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Now, hairbrush that reads your mind

Who says hairbrush can only be used to comb locks? Scientists have made a hairbrush like device that would be able to monitor mental activity.

One of the main techniques for measuring and monitoring mental activity, called functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), can often be impaired because a person’s hair gets in the way.

But, now researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas and the University of Texas at Arlington, have developed a novel device called a brush optrode that is providing increased sensitivity with fibre tips designed to thread through hair to enhance scalp contact.

fNIRS is a noninvasive optical technique that measures oxygen levels in the brain to chart neurological activity. The difference between oxygenated hemoglobin and deoxygenated hemoglobin can be used as a correlate of brain activity. Using fNIRS, this difference in blood oxygen level is determined using a relative spectroscopic measurement at two near infrared wavelengths.

Laser surgery for long-sightedness

Conventionally, laser surgery tackles shortsightedness, but doctors are now using laser treatment to restore 20/20 vision in those suffering from long-sightedness.
By the age of 50, most adults find they can’t read a menu, book or newspaper without holding it at arm’s length. The deterioration results from the stiffening of the eye’s lens, which makes zooming in on close objects more difficult. The latest research, from three laboratories in Europe and the US, could lead to new techniques to cure the problem.

The technique involves using lasers to re-engineer the eyeball, either by cutting slits, into which tiny lenses can be inserted, or by altering the shape of its outer layer.

The researchers used lasers to make tiny slits in the cornea, the transparent outermost layer of the eye, which, along with the lens, is key to focusing. They then inserted a corneal inlay — a tiny doughnut-shaped black ring with a pin-sized hole at the centre for the light to pass through. This made it easier for light to focus on the retina at the back of the eye, making close vision sharper.

Soon, cold plasma jets to replace antibiotics

Popping antibiotics may soon become a thing of the past. Cold plasma jets could be a safe and effective alternative to these pills to treat multi-drug resistant infections.
A ten-minute low-temperature plasma treatment did not only kill drug-resistant bacteria causing wound infections in rats but also increased the rate of wound healing.

The findings of Russian and German researchers have suggested that cold plasmas might be a promising method to treat chronic wound infections where other approaches fail.

The team from the Gamaleya Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow tested a low-temperature plasma torch against bacterial species including Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus.

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