Posts tagged ‘NanoTech’

Tiny Device in Blood Could Warn of Radiation or Illness

Nanotechnology could one day lead to tiny sensors that can be embedded within an astronaut’s blood cells to help monitor for signs of hidden radiation damage that can occur during extended stays in outer space. (NASA TV/AP Photo)

Building Built-In Bio-Sensors
Tiny Device in Blood Could Warn of Radiation or Illness
By Paul Eng

July 12 — One day, the eyes will be more than just windows to someone’s soul. They’ll also be the portal to a person’s health.

At least, that’s what Dr. James R. Baker, Jr. and a team of scientists at the University of Michigan hopes will happen with the help of nanotechnology — microscopic devices that are thousands of times thinner than a human hair.

And the concept, an extension of years of research conducted by Baker and others at the university’s Center of Biological Nanotechhnology to find new ways to detect and fight cancer, sounds fairly simple.

Microscopic Monitors

At the heart of the new detection method would be tiny spheres of synthetic polymers called dendrimers.

Each sphere, or nanosensor, measures a mere five nanometers — or five billionths of a meter — in diameter. (By comparison, the diameter of a typical pinhead is a million nanometers wide.) That means billions of nanosensors can be packed within a small amount of space.

The nanosensors would then be delivered into a human through a skin patch or even digested with food. Once in the body, the tiny nanosensors embed themselves within lymphocytes — the white blood cells that provide the body’s defenses against infection and disease.

As lymphocytes fight certain disease and conditions — say a common cold or the body’s exposure to radiation — the protein composition within the cells change. Each nanosensor, coated with special chemical agents, would fluoresce or glow in the presence of those protein changes.

And to see the glowing signs of the nanosensors, Baker has an ingenious solution.

“Our plan is to develop a retinal-scanning device with a laser capable of detecting fluorescence from lymphocytes as they pass one-by-one through narrow capillaries in the back of the eye,” says Baker. “If we can incorporate the tagged sensors into enough lymphocytes, a 15-second scan should be sufficient to detect cell damage.”

Backed by NASA for Further Study

The concept hasn’t gone far beyond the research stage. But it has warranted the attention — and funding — of NASA.

The government space agency recently bestowed a three-year, $2 million grant to Baker and the Center for Biological Nanotechnology to research the concept further.

“Radiation-induced illness is a serious concern in space travel,” says Baker. “Our goal is to develop a non-invasive system that, when placed inside the blood cells of astronauts, will monitor continuously for radiation exposure or infectious agents.” Baker believes that the concept could work, given that it’s based on similar nanotechnolgy the team has been working on for cancer detection.

But he admits that a lot of research has to be done.

For example, he says it’s still unclear if the fluorescent glow of the nanosensors in the white blood cells could be picked up amid the sea of darker red blood cells. And although he and the research team at the university have had some success in cell cultures in a lab setting, the real test will be if the concept works in virto.

Baker says he hopes to begin testing the process with lab animals, perhaps sometime later this year.

abcnews.go.com/sections/scitech/CuttingEdge/cuttingedge020712.html
web.archive.org/web/20021129160731/

If your brain’s been bugged, give a listen to this album

The Plain Dealer on Cleveland.com, May 9, 2002,
cleveland.com
Music News

If your brain’s been bugged, give a listen to this album
05/09/02

John Soeder
Plain Dealer Pop Music Critic

As a member of the Kinks, rock ‘n’ roller Dave Davies was a key figure in the British Invasion of the 1960s. Now he’s into space invaders.

For his latest solo project, ‘Bug’, the singer-guitarist has cooked up a doozy of a concept album about how our lives are manipulated by mind- controlling implants. And who planted those nasty devices in our noggins, you ask? Why, the aliens, of course!

“It’s tongue in cheek,” Davies says, not entirely convincingly. He’ll perform tonight at the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern, backed by a four-piece band.

‘Bug’, which came out Tuesday, is “a metaphor for getting rid of all the negative things holding us back,” Davies says during a recent phone interview. “It’s very much a rock ‘n’ roll record. … But I also try to address some issues, like electromagnetic pollution.”

The title track, “True Phenomenon,” “Whose [sic] Foolin’ Who” and other new tunes embrace sci-fi themes and conspiracy theories, with plenty of crunchy, Kinks-style power chords ringing out throughout the album. If the Weekly World News ran CD reviews, this one would get five stars.

The 55-year-old Davies “very much” believes we are not alone in the universe. “I’ve been fairly involved with some UFO research groups over the years,” says this dedicated follower of paranormal activity.

Apparently, extraterrestrials have been fairly involved with Davies, too. In his autobiography, ‘Kink’, he recounts how “strange voices” struck up a telepathic conversation with him before a 1982 concert.

“The intelligences did not tell me who they were,” he writes, “but two of them said they had always been my spirit guides and two others were entities that were not of this Earth, but were involved in missions here as watchers and nurturers of our race.”

Twenty years later, Davies is still coming to terms with his “epiphany,” as he describes the close encounter. “I was fortunate to have been given a lot of information all at once,”
he says. “It takes a long time for some of this stuff to actually seep into the conscious mind…. It’s all related to my personal growth, to a consciousness shift.”

On a less metaphysical note, the good news for Kinks fans is that Davies recently has been communicating (via e-mail, not telepathically) with his sibling rival Ray, the band’s frontman.

“We’re not quite sure what to do, but we definitely want to work together on something,” Davies says. “I don’t want it to be a purely retro thing. I’d like it to be something new.”

The oft-bickering brothers haven’t teamed up for a Kinks album since “To the Bone,” released in 1994 in their native England and two years later in the United States. It featured stripped-down reworkings of “You Really Got Me,” “All Day and All of the
Night” and other classic-rock keepers from the Kinks catalog. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

Alongside selections from ‘Bug’, Davies has been dusting off Kinks favorites during his solo gigs.

“I’m very proud to be associated with such a body of work,” he says. “Ray and I work best when we give each other space to create… I’ve always tried to nurture his ideas, because he’s a special person, as well as being an [expletive].”

Contact John Soeder at:

jsoeder@plaind.com, 216-999-4562