TagThe Daily

The Germ Of An Idea

Some people are more prone to infection than others. One answer could be to dose them with the molecules that their immune systems cannot make.

“Researchers are studying how different versions of certain genes could cause some people to succumb to infection whereas others are left relatively unscathed. They thus hope to explain not only why some people can be infested with virulent microbes without contracting a disease (whereas others become ill even though they are less infected) but also why such patterns run in families and in ethnic groups. Laurent Abel and Jean-Laurent Casanova of the Necker Medical School in Paris have found that a different version of a single gene out of the 25,000 or so in the human genome can make all the difference to whether or not a person suffers from many common diseases.”

(via The Economist)

(see also “A Cancer-Proof Mouse” via The Daily Galaxy)

Firing Up the Blue Brain

“Excellent news for fans of computer technology, neuroscience, and people who think that us telling the machines what to do is totally backwards. We reported on the attempts of the Swiss Mind Brain Institute to simulate the neocortical column of the rat last May, and they’ve recently announced success of the first phase of their project. They’ve successfully simulated the neocortical column of a rat – only a fraction of a full brain, but they proved that you don’t get to do world-shattering research when you settle for second-best by choosing one of the most complicated and vital pieces of any mammalian cortex.

They also proved that even world-class scientists still have to compete for funding, following up this amazing achievement with bold claims that the same process could simulate an entire rat brain within three years, and a human brain within ten. ”

(via The Daily Galaxy)

(see also “A Working Brain Model”-Technology Review)

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