Tag Archives: dan krotz

The Search for the Earliest Signs of Alzheimer’s

Berkeley Lab scientists help paint a more complicated picture of the devastating disease

For the past five years, volunteers from the City of Berkeley and surrounding areas have come to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to participate in an ongoing study that’s changing what scientists know about Alzheimer’s disease.

The volunteers, most over the age of 70, undergo what can best be described as a brain checkup. They’re asked to solve puzzles and memorize lists of words. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans image the structure of their brains in exquisite detail. Functional MRI scans allow scientists to watch portions of their brains light up as they form memories. And Positron emission tomography (PET) scans measure any accumulation of beta-amyloid, a destructive protein that’s a hallmark of Alzheimer’s. (more…)

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Berkeley Lab Scientists Generate Electricity From Viruses

New approach is a promising first step toward the development of tiny devices that harvest electrical energy from everyday tasks

Imagine charging your phone as you walk, thanks to a paper-thin generator embedded in the sole of your shoe. This futuristic scenario is now a little closer to reality. Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a way to generate power using harmless viruses that convert mechanical energy into electricity.

The scientists tested their approach by creating a generator that produces enough current to operate a small liquid-crystal display. It works by tapping a finger on a postage stamp-sized electrode coated with specially engineered viruses. The viruses convert the force of the tap into an electric charge. (more…)

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A Better Way to ID Extreme Weather Events in Climate Models

*Berkeley Lab scientists help automate the search for hurricanes and other storms in huge datasets*

You’d think that spotting a category 5 hurricane would never be difficult. But when the hurricane is in a global climate model that spans several decades, it becomes a fleeting wisp among mountains of data.

That’s a problem. As scientists develop ever-more sophisticated computer models to predict the effects of climate change, one of the things they’ll look for are changes in the frequency of extreme weather events such as hurricanes and heavy precipitation. The more data generated by models, however, the more difficult it is to quantify these rare but potent events. (more…)

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A Nanoscale Rope, and Another Step Toward Complex Nanomaterials That Assemble Themselves

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have coaxed polymers to braid themselves into wispy nanoscale ropes that approach the structural complexity of biological materials.

Their work is the latest development in the push to develop self-assembling nanoscale materials that mimic the intricacy and functionality of nature’s handiwork, but which are rugged enough to withstand harsh conditions such as heat and dryness. (more…)

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