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Knowledge Update

Introduction & Purpose
Knowledge update and Industry update at Skyline University College (SUC) is an online platform for communicating knowledge with SUC stakeholders, industry, and the outside world about the current trends of business development, technology, and social changes. The platform helps in branding SUC as a leading institution of updated knowledge base and in encouraging faculties, students, and others to create and contribute under different streams of domain and application. The platform also acts as a catalyst for learning and sharing knowledge in various areas.

Google Glass delivers key results for 'organs-on-chips' technology

New York, March 21 (IANS) Using the eye wearable device Google Glass, researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) in Massachusetts, US, have collected promising results as part of technology known as "organs-on-chips".

Nepal, China sign first ever transit treaty

Kathmandu, March 21 (IANS) Nepal and China have signed 10 Memorandums of Understanding (MoU), including the transit and trasportation treaty, and exchanged letters on various areas of cooperation during Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli's ongoing visit to the country.

What the future looks like as Twitter turns 10

New York, March 20 (IANS) Micro blogging website Twitter is set to mark its 10th anniversary on Monday. It's time to look back at important milestones achieved and what the future may look like for the platform, which has been documenting the world in 140 characters.

Jack Ma, Zuckerberg hold talks on innovation

​Beijing, March 19 (IANS) Alibaba Group Holdings's Executive Chairman Jack Ma discussed with Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg about innovation at the China Development Forum held in Beijing on Saturday.

We actively forget to make space for new memories

London, March 20 (IANS) They say that once you have learned to ride a bicycle, you never forget how to do it. But discovery of a new brain mechanism suggests that while learning, the brain also actively tries to forget apparently to make space for new memories to form.

"This is the first time that a pathway in the brain has been linked to forgetting, to actively erasing memories," said one of the researchers Cornelius Gross from European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL).

"One explanation for this is that there is limited space in the brain, so when you are learning, you have to weaken some connections to make room for others," Gross said.

"To learn new things, you have to forget things you have learned before," Gross explained.

The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.

At the simplest level, learning involves making associations, and remembering them. Working with genetically engineered mice, Gross and colleagues studied the hippocampus, a region of the brain that is long been known to help form memories.

Information enters this part of the brain through three different routes. As memories are cemented, connections between neurons along the 'main' route become stronger.

When the scientists blocked this main route, the connections along it were weakened, meaning the memory was being erased.

Interestingly, this active push for forgetting only happens in learning situations. When the scientists blocked the main route into the hippocampus under other circumstances, the strength of its connections remained unaltered.​

Chinese online psychological test as good as traditional one

New York, March 20 (IANS) Scientists have found the internet-based Chinese language version of the Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale (IUS), which is used to evaluate a person's fear of the unknown, is as good as the traditional paper-and-pencil test.

A team of researchers from Beijing Forestry University, the Hong Kong Institute of Education and Beijing Normal University checked the validity of the internet-based Chinese IUS and concluded that it is "excellent within-test consistency and re-test reliability".

Their analysis, described in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behaviour, and Social Networking, said the online test is appropriate for use, and is comparable to the paper-and-pencil version in terms of the psychological and personality-related traits it reveals. 

The tests are useful in assessing psychological factors that may be predictive of anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and a range of other negative coping strategies. ​

New technique allows viewing of cells and tissues under skin

New York, March 20 (IANS) A team of US researchers has developed a new imaging technique for viewing cells and tissues in three dimensions under the skin, which may one day allow doctors to evaluate how cancer cells are responding to treatment.

The technique, called MOZART, was developed by researchers at the Stanford University in California, which shows intricate real-time details in three dimensions of the lymph and blood vessels in a living animal. 

"We've been trying to look into the living body and see information at the level of the single cell," said Adam de la Zerda, assistant professor at Stanford and senior author of the study. "Until now there has been no way do that," he added.

The research, according to the university, could one day allow scientists to detect tumours in the skin, colon or esophagus, or even to see the abnormal blood vessels that appear in the earliest stages of macular degeneration - a leading cause of blindness.

A technique exists for peeking into a live tissue several millimetres under the skin, revealing a landscape of cells, tissues and vessels. But that technique, called optical coherence tomography (OCT), isn't sensitive or specific enough to see the individual cells or the molecules that the cells are producing.

The new technique, tested in a living mouse, uses tiny particles called gold nanorods and sensitive algorithms to detect specific structures in three-dimensional images of living tissues.

It may allow doctors to monitor how an otherwise invisible tumour under the skin is responding to treatment, or to understand how individual cells break free from a tumour and travel to distant sites.​

Learning difficult task can topple brain barriers

London, March 20 (IANS) If an individual has the determination, nothing can stop her or him from achieving the goal, suggests a study.

The study, which showed that a sighted, adult brain is able to recruit when it is sufficiently challenged pointed out that learning a complex task over a long period can challenge the brain and break the barriers that were long thought to be fixed.

"We are all capable of re-tuning our brains if we're prepared to put the work in," said lead author Marcin Szwed from the Jagiellonian University in Poland.

The results revealed that we could supercharge the brain to be more flexible as the brain overcomes the normal division of labour and establishes new connections to boost its power.

"Our findings show that we can establish new connections if we undertake a complex enough task and are given long enough to learn it," Szwed maintained.

The findings, to be published in the journal eLife, could have implications for our power to bend different sections of the brain to our will by learning other demanding skills, such as playing a musical instrument or learning to drive.

Over a period of nine months, 29 volunteers were taught to read Braille while blindfolded.

They achieved reading speeds of up to 17 words per minute.

Before and after the course, they took part in a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) experiment to test the impact of their learning on regions of the brain.

The findings call for a reassessment of our view of the functional organisation of the human brain, which is more flexible than the brains of other primates, the researchers asserted.​

Weak gut may trigger Type 2 diabetes, obesity

New York, March 21 (IANS) A weak ecosystem of bacteria in human gut due to a poor dietary diversity is likely to trigger diseases like Type 2 diabetes and obesity, finds new research, suggesting people to eat a balanced, diversed diet.

Changes in farming practices over the last 50 years have resulted in decreased agricultural diversity, which in turn has resulted in decreased dietary diversity.

The findings, published in the journal Molecular Metabolism, revealed that the reduction has changed the richness of the human gut microbiota and the community of microorganisms living in the gut.

"Healthy individuals posses a diverse gut microbiota but a reduced microbiotic richness gives rise to Type 2 diabetes, obesity and inflammatory bowel disease," said the team from Pennington Biomedical Research Centre in US.

Gut microbiota function as an endocrine organ, metabolising specific nutrients from the diet and producing specific substances that act as metabolic signals in the host. 

Like all healthy ecosystems, richness of microbiota species characterises the gut microbiome in healthy individuals. Conversely, a loss in species diversity is a common finding in several disease states. 

This microbiome is flooded with energy in the form of undigested and partially digested foods, and in some cases drugs and dietary supplements. 

Each microbiotic species in the biome transforms that energy into new molecules, which may signal messages to physiological systems of the host. 

The more diverse the diet, the more diverse the microbiome and the more adaptable it will be to perturbations, the researchers noted.​

Bouncing back after rough patch may take time

New York, March 20 (IANS) Bouncing back when someone goes through a rough period in life -- say a divorce or losing a job, people can struggle considerably and take much longer time to recover back to previous levels of functioning, says a new study.

The new research finds that natural resilience may not be as common as once thought and that when confronted with a major life-altering event many people can struggle considerably and for longer periods of time."Give the person time to heal" has been the common mantra. This often meant that when these people struggled, they would be left to deal with their situation largely on their own.
"We show that contrary to an extensive body of research, when individuals are confronted with major life stressors, such as spousal loss, divorce or unemployment, they are likely to show substantial declines in well-being and these declines can linger for several years," said co-author of the new study Frank Infurna from Arizona State University in the US.

"Whereas when we test these assumptions more thoroughly, we find that most individuals are deeply affected and it can take several years for them to recover and get back to previous levels of functioning," Infurna added in the paper published in the journal of Perspectives on Psychological Science.

Most psychological studies have supported the idea of a person's innate resilience to the struggles of life.The new research questions prior claims that resilience is the "usual" response to major life stressors by looking at longitudinal data in a more nuanced way and making less generalisation about the human response to such dramatic events.he team used existing longitudinal data from Germany (the German socioeconomic panel study), which is an on going survey that began in 1984 and annually assesses participants over a wide range of measures.

The outcome that they focused on was life satisfaction, which assesses how satisfied individuals are with their lives, all things considered, as they pass through years of their lives.The previous research postulated that most people, anywhere from 50 to 70 percent, would show a trajectory characterised by no change.

"We found that it usually took people much longer, several years, to return to their previous levels of functioning," Infurna said.

A finding that means giving a person time alone to deal with the stressor might not be the best approach to getting them back to full functionality, Infurna said.

"It provides some evidence that if most people are affected then interventions certainly should be utilized in terms of helping these individuals in response to these events."​