Tag Archives: FDA

Winning Science January 22, 2014

For those of you, like me, who are stuck at home due to the snow, we have some Winning Science here to keep you company.

It’s said that every generation has it’s war. For my generation, it’s the War on Terror, specifcally the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Whatever your political views might be, I think we can all agree that we must take care of those returning home from these wars, especially those who’s wounds have caused serious changes in their life. The FDA, in association with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, has entered into clinical trials for a new prosthetic that will help these veterans, and all other amputees for that matter, take a step closer to their previous lives. The prosthetic requires the implantation of small sensors in the limb which read signals the signals coming directly from the brain. These signals are then transmitted to a belt pack which in turns controls the prosthetic.

The device is capable of 3 degrees of motion: wrist rotation, finger closing and extension, and lateral thumb movement. It does not yet allow a full range of motion, but is a significant step forward.

Generally speaking, it’s common knowledge that well ordered systems are more efficient that chaotic ones. Well scientists at the Brookhaven National Laboratory are turning common knowledge on its head. During experiments on lithium ion batteries, scientists discovered that batteries with less order, but excessive amounts of lithium performed equally as well as ordered batteries after 500 to 1000 charge cycles. Another benefit of more chaotic construction is volume stability (battery won’t expand as it ages). Researchers are now investigating what happens after even more charge cycles and exploring what other materials they can use.


Turns out my room wasn’t messy when I was a kid, it was more efficient. If only my mother had known that.

Who here doesn’t want a transparent computer screen, just like in the movies? I know I do. Thanks to MIT, that desire is a step closer to being reality. Not only that, but MIT managed to do it for about ten bucks. I am all about cheap cutting edge technology. The other fascinating part is that MIT’s screen, unlike many others, is visible from almost any vantage point.

maxresdefaultI may not be Iron Man, but a man can dream can’t he.


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Winning Science October 2, 2013

Although not all of us are feeling the pain of the current government shutdown, the folks at NASA sure are. With 97% of NASA employees furloughed, a continued shutdown may impact NASA’s next unmanned mission to Mars. The longer the shutdown runs, the more it will eat into the narrow launch window for MAVEN. If MAVEN is unable to launch in its current window, it will have to wait two years for the next one, and even then the probe will be operating at a reduced capacity due to solar activity.


I’d like to know where exactly one stores a Mars probe and rocket. Why do I feel that its going to be sitting in some dude’s garage for two years?

Since last year the FDA has a new, accelerated drug approval process. The “breakthrough therapy” designation is meant for drugs which treat serious or life threatening illnesses, like cancer. Drug companies have embraced the new process, filing almost one hundred applications, half of which have been denied. While that doesn’t sound good, it makes me feel reassured that the FDA is not rushing every drug that applies, and that they’re making some actual evaluations.


This is not the correct use for the “breakthrough therapy” process. Don’t even think about it.

I’m also glad they’re only allowing drugs for serious conditions to to be considered. Its not like we need a rush approval for a new versionĀ of Viagra.

Finally, the New York Times has an amusing video out about why Taco Bell’s Doritos Tacos sell so well. This may not seem like science, but in fact there is tons of science behind this. These tacos appeal to us on several different levels and are designed to make you physically enjoy them and then want more.


Om Nom Nom Nom!

I may or may not now have a case of the munchies.

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