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Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (IMEC) has developed a 2-channel wireless EEG (electroencephalography or monitoring of brain waves) system powered by a thermo-electric generator. It uses the body heat dissipated naturally from the forehead. The wearable EEG system operates completely autonomous and maintenance-free with no need to change or recharge the batteries. This is a major advantage for body-worn sensors, a key theme in the Human++ program within the Holst Centre.

The entire system is wearable and integrated into a headband. The small size, low power consumption of only 0.8mW and autonomous operation increase the patient’s autonomy and quality of life.

It’s hard to think of scientists in laboratories working toward solutions for medical problems without mice or other laboratory animals, but animals’ roles in at least one major research laboratory may soon be minimal.

Researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia's Comparative Orthopaedic Laboratory (COL) have developed an in vitro model using small sections of joint capsule and cartilage typically discarded that mimics arthritic joints. This "joint in a test tube" model can be used to investigate causes and mechanisms for the development and progression of arthritis and to screen new treatments such as pharmaceuticals.

The MU research team which developed this model has shown that the results have valid and direct clinical implications for arthritis in dogs and humans.

As the weather cools and Halloween approaches, creaks in the stairs and scary stories become more believable -- but not to physics professor Costas Efthimiou.

The laws of physics and math debunk popular myths about ghosts and vampires, according to a paper published by Efthimiou and Sohang Gandhi last year.

Using Isaac Newton's Laws of Motion, Efthimiou demonstrates that ghosts would not be able to walk and pass through walls. Basic math disproves the legend of humans turning into vampires after they are bitten, Efthimiou explains, because the entire human population in 1600 would have been wiped out in less than three years.

Doomed by mathematics


Astronomers have located an exceptionally massive black hole in orbit around a huge companion star. This result has intriguing implications for the evolution and ultimate fate of massive stars.

The black hole is part of a binary system in M33, a nearby galaxy about 3 million light years from Earth. By combining data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Gemini telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, the mass of the black hole, known as M33 X-7, was determined to be 15.7 times that of the Sun. This makes M33 X-7 the most massive stellar black hole known. A stellar black hole is formed from the collapse of the core of a massive star at the end of its life.

Cashew nut fossils have been identified in 47-million year old lake sediment in Germany, revealing that the cashew genus Anacardium was once distributed in Europe, remote from its modern “native” distribution in Central and South America.

It was previously proposed that Anacardium and its African sister genus, Fegimanra, diverged from their common ancestor when the landmasses of Africa and South America separated. However, groundbreaking new data in the October issue of the International Journal of Plant Sciences indicate that Europe may be an important biogeographic link between Africa and the New World.

A new paper estimates that fires in the continental United States and Alaska release about 44 metric tons of mercury into the atmosphere every year. It is the first study to estimate mercury emissions for each state, based on a new computer model developed at NCAR.

The authors caution that their estimates for the nation and for each state are preliminary and are subject to a 50 percent or greater margin of error.

Forest fires and other blazes in the United States likely release about 30 percent as much mercury as the nation's industrial sources, according to initial estimates in a new study by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).