Artificial intelligence yields new antibiotic

A deep-learning model identifies a powerful new drug that can kill some antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

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Using a machine-learning algorithm, MIT researchers have identified a powerful new antibiotic compound. In laboratory tests, the drug killed many of the world's most problematic disease-causing bacteria, including some strains that are resistant to all known antibiotics. It also cleared infections in two different mouse models.

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The next pandemic is inevitable. Are we prepared?

Budget cuts to pandemic preparedness put us all at risk.

  • There is no way to completely stop a pandemic from coming, says former United Nations medical officer and a key player in the World Health Organization's (WHO) smallpox eradication program in South Asia, Larry Brilliant. Being prepared and having a good public health infrastructure are necessary to reduce impact.
  • Pandemics like ebola are more likely to start at the edges of poor countries, away from the main hub and away from major cities, but without isolation and containment protocols they can and will grow.
  • According to Brilliant, budget cuts and poor decision making by government in the past has crippled pandemic prevention efforts in time of crisis. That's something that we can not let happen again.
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Another important reason to stay fit: your independence

Increasing numbers of seniors need help with basic tasks. It doesn't have to be that way.

Photo by Wang Biao/VCG via Getty Images
  • Everyone suffers from sarcopenia: the loss of muscle mass and strength due to age.
  • While there are numerous benefits to exercise, an important one is remaining independent well into old age.
  • Weightlifting is essential for keeping muscle mass and strength as the decades go by.
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Tiny area of brain may be 'engine of consciousness', scientists suggest

A recent study on monkeys found that stimulating a certain part of the forebrain wakes monkeys from anesthesia.

Jon Olav Eikenes via Flickr
  • Scientists electrically stimulated the brains of macaque monkeys in an effort to determine which areas are responsible for driving consciousness.
  • The monkeys were anesthetized, and the goal was to see whether activating certain parts of the brain would wake up the animals.
  • The forebrain's central lateral thalamus seems to be one of the "minimum mechanisms" necessary for consciousness.
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Scientists make organs transparent so you can see inside

Add some color to the internal structures and you've got some eye-popping imagery.

Image source: Zhao, et al
  • By manipulating light refraction in organ tissue, it can be made transparent.
  • Coloring internal structures is as "simple" as slipping dyes between tissue cells.
  • A new method paves the way for fully 3D imagery of mature human organs.
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