A tech war has raged in China, and a winner seems ready to emerge. It’s Tencent—a controversial, $139 billion company with nearly a billion users, which functions like Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, and Uber all rolled into one. Now it’s gunning for global expansion.
When I’m not calling patients with the results of MRIs, I’m usually calling them to tell them their Vitamin D level is too low. And I feel their pain, my level was a whopping 9 when I was diagnosed! Most patients know that they have had a Vitamin D deficiency at some time or another, but they usually don’t know why their doctors care so much about it. So I thought today we could dive deeper into the Who, What, Where, When, and Why of Vitamin D deficiencies.
Does this bedroom look like a dream come true or a saccharine nightmare? Either way it’s complete kawaii overload. A bright and disorienting “swarm of neon-colored cuteness.” Entitled Colorful Rebellion — Seventh Nightmare, the room is an immersive installation created by Japanese artist Sebastian Masuda.
"This installation, which filled the Kianga Ellis Projects in Chelsea, New York earlier this year, features a room bursting with manufactured objects of cuteness, including bundles of fake fur, stuffed animals, plastic jewelry, girl’s hair accessories, dollhouses, and other colorful toys that completely cover the walls and ceiling of the room. In the middle of the room is a bed, which visitors could lay upon and gaze up at the explosion of “Harajuku kawaii” closing in on them from every direction.”
Harajuku is an area in Japan known as a hub for Japanese youth culture and fashion. Fans of Japanese street fashion gather to show off all sorts of distinctive and outrageous styles. Masuda recognizes that this is sometimes much more than a flamboyant hobby. It’s often a vital coping mechanism for youth in Japan.
"One must understand that in Japan, therapy and psychological outlets are not as acceptable as they are in the United States," Masuda explains in his artist statement. "The majority of the time, these girls do not fit in with their classmates and community. Harajuku is not only a place where they can be different without consequence, it is also a place that provides fashion alternatives for girls to express dark emotions in flamboyant, alternative styles."
In addition to being an artist, Masuda owns a Japanese boutique called 6%DOKIDOKI and has been very influential in popularizing kawaii culture, both within Japan and around the world.
17-Year-Old Creates a 3D-Printed Robotic Prosthetic Arm for $250
Combining a Nintendo Power Glove with 3D-printed parts, 17-year-old Easton LaChappelle has designed an incredible robotic prosthetic arm. Made from LEGO bricks, fishing wire, and surgical tubing, LaChapelle’s robotic arm earned him 3rd place in the Colorado Science Fair of 2011 – which inspired him to go even further with the 3D-printed design.
At the Science Fair, LaChapelle encountered an entrant who wore an $80,000 prosthetic arm that would need replacing as she grew. Inspired and intrigued, he decided to take his homemade robotic arm, which could only grip a soda can, to the next level. His new goal was to create a high-tech prosthetic arm that was not only highly functional, but also affordable.
Bad news: A major vulnerability has been disclosed for the technology that powers encryption across the majority of the internet. That includes Tumblr. Our team took immediate action to fix the issue, but you should still take some time to change your password, not only here but on any other sites you visit.
You should also strongly consider enabling two-factor authentication. It’ll go a long way to ensure that no one besides you can access your account. Thanks, and take care.
MYTH: Once your brain cells die, they can’t grow back. The brain does not change.
This follows the myth that you are born with all the neurons you’ll ever have. In fact, some neurons do regenerate and/or change. If they couldn’t, you’d have lost your sense of smell years ago! Not to mention, you’d never be able to form new memories or learn new things.
In the neuroscience community, we often discuss this with terms like “neurogenesis” and brain “plasticity.” Meaning that new neurons can grow (neurogenesis) and can change (plasticity) with time. Adult neurogenesis in mammals appears to occur in the olfactory bulb (these neurons have frequent turnover, due to their exposure and death) and the hippocampus- the part of the brain that creates memories (more info here). There is evidence that it may happen elsewhere in the brain too (for instance, this paper in Cell showed that it happens to interneurons in striatum).
However, unfortunately, some nerves can’t repair themselves or regrow once damaged in adulthood (like those in the spinal column). Not all neurons are like this, and sometimes they can repair themselves with partial damage but not when completely damaged, as comes into play with paralysis and Alzheimer’s disease. The field is still learning about these and which factors make them irreparable or irreplaceable. Maybe one day we’ll be able to fix all neural damage (people are investigating how to do this now! We’re not close to a cure, but others are beginning to understand this better).
For now, it’s important to know that this absolute statement is a myth, and some neurons do regrow- and our brain is changing all the time, as we learn new things and experience new memories.
Focus Shifts to Gray Matter in Search for the Cause of Multiple Sclerosis
Most researchers have suspected MS is a disease of the brain’s white matter. A new study suggests the debilitating disorder originates in gray matter, and raises hopes for faster diagnoses
It has taken a century so far for scientists to not figure out the cause of multiple sclerosis (MS). The inflammatory disease, which affects more than 2.1 million people worldwide, has been blamed on toxins, viruses and even food. Most recently, scientists have placed their bets on two major ideas: The first (and far more popular) hypothesis suggests MS begins in white matter, which influences how parts of the brain work together. White matter consists of bundles of axons covered in myelin, a white insulating fatty layer. In people with MS myelin degrades and nerve fibers are left exposed, causing problems in motor coordination and loss of senses.