BRAIN WAVES

A col­umn fea­tur­ing sci-tech de­vel­op­ments in the Jewish world

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS -

to see which were most im­proved in ef­fi­ciency.

The find­ings were pub­lished in the jour­nal Na­ture. Pre­ma­ture menopause caused by chemo­ther­apy could be halted by a new treat­ment found by Is­raeli sci­en­tists.

A team led by Prof es­sor Ze’ev Blu­men­feld from the Ram­bam Med­i­cal Cen­tre and the Tech­nion Fac­ulty of Medicine in Haifa has found that a monthly in­jec­tion of go­nadotropin­re­leas­ing hor­mone (GnRH), be­fore and dur­ing chemo­ther­apy, could re­duce the risk of pre­ma­ture menopause from 50 per cent to less than eight.

Fer­til­ity and Steril­ity Jour­nal re­ported that 3.1 per cent of women in a group re­ceiv­ing chemo­ther­apy for Hodgkin’s lym­phoma de­vel­oped pre­ma­ture ovar­ian fail­ure when tak­ing the GnRH. The fig­ure was 37 per cent in the con­trol group. and Nobuyuki Sakai of ver­sity in Ja­pan dis­cov­ered the pos­si­bil­ity as they in­ves­ti­gated how patches of space-time ex­pand, as re­ported in the New Sci­en­tist.

Our uni­verse is be­lieved to have un­der­gone rapid ex­pan­sion, known as in­fla­tion, just be­fore the big bang. In the­ory, in­fla­tion could still be hap­pen­ing to pock­ets of space-time, blow­ing them up to cre­ate new uni­verses dis­tinct from ours. We might even be the ones eat­ing up oth­ers. Sweet dreams. The prob­a­bil­ity of re­cov­er­ing from brain dam­age can be pre­dicted by a new com­puter pro­gram de­vel­oped in Is­rael.

Is­raeli hos­pi­tals have started to use vir­tual re­al­ity ther­apy for stroke pa­tients, for ex­am­ple by as­sess­ing a pa­tient’s hand re­sponses to vir­tual ten­nis balls be­ing “thrown”.

Dr Larry Manevitz of Haifa Univer­sity, neu­ro­sci­en­tist Dr Uri Fein­tuch from the He­brew Univer­sity and grad­u­ate stu­dent Eu­gene Med­nikov, com­bined this vir­tual re­al­ity ther­apy with their new pro­gram. The com­puter then “learned” to dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween dif­fer­ent types of brain in­juries, and could di­ag­nose with 90-98 per cent ac­cu­racy whether a pa­tient was healthy or had suf­fered a stroke or brain in­jury.

“Our next step is to find sim­i­lar­i­ties in the be­hav­iour of peo­ple in sub­groups of brain in­juries,” said Dr Manevitz. Is­raeli and Amer­i­can sci­en­tists have suc­ceeded in de­sign­ing ar­ti­fi­cial enzymes that can “evolve”.

Doc­tors Orly Dym and Shira Al­beck of the Weiz­mann In­sti­tute’s struc­tural bi­ol­ogy de­part­ment and Pro­fes­sor David Baker of the Univer­sity of Wash­ing­ton, Seat­tle, suc­ceeded in cre­at­ing an en­zyme (bi­o­log­i­cal cat­a­lyst ) that could re­move a pro­ton from car­bon.

Then Pro­fes­sor Dan Taw­fik and re­search stu­dent Olga Kher­son­sky of the In­sti­tute’s bi­o­log­i­cal chem­istry de­part­ment dras­ti­cally im­proved the syn­thetic en­zyme’s ef­fi­ciency. They mim­icked nat­u­ral evo­lu­tion by re­peat­ing rounds of ran­dom mu­ta­tions, scan­ning the mu­tant enzymes One more thing to keep you awake at night. At any mo­ment, we could all get swal­lowed up by an al­ter­na­tive “bub­ble” uni­verse. Ed­uardo Guen­del­man at Ben-Gu­rion Univer­sity in Beer­sheva

Ya­m­a­gata Uni-

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