132. Tinnitus Treatment on Your Phone, Nanoscale 3D Printing Sped Up, Lab-Grown Meat

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"Polytherapeutic" tinnitus treatment app delivers impressive results | New Atlas (00:49)

  • Tinnitus is when you experience ringing or other noises in one or both of your ears.

    • 5% of people experience tinnitus at some point in their lives

  • A team of researchers at the University of Auckland has found it's new smartphone app treatment is getting strong results

  • This polytherapeutic “combines goal-based counseling with personalized passive and active game-based sound therapy."

    • It has tailored the digital tools in the app to the user's own experience of tinnitus.

  • The primary measurement of effectiveness was the Tinnitus Functional Index, a standard scale used to quantify a person's experience of tinnitus

    • A 13 point change is regarded as a clinically meaningful difference.

    • It is a survey so take this with a grain of salt

  • The group using the polytherapeutic reported an average improvement of 16.36 points after six weeks, and 17.83 points after 12 weeks

    • 55% of participants experiencing a clinically meaningful improvement after six weeks

    • 65% at 12 weeks.

  • The Auckland team is working on obtaining regulatory approval for the polytherapeutic app, and hope to have it clinically available within six months or so.

Rare Elephant Twins are Born in 'Historic Moment’ at Syracuse Zoo | Today (05:54)

  • Twin Asian elephant calves were born at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York, in what the zoo is calling a “miracle.”

    • Born on Oct. 24

  • Ten hours after Mali’s (Mama Elephant obviously) first male calf was born, weighing in at 220 pounds, a second male calf arrived, weighing 237 pounds.

  • The zoo commented on this improbability and rarity:

    • “To date, there has never been a recorded case of surviving elephant twins in the United States … The few successful twin births have only taken place in their range countries in Asia and Africa and nowhere else in the world.”

    • Additionally, less than 1% of elephant births worldwide are twins

    • When twins do occur, the calves are often stillborn or do not survive long after birth.

Engineers designed a new nanoscale 3D printing material that can be printed at a speed of 100 mm/s | Interesting Engineering (09:43)

  • A new nanoscale 3D printing material developed by Stanford University engineers may provide superior structural protection for satellites, drones, and microelectronics

    • An improved lightweight, a protective lattice that can absorb twice as much energy as previous materials of a similar density

  • Nanoscale 3D printing material creates structures that are a fraction of the width of a human hair.

    • Enabling the printing at very small scales.

  • The engineers added metal nanoclusters (tiny groupings of atoms) to their printing medium to create a superior 3D printing material.

    • Effective in kicking off the reaction to harden the material

    • Produced a substance that was a mixture of the metal and the polymer printing medium.

    • The printing process was accelerated by the nanoclusters.

  • They were able to print at a speed of 100 millimeters per second using the nanoclusters and proteins.

    • Roughly 100 times faster than what had previously been possible with nanoscale protein printing.

  • The engineers are in some ways imitating what nature has already mastered.

    • For instance, the mix of a hard exterior, nanoscale porosity, and trace amounts of soft substance gives bone its durability.

  • Where to go from here? Wendy Gu, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and a corresponding author on the paper stated:

    • “Since the nanoclusters are able to polymerize these different classes of chemicals, we may be able to use them to print multiple materials in one structure … That’s one thing we’d like to aim for.”

Researchers develop a new method for analyzing rock glaciers | Phys.org (15:20)

  • Scientists at the University of Arizona developed a new method to determine rock glaciers' ice thickness and the ratio of ice to debris, allowing for more precise measurements of these glaciers than previously possible.

    • Lead by Tyler Meng who is pursuing a doctoral degree in planetary science

  • This new method will allow scientists to better understand water resources on both Earth and Mars, as well as how resilient this type of buried ice will be to the changing climate on both planets.

  • Both pure ice glaciers and rock glaciers can move across landscapes—very slowly.

    • The debris in rock glaciers causes them to flow even more slowly than ice glaciers, as the inclusion of rocks makes them much stiffer.

  • Using two different antenna configurations, the researchers used ground-penetrating radar to measure both the radar wave speed and the angle at which the wave was reflected from the subsurface.

    • The two antenna configurations allowed the researchers to better calculate the dimensions of the rock glacier.

  • According to Meng, understanding rock glaciers on Earth is important because they are essentially water reservoirs. To continue:

    • “Our research gives us a better idea of the total water budget in mountainous regions, where major rivers have headwaters … By having a map of the debris thickness and ice concentration, we can essentially characterize the ability of rock glaciers to withstand effects of a warming climate compared to clean ice glaciers"

  • The whole goal of the research is to use Earth rock glaciers as an analog to processing them on Mars.

    • Meng stated: "By mapping the patterns of debris thickness on Earth, we're trying to understand how that debris thickness may also vary on Mars. Also, by learning about the differences in flow parameters between clean ice and debris-rich ice, that will help simulations for the Martian case as well."

  • Moving forward, the research group will continue to make similar measurements using surface-based radar while also collecting new data using drones.

    • Drone-based data collection will help the group to gain a more complete understanding of rock glacier flow and subsurface characteristics

A Lab-Grown Meat Startup Gets the FDA’s Stamp of Approval | MIT Tech Review (20:00)

  • A company called Upside Foods will soon be able to sell chicken made from real animal cells grown in bioreactors instead of requiring the slaughter of live animals.

    • Cultivated meat has been greenlit in the United States for the first time.

  • There are just two smaller regulatory steps remaining until cultivated meat can be made available to the public.

    • Require a grant of inspection from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

    • The food itself will need a mark of inspection before it can enter the US market

  • Different startups are focusing on a range of cultivated meats, including:

    • beef, chicken, salmon, and tuna

  • It’s likely that tasting these meats will be limited to a very small number of exclusive restaurants.

    • With the CEO Uma Valeti wanting chefs to initially bring this to people’s attention with well made meals.

  • In December 2020, Singaporean regulators gave the green light to cultivated chicken from the San Francisco–based startup Eat Just.

    • The chicken nuggets were sold at a members-only restaurant called 1880 and later made available for delivery.

  • Cultivated meat is different from plant-based meats because it contains real animal cells and is—theoretically—indistinguishable from real meat itself.

  • The process:

    • Cell line: a single cell is stimulated to allow it to expand into multiple cells

    • Cells are initially isolated from an animal and developed into cell lines that are then frozen.

    • Small samples from these cell lines can then be transferred to bioreactors

    • Bioreactors are where cells are fed growth media containing the nutrients that cells need to divide.

    • Once grown, the cells are differentiated into the correct kind of tissue where they can be harvested and used in cultivated meat products.

  • Startups keep the exact cost of growing their cells tightly under wraps, but it’s likely that pure cultivated meat will still be several times the cost of conventional meat.

    • But this has dropped considerably from when this method was first used.

    • In August 2013, Dr Mark Post from the Netherlands created the world’s first hamburger made from the stem cells of a cow for $325,000 USD at a taste testing and cooking demonstration in London, United Kingdom.

  • Some projections for future facilities suggest that even large facilities will produce meat at a cost of $17 per pound.

    • Translation: higher prices in restaurants and grocery stores.

  • Current production facilities are very small, and many in the industry have serious reservations about lab-grown meat’s ability to eventually put a dent in global meat consumption.

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