Elon Musk’s Neuralink Announces FDA Approval of Human Clinical Study
Elon Musk’s brain-computer interface company Neuralink has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). start its first human clinical trial. If this is true, it means that real people can get a device from Neuralink implanted in their head.
The news follows Elon Musk’s November announcement that Neuralink was about six months away from its first human trial, suggesting that Musk’s rare promise is indeed coming true in time. Announcing future human trials is not as big a milestone as results this test. But this is not just some kind of test. This represents the Elon Musk of all people who connects a device to the human brain.
And it makes you think: who would sign up for this and why? Will it be someone who may have important medical reasons, or someone who wants to bring Musk to the attention of the world, and is there any chance that this is Elon Musk himself? Musk has stated that at an unspecified time in the future, he will have the device implanted in his head.
If you think that you yourself would like to take part in the Neuralink challenge, there is nothing for you to do yet. Neuralink says the set is not yet open and that more information will be announced “soon”.
IBD: We may finally know why psychological stress exacerbates gut inflammation
Researchers have identified a link between the brain and immune system in mice that may explain why psychological stress can exacerbate gut inflammation. The discovery could improve the treatment of chronic gastrointestinal diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
For years, research has shown a link between mental illness and inflammation. This link is particularly evident in IBD or other autoimmune conditions characterized by intestinal inflammation, abdominal pain, and intestinal damage. Even with treatment, people with IBD usually experience an exacerbation of symptoms when stressed.
To understand the mechanism of this association, Christoph Theiss from the University of Pennsylvania and colleagues analyzed mice with symptoms similar to IBD. For one week, the researchers placed eight animals in small test tubes for 3 hours a day to induce stress. They then treated the mice with a chemical irritant for seven days to induce IBD-like symptoms.
Three mice were given a drug to block hormones called glucocorticoids, which the brain signals the body to produce when it feels stressed. The researchers then performed colonoscopies on the mice and scored inflammation and intestinal damage on a scale of 0 to 15, with higher scores indicating worse results. Mice that received the drug had an average of about 5 points, while those that did not have a score of just under 15, indicating that glucocorticoids are important in stress-induced intestinal inflammation.
The researchers then performed a genetic analysis of tissue samples taken from the colons of the animals. They found that mice with persistently elevated levels of glucocorticoids had changes in specialized nerve cells called intestinal glia. Glial cells help maintain neurons and communicate with many different cell types, and they respond to stress hormones by pumping out inflammatory molecules. Enteral glia of mice with elevated levels of glucocorticoids showed increased activity of pro-inflammatory genes.
Genetic analysis has also shown that stress alters neurons in the gut, making them less mature. “The reason this is harmful is because we need mature neurons in the gastrointestinal tract to control intestinal motility,” Theiss says. Together, these findings highlight two branches of the pathway between the brain, gut neurons, and the inflammatory immune response.
The team confirmed these findings in 63 people with IBD by collecting and analyzing tissue samples from the colons of each. Participants also completed a stress-rating questionnaire. People who experienced more stress had more gut damage and a greater increase in inflammatory markers, similar to mice.
Saurab Mehandru The Mount Sinai Health System in New York City says these findings may finally demonstrate the exact brain-gut connection that many have long believed exists in gastrointestinal disorders. “This tells clinicians that you should be looking at the patient as a whole, not just treating the symptoms of flare-ups, but also other problems that may be stress-related,” he says.
“The big question is whether the same pathway can dictate how responsive people are to different treatments,” Theiss says. If so, this could improve the treatment of IBD or lead to new targeted drugs for the condition.
Could 50 tons of dinosaur fossils help awaken paleontology in Niger?
The find of dinosaur bones, which will soon be sent from Niger to the University of Chicago for research, represents the latest victory for paleontology.
Fossils include ancient mammals, flying reptiles, a 40-foot crocodile and “a dozen new large dinosaurs, including huge 60-foot dinosaurs,” says American paleontologist Paul Sereno.
Why did we write this
The story dedicated
Landlocked Niger is home to stunning dinosaur fossils. Scientists strive not only to find them, but also to accumulate their own research experience.
But Chicago won’t be the final resting place for the bones. They should eventually be returned to Niger, which has some of the richest paleontological finds in Africa but no paleontologists of its own.
Nigerian Heritage is a project designed by Dr. Sereno, archaeologist Bube Adamou, and other explorers and government officials. He suggests that museums will not only be able to display fossils, but also conduct their own research for the first time.
“Every time we see that we find new dinosaurs, new fossils that allow us to say that the soil is rich,” says Mr. Adamu, an archaeologist from the Institute for Research in the Humanities, who, as one of Niger’s leading experts on excavations , helped lead a recent expedition. “Niger has an unheard of heritage.”
It is hoped that Niger’s first paleontologists are already taking undergraduate courses.
Goats, cows and pedestrians roam past two unassuming shipping containers down the street of Niger’s coastal capital without a second thought. But inside lies about 50 tons of dinosaur bones wrapped in plaster, potentially some of the most significant paleontological finds ever known in this landlocked West African country, and even on the continent.
There are fossils of approximately 100 different species, some of which are ancient animals that have never been seen before.
“Small animals, mammals, flying reptiles, turtles,” as well as a 40-foot crocodile and “a dozen new large dinosaurs, including huge 60-foot ones,” says American paleontologist Paul Sereno.
Why did we write this
The story dedicated
Landlocked Niger is home to stunning dinosaur fossils. Scientists strive not only to find them, but also to create their own research experience.
It took years to reach the capital, and their journey is not over yet. The first discoveries were made in 2018 and 2019 in the vast expanses of the Sahara desert. Proper excavation, however, would take time and expense, so paleontologists covered them up and buried them, hoping the winds wouldn’t expose them to curious nomads or dangerous smugglers.
Then COVID-19 hit, shutting everything down until finally, last fall, Professor Sereno was able to return to dig up the fossils again.
“Niger will tell the story of Africa during the age of the dinosaurs,” he says. Instead of the fossilized images found in many other places, these discoveries represent a continuum of “Jurassic and Cretaceous African history.”
Bones soon to be shipped to Dr. Sereno’s lab at the University of Chicago for research represents the latest victory for paleontology over the harsh desert environment of Niger, home to not only fossils but also high temperatures, moving dunes and various armed groups.
But Chicago won’t be the final resting place for the bones. The fossils are destined to eventually return to Niger, where the foundations of a formal paleontology sector are laid in a country that contains some of the richest paleontological finds in Africa but lacks its own paleontologists or even academic programs dedicated to the field.
“Every time we see that we find new dinosaurs, new fossils that allow us to say that the soil is rich – unlike other countries and other continents,” says Boube Adamu, an archaeologist at the Institute for Research in Human Sciences, who, as one of Niger’s leading excavation experts, helped lead this latest expedition. “Niger has an unheard of heritage.”
Race in the desert
Last fall, in a convoy speeding through the desert, a group of about 20 people was greatly outnumbered by dozens of armed men riding in trucks with machine guns. They were just their guards, determined to protect this modern Saharan caravan from smugglers or bandits roaming the dunes. Dr. Sereno refuses to reveal the exact number of guards so as not to reveal important security measures.
The team, made up of researchers and students from the US, Niger and Europe, visited three sites over the course of three months. By the time they finished in December, they had unearthed everything from an Ouranosaurus with a 25-foot bone “sail” running the length of its back to a 6-foot long-necked sauropod femur.
How is it that so much life has survived in one of the world’s largest deserts? Millions of years ago, the vast expanse of Niger was anything but dry as rivers, wetlands and lakes stretched across what explorers called the Green Sahara, where dinosaurs once lived, and later ancient human civilizations with embalming techniques, existed even before the Egyptians, whose relics were also found during the autumn expedition.
But a geological accident also created this modern dinosaur jackpot. Most of the world’s dinosaur fossils are found in the US and Asia because mountain ranges have been uplifted over millions of years, slowly lifting the earth over time and burying the bones underneath. The same process took place in the mountains of Niger. The second key factor here, as in places like Montana, is the lack of forest or jungle to hinder the search for bones.
One hundred million years after the dawn of the dinosaurs, it’s easy to see why Niger remains aloof from paleontologists despite its wealth. As one of the poorest countries on Earth, it combines rough infrastructure with harsh desert conditions.
But even if the Green Sahara is a thing of the past, the desert today is far from deserted. Local nomads, who have long mastered the difficult terrain, have become the key to conducting paleontology there, discovering bones and conducting expeditions through the impenetrable desert expanses. While the pandemic kept Dr. Sereno’s team is in fear, the nomads have been keeping a close eye on the carefully buried treasure, sending him updates messages.
Growing local paleontologists
In Niamey, children and families scurry through the Bubu Hama National Museum and neighboring zoo, watching hippos and hyenas and strolling in the shade of two massive dinosaur skeletons on display, including a terrifying 36-foot raptor named Suchomimus. No less formidable Afrovenator meets visitors at the airport along with the skull of a “supercrocodile”.
But these are just replicas. Apart from a shortage of paleontologists, Niger does not have the right conditions to display real fossils, Mr. Adamu said.
This may change. Nigerian Heritage is a project designed by Dr. Sereno, Mr. Adamu, and a circle of international and Nigerian researchers and government officials. It provides for the creation of two museums – one in Agadez, in the Sahara Desert, and one in Niamey – capable of not only exhibiting fossils, but also conducting their own research for the first time. The plans go beyond dinosaurs, covering the prehistoric human era, Niger’s modern nomadic heritage, and today’s climate and environmental issues.
“Health [Niger River]desert promotion – they are connected with these projects that [on] a walk through time and then they touch on topics that are absolutely essential to everyday life,” says dr. Sereno, who dedicated time this year to fundraising for a $300 million museum project.
As part of a local educational initiative, three small museums have already opened.
The museums of Agadez and Niamey, as well as associated funds for local universities, are designed to attract international academic interest and tourism, and to support local research. It is hoped that Niger’s first paleontologists are already taking undergraduate courses. With the right guidance and funding – to do a Ph.D. programs outside the country – could begin to correct the one-sidedness of paleontology, where resources and opportunities are concentrated in rich countries.
“The difficulty lies in the inability to use this legacy,” says Mauli Dayak, adviser to the President of Niger. “For education, for learning, for culture, or for Niger as a whole.” But he adds that Legacy of Niger has drawn attention to Niger’s paleontological potential, and “many young people are interested in these issues.”
If Niger can grow its own local paleontologists, says Sidi Abdellah, logistics manager for Niger Heritage, “Niger will be one of the biggest countries” for paleontology.
However, perhaps equally important is the development of the pride of ordinary Nigerians in the leadership of their country.
“We can showcase that legacy,” says Mr. Abdellah. “We can say that Niger will take care of it.”
Kitten litter gives LA mountain lions hope after terrible year | California
After a devastating year for Los Angeles mountain lions, researchers have made an encouraging discovery in the hills of southern California: an all-female litter of kittens.
Last week, biologists found three cubs in what the National Park Service called “a dense patch of poison oak nestled among large boulders” between the Santa Monica and Santa Susana mountain ranges. The kittens, which are just over three weeks old and are known as P-113, P-114 and P-115, are healthy, the NPS said in a statement.
“It’s encouraging to see breeding in our small population of mountain lions, especially after all the deaths we’ve documented over the past year,” said Jeff Sikic, lead field biologist in the NPS Mountain Lion Study, which has been studying how animals survive in a fragmented and urbanized environment since 2002. environment.
Since March 2022, 15 mountain lions have died in the study area, Sikic said. Los Angeles Times, most after being hit by vehicles. Among those killed last year was Los Angeles’ darling P-22, once called the Brad Pitt of the mountain lions, who has famously roamed city blocks and under the banner of Hollywood for a decade.
The three kittens were born to P-77, who is estimated by biologists to be between five and six years old and lives between busy freeways 101 and 118. The father likely came from the Santa Susana Mountains and has since returned, NPS said.
“It will be interesting to see how these kittens will use the landscape as they get older and spread out, especially if they decide to stay in the Simi Hills or cross freeways to get into larger natural areas,” Sikic said.
The researchers visited the den while the mother was away and did a short general health assessment of the kittens before returning them. The biologists also tagged each kitten to help identify them in the future.