101. New Alopecia Treatment, New Way for Nuclear Fusion, Saving Dying Organs

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Summary: News: <p><a href="https://futurism.com/neoscope/alopecia-treatment-announced">Scientists Say New Treatment Lets Alopecia Patients Regrow Hair</a> | Futurism (01:14)</p> <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Scientists at Yale announced this week that a common arthritis medication (<a href="https://www.drugs.com/mtm/baricitinib.html">baricitinib</a>) appears to help alopecia patients regrow their hair.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;"> a potential treatment for a widespread autoimmune condition.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Baricitinib is used to reduce pain, stiffness, and swelling in adults with rheumatoid arthritis after other treatments have failed. <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Helps slow the progression of bone and joint damage.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">It is a Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor </li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;"> <a href="http://verywellhealth.com/jak-inhibitors-4706526">Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors</a> are a group of medications that inhibit activity and response of one or more of the Janus kinase enzymes (JAK1, JAK2, JAK3, and TYK2). <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">These enzymes normally promote inflammation and autoimmunity.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Alopecia is a common autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Affects people of all ages, although it most commonly appears in adolescence or early adulthood. </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Affects 1<a href="https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/alopecia-areata/#frequency"> in every 500 to 1,000 people</a> in the United States.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">There is currently no FDA-approved treatment for the disease.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Dr. Brett King, lead author on the study told <a href="https://news.yale.edu/2022/03/26/new-trials-alopecia-areata-treatment-are-success">Yale news</a>:<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">“This is so exciting, because the data clearly show how effective baricitinib is … These large, controlled trials tell us that we can alleviate some of the suffering from this awful disease.”</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">For the study, the researchers conducted two large, randomized trials involving a total of 1,200 people. <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">For 36 weeks, participants were given a daily dose of either 4 milligrams of baricitinib, 2 milligrams of baricitinib, or a placebo.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">One-third of the patients who received the larger dose grew hair back.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The researchers stated that baricitinib thwarts the disease by disrupting the communication of immune cells involved in harming hair follicles. </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Hopefully this medication will be proven to be safe &amp; effective and approved by regulators.</li> </ul> <p> </p> <p><a href="https://www.theverge.com/2022/3/30/23002082/waymo-driverless-san-francisco-downtown-phoenix?scrolla=5eb6d68b7fedc32c19ef33b4">Waymo says fully driverless rides are coming to San Francisco</a> | The Verge (06:47)</p> <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Waymo plans to start offering rides in its fully autonomous vehicles — without human safety drivers behind the wheel — in San Francisco.  <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">They join a waitlist and, once approved, sign non-disclosure agreements to get access to the company’s early technology.</li> </ul> <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">As of right now it is only available to employees but will soon grow to include members of the company’s “Trusted Tester” program.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The Trusted Tester program is for customers interested in using Waymo’s robotaxis. </li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The vehicles will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Waymo says.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Additionally, Waymo is making moves in Arizona.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Growing to include downtown Phoenix after operating exclusively in the exurban towns of Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, and Tempe for nearly five years.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Waymo has been running fully driverless rides without a safety driver in those towns outside of Phoenix for more than a year now. </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">They must be confident they have enough data to move forward with autonomous taxis.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Last year, the company logged the most miles driven autonomously of all the companies permitted to test in the state: 2.3 million miles, a huge increase over 2020, when it had about 629,000 miles driven, and even the pre-pandemic year of 2019, with 1.45 million.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The expansion of Waymo’s service area in Phoenix and the imminent launch of driverless rides in San Francisco signal the company’s sense of confidence that its vehicles can operate safely and efficiently in more dense, urban environments. </li> </ul> <p> </p> <p><a href="https://phys.org/news/2022-03-quantum-technology-electric-cars-fast.html?utm_source=tldrnewsletter">Quantum technology could make charging electric cars as fast as pumping gas</a> | Phys.org (12:10)</p> <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">For a long time, batteries had far lower energy density than those offered by hydrocarbons, which resulted in very low ranges of early electric vehicles.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Improvements in battery technologies eventually allowed the drive ranges of electric cars to be within acceptable levels</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">However, despite the vast improvements in battery technology, today's consumers of electric vehicles face another difficulty: slow battery charging speed.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Takes about 10 hours to fully recharge at home</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Even the fastest superchargers require up to 20 to 40 minutes to fully recharge</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">This creates additional costs and inconvenience to the customers.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">To address this problem, scientists looked for answers in the field of quantum physics.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Which led to a discovery that quantum technologies may promise new mechanisms to charge batteries at a faster rate.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;"> It was theorized that quantum resources, such as entanglement, can be used to vastly speed up the battery charging process by charging all cells within the battery simultaneously in a collective manner.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Conventional batteries collective charging is not possible, where the cells are charged in parallel independently of one another. </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">In this most recent study, researchers were able to precisely quantify how much charging speed can be achieved with this collective charging scheme vs parallel. <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">The charging speed increases linearly with the number of cells in classical batteries.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The study showed, however, that quantum batteries employing global operation can achieve quadratic scaling in charging speed.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">To illustrate this, consider a typical electric vehicle with a battery that contains about 200 cells. <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Charging time at home would be cut from 10 hours to about 3 minutes.</li> </ul> <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Quantum charging would lead to a 200 times speedup over classical batteries, </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">High-speed charging stations, the charge time would be cut from 30 minutes to mere seconds.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Of course, quantum technologies are still in their infancy and there is a long way to go before these methods can be implemented in practice.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">However, this study creates a promising direction and can incentivize the funding agencies and businesses to further invest in these technologies.</li> </ul> <p> </p> <p><a href="https://newatlas.com/energy/hb11-laser-fusion-demonstration/?utm_source=tldrnewsletter">HB11's hydrogen-boron laser fusion test yields groundbreaking results</a> | New Atlas (18:24)</p> <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Australian company HB11 is approaching nuclear fusion from an entirely new angle, using high power, high precision lasers instead of hundred-million-degree temperatures to start the reaction.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">The 1st demo ​​produced 10 times more fusion reactions than expected</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The company started tooting their own horn: “the only commercial entity to achieve fusion so far [making it] the global frontrunner in the race to commercialize the holy grail of clean energy."</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Just to summarize quickly what is required for fusion: <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Like throwing powerful magnets at each other in space</li> </ul> <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Most companies try to replicate this by magnetically confining hydrogen atoms in a plasma</li> </ul> <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">In order to smash atoms together hard enough to make them fuse together and form a new element, you need to overcome the incredibly strong repulsive forces that push two positively-charged nuclei apart. </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The Sun accomplishes this by having a huge amount of hydrogen atoms packed into a plasma that's superheated to tens of millions of degrees at its core.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">HB11 is using a different approach that doesn't require huge amounts of heat, or tricky, radioactive fuels like tritium.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Takes advantage of recent advances in ultra-high powered "chirped pulse amplification" lasers that can produce monstrous, unprecedented power levels over 10 petawatts.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">An HB11 reactor would be a mostly empty metal sphere, with a "modestly sized" boron fuel pellet held in the middle, and apertures in two spots on the sphere for a pair of lasers. <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">One laser, in combination with a capacitive coil, is used to establish a powerful kilotesla magnetic containment field for the plasma.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The second is used to massively accelerate hydrogen atoms through the boron sample.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The reactor is not heating things up in the hope that they'll smack together at speed.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">It is aiming the hydrogen right at the boron and using these bleeding-edge lasers to make it go so fast that it'll fuse if it hits a nucleus.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Hydrogen-boron fusion doesn't create heat, it merely creates "naked" positively charged helium atoms, or alpha particles</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">They collect that charge to create energy, rather than needing to superheat steam and drive turbines.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Initial experiments on laser-triggered chain reactions returned reaction rates a billion times higher than anticipated, and then seem pretty happy about it and a little cocky:<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">“This is many orders of magnitude higher than those reported by any other fusion company, most of which have not generated any reaction despite billions of dollars invested in the field. The results show great potential for clean energy generation: hydrogen-boron reactions use fuels that are safe and abundant, don’t create neutrons in the primary reaction so cause insignificant amounts of short-lived waste, and can provide large-scale power for base-load grid electricity or hydrogen generation."</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <p> </p> <p><a href="https://ethz.ch/en/news-and-events/eth-news/news/2022/03/a-new-dimension-in-transplantation.html">Mitochondrial transplants between living cells could save dying organs</a> | ETH News (23:53)</p> <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">In a technological breakthrough, researchers at ETH Zurich have announced the development of a new technique that can transplant mitochondria.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Mitochondria are the tiny powerhouses of the cell where the processes of cellular respiration take place</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">In their research, recently published in the journal PLOS Biology, the group successfully used a ‘nanosyringe’ they had previously developed to transplant mitochondria from one living cell to another.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">In more detail:<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">These cylindrical nanosyringes were specially developed for this study, the researchers pierced the cell membrane and sucked up the spherical mitochondria.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">They then pierced the membrane of a different cell and pumped the mitochondria back out of the nanosyringe into the recipient cell.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The position of the nanosyringe is controlled by laser light from a converted atomic force microscope.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">A pressure regulator adjusts the flow, allowing scientists to transfer incredibly small volumes of fluid in the femtoliter range (millionths of a millionth of a milliliter) during organelle transplants</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The transplanted mitochondria have a high survival rate – more than 80 percent. <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">The injected mitochondria begin to fuse with the filamentous network of the new cell 20 minutes after transplantation.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The technique could be deployed as a way of treating diseased organs, but may also find use in the realm of anti-aging, rejuvenating stem cells that deteriorate in metabolic activity as we grow older.</li> </ul> <p> </p>