MIT News

Newly Identified Memory Pathway Could Prevent PTSD

September 1, 2015

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Newly Identified Pathway Could Prevent PTSD

In a newly published study, a team of researchers show that blocking amygdala cells’ interactions with serotonin after trauma may prevent post-traumatic stress disorder. About 8 million Americans suffer from nightmares and flashbacks to a traumatic event. This condition, known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is particularly common among soldiers who have been in combat, […]

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“Grey Swan” Cyclones Will Become More Frequent and Intense

August 31, 2015

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Grey Swan Tropical Cyclones Will Become More Frequent

A newly published study from MIT and Princeton University reveals that “grey swan” cyclones will become more frequent and intense over the next century. “Grey swan” cyclones — extremely rare tropical storms that are impossible to anticipate from the historical record alone — will become more frequent in the next century for parts of Florida, […]

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How Rain Droplets Attract Aerosols Out of the Atmosphere

August 28, 2015

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New Study Helps Explain How Rain Droplets Clean the Atmosphere

Atmospheric chemists from MIT test how effective rain is at cleaning the atmosphere, revealing the most accurate values of coagulation to date. As a raindrop falls through the atmosphere, it can attract tens to hundreds of tiny aerosol particles to its surface before hitting the ground. The process by which droplets and aerosols attract is […]

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Phytoplankton Are Extremely Sensitive to Changing Levels of Desert Dust

August 27, 2015

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New Research Shows Phytoplankton Are Extremely Sensitive to Changing Levels of Desert Dust

A newly published study shows that phytoplankton are extremely sensitive to changing levels of desert dust, revealing that the intensity of desert storms may affect the whole ocean ecosystem. Each spring, powerful dust storms in the deserts of Mongolia and northern China send thick clouds of particles into the atmosphere. Eastward winds sweep these particles […]

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Harvard Researchers Explain the Reason for Genetic Obesity

August 25, 2015

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Researchers Explain the Reason for Genetic Obesity

Researchers from Harvard Medical School and MIT reeval a genetic circuit that controls whether our bodies burn or store fat. Like many other conditions, obesity is caused by an interplay between genetic and environmental factors. While efforts to combat the obesity epidemic will need to include changes in diet and exercise, insights into the genes […]

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Calprotectin Plays a Key Role in Blocking Pathogen Survival

August 24, 2015

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Calprotectin Fends off Microbial Invaders

New research from MIT reveals the process by which human calprotectin prevents invading pathogens from obtaining iron. Invading microbial pathogens must scavenge essential nutrients from their host organism in order to survive and replicate. To defend themselves from infection, hosts attempt to block pathogens’ access to these nutrients. Now researchers at MIT have discovered the […]

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Researchers Reveal That Cost Considerations Are Wired Into The Learning of Habits

August 21, 2015

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Researchers Discover Neurons That Drive Habits

A newly published study from MIT shows that habit formation in primates is driven by neurons that represent the cost of a habit, as well as the reward. We are creatures of habit, nearly mindlessly executing routine after routine. Some habits we feel good about; others, less so. Habits are, after all, thought to be […]

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Researchers Discover Pathway That Controls Metabolism

August 20, 2015

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Researchers Discover a Switch That Controls Metabolism

By analyzing the cellular circuitry underlying the strongest genetic association with obesity, a team of researchers from MIT and Harvard Medical School have unveiled a new pathway that controls human metabolism by prompting our adipocytes, or fat cells, to store fat or burn it away. Obesity is one of the biggest public health challenges of […]

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“Proximity Magnetism” Could Be a Building Block for Quantum Computers

August 18, 2015

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MIT Physicists Observe an Unusual Magnetic Behavior

Researchers reveal an unusual magnetic behavior that could be used to probe a variety of exotic physical phenomena, and could ultimately be used to produce key components of future quantum computers. An exotic kind of magnetic behavior, driven by the mere proximity of two materials, has been analyzed by a team of researchers at MIT […]

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Solid Electrolyte Paves the Way for Rechargeable Batteries with Almost Indefinite Lifetimes

August 17, 2015

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Rechargeable Batteries with Almost Indefinite Lifetimes

Engineers from MIT and Samsung have developed an approach for a solid electrolyte that could greatly improve both battery lifetime and safety, while providing a significant boost in the amount of power stored in a given space. If you pry open one of today’s ubiquitous high-tech devices — whether a cellphone, a laptop, or an […]

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Aluminum “Yolk-and-Shell” Nanoparticle Boosts Capacity and Power of Lithium-ion Batteries

August 14, 2015

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Yolks and Shells Improve Lithium-Ion Batteries

New research from MIT and Tsinghua University in China reveals that an aluminum “yolk-and-shell” nanoparticle could boost the capacity and power of lithium-ion batteries. One big problem faced by electrodes in rechargeable batteries, as they go through repeated cycles of charging and discharging, is that they must expand and shrink during each cycle — sometimes […]

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New Design Could Finally Help Bring Fusion Power Closer to Reality

August 13, 2015

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New Research is Helping to Bring Fusion Power Closer to Reality

Advances in magnet technology have enabled MIT scientists to propose a new design for a practical compact tokamak fusion reactor. It’s an old joke that many fusion scientists have grown tired of hearing: Practical nuclear fusion power plants are just 30 years away — and always will be. But now, finally, the joke may no […]

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New Analysis Provides More Accurate Estimates of Sources of Mercury Emissions

August 12, 2015

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Asia Produces Twice as Much Mercury Emissions as Previously Thought

A new analysis from MIT provides more accurate estimates of sources of mercury emissions from around the world, revealing that Asia produces twice as much mercury emissions as previously thought. Once mercury is emitted into the atmosphere from the smokestacks of power plants, the pollutant has a complicated trajectory; even after it settles onto land […]

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Researchers Reveal How Chronic Inflammation Can Lead to Cancer

August 11, 2015

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Researchers Discover How the Immune System Can Create Cancerous DNA Mutations

New research from MIT reveals how the immune system can create cancerous DNA mutations when fighting off infection. Chronic inflammation caused by disease or exposure to dangerous chemicals has long been linked to cancer, but exactly how this process takes place has remained unclear. Now, a precise mechanism by which chronic inflammation can lead to […]

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MIT Physicists Create a Superfluid in a Record-High Magnetic Field

August 10, 2015

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Physicists Create a Superfluid Gas

Physicists from MIT have created a superfluid gas, the so-called Bose-Einstein condensate, for the first time in an extremely high magnetic field. The magnetic field is a synthetic magnetic field, generated using laser beams, and is 100 times stronger than that of the world’s strongest magnets. Within this magnetic field, the researchers could keep a […]

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Scientists Reveal New Insights into the Coupling between Wetting and Catalytic Activity

August 6, 2015

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Reactivity of Perovskites with Water: Role of Hydroxylation in Wetting and Implications for Oxygen Electrocatalysis

In a newly published study, researchers reveal new insights into the coupling between wetting and catalytic activity and suggest that catalyst hydrophobicity should be considered in aqueous oxygen electrocatalysis. Two key physical phenomena take place at the surfaces of materials: catalysis and wetting. A catalyst enhances the rate of chemical reactions; wetting refers to how […]

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New Polymer Gel Could Create Edible Devices for Ultra-Long Drug Delivery

August 2, 2015

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New Technology Opens Possibilities for Super-Long-Acting Pills

A team of scientists has developed a polymer gel that could allow for the development of long-acting devices that reside in the stomach, including orally delivered capsules that can release drugs over a number of days, weeks, or potentially months following a single administration. Medical devices designed to reside in the stomach have a variety […]

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Feeding Behavior in Worms May Help Shed Light on Human Heart Function

August 1, 2015

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Feeding Behavior in Worms Could Shed Light on Human Heart Function

In a new study from MIT researchers reveal that a simple roundworm has the ability to spit out potentially deadly substances — a finding that could have surprising implications for human heart research. Tasting and spitting out toxic food is a survival trait shared by many complex organisms. To feed, the worm uses its pharynx, […]

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