technologies Inc.), interactive tools designed to augment existing programs and activities by alleviating boredom and increasing engagement. The team evaluating theRead More →

Scientists from The University of Texas at Austin took an important step toward safer gene-editing cures for life-threatening disorders, from cancer to HIV to Huntington’s disease, by developing a technique that can spot editing mistakes a popular tool known as CRISPR makes to an individual’s genome. The research appears today in the journal Cell. Scientists already use the gene-editing tool called CRISPR to edit the genetic code of nearly any organism. CRISPR-based gene editing will have an enormous impact on human health. More than a dozen clinical trials employing CRISPR on human cells are reportedly already underway, but the approach is imperfect. In theory, gene-editingRead More →

We’ve all heard about the major oil spill in the Gulf, but a new miniseries that is scheduled to debut will teach everyone about the scientific aspect the oil spill contributes. The Center for Educational and Training Technology (CETT) from the University of Mississippi, the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory from the University of Southern Mississippi and Mississippi Public Broadcasting have all teamed up to produce to new TV miniseries. The focus on the series is an educational one. Brian McCann from CETT says, “We will be dealing with the effects of this oil spill for decades probably. Each episode will bring together a panel ofRead More →

Imagine being able to take a crystal-clear snapshot of an entire brain, recording what every single neuron was doing at a particular moment as an animal experienced fear or pleasure or any other emotion. Today, that’s just a dream — neuroscientists have to choose between seeing the entire brain in low resolution or seeing a small piece of it in high resolution — but a new technique known as FLARE could bring that dream one step closer to reality. The research emerged, says Alice Ting, PhD, out of neuroscientists’ frustration with their inability to capture a fine-grained picture of what the whole brain was doing inRead More →

If you are have been teaching for a short time period, you may be searching for teaching techniques that can help you get across information to your science class. Even if you are a seasoned teaching, you may seeking new ways to get the same information across to a new batch of students year after year. Teaching students requires you to draw inspiration from a myriad of resources. Other Teachers One of the first places to learn what teach methods seem to work and which ones seem to bomb are from your fellow teachers. When you are in the teachers’ lounge or walking in theRead More →

Dialysis, in the most general sense, is the process by which molecules filter out of one solution, by diffusing through a membrane, into a more dilute solution. Outside of hemodialysis, which removes waste from blood, scientists use dialysis to purify drugs, remove residue from chemical solutions, and isolate molecules for medical diagnosis, typically by allowing the materials to pass through a porous membrane. Today’s commercial dialysis membranes separate molecules slowly, in part due to their makeup: They are relatively thick, and the pores that tunnel through such dense membranes do so in winding paths, making it difficult for target molecules to quickly pass through. NowRead More →

Many cognitive processes, such as decision-making, take place within seconds or minutes. Neuroscientists have longed to capture neuron activity during such tasks, but that dream has remained elusive — until now. A team of MIT and Stanford University researchers has developed a way to label neurons when they become active, essentially providing a snapshot of their activity at a moment in time. This approach could offer significant new insights into neuron function by offering greater temporal precision than current cell-labeling techniques, which capture activity across time windows of hours or days. “A thought or a cognitive function usually lasts 30 seconds or a minute. That’sRead More →