- Ned Hayes Notes -
Posted 5 months ago

I’m writing a novel that really focuses on TREES, and I found this hilarious! 

(Source: theneverendingballoon)

Posted 6 months ago

Ancient Virus DNA Gives Stem Cells the Power to Transform

A virus that invaded the genomes of humanity’s ancestors millions of years ago now plays a critical role in the embryonic stem cells from which all cells in the human body derive.

Ancient Virus DNA Gives Stem Cells the Power to Transform was originally published on Ned Hayes - Notes

Posted 6 months ago


Ancient Virus DNA Gives Stem Cells the Power to Transform

A virus that invaded the genomes of humanity’s ancestors millions of years ago now plays a critical role in the embryonic stem cells from which all cells in the human body derive, new research shows.

The discovery sheds light on the role viruses play in human evolution and could help scientists better understand how to use stem cells in advanced therapies or even how to convert normal cells into stem cells.

Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent, meaning they are capable of becoming any other kind of cell in the body. Scientists around the world hope to use this capability to help patients recover from injury and disease.

Researchers have struggled for decades to figure out how pluripotency works. These new findings reveal that “material from viruses is vital in making human embryonic stem cells what they are,” said computational biologist Guillaume Bourque at McGill University in Montreal, a co-author of the study published online March 30 in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.

Image: Human embryonic stem cells display as blue and green patchwork under a fluorescent microscope.

Source: National Geographic

Posted 7 months ago


Get the picture? New high-​​res images show brain activity like never before

In the middle of the human brain there is a tiny struc­ture shaped like an elon­gated donut that plays a cru­cial role in man­aging how the body func­tions. Mea­suring just 10 mil­lime­ters in length and six mil­lime­ters in diam­eter, the hollow struc­ture is involved in a com­plex array of behav­ioral, cog­ni­tive, and affec­tive phe­nomena, such as the fight or flight response, pain reg­u­la­tion, and even sexual activity, according to North­eastern senior research sci­en­tist Ajay Satpute.

With a name longer than the struc­ture itself, the “mid­brain peri­aque­ductal gray region,” or PAG, is extra­or­di­narily dif­fi­cult to inves­ti­gate in humans because of its size and intri­cate struc­ture, he said.

In research pub­lished online this week in the journal Pro­ceed­ings of the National Academy of Sci­ence, Sat­pute and his col­leagues at Northeastern’s Inter­dis­ci­pli­nary Affec­tive Sci­ence Lab­o­ra­tory explain how they hur­dled these chal­lenges by using  state-​​of-​​the art imaging to cap­ture this com­plex neural activity. The research could ulti­mately help sci­en­tists explore the grounds of human emo­tion like never before.

The PAG’s func­tional prop­er­ties occur at such small spa­tial scales that we need to cap­ture its activity at very high res­o­lu­tion in order to under­stand it,” he explained.

Until recently, neu­roimaging studies have been car­ried out on func­tional mag­netic res­o­nance imaging, or fMRI, instru­ments con­taining mag­nets of up to three Teslas, a mea­sure of mag­netic field strength. These instru­ments pro­vide crit­ical data for under­standing how the brain’s dif­ferent areas respond to dif­ferent stimuli, but when those areas become suf­fi­ciently small and com­pli­cated, their res­o­lu­tion falls short.

In the case of the tiny PAG, this problem is para­mount because the PAG wraps around a hollow core, or “aque­duct,” con­taining cere­brospinal fluid, Sat­pute said. Tra­di­tional fMRI instru­ments cannot dis­tin­guish neural activity occur­ring in the PAG from that occur­ring in the CS fluid. Even more dif­fi­cult is iden­ti­fying where within the PAG itself spe­cific responses originate.

In col­lab­o­ra­tion with researchers at the Mass­a­chu­setts Gen­eral Hos­pital in Boston, Sat­pute and his col­leagues used a high-​​tech fMRI instru­ment that con­tains a seven-​​Tesla magnet. The force of the instru­ment is so strong (albeit harm­less) that one can feel its pull when simply walking by. Cou­pled with painstaking manual data analyses, Sat­pute was able to resolve activity in sub-​​regions of the PAG with more pre­ci­sion than ever before.

With their method in hand, the research team showed 11 human research sub­jects images of burn vic­tims, gory injuries, and other con­tent related to threat, harm, and loss while keeping tabs on the PAG’s activity. Researchers also showed the sub­jects neu­tral images such and then com­pared results between the two scenarios.

The proof-​​of-​​concept study showed emotion-​​related activity con­cen­trated in par­tic­ular areas of the PAG. While sim­ilar results have been demon­strated in animal models, nothing like it had pre­vi­ously been shown in human brains.

Using this method­ology, the researchers said they would not only gain a better under­standing of the PAG but also be able to inves­ti­gate a range of brain-​​related research ques­tions beyond this par­tic­ular structure.

Seven-​​Tesla brain imaging pro­vides an unprece­dented view of regions like the PAG while they respond to stimuli, said Lisa Feldman Bar­rett, director of the Inter­dis­ci­pli­nary Affec­tive Sci­ence Lab­o­ra­tory. “Studies like this are a crit­ical step for­ward in bridging human and non­human animal studies of emo­tion, because they offer a level of res­o­lu­tion in human brains that was pre­vi­ously pos­sible only in studies of non-​​human animal,” she said.

Posted 7 months ago

I was at Charles Wright school this week. For those friends who worked with me at Kiha / ARO, you will remember Aaron Reynolds (our first architect — famous for this incident in Windows history).

I was saddened and also very happy to see his legacy live on in the technology suite at his alma mater (Charles Wright) — with Paul Allen, Dwight Krossa, Jon LazarusMike PerkowitzKevin EusticePeter Schwab and Phil Rogan.

Posted 7 months ago


So I’m featured on this FREE webcast thing about “Making Things Up” and “Pretending” (also known as Writing Books) on TUESDAY MARCH 4 — you should join me!

You can go behind the scenes with historical fiction, and learn how I write in a totally different voice (and we’ll talk about some other writers you admire and how they do it too!)

Here’s the schedule — for West Coast people, it starts at 5 pm.

Right after work!  


Posted 7 months ago

Boxless Media: Virtual Offices: Does Your Business Really Need an Office?


Boxless Media Blog - Forbes Logo

Forbes.com just released a great article about whether or not it is important for a (small) business to maintain an office. As a small business owner, I have struggled with this question for many years. As the owner of two small businesses, I think the answer depends on the type of…

Posted 8 months ago

5 Digital Publishing Trends to Watch

Posted 8 months ago
Posted 9 months ago
When you write a novel, you make other people see your imaginary friends.
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Reaching Me: Ned Hayes · Seattle, WA · 206.321.7981 · ned AT nednotes.com