Targeting the Gut to Treat the Brain
Only ten years ago, the idea that bacteria in your gut could affect your brain and behavior was seen as a fringe theory. But today, it is well-established that the trillions of microbes in the gastrointestinal tract—collectively known as the gut microbiome—profoundly influence the brain. Now, researchers are working to harness the power of the gut microbiome to develop new treatments for brain disorders... Read more
Probing the Future of Psychedelics for Mental Health
Mounting evidence suggests that psychedelics may be useful for treating a range of different neuropsychiatric conditions that currently have limited treatment options. On May 4–6, 2021, leaders from academia and industry discussed a variety of issues related to the development and adoption of psychedelic drugs for different conditions during the virtual Psychedelic Therapeutics and Drug Development Conference. Selected topics from the conference are presented below... Read more
Bioprinting Marches Forward With New Technology
With the advent of additive manufacturing and a flurry of new-generation, three-dimensional (3D) printers that hit the market in the early 2000s, biomedical innovators began envisioning the technology as a way to replace damaged or diseased tissue and organs with on-demand, printed parts [1]–[3]. The path from vision to reality was not quite as quick or easy as many anticipated, but research groups today are making headway to keep the technology moving toward its goal... Read more
Novel Health Risk Alert System for Occupational Safety in Hot Environments
The last century has seen a gradual increase in global average temperatures—a phenomenon that has come to be known as global warming. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has reported that 2020 was one of the three warmest years on record and that the global average temperature was ~1.2 oC above preindustrial (1850–1900) levels. Adverse effects on health resulting from global warming are important issues to consider, as health risks associated with such extreme heat are anticipated... Read more
Reproductive Health in the Time of COVID
In spring 2020, the pandemic began shutting down the world—restaurants, colleges, even entire cities felt emptied and closed. A cloud of uncertainty lingered over most parts of the world and altered our daily schedules and tasks. But for a wide segment of society, it wasn’t the toilet paper, or the masks, or the isolation from their families that hurt the worst—it was the sudden uncertainty around one of the most fundamental aspects of our lives: reproduction... Read more
Working Toward Diversity and Inclusion in Neural Engineering
How do we begin to consider ways to broaden the reach of our field, both to engage younger students and also those from different ethnicities, classes, and socio-economic backgrounds? Where are the opportunities to make our research, our laboratory, our surrounding community more open, inclusive, and diverse? By what means can we increase outreach in our communities, providing avenues for diverse students to explore STEM topics and engage in research?... Read more

Pulse Ideas

State of the Art July/August 2021
Are Viruses Just Spores?
Something amazing happened early in the history of the Earth. Molecules were formed that had the unusual capacity to reproduce. And, not only that, but these molecules reproduced to the limit of the resources available and competed with other, similar, molecules to utilize every available reserve necessary to their growth and reproduction. These molecules were nucleic acids... Read more
Book Reviews July/August 2021
Wearable Sensors: Fundamentals, Implementation and Applications, 2nd ed.
This text is a well-referenced fairly comprehensive overview of the current state of the art involving wearable sensors and relevant applications in (mainly) human health monitoring in applications from medicine to sports. The text is organized into six sections containing a total of 22 chapters contributed by some 78(!) researchers from 13 countries. It is aimed at “Practicing engineers in the area of medical and wearable devices, academic researchers, undergraduate and graduate students.” A review of the text, by sections, follows... Read more
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