Nov 022005 has a brief article today about the work done by Nicholas Kotov at the University of Michigan in developing a nanoscale spring thermometer. Traditional spring thermometers, also known as bimetal thermometers, consist of two thin metallic layers, usually iron and copper joined together to make a strip that is often formed into a coil. Because the two metals have different constants of expansion, the coil will expand if heated and contract when cooled. The change can measured and calibrated allowing the coil to act as a thermometer. Unfortunately these types of thermometers are notoriously insensitive, sometimes exhibiting errors of up to ±10 °C. Kotov’s nanoscale version functions in much the same way but is accurate to ±3 °C over the range of 20 – 80 °C.

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Oct 232005

Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells

On Thursday of last week the FDA approved the first transplant of fetal stem cells into human brains. The first recipients will be children who suffer from a rare and fatal genetic disorder, but if the procedure is successful it could be the first step in making great strides toward treating, curing, and possibly preventing several more common different neurological diseases.

The procedures will be performed by doctors at Stanford University Medical Center on six children suffering from Batten disease. Batten disease is a fatal genetic disease of the nervous system that begins in childhood. The inflicted suffer from visual problems, mental impairment, and seizures, leaving them blind, bedridden, and demented. Most die in their late teens or early twenties.

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