Biological Sciences

Leg Nerves Activated by Light Offer Path to Restored Mobility

The first applications of the technology might be to restore motion to paralyzed limbs or to power prosthetics, but an optogenetic system has the potential to restore limb sensation, turn off unwanted pain signals or treat spastic or rigid muscle movements in neurological diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS… (Read the full story)

Personalized “deep learning” equips robots for autism therapy

Children with autism spectrum conditions often have trouble recognizing the emotional states of people around them — distinguishing a happy face from a fearful face, for instance. To remedy this, some therapists use a kid-friendly robot to demonstrate those emotions and to engage the children in imitating the emotions and responding to them in appropriate ways. (Read the full story)

Can Magnolia Help Break the Link Between Obesity and Breast Cancer?

Stand under the glossy green canopy of a southern magnolia in full bloom, and you’ll be dazzled by this queen tree’s show of hundreds of highly perfumed ivory blossoms, each the size of a teacup. It’s a stunning sight, but for centuries, Magnolia grandiflora has been known for more than its pretty face. The tree contains a pharmacopeia of sorts, yielding chemical compounds that have been used to treat everything from anxiety to heart attack. (Read the full story)