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  • May 2, 2013
  • 11:52 AM

Bug’s view inspires new digital camera’s unique imaging capabilities

by Perikis Livas in Chilon

An interdisciplinary team of researchers has created the first digital cameras with designs that mimic those of ocular systems found in dragonflies, bees, praying mantises and other insects. This class of technology offers exceptionally wide-angle fields of view, with low aberrations, high acuity to motion, and nearly infinite depth of field.... Read more »

Rick Kubetz. (2013) Bug’s view inspires new digital camera’s unique imaging capabilities. University of Illinois. info:/

  • May 2, 2013
  • 10:53 AM

UF researchers develop ‘nanotrain’ for targeted cancer drug transport

by Perikis Livas in Chilon

University of Florida researchers have developed a “DNA nanotrain” that fast-tracks its payload of cancer-fighting drugs and bioimaging agents to tumor cells deep within the body. The nanotrain’s ability to cost-effectively deliver high doses of drugs to precisely targeted cancers and other medical maladies without leaving behind toxic nano-clutter has been the elusive Holy Grail for scientists studying the teeny-tiny world of DNA nanotechnology.... Read more »

Lindy McCollum-Brounley. (2013) UF researchers develop ‘nanotrain’ for targeted cancer drug transport. University of Florida News. info:/

  • May 2, 2013
  • 04:38 AM

Dissecting Art, Intersecting Anatomy - Medical illustration

by Know Your Images in Know Your Images

Pauline Lariviere was an artist whose main contributions were made to the field of medical illustration. As a scientist in the medical field, medical illustrations are essential to education. I have already spent some hours drawing something in the computer for a paper or presentation. In old times, all illustrations were done by hand, but nowadays computers play an important role and medical images are often used as a basis to medical illustrations. Here is an example of a medical illustration based on a CT scan:The video is about an exhibition which pays a tribute to Pauline Lariviere. Dissecting Art; Intersecting Anatomy from Phillip Schalekamp on Vimeo.More about the history of medical illustration and the role of computers can be read in:Tsafrir, J., & Ohry, A. (2001). Medical illustration: from caves to cyberspace‡ Health Information & Libraries Journal, 18 (2), 99-109 DOI: 10.1046/j.1471-1842.2001.d01-16.xCorl, F., Garland, M., & Fishman, E. (2000). Role of Computer Technology in Medical Illustration American Journal of Roentgenology, 175 (6), 1519-1524 DOI: 10.2214/ajr.175.6.1751519... Read more »

Corl, F., Garland, M., & Fishman, E. (2000) Role of Computer Technology in Medical Illustration. American Journal of Roentgenology, 175(6), 1519-1524. DOI: 10.2214/ajr.175.6.1751519  

  • May 2, 2013
  • 04:34 AM

Evolution Doesn’t Need Competition, After All

by Andrew Porterfield in United Academics

It’s been taken for granted since Darwin; species evolve through competition with each other for scarce resources. Then, the “more fit” adaptations can reproduce and propel the evolutionary process that much further.... Read more »

  • May 1, 2013
  • 12:17 PM

Patterned Hearts

by Perikis Livas in Chilon

A team of bioengineers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) is the first to report creating artificial heart tissue that closely mimics the functions of natural heart tissue through the use of human-based materials. Their work will advance how clinicians treat the damaging effects caused by heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.... Read more »

BWH Media Relations. (2013) Patterned Hearts . Brigham and Women's Hospital. info:/

  • May 1, 2013
  • 07:29 AM

Nanomedicine: a new frontier

by Perikis Livas in Chilon

Everything our bodies do depends on interactions that happen on a nanoscale, the realm of atoms and small molecules. Today, medicine is catching up.

At the University of Minnesota, nanomedicine researchers are pushing forward with projects like new drug-delivery technologies and better screening of potential drugs.... Read more »

UM News. (2013) Nanomedicine: a new frontier. University of Minessota. info:/

  • May 1, 2013
  • 04:01 AM

‘Super-resolution’ microscope possible for nanostructures

by Perikis Livas in Chilon

Researchers have found a way to see synthetic nanostructures and molecules using a new type of super-resolution optical microscopy that does not require fluorescent dyes, representing a practical tool for biomedical and nanotechnology research.... Read more »

Emil Venere. (2013) 'Super-resolution' microscope possible for nanostructures. Purdue University News. info:/

  • April 30, 2013
  • 01:38 PM

Scientists Consider Ways to Improve the Negative Electrode in Li-Ion Batteries

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

The National Institute for Material Science Global Research Center for Environment and Energy based on Nanomaterials Science (Japan) together with the researchers from the Tokyo Metropolitan University have successfully measured the volumetric expansion of single particles of silicon, which is a negative electrode material for lithium ion batteries, accompanying the charging reaction. Based on these results, scientists demonstrated the importance of the electrode design and are looking into the possible ways to improve it.... Read more »

  • April 30, 2013
  • 09:05 AM

What does the Muse CD cover have to do with Medical Imaging?

by Know Your Images in Know Your Images

This is Muse CD cover of their 6th album: "The 2nd Law":Indeed, this image is truly beautiful and remarkable. It is an image of the white matter fibers in the brain obtained with diffusion MRI (link). The image was obtained by the Human Connectome Project, which is a 5-year project funded by NIH to find the networks of the human brain. These networks will show how our brain communicates between different regions and give insight about the anatomical and functional organization of the brain. The project also has the goal to produce data that will help understanding brain diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. The data is available to the scientific community.So how do you obtain these networks? By applying computer algorithms to data obtained with different neuroimaging techniques: MRI, fMRI, diffusion MRI among others. These computer algorithms come from the graph theory. The application of these algorithms is extremely useful, because the algorithms analyze the network, reduce the complexity, find similarities and differences between different networks.A very nice science article for researchers not familiar with the topic: know more about obtaining diffusion MRI data or network methods, look into these two articles:- Hasan, K., Walimuni, I., Abid, H., & Hahn, K. (2011). A review of diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging computational methods and software tools Computers in Biology and Medicine, 41 (12), 1062-1072 DOI: 10.1016/j.compbiomed.2010.10.008- Kaiser, M. (2011). A tutorial in connectome analysis: Topological and spatial features of brain networks NeuroImage, 57 (3), 892-907 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.05.025... Read more »

  • April 29, 2013
  • 07:42 AM

CT scans help Anthropology studies

by Know Your Images in Know Your Images

This video has caught my attention few days ago. Field Museum in Chicago has used a CT scan to help them with the face reconstruction of an ancient skull (12,000 to 15,000 year old). The great advantage of using a CT scan is that once you have scanned the skull, you can do the processing and reconstruction of the skull on a computer without having to touch it, which means that the skull is never damaged. The problem here is usually the transport of the skull to the CT scan, which are usually located in hospital or clinics. This time, they used a mobile CT scan, which travels to the museum instead of the skull having to travel. Moreover, the researchers used a 3D printer to obtain a model of the skull, which was then used by a forensic artist to do the final face reconstruction. The motivation behind this new scan was that the researchers were not happy with the face reconstruction done before, which made this skull look "too Neanderthal".After watching this video, I have look for publications which describe the techniques used, but I haven't found many detailed publications. However, I found this review publication (Lynnerup, N. (2010). Medical Imaging of Mummies and Bog Bodies – A Mini-Review Gerontology, 56 (5), 441-448 DOI: 10.1159/000266031), which I have read and although not too detailed about the CT scanning procedures, I have learned a few things: - Living tissues require different processing that dead tissues, because Hounsfield units are different. Bone tends to de-mineralize, while soft tissues tend to become denser (probably due to surrounding minerals).- Even that this type of scans are done since the 70's, new CT scans are also done, because technology has improved that new findings arise.- CT data can be easily shared with other scientists, while skulls and mummies can't. ... Read more »

  • April 27, 2013
  • 10:50 AM

Procrastination to find the most cited papers in Medical Imaging

by Know Your Images in Know Your Images

Few day ago, I was wondering what were the most cited (important?) papers in Medical Imaging in the last ten/five/two years. The problem was that I didn't know exactly how to find this information. I googled a bit around and I found a way and tried it out. I found also some extra information about the subject:Published Papers in Radiology, Nuclear Science and Medical Imaging Field: Citations in Radiology, Nuclear Science and Medical Imaging Field:It is interesting to note that it is increasing steadily every year.  Most cited paper in Radiology, Nuclear Science and Medical Imaging Field:- of the last 10 yearsJan, S., Santin, G., Strul, D., Staelens, S., Assié, K., Autret, D., Avner, S., Barbier, R., Bardiès, M., Bloomfield, P., Brasse, D., Breton, V., Bruyndonckx, P., Buvat, I., Chatziioannou, A., Choi, Y., Chung, Y., Comtat, C., Donnarieix, D., Ferrer, L., Glick, S., Groiselle, C., Guez, D., Honore, P., Kerhoas-Cavata, S., Kirov, A., Kohli, V., Koole, M., Krieguer, M., Laan, D., Lamare, F., Largeron, G., Lartizien, C., Lazaro, D., Maas, M., Maigne, L., Mayet, F., Melot, F., Merheb, C., Pennacchio, E., Perez, J., Pietrzyk, U., Rannou, F., Rey, M., Schaart, D., Schmidtlein, C., Simon, L., Song, T., Vieira, J., Visvikis, D., Walle, R., Wieërs, E., & Morel, C. (2004). GATE: a simulation toolkit for PET and SPECT Physics in Medicine and Biology, 49 (19), 4543-4561 DOI: 10.1088/0031-9155/49/19/007- of the last 5 yearsKlein, S., Staring, M., Murphy, K., Viergever, M., & Pluim, J. (2010). elastix: A Toolbox for Intensity-Based Medical Image Registration IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging, 29 (1), 196-205 DOI: 10.1109/TMI.2009.2035616- of the last 2 yearsHricak, H., Brenner, D., Adelstein, S., Frush, D., Hall, E., Howell, R., McCollough, C., Mettler, F., Pearce, M., Suleiman, O., Thrall, J., & Wagner, L. (2010). Managing Radiation Use in Medical Imaging: A Multifaceted Challenge Radiology, 258 (3), 889-905 DOI: 10.1148/radiol.10101157How to find this information?Go to Web of Knowledge and follow these tutorial: ... Read more »

Jan, S., Santin, G., Strul, D., Staelens, S., Assié, K., Autret, D., Avner, S., Barbier, R., Bardiès, M., Bloomfield, P.... (2004) GATE: a simulation toolkit for PET and SPECT. Physics in Medicine and Biology, 49(19), 4543-4561. DOI: 10.1088/0031-9155/49/19/007  

Klein, S., Staring, M., Murphy, K., Viergever, M., & Pluim, J. (2010) elastix: A Toolbox for Intensity-Based Medical Image Registration. IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging, 29(1), 196-205. DOI: 10.1109/TMI.2009.2035616  

Hricak, H., Brenner, D., Adelstein, S., Frush, D., Hall, E., Howell, R., McCollough, C., Mettler, F., Pearce, M., Suleiman, O.... (2010) Managing Radiation Use in Medical Imaging: A Multifaceted Challenge. Radiology, 258(3), 889-905. DOI: 10.1148/radiol.10101157  

  • April 26, 2013
  • 05:27 AM

Tartaglia-Pascal triangle and quantum mechanics

by Marco Frasca in The Gauge Connection

The paper I wrote with Alfonso Farina and Matteo Sedehi about the link between the Tartaglia-Pascal triangle and quantum mechanics is now online (see here). This paper contains as a statement my theorem that provides a connection between the square root of a Wiener process and the Schrödinger equation that arose a lot of interest [...]... Read more »

  • April 24, 2013
  • 03:25 PM

Video reveals cancer cells’ Achilles’ heel

by Perikis Livas in Chilon

Scientists from the Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research (MCCIR) have discovered why a particular cancer drug is so effective at killing cells. Their findings could be used to aid the design of future cancer treatments.... Read more »

Morwenna Grills. (2013) Video reveals cancer cells’ Achilles’ heel. The University of Manchester . info:/

  • April 24, 2013
  • 11:58 AM

The Dynamic Nucleus

by Perikis Livas in Chilon

What is the Cell Picture Show?

A place to showcase striking images in cell, developmental, and molecular biology; a place to learn about cutting-edge research with beautiful images.... Read more »

Cell picture show. (2013) The Dynamic Nucleus. Cell picture show. info:/

  • April 24, 2013
  • 05:49 AM

Seeing Stars

by Perikis Livas in Chilon

“WE’LL BE ABLE to see the beginning of the universe as we know it today,” says Charles Alcock, director of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) and professor of astronomy—imaging the radiation signatures from ancient galaxies billions of light years from his hilltop office on Garden Street, near the Radcliffe Quad. Addressing that same frontier, Abraham (Avi) Loeb, Baird professor of science and chair of the astronomy department, characterizes the research as “the scientific version of the story of Genesis.” Closer to home, so to speak, where the quest for “exoplanets” orbiting other stars has accelerated since the first discovery in 1995—and with it the search for chemical signs of life elsewhere—Wendy Freedman, chair and director of the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science, in Pasadena, California, says, “We can now approach it from a scientific standpoint. It’s no longer science fiction.”... Read more »

John S. Rosenberg. (2013) Seeing Stars. Harvard Magazine. info:/

  • April 23, 2013
  • 09:29 AM

Temple of the Autonomus Machine

by Perikis Livas in Chilon

A news item over at Archaeology reports that a little wireless robot called Tlaloc II-TCwill soon “investigate the far reaches of a tunnel found beneath the Temple of the Plumed Serpent at Teotihuacan,” entering a chamber “estimated to be 2,000 years old, and [that] may have been used as a place for royal ceremonies or burials.”... Read more »


  • April 23, 2013
  • 06:15 AM

fMRI lie detection and the Semrau case

by Know Your Images in Know Your Images

Semrau is a psychologist accused of committing fraud to Medicare and Medicaid. The case became mostly famous, because he asked that fMRI lie detection would be a evidence in court. The judge had to decide if fMRI was admissible and after hearing scientists advocating for both sides, he has decided not to admit such evidence. However, the question is: Will it be possible to use fMRI lie detection one day?, because the reason for not admitting it has been based on the error rates and acceptance by scientific community and that can change any day...Image from here So how does fMRI lie detection work at the moment?- A deception task is presented to the volunteers: they have to lie about the object they have taken from a box (or similar, such as a card from envelope).- The volunteer goes inside the scanner and structural MRI is performed and a motor task can also be performed to make the volunteers more familiar with the MRI itself.- The deception task starts and the volunteer is asked questions about the stolen object among other questions. The volunteer has to lie about stealing the object. During this time, EPI (Echo Planar Imaging) images are acquired. - Processing of data starts, which includes reorientation and motion correction. Brain patterns are analyzed to detect lying. Findings have shown that there are specific activated areas (anterior cingulate and the prefrontal cortex) in subjects in the task of deception when a group study is performed. This is a group study, but for fMRI to become a lie detector, it has to stand in individual studies. This has been difficult, because fMRI is a technique with a low signal-to-noise ratio, but some studies have been done. Moreover, deception tasks in these studies are still simple ones, while more complex ones (like the Semrau case) have not been performed.One of the studies which presented results on individual basis (the one referenced here at the bottom) has led that a company has been formed to sell this type of service (CEPHOS). This was the company involved in the Semrau case and the CEO of this company is the scientist advocating for the fMRI lie detection. The two scientists which advocated against the fMRI lie detector were Marc Raichle, PhD (Wash. U. St. Louis, Neuroscience) and Peter Imrey, PhD (Cleveland Clinic, Statistics).Anyway, my personal belief is that fMRI should be on the service of health and not of law...Other Links:, F., Johnson, K., Mu, Q., Grenesko, E., Laken, S., & George, M. (2005). Detecting Deception Using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Biological Psychiatry, 58 (8), 605-613 DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2005.07.040... Read more »

Kozel, F., Johnson, K., Mu, Q., Grenesko, E., Laken, S., & George, M. (2005) Detecting Deception Using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Biological Psychiatry, 58(8), 605-613. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2005.07.040  

  • April 22, 2013
  • 08:20 PM

Connecting Form and Function: Serial Block-face EM

by TheCellularScale in The Cellular Scale

The retina is a beautiful and wondrous structure, and it has some really weird cells. Retina by Cajal (source)Retinal Ganglion Cells (RGC) have all sorts of differentiating characteristics. Some are directly sensitive to brightness (like rods and cones), while some are sensitive to the specific direction that a bar is traveling. I am discussing really amazing new techniques to see inside cells this month, and have already posted about the magic that is Array Tomography. Today we'll look at another amazing new technique that (like array tomography) combines nano-scale detail with a scale large enough to see many neurons at once. This technique is called Serial Block-face Electron Microscopy (SBEM), and was recently used to investigate how starburst amacrine cells control the direction-sensitivity of  retinal ganglion cells.Serial Block-face EM (source)SBEM images are acquired by embedding a piece of tissue (like a retina) in some firm substance and slicing it superthin (like 10s of nanometers thick) with a diamond blade. The whole slicing apparatus is set up directly under a scanning electron microscope, so as soon as the blade cuts, an image is taken of the surface remaining. Then another thin slice is shaved off and the next image is taken, and so on.Using this technique, Briggman et al. (2011) are able to trace individual neurons and their connections for a (relatively) large section of retina. What is so great about this paper is that before they sliced up the retina, they moved bars around in front of it and measured the directional selectivity of a bunch of neurons. Then, using blood vessels and landmarks to orient themselves, they were able to find the exact same cells in the SBEM data and trace them.Briggman et al. (2011) Fig1C: Landmark blood vesselsThe colored circles above represent the cell bodies and the black 'tree' shape are the blood vessel landmarks. Once they found the cell bodies, the could trace the cells through the stacks of SBEM data. What is really neat is that you can try your hand at this yourself. This exact data set has been turned into a game called EYEWIRE by the Seung lab at MIT. Reconstructing the cells, they could not only tell which cells connected to which other cells, but they could also see exactly where on the dendrites the cells connected. This is the really amazing part. They found that specific dendritic areas made synapses with specific cells.Briggman et al. (2011) Fig4: dendrites as the computational unitThis starburst amacrine cell overlaps with many retinal ganglion cells (dotted lines represent the dendritic spread of individual RGCs)...BUT its specific dendrites (left, right, up down etc) synapse selectively onto RGCs sensitive to a particular direction. Each color represents synapses onto a specific direction-sensitivity. e.g. yellow dots are synapses from the amacrine cell onto RGCs which are sensitive to downward motion.This suggests that each individual dendritic area of these starburst amacrine cells inhibits (probably) a specific type of RGC, and that these dendrites act relatively independently of one another. "The specificity of each SAC dendritic branch for selecting a postsynaptic target goes well beyond the notion that neuron A selectively wires to neuron B, which is all that electrophysiological measurements can test. Instead the dendrite angle has an additional, perhaps dominant, role, which is consistent with SAC dendrites acting as independent computational units."  -Briggman et al (2011)(discussion)These cells are weird for so many reasons, but the ability of the dendrites to act so independently of one another is a new and exciting development that I hope to see more research on soon. © TheCellularScaleBriggman KL, Helmstaedter M, & Denk W (2011). Wiring specificity in the direction-selectivity circuit of the retina. Nature, 471 (7337), 183-8 PMID: 21390125... Read more »

  • April 20, 2013
  • 04:00 AM

Will the droids take academic jobs?

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

As a researcher, one of the biggest challenges I face is keeping up with the scientific literature. This is further exasperated by working in several disciplines, and without a more senior advisor or formal training in most of them. The Evolutionary Game Theory Reading Group, and later this blog, started as an attempt to help [...]... Read more »

  • April 19, 2013
  • 03:53 AM

Decoding the structure of bone

by Perikis Livas in Chilon

[...] a team of researchers at MIT has finally unraveled the structure of bone with almost atom-by-atom precision, after many years of analysis by some of the world’s most powerful computers and comparison with laboratory experiments to confirm the computed results [...]... Read more »

David L. Chandler. (2013) Decoding the structure of bone. MIT News Office. info:/

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