Israeli scientists have used nanotechnology to make internal structural changes
in epoxy glue, creating a product with twice the power of conventional
adhesives. The special glue is not for producing stickier envelopes or putting
parts of furniture together but for applications in the aerospace
The researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science in
Rehovot and Schenkar Engineering added tiny particles of the chemical compound
tungsten sulfide (with the formula WS2), which occurs naturally as a rare
mineral called tungstenite. Nano-size refers to substances one-billionth of a
meter, thus the mineral in the glue is much, much smaller than conventional
particles. The tungstenite was added at a concentration of half a percent to
conventional glue, thus doubling the strength. This compound, they said, has
brought about a “revolution” in the adhesive industry.
has been used so far for the chemical storage of hydrogen and the metal lithium,
material for solid-state secondary lithium battery cathodes, a component of
batteries and other electrochemical devices; a dry lubricant and as catalyst in
hydrodesulfurization of crude oil.
The team, including Prof. Reshef
Tenne, research student Mark Schneider, Prof. Hanna Dudayok and Prof. Shmuel
Koenig, predict that the nano-glue will be useful to aviation and space
engineers in the development of new vehicles in the atmosphere and beyond. It
can also be of use to engineers in a variety of other industries, they
said.Like Glue for the Brain
The brain’s glia cells, named for the Greek
word for glue, hold the neurons together and protect the cells that create
thoughts and behaviors, but scientists have long puzzled over their prominence
in the activities of the brain dedicated to learning and memory. Now Tel Aviv
University researchers say that glia cells are central to the brain’s plasticity
– how the brain adapts, learns and stores information.
doctoral student Maurizio De Pitta of TAU’s schools of physics and astronomy and
electrical engineering, glia cells do much more than hold the brain together. A
mechanism within the glia cells also sorts information for learning purposes, De
“Glia cells are like the brain’s supervisors. By regulating
the synapses, they control the transfer of information between neurons,
affecting how the brain processes information and learns,” he says.
research, supervised led by Prof. Eshel Ben- Jacob and Vladislav Volman of the
Salk Institute and the University of California at San Diego and Hugues Berry of
the University of Lyon in France, has developed the first computer model that
incorporates the influence of glia cells on synaptic information
Detailed in the journal PLoS Computational Biology, the model
can also be implemented in technologies based on brain networks such as
microchips and computer software, Ben-Jacob says, and aid in research on brain
disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and epilepsy.
The brain is
constituted of two main types of cells – neurons and glia. Neurons fire off
signals that dictate how we think and behave, using synapses to pass along the
message from one neuron to another. Scientists suggest that memory and learning
are dictated by synaptic activity because they have the ability to adapt to
But Ben-Jacob and colleagues suspected that glia cells
were even more central to how the brain works.
Glia cells are abundant in
the brain’s hippocampus and the cortex, the two parts of the brain that have the
most control over the brain’s ability to process information, learn and
memorize. In fact, for every neuron, there are two to five glia cells. Taking
into account previous experimental data, the researchers were able to build a
model that could resolve the puzzle.
The brain is like a social network,
says Ben-Jacob. Messages may originate with the neurons, which use the
synapses as their delivery system, but the glia serve as an overall moderator,
regulating which messages are sent on and when. These cells can either prompt
the transfer of information or slow activity if the synapses become overactive.
Thus, the glia cells are the guardians of our learning and memory
The team’s findings may have important implications for a
number of brain disorders, as almost all neurodegenerative diseases are
glia-related pathologies, says Ben-Jacob. In epileptic seizures, for example,
the neurons’ activity at one brain location propagates and overtakes the normal
activity at others.
This can happen when glia fail to properly regulate
synaptic transmission. Alternatively, when brain activity is low, glia cells
boost transmissions of information, keeping the connections between neurons
De Pitta says the model will provide a new tool to begin
revising computational neuroscience theories and lead to more realistic
brain-inspired algorithms and microchips, which are designed to mimic neuronal
networks.Electronic Book of Lifesaving
Magen David Adom has produced its
first electronic book (eBook) to help train hundreds of thousands of medics,
paramedics and first-aid givers around the country and the world (those who know
Hebrew, at least). They can download to their own computers guides for
resuscitation, delivering a baby, treating victims of physical trauma and more.
Senior experts in the training department of the first aid, ambulance and
blood-supply service – Natan Kudinsky, Itamar Avramovich and Eli Yaffe –
prepared the volume. The material can be viewed by anyone at www.mdais.org/Book
and on MDA’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mdaisrael.
contains over 250 pages of the most updated material in emergency medicine. The
proper use of resuscitation equipment, the order of actions during
cardiopulmonary resuscitation and proper bandaging procedures are among the
MDA says it continues to prepare additional eBooks
that would make such lifesaving data completely accessible. Obviously, it is
very important that professional rescuers undergo hands-on training to on
lifesaving and not use the electronic textbook alone.
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