Posts Categorized: Archives (2014-2016)

Wearable equipment supports human motion where and when needed

Wearable equipment supports human motion where and when needed

  A new model of pneumatic muscle and an active type of assistive equipment incorporating this pneumatic muscle has been developed at Hiroshima University and Daiya Industry Co. Ltd., Japan. This wearable equipment, called the Unplugged Powered Suit (UPS), supports human movement without requiring any electronic devices and tanks because it employs a newly developed pneumatic muscle named Pneumatic Gel Muscle (PGM) as an actuator. The UPS improves the quality of life of not only elderly individuals but also healthy people who enjoy sports activities. The UPS will be displayed at the International Robot Exhibition 2015 in December. To prevent injury and accidents by aging and muscle fatigue, it is… Read more

New approach allows better modelling of crucial economic activities over time

New approach allows better modelling of crucial economic activities over time

  Researchers in Japan and the UK and USA have developed a better method for modelling important kinds of economic data that may be useful for studying workforces, economic development, health, macroeconomics and other phenomena that vary over time. Dr. Kazuhiko Hayakawa from Hiroshima University and Professor M. Hashem Pesaran from the Trinity College of Cambridge and the University of Southern California present their new and improved approach in the Journal of Econometrics. The new method improves existing techniques for modelling the kind of data that economists call “panel data”, which comes from observing individuals, states, countries, firms and so on, over multiple time periods. Because panel data include observations of… Read more

Studying cancer DNA in blood may help personalize treatment in liver cancer

Studying cancer DNA in blood may help personalize treatment in liver cancer

  Fragments of cancer DNA circulating in a patient’s bloodstream could help doctors deliver more personalized treatment for liver cancer, Japanese researchers report. The new research may help address a particular challenge posed by liver cancers, which can be difficult to analyze safely. One serious risk of existing biopsy methods is that doctors who want to obtain a tumor sample for analysis might cause the cancer to spread into the space around organs. “Doctors need non-invasive methods that will allow them to safely study cancer progression and characterize the genomic features of a patient’s tumor,” said Professor Kazuaki Chayama, a principal investigator in this study. “Testing for these circulating DNA… Read more

New model for hepatitis B helps identify potential new therapeutic approach

New model for hepatitis B helps identify potential new therapeutic approach

A promising new avenue for treating hepatitis B has been reported by researchers at Hiroshima University who have developed a new animal model of the disease. About two million people worldwide have been exposed to hepatitis B virus. Liver transplantation is often necessary to save the lives of patients who have severe liver damage that results from acute overreaction of the immune system. To develop therapies against acute hepatitis, an appropriate animal model is necessary. “The number of patients who can receive liver transplantation is limited, so there is an urgent need to develop new treatment options,” said Professor Kazuaki Chayama. Professor Chayama and his research group used mice with… Read more

Active deformations of cell nuclei contribute to intra-nuclear architecture formations

Active deformations of cell nuclei contribute to intra-nuclear architecture formations

There are two types of chromatin, euchromatin and heterochromatin, that vary with the stages of the cell cycle. In particular, euchromatin with rich active genes localizes to the interior of the nucleus during interphase; heterochromatin usually localizes to the periphery of the nucleus. Akinori Awazu, an Associate Professor at the Research Center for Mathematics on Chromatin Live Dynamics (RcMcD) has investigated the contributions of active deformation dynamics of cell nuclei to the intra-nuclear positioning of euchromatin and heterochromatin using the Brownian motion theory. Professor Awazu analyzed the behaviors of model chains containing two types of regions (representing euchromatin and heterochromatin); one with high and the other with low mobility. These… Read more

Sendai virus defends against a threat

Sendai virus defends against a threat

A research group at Hiroshima University demonstrated the mechanism by which the Sendai virus (SeV) escapes the host immune system. The researchers examined the crystal structure of the complex of SeV C protein and transcription factor STAT1, and found that SeV C protein inhibits the signal transduction pathway of interferon gamma. This discovery will allow the design of drugs that can be used to overcome recover from damage caused by interferon, wherein the drug acts by inhibiting the binding between C protein and STAT1. Researchers are now trying to screen low molecular weight compounds for developing new anti-viral drugs. SeV, a prototype of the paramyxovirus, causes respiratory diseases in rodents…. Read more