Science Scanner: Heart of Space Telescope Survives Deep Freeze, Pain-Free Blood Tests and 3-D Videogames Trigger Player Anger

Posted October 22nd, 2014 at 7:13 pm (UTC-5)
1 comment

The view from inside NASA Goddard's Thermal Vacuum Chamber shows the space telescope's ISIM being lifted out by crane, after completing weeks of space environment testing. (NASA/Chris Gunn)

The view from inside NASA Goddard’s Thermal Vacuum Chamber shows the space telescope’s ISIM being lifted out by crane, after completing weeks of space environment testing. (NASA/Chris Gunn)

Key Space Telescope Component Passes Deep Freeze Test

Officials with the James Webb Space Telescope project at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland report success in a crucial test to see if a key component, which  they refer to as the ‘heart’ of the space telescope, can take the incredibly cold conditions of space.

Project team members placed the component, known at the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM), along with the very sensitive instruments it contains, inside a thermal vacuum chamber called the Space Environment Simulator (SES) for 116 days at a temperature of 40° Kelvin, which is -233.15° C. According to NASA, that’s 126.67° C colder than any place on the Earth’s surface.

Members of the Webb team refer to the ISIM as the space telescope’s heart because it houses the four key instruments that will detect light from celestial objects such as distant stars and galaxies, and planets.

Around the clock throughout the 116 day test period, technicians and engineers monitored the module and its instruments to make sure that all was working as it should in conditions that replicated the icy environment it will operate in following its planned 2018 launch.

 

Illustration depicting liposomal OTS964 entering cancer cells where it blocks the enzyme TOPK, preventing the final stage of cell division. (Jae-Hyun Park D.V.M., Ph.D., Research Associate/Assistant Professor, Section of Hematology/Oncology, The University of Chicago)

Illustration depicting liposomal OTS964 entering cancer cells where it blocks the enzyme TOPK, preventing the final stage of cell division. (Jae-Hyun Park D.V.M., Ph.D., Research Associate/Assistant Professor, Section of Hematology/Oncology, The University of Chicago)

New Cancer-Fighting Drug is Effective, Produces Fewer Side Effects

Researchers from the US and Japan, writing in the journal Science Translational Medicine, found that a newly developed drug known as OTS964 is able to destroy aggressive human lung cancers that had been transplanted into mice with fewer side effects than is experienced with other cancer treatments.

The researchers found that this new medication, which can be administered either as a pill or by injection, reduces the action of a protein called TOPK (T–lymphokine-activated killer cell – originated protein kinase), which tends to be overproduced by a wide range of human cancers, but is rarely expressed in healthy tissues.

Cancer cells that lack this protein aren’t able to complete the cell-division process and as a result, die.

The researchers found that when the drug was administered by pill, the test mice were able to tolerate it with only small degree of toxicity.  Given in an intravenous form, not only was the OTS964 as effective as in pill form, but the test mice experienced fewer side effects.

Both the pill and injection versions of the drug also led to a complete regression of the tumors transplanted into the mice.

The researchers hope to begin a phase-1 clinical trial as soon as the fall of 2015.

 

Young woman expresses her aversion to getting jabbed with a needle as a medical technician draws blood (Photo: US Navy)

Young woman expresses her aversion to getting jabbed with a needle as a medical technician draws blood (Photo: US Navy)

Australian Researchers Develop Less Painful Alternative to Blood Tests

Australian researchers writing in the American Chemical Society’s journal Analytical Chemistry said that they’ve developed a new and less painful method for drawing the blood needed for blood tests.

Rather than drawing blood with a syringe, the Aussie researchers are working on system uses small diagnostic skin patches.  One side of their skin patch is covered with a network of thousands of tiny, hollow needles that can retrieve fluids from skin tissue without the pain and difficulty of the standard blood drawing system.

While researchers have experimented with similar skin patch systems, those developed so far have only been able to test for one biomarker at a time.  For a more accurate and reliable diagnosis, multiple biomarkers are needed.

The Australian team optimized their skin patch so it captures two biomarkers for the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, which health officials say kills more than 1 million people every year.

To test the effectiveness of their system, the researchers first injected malaria proteins into the bloodstream of live mice and then applied their patch to their skin.  The researchers were able to successfully grab a sample of those injected proteins using their skin patch system.

 

Young woman playing 3D game 'Invincible Tiger' (Deadmanjones/Creative Commons via Flickr)

Young woman playing 3D game ‘Invincible Tiger’ (Deadmanjones/Creative Commons via Flickr)

Immersive 3-D Violent Video Games Increases Players Anger Levels

​Video game producers work continuously to make their games as lifelike as possible, so many have turned to 3-D gaming technology.

But according to a new study from Ohio State University, 3-D technology makes violent video games so realistic that they lead to high anger levels in players.

The researchers found that those who played violent 3-D games displayed more signs of anger than those who played the regular 2-D systems, even if they used large display screens.

Compared to 2-D game system players, the researchers found that those who played the video games on the 3-D systems felt more “immersed in the game”.

“3-D gaming increases anger because the players felt more immersed in the violence when they played violent games,” said study co-author Brad Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at The Ohio State University in a press release. “As the technology in video games improves, it has the ability to have stronger effects on players.”

Bushman said that combining violent game content with immersive technology like 3-D can be troublesome and that factor should be considered by those involved, from game creators to content rating agencies to consumers.

The Ohio State study has been accepted for publication in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture.

Rick Pantaleo
Rick Pantaleo maintains the Science World blog and writes stories for VOA’s web and radio on a variety of science, technology and health topics. He also occasionally appears on various VOA programs to talk about the latest scientific news. Rick joined VOA in 1992 after a 20 year career in commercial broadcasting.

One response to “Science Scanner: Heart of Space Telescope Survives Deep Freeze, Pain-Free Blood Tests and 3-D Videogames Trigger Player Anger”

  1. Mark says:

    Want to reduce the anger level in gamers…? Restrict the amount of time gamers spend playing these violent games, or, even better, don’t play these violent games. Whether its 2-D or 3-D technology, if a person immerses themselves so deeply into a game, then they need to better control themselves, including abstinence from playing those types of games.

    Adults need to better monitor what their children are doing, especially when playing video games, and older children (teens) need to exert more discipline and control in themselves (that their parents SHOULD have taught them to do), so their anger levels do not get out of hand. Sometimes, technology is not so good for mankind, after all.