BRIEF – Science: – blood – cancer – dementia – DNA – molecules – stress

Blood test can monitor cancer spread
New test could let doctors track treatment outcomes without using invasive surgery.

A new device that can detect minute numbers of tumour cells circulating in the blood of lung cancer patients may one day make monitoring the disease as simple as taking a blood test.
By liberating doctors from the need to perform invasive procedures to obtain tumour cells, the method could bring medicine a step closer to the long-sought goal of tailoring therapies to a patient’s individual genetic makeup. “If they can scale this up for commercial use, it could be a marked breakthrough,” comments Joan Schiller, an oncologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, who was not affiliated with the study.

blood test

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Get Out of Your Own Way
Studies Show the Value of Not Overthinking a Decision

Fishing in the stream of consciousness, researchers now can detect our intentions and predict our choices before we are aware of them ourselves. The brain, they have found, appears to make up its mind 10 seconds before we become conscious of a decision — an eternity at the speed of thought.

Their findings challenge conventional notions of choice

“We think our decisions are conscious,” said neuroscientist John-Dylan Haynes at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience in Berlin, who is pioneering this research. “But these data show that consciousness is just the tip of the iceberg. This doesn’t rule out free will, but it does make it implausible.”

Through a series of intriguing experiments, scientists in Germany, Norway and the U.S. have analyzed the distinctive cerebral activity that foreshadows our choices. They have tracked telltale waves of change through the cells that orchestrate our memory, language, reason and self-awareness.
fishing

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Blood pressure ‘link to dementia’
Controlling blood pressure from middle-age onwards may dramatically reduce the chances of developing dementia, researchers have said.

Two studies support a link between high blood pressure and dementia risk – with one by an Imperial College London team suggesting treatment could cut this.

This study, by published in the Lancet Neurology journal, found blood pressure drugs reduce dementia by 13%.

The Alzheimer’s Society said better control could save 15,000 lives a year.
blood pressure

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New Electrostatic-based DNA Microarray Technique Could Revolutionize Medical Diagnostics
The dream of personalized medicine — in which diagnostics, risk predictions and treatment decisions are based on a patient’s genetic profile — may be on the verge of being expanded beyond the wealthiest of nations with state-of-the-art clinics. A team of researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has invented a technique in which DNA or RNA assays — the key to genetic profiling and disease detection — can be read and evaluated without the need of elaborate chemical labeling or sophisticated instrumentation. Based on electrostatic repulsion — in which objects with the same electrical charge repel one another — the technique is relatively simple and inexpensive to implement, and can be carried out in a matter of minutes.

“One of the most amazing things about our electrostatic detection method is that it requires nothing more than the naked eye to read out results that currently require chemical labeling and confocal laser scanners,” said Jay Groves, a chemist with joint appointments at Berkeley Lab’s Physical Biosciences Division and the Chemistry Department of the University of California (UC) at Berkeley, who led this research. “We believe this technique could revolutionize the use of DNA microarrays for both research and diagnostics.”
diagnostics

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Unknown molecule opens the door to quantum computing
An international team has identified a new hybrid atom that could be used to develop quantum computers. This data visualization shows an electron density map of the material. The funnel- or vortex-shaped figure in the lower left is an arsenic atom, and the saucer-shaped image in the center is a map of an electron binding to various atoms (each dot represents one location). The yellow dots in the upper left-center are the electron in the quantum state.
molecule

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