Could studying the universe DESTROY it? Changing our perception of the cosmos could end it if quantum theories are correct

  • This is based on strange way quantum states are affected when observed
  • In Schrödinger’s cat experiment, a cat in a box, whose fate is decided by subatomic particles, is both alive and dead until someone looks at it
  • According to two U.S. scientists, the same thing could happen to the universe, causing an irreversible shift in the universe’s energy
  • Some scientists think universe is overdue for a quantum energy change
  • If shift occurs, it won’t exceed the speed of light, so we’ll see it coming

By Ellie Zolfagharifard

UPDATED:          08:59 EST, 5 February 2014

Knowledge is power – or at least that’s what we’ve been led to believe.

But knowing too much could accidentally trigger a countdown to Armageddon, according to a two U.S. physicists.

The scientific theory suggests we may have nudged the universe closer to its death just by looking at it.

U.S. researchers argue that continuous observation of the universe might put it into a state that will destroy us

U.S. researchers argue that continuous observation of the universe might put it into a state that will destroy us Continue reading “Could studying the universe DESTROY it? Changing our perception of the cosmos could end it if quantum theories are correct”

Study finds dramatic increase in hospitalization of US children with inflammatory bowel disease

Contact: Alicia Reale alicia.reale@uhhospitals.org 216-844-5158 University Hospitals Case Medical Center

Researchers from UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital report reasons behind the increase are unclear

The largest investigation to date has found a dramatic increase in the number of hospitalizations for children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) during the past decade in the United States.

The new study, published online and scheduled for the August 2013 print issue of the Journal of Investigative Medicine, found a 65 percent increase in IBD hospital discharges from 2000 to 2009. The number increased from 11,928 discharges in 2000 to 19,568 discharges in 2009.

IBD refers to a group of inflammatory conditions of the colon and small intestine. The major types of IBD are Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). When looking at these two types of IBD individually, the authors found a 59 percent increase in CD discharges and a 71 percent increase UC discharges.

The study looked at more than 11 million hospitalization records of patients 20 years old and younger using a federal children’s inpatient database.  For the decade, they identified more than 61,000 pediatric discharges with an IBD diagnosis.

According to the study’s principal investigator, Thomas J. Sferra, MD, Division Chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, this increasing trend was present in each age category and across all geographic regions (Northeast, Midwest, South and West).

“The reason for this large increase in hospitalizations of children with IBD is not clear,” said Dr. Sferra. “We also found an increase in IBD-related complications and co-existing conditions which suggest an increase in the severity of this disease has contributed to a greater need for hospitalization. However, we will need to perform more research to determine whether patients were admitted to the hospital due to IBD or for an unrelated medical condition. Also, while we’re seeing more kids being discharged with IBD, we cannot with certainty say that the incidence and prevalence of childhood IBD has increased in U.S.”

The trend found by this nationwide study reflects what appears to be a phenomenon that has been reported for specific regions within the US and for other countries — Canada, Scotland, and Finland.

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Other authors of this study are with the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Cleveland Clinic.

No support or grant was received for this study.

The complete study can be found online: http://journals.lww.com/jinvestigativemed/Abstract/publishahead/Trends_in_Hospitalizations_of_Children_With.99687.aspx

About University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital

Located on the campus of University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital is a 244-bed, full-service children’s hospital and academic medical center dedicated to the healthcare needs of children. A trusted leader in children’s healthcare for more than 125 years, UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital consistently ranks among the top children’s hospitals in the nation. As the region’s premier resource for pediatric referrals, UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital’s dedicated team of more than 1,300 pediatric specialists uses the most advanced treatments and latest innovations to deliver the complete range of pediatric specialty services for more than 700,000 patient encounters each year. Learn more at RainbowBabies.org.

Among the nation’s leading academic medical centers, UH Case Medical Center is the primary affiliate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, a nationally recognized leader in medical research and education

Slices of brain tissue can store patterns of activity for short periods of time: scientists

By Mo Costandi, The Guardian Sunday, September 16, 2012 5:44 EDT

Laboratory pipette with drop of red liquid over Petri dishes via Shutterstock

It sounds like the plot of a science fiction film, or like something from a transhumanist fantasy: researchers from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, report that they can induce memory-like patterns of activity in slices of brain tissue, and that the slices can store these activity patterns for short periods of time.

The brain can encode information about the outside world and retrieve it later on, and the mechanisms underlying this ability are of great interest to neuroscientists. The general consensus among researchers is that memories are formed by the strengthening of connections within networks of nerve cells, and recalled by reactivation of the electrical signals generated by these networks. The new work, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, contributes to our understanding of these processes.

Robert Hyde and Ben Strowbridge dissected horizontal slices of brain tissue from the hippocampus of rats, placed them into Petri dishes, and used electrodes to manipulate and measure the activity of individual neurons in the slices. The hippocampus is well known to be critical for long-term memory formation and, together with the prefrontal cortex, also plays an important role in working memory, which stores information for short periods of time so that it can be used to perform the task at hand.

In the 1940s, Donald Hebb proposed that working memories are maintained by reverberating patterns of neuronal activity, and subsequent research suggests that this is the case. For example, training monkeys to remember visual information and respond to it after a short delay increases the activity of neurons in the prefrontal cortex. This activity persists until the animal has executed its response and, crucially, is weaker in the seconds preceding an incorrect response than a correct one, indicating that it is associated with the working memory of the stimulus.

In the new study, Hyde and Strowbridge inserted electrodes into four individual neurons at one end the hippocampal slices, so that each cell could be stimulated independently. They then used the electrodes to stimulate each cell on its, or all of them, one after the other, in different sequences. These ‘inputs’ generated activity patterns that reverberated within the neuronal networks. At the same time, they measured the ‘output’ of the networks, using more electrodes to record the activity of three neurons at the other end of the slices.

The researchers found that each type of input produced a unique output. When stimulated alone, each input neuron produced an output that differed from that of the others. Similarly, when the neurons were stimulated one after the other, each sequence produced a distinct output. Each input consistently produced the same output, and the outputs accurately predicted not only individual inputs, but also the sequences of inputs.

They also found that the activity patterns generated by each input reverberated within the slices for periods of up to 15 seconds – the accuracy of their predictions remained high within this time window, but rapidly decreased thereafter.

This shows that networks of neurons in the hippocampus encode different types of information as distinct patterns of activity. These activity patterns persisted for seconds, and resembled those associated with working memory storage in the monkey experiments. The activity also encoded contextual information – during the experiments involving sequences of inputs, each input in a given sequence triggered a pattern that depended upon the input that came before it, and which differed from the pattern triggered by that input on its own.

This does not mean that the researchers have “invented a method to create new memories in brains.” The activity patterns generated by the inputs looked something like those observed in prefrontal cortex neurons while monkeys perform working memory tasks, but they are not memories as such. The information that they stored is essentially meaningless, and it’s not clear how similar the patterns are to those evoked by real stimuli, if at all.

What’s more, the study tells us very little about what happens between the input and output stages, or how the neuronal networks encode the information. In the future, automated methods of stimulating and recording from multiple neurons, such as those being developed by Ed Boyden and his colleagues, will probably be very useful in helping researchers to unravel these cellular mechanisms even further.

Reference:

Hyde, R. A. & Strowbridge, B. W. (2012). Mnemonic representations of transient stimuli and temporal sequences in the rodent hippocampus in vitro. Nat. Neurosci. DOI: 10.1038/nn.3208

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/09/16/slices-of-brain-tissue-can-store-patterns-of-activity-for-short-periods-of-time-scientists/