Science’s Entrance into the Age of the “Talkies”
This is a guest post by Adam Ruben, PhD. The opinions expressed are his own.
Scientific journals are great—they communicate technical results, postulate new theories, and help cure insomnia. But the Journal of Visualized Experiments is different. JoVE represents a new breed of scientists, a generation aware that if a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a thousand words plus a pop-up ad.
As we approach the one-year anniversary of JoVE’s 2500th video article, let’s examine the history of scientific results distributed by digital video:
Want to impress your friends with knowledge of the most cutting edge scientific research? You’re in luck, here is your weekly headlines from across the scientific world:
Scientists train iron-oxidizing bacteria to sruvive on electrons. These special bacteria could potentially be bioengineered to produce fuels from atmospheric CO2 when paired with electric sources like solar panels or wind turbines.
University of Arizona researchers are studying recently emerging flies that eat toxic plant matter instead of yeast and microbes. These new flies can help researchers understand how species evolve in a short time frame.
By generating silicon microbeads, University of Oslo researchers have developed solar panels that use 95% less silicon than industry standard solar cells. By making the cells from 10 micrometer thick spheres, light is manipulated to make the solar harvesting potential equivalent to a cell that is 25 times thicker.
Albert Einstein is considered one of the smartest men of the 20th century, but was it hard studying or a larger brain that made him understand fundamental laws of the universe. A study from November’s issue of Brain implies that Einstein’s cerebral cortex dramatically differs from that of a normal person and may have contributed to his insights.
Make sure to check back next week for more headlines tfrom the scientific community!
Time again for your weekly headlines from across the scientific world:
Can human beings use DNA as a long-term data storage device? Scientists from the UK’s European Bioinformatics Institute have developed a technique to store data in DNA with a 99.9% accuracy. Some of the first items stored: Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech, Shakespeare’s Sonnets, and Watson and Crick’s paper describing the structure of DNA.
Ever wonder what happens in the brain while you read silently? A new study in Journal of Neuroscience shows that the areas of the brain associated with voice are activated when a person silently reads, and is evidence that different areas of the brain (visual and auditory) work together to communicate.
Researchers from IBM and the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology in Singapore have worked together to create special antimicrobial hydrogels. These water soluble, biodegradable gels disrupt biofilm production to kill even drug resistant bacteria.
Have your headphones ever stopped working because the wire breaks? There may be a solution. Chemical and molecular biologists from North Carolina State University have made new wires that are elastic and self-repairing thanks to self-healing polymers and liquid conductive wires.
Stem cell biologists at Kyoto University have developed kidney tissue from induced pluripotent stem cells. This is an important first step towards developing functional kidney replacements, which could save the lives of the more than 4500 people who die waiting for a kidney transplant every year.
Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells from a recent JoVE article
Make sure to check back next week for more headlines from the scientific community, and check out all of the cutting edge research from JoVE, the world’s first peer-reviewed, pub-med indexed video methods journal.
How’s your week going, faithful readers? Once again, JoVE’s library team has brought Journal of Visualized Experiments to new users all around the world. Here are some of the new schools we’re excited for:
- University Teknologi Petronas in Malaysia- Bioengineering
- Universiti Putra Malaysia in Malaysia – Applied Physics
- Academia Sinica in Taiwan- Bioengineering and Applied Physics
- Bowdoin College in Maine- Neuroscience
- Rivier College in New Hampshire- JoVE General
Want to get a JoVE subscription at your school? Click here to recommend JoVE to your librarian. Plus, check out our year in review with This Year in JoVE!
We spend one third of our lives sleeping. “If sleep doesn’t serve an absolutely vital function, then it is the greatest mistake the evolutionary process ever made” – Professor Emeritus Dr. Allan Rechtschaffen, University of Chicago. As a parent I instinctively make sure that my children get enough hours of sleep, but then stay up late working. Turns out I am not doing myself any favors.
Scientists presenting their research at the Society for Neuroscience (SFN) 2012 annual meeting in New Orleans report that even a 20% daily sleep deficit is sufficient for loss in cognitive function, impairs memory and alters the normal behavior of brain cells. According to Ted Abel, University of Pennsylvania, loss of only 20% of daily sleep deprivation impairs spatial memory consolidation. Furthermore, according to Gina Poe, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, adequate sleep is critical for strengthening incompletely learned memories and integrating the old and new information into a coherent memory. Sleep is necessary for strengthening the synapses for the formation of memories as well as weakening the synapses for “inconsequential” memories, e.g. where you parked your car.
According to Dr. Giulio Tononi, University of Wisconsin, Madison, “Sleep synaptic strength is globally renormalized to a basal level that is energetically sustainable and beneficial for memory and performance. Sleep is the price we pay for plasticity.” He also states that if we are sleep restricted, small parts of our brain may fall asleep even though we think we are completely awake. As a consequence we may make mistakes.
Clearly there are consequences as we continue to burn the midnight oil and surely I should sleep as I have an early morning flight to catch to go back home. Make sure to check out JoVE at booth 143 tomorrow and tell us about your research.
During my time as an undergraduate, I developed a care for the environment and an interest in how science and engineering can help preserve the planet. Oddly enough, my organic chemistry professor was a key influence, as he was involved in spreading the message about green chemistry. Green chemistry is chemistry that, by design, is inherently safer for human health and the environment. All of the students in my classes learned the 12 principles of green chemistry and enacted these through student projects and weekly laboratory experiments. We came to see that by designing and performing our experiments with certain principles in mind, we were able to make less of an impact on the environment, while still learning all about alkenes, alkynes, ketones, and aromatics. By including green chemistry in my chemical education, I learned that you don’t necessarily have to be studying environmental science to make a positive impact on the planet, and that these principles can be applied to many aspects of life.
Image taken from www.epa.gov
Reflecting on this now, I not only see how important this perspective is for daily life, but for all of scientific exploration. Both those conducting and reporting all forms of scientific research can make an impact in greening science. In addition to clearly-defined organizations that are using green chemistry for scientific and planet impact, like the WarnerBabcock Institute for Green Chemistry, JoVE plays a key, but not often realized role, in this movement of green science. Hearkening back to the 12 principles of green chemistry, the very first principle is: Pollution Prevention-it is better to prevent waste than treat and clean up waste after it has formed.
Today marks a very important day for JoVE, the Journal of Visualized Experiments. July 30, 2012 signifies the start of a partnership between JoVE and the Journal of General Physiology (JGP), in which JoVE will provide Journal of General Physiology readers access to JoVE’s articles cited in JGP. The articles published in the Journal of General Physiology often deal with complex and innovative methodologies, and JoVE’s unique video protocols will undoubtedly be valuable to JGP’s readers.
A study from the American College of Surgeons demonstrates something we at JoVE have known for quite a while: videos are invaluable in education and transparency. In the study, surgeons showed a 30 minute video to lung cancer patients undergoing surgery. Lead author from the Washington University School of Medicine, Dr. Traves Crabtree wanted to develop a technique to help patients as they prepare for their operations. “It’s scary to go through, but surgeons want to make it the best possible situation we can. Anything we can do to comfort the patient will make it a little better than if no one told them what to expect,” Crabtree explains.
The video gives information on the entire experience, “from how to prepare for the operation and what’s involved in the procedure, to what should happen each day after surgery until discharge and what to expect several months later” the association’s press release describes. Patients reported better pain management and satisfaction with the surgery.
These findings, if substantiated, could prove valuable and application to other forms of surgeries. Video education, when done correctly, provides a resource to help disseminate difficult to grasp concepts. For many patients with no science background, a surgery can be daunting and understandably scary. The American College of Surgeons has also found a way to increase the trust and transparency of the medical profession: patients can better trust their caregivers if they can understand, on their own terms, the procedures they will be undergoing.
You can find the press release here.