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End of life Planning

End of life Planning

After you are gone, should your Facebook profile be deleted? Do you have a health care proxy who will make medical decisions for you when you can’t? Burial or cremation? And what music should be played at your funeral? An emerging startup called Cake wants to make advance care and end-of-life planning a simpler process for all of us – a piece of cake, if you will. The Cake team was a finalist in this year’s MassChallenge startup accelerator. They are collaborating with Brigham Innovation […]



A Camera That Can See Through Walls

A Camera That Can See Through Walls

Humans cannot see through walls. Even out in the open, they can’t see too far on a foggy day. Ditto for search-and-rescue robots or self-driving cars with cameras for eyes. MIT researchers have hit upon a way to give those cameras an ability to see through walls and bad weather. While most materials will stop visible light dead in its tracks, radio waves and microwaves with their longer wavelength can go straight through these objects. Still, conventional microwave or radar-detecting systems are huge, complex, and […]



Mango Mistletoe

Mango Mistletoe

That the mistletoe has medicinal properties, shouldn’t have been lost on any reader of Asterix comics. Getafix needed sprigs of mistletoe to make magic potion for the inhabitants of that little Gaulish village, we knew so well. And some 2,000 years ago, the druids in what is now Britain venerated the plant when it grew on an oak. When they found it, they dressed in white, harvested it with a golden sickle, and sacrificed two white bulls. Or so says that great Roman, Pliny the […]



Jellies tell the story of the oceans’ woes

Jellies tell the story of the oceans’ woes

Almost everything humans are doing to the ocean that is bad for most marine organisms – overfishing, pollution, rising sea temperatures, acidification, coastal construction, and the like – turns out to be good for jellies. “Like the proverbial miner’s canary, jellyfish act as environmental indicators,” said conceptual artist Mark Dion. “Only instead of dying in this degraded environment they thrive. Dion’s latest installation, “The Trouble with Jellyfish,” opens Friday at Le Laboratoire in Kendall Square. Read more here. html. pdf.



The Peril of The Seas — Coming to a Coast near You..

The Peril of The Seas — Coming to a Coast near You..

I am working on a story which recalls a Sherlock Holmes adventure The Adventure of The Lion’s Mane. The detective is his own chronicler in this one because trusty ol’ Watson has become a family man. This story introduced me to the idea that a jellyfish can be a killer. “Cyanea!” I cried. “Cyanea! Behold the Lion’s Mane!” The strange object at which I pointed did indeed look like a tangled mass torn from the mane of a lion. It lay upon a rocky shelf […]



Pill-tracking App helps you get the best deals on drugs too

Pill-tracking App helps you get the best deals on drugs too

Medisafe, the Israeli tech startup that moved to Boston over the winter, launched an app in 2013, which currently helps some 2 million users stay on top of their meds. If you missed a dose, your loved one will get an alert to remind you. Still, forgetfulness may not be the only reason why patients skip pills, the app makers have realized. So, the app maker now included a feature that addresses a major stumbling block for some patients – the cost of the drugs. […]



One scan to detect clots could replace many

One scan to detect clots could replace many

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have invented a new molecular probe which, upon injection into a vein, will travel through the body and find blood clots wherever they are present. Peter Caravan, director of the Institute for Innovation in Imaging at MGH, presented his team’s findings at the 250th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, which wrapped up in Boston Wednesday. “We have invented a new molecular probe which, upon injection into a vein, will travel through the body and find blood clots wherever […]



Google Glass and Poison Treatment

Google Glass and Poison Treatment

With toxin coursing through their veins, patients, who come in for poison treatment, are often in an altered mental state. They cannot tell the physician on duty, who typically is not an expert in poisons, what went wrong. So what happens next? For most physicians evaluating a potentially poisoned patient, the only solution is a discussion over the phone with a regional poison control center, says Peter Chai, a Fellow in Medical Toxicology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. Almost daily, he […]



Millipede Catalyst

Millipede Catalyst

Swarms of this cyanide-secreting millipede have entered houses, writhed on railway tracks causing delays, and, in short, made themselves a nuisance in Japan, their host country. But Chamberlinius hualienensis, the arthropod native of Taiwan which invaded Okinawa Island in 1983, could soon become a source of catalysts in chemical factories. Thanks to a group of enzymes called Hydroxynitrile lyases (HNLs), some plants and bacteria, which have reserves of cyanide-containing compounds, release hydrogen cyanide as defense chemicals. Chemists employ the enzyme for the reverse reaction, combining […]



Retinal selfie

Retinal selfie

Taking a selfie is easy: just point your smartphone toward your face and shoot. But taking a selfie of the interior of an eye is impossible, imaging specialists might’ve told you, until now. Researchers at the Camera Culture Group, headed by Ramesh Raskar at the MIT Media Lab, have designed the eyeSelfie, an inexpensive hand-held device for taking a photograph of the retina, the optic nerve, and the vasculature, which is located all the way at the back of one’s eye. Digital snapshots of the […]