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Electrical engineers have used an ordinary digital camera to reconstruct the image on a computer screen using just its reflection on a wall. The technique is entirely based on an algorithm and requires no special equipment. “Admittedly, it has some fun ‘gee-whiz’ applications, and it probably has some creepy applications, too,” says electrical engineer Vivek Goyal.
Japan has become the first country to conditionally approve a stem-cell treatment for spinal-cord injuries. But critics are worried, because the approval was based solely on a small clinical trial that was not double-blinded. The as-yet-unpublished trial found that 12 out of 13 people with recent spinal-cord injuries saw some improvement 6 months after receiving infusions of stem cells extracted from their own bone marrow.
In 2017, funding for ‘neglected’ diseases that predominantly affect people living in poverty hit a ten-year high. “The amount of progress made in a short period of time after the Ebola outbreak might have brought in optimism about what is possible,” says health-policy specialist Anna Doubell. Still, the US$3.6-billion peak falls short of the estimated $8 billion per year needed to break the backs of diseases such as sleeping sickness, river blindness and cholera.
Clark County, Washington, has declared a public-health emergency in response to an escalating measles outbreak, mostly among unvaccinated children. The area has a particularly high rate of children who are not immunized for personal or religious reasons. “What keeps me up at night is we have a treatment or prevention vaccine that is 97 percent effective, is completely and utterly safe and is cheap and we shouldn't be seeing cases of measles given that,” says Alan Melnick, the Clark County public-health director.
The number of postgraduate researchers at UK universities who come from other European Union countries has fallen since the Brexit referendum in June 2016, reversing years of growth since 2008.
FEATURES & OPINION
A big success that came out of the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa was the approval of 14 new diagnostic tests. Health researcher Lieselotte Cnops and colleagues developed one of them. But that test, along with many others, is no longer available from the manufacturers, thanks to high costs and low financial returns. Cnops and colleagues argue for sustained efforts to ensure that investments made during one outbreak are not wasted.
A stunning, provocative new book on the planet’s role in our biological and cultural development recalls Jared Diamond’s classic 1997 book Guns, Germs, and Steel, says reviewer Kevin Padian. From shifting tectonic plates to tilting planetary orbits, Origins: How The Earth Made Us reminds us of the impact and value of the planetary sciences.
Searching for Planet Nine is like looking for a needle in a haystack “with the lights off and a bunch of fog and your calculations tell you that there should be one more needle in this room somewhere”, says astrophysicist Konstantin Batygin. Settle in for a long night of observing with Batygin and astronomer Mike Brown at the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii, and discover how the joy of discovery keeps them going.
Learning why bar charts rule and pie charts drool is so yesterday. Today, I’m all about scrapping bar charts altogether (for continuous data), thanks to vascular physiologist Tracey Weissgerber. Send me your favourite chart type — or any other feedback — to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading!