News

How the brain loses and regains consciousness

Since the mid-1800s, doctors have used drugs to induce general anesthesia in patients undergoing surgery. Despite their widespread use, little is known about how these drugs create such a profound loss of consciousness. In a new study that tracked brain activity in human volunteers over a two-hour period as they…

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Some cancer mutations slow tumor growth

A typical cancer cell has thousands of mutations scattered throughout its genome and hundreds of mutated genes. However, only a handful of those genes, known as drivers, are responsible for cancerous traits such as uncontrolled growth. Cancer biologists have largely ignored the other mutations, believing they had little or no…

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Big medical data

With the recent launch of MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, MIT News examines research with the potential to reshape medicine and health care through new scientific knowledge, novel treatments and products, better management of medical data, and improvements in health-care delivery. At the end of 2012, the National Public…

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New material harvests energy from water vapor

MIT engineers have created a new polymer film that can generate electricity by drawing on a ubiquitous source: water vapor. The new material changes its shape after absorbing tiny amounts of evaporated water, allowing it to repeatedly curl up and down. Harnessing this continuous motion could drive robotic limbs or…

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