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Helping plants in the face of climate change
As the world heats up, plants face a dilemma – the same tiny holes they have to open to exchange gases also let out water. They can close the holes, called stomata, to stay hydrated in hotter, drier conditions but, in doing so, may miss out on critical carbon dioxide. The question for the Bergmann Lab at Stanford University is how this dilemma will play out as increasing portions of the world’s plants experience consistently warm...
Particle physicists team up with AI to solve science problems
Experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest particle accelerator at the European particle physics lab CERN, produce about a million gigabytes of data every second. Even after reduction and compression, the data amassed in just one hour is similar to the data volume Facebook collects in an entire year – too much to store and analyse. Luckily, particle physicists don’t have to deal with all of that dat...
Wearable device measures cortisol in sweat
The hormone cortisol rises and falls naturally throughout the day and can spike in response to stress but current methods for measuring cortisol levels require waiting several days for results from a lab. By the time a person learns the results of a cortisol test – which may inform treatment for certain medical conditions – it is likely different from the current level of cortisol.
Magnetised wire could be used to detect cancer
A magnetic wire used to snag scarce and hard-to-capture tumour cells could prove to be a swift and effective tactic for early cancer detection, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. The wire, which is threaded into a vein, attracts special magnetic nanoparticles engineered to glom onto tumour cells that may be roaming the bloodstream if you have a tumour somewhere in ...
Next-gen EEG could help bring back lost brain function
A device under development at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University could help bring back lost brain function by measuring how the brain responds to therapies that stimulate it with electric current. The approach could open new avenues for treating brain disorders and selectively switching brain activities on and off, says Anthony Norcia, a professor of psychology at Stanford who initia...
Designing materials for future fusion reactors
Researchers at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have recorded the most detailed atomic movie of gold melting after being blasted by laser light. The insights they gained into how metals liquefy have potential to aid the development of fusion power reactors, steel processing plants, spacecraft and other applications where materials have to withstand extreme conditions for long periods of time.
Artificial sensory nerve made of flexible organic electronics
Stanford and Seoul National University researchers have developed an artificial sensory nerve system that can activate the twitch reflex in a cockroach and identify letters in the Braille alphabet. The work, reported in Science, is a step toward creating artificial skin for prosthetic limbs, to restore sensation to amputees and, perhaps, one day give robots some type of reflex capability.
'Brain stethoscope' turns brain waves into sound
When a doctor or nurse suspects something is wrong with a patient’s heart, there’s a simple way to check: put a stethoscope over the heart and listen to the sounds it makes. Doctors and nurses can use the same diagnostic tool to figure out what’s going on with the heart, lungs, stomach and more, but not the brain – although that could change with a new device.
Technique can spot objects hidden around corners
A driverless car is making its way through a winding neighbourhood street, about to make a sharp turn onto a road where a child’s ball has just rolled. Although no person in the car can see that ball, the car stops to avoid it. This is because the car is outfitted with extremely sensitive laser technology that reflects off nearby objects to see around corners. Stanford researchers have designed a laser-based system that can produce images o...
Taking artificial skin to the next level
Of the many ways that humans make sense of our world – with our eyes, ears, nose and mouth – none is perhaps less appreciated than our tactile and versatile hands. Thanks to our sensitive fingertips, we can feel the heat before we touch the flame, or sense the softness of a newborn’s cheek. But people with prosthetic limbs live in a world without touch.
Cancer vaccine eliminates tumours in mice
Injecting minute amounts of two immune-stimulating agents directly into solid tumours in mice can eliminate all traces of cancer in the animals, including distant, untreated metastases, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. The approach works for many different types of cancers, including those that arise spontaneously, the study found.
Clinical trial shows benefits of acute-stroke therapy
A 38-center clinical trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine has shown that far more people than previously thought can benefit from an emergency procedure for acute ischemic stroke. The improved outcomes were achieved through the use of brain-imaging software developed at Stanford.
A hassle-free HIV test that works better and sooner
Public health officials have a tough choice to make when it comes to screening people for HIV: administer a reliable blood test that can detect infections early on, but that few people will volunteer for, or give people a convenient test using saliva that is less reliable during the first stages of infection. A new test could change that.
Antibiotics can benefit from latest type of cellulose
Produced by plants, algae and some bacteria, cellulose is an abundant molecule involved in the production of hundreds of products, from paper to fabrics to renewable building materials. It’s also one starting material for producing ethanol, a common fuel additive and renewable fuel source. Now, Stanford scientists have found a new type of cellulose in bacteria with properties that could make it an improvement over traditional cellulose...
Cooling glove helps athletes and patients
A cooling device that has been improving strength and endurance in mostly male athletes for 15 years is finding new uses in helping people with multiple sclerosis live normal lives, preventing overheating in Ebola workers and cooling working dogs. In a recent trial in women, it helped frosh participants perform hundreds of pushups in an hour. The idea itself isn’t new. The mitten-like device is designed and built to draw heat out of th...
Software advances the modelling of astronomical observations
A recent study in Science cast doubt on one formerly favoured explanation for why an abundance of positrons – the antimatter counterparts of electrons – has been found near Earth. Two nearby collapsed stars, it turns out, aren’t likely to blame because their positrons couldn’t have traveled as far as the Earth.
The striking beauty of fluid dynamics
Stir a vat of any liquid or gas and you get complex whirls of movement. Fluid dynamics, the study of the movement of liquids and gases, helps airplanes stay in the air, describes the way that blood flows through the human body, and factors into weather forecasting. Anything that flows and stirs into eddies follows the tenets of fluid dynamics. These paired images depict a computer simulation of turbulence within 100 cubic meters of air.
Algorithm can diagnose pneumonia better than radiologists
Stanford researchers have developed an algorithm that offers diagnoses based off chest X-ray images. It can diagnose up to 14 types of medical conditions and is able to diagnose pneumonia better than expert radiologists working alone. A paper about the algorithm, called CheXNet, was published on the open-access, scientific preprint website arXiv.
Double-duty textile could warm or cool
Stanford researchers have developed a reversible fabric that, without expending effort or energy, keeps skin a comfortable temperature whatever the weather. In a paper published in Science Advances, a team led by Yi Cui, professor of materials science and engineering, created a double-sided fabric based on the same material as everyday kitchen wrap. Their fabric can either warm or cool the wearer, depending which side faces out.
Upgraded mirror coatings improve gravitational wave detectors
Stanford scientists will lead a national cooperative effort, the LIGO Scientific Collaboration Center for Coatings Research, to improve detection of gravitational waves at the twin LIGO facilities. LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, has a problem of scale: galaxy-shaking events like the recent collision of two neutron stars happened so far away that the echoes took 130 million years to travel to our planet. A coll...