Scientists restore some cell function in pig brains after death

By Joel Achenbach | Washington Post

The brain is fragile, and if deprived of oxygen – for example from a massive heart attack, or through drowning – it will quickly and catastrophically degrade, leading to irreversible brain death. And that’s it – the end.

But that medical orthodoxy now must contend with a major report published Wednesday in the journal Nature that is simultaneously fascinating and disturbing: Researchers at Yale School of Medicine say they have restored some cellular function in pig brains from animals decapitated four hours earlier at a local slaughterhouse.

Over the course of a six-hour treatment, the brains were infused with a cocktail of synthetic fluids designed to halt cellular degeneration and restore cellular functions, such as metabolic activity. It worked: The brains continued to consume oxygen and glucose. Many brain cells, including neurons, which send messages within the brain and to the rest of the body, ceased decaying and appear to have been revived in dramatic and detectable ways.

The scientists detected “spontaneous synaptic activity,” which means the neurons were capable of sending out signals, and the cells responded to external electrical stimulation. Cells removed from the treated brains and examined under a microscope had regained the shape of living cells, noted lead author Zvonimir Vrselja, a Yale neuroscientist.

The pig brains remained, by any traditional definition, dead. The researchers detected no signs of consciousness or any other “global” mental activity. But the study suggest that brain cells are hardier than previously thought, said study co-author and Yale neuroscientist Nenad Sestan.

“The death of a cell, or in this case, organ, is a gradual, stepwise process,” Sestan said. He stressed that the revivifying system the researchers developed, which they dubbed BrainEx, may not reverse cell death and restore brains to what would be considered a stable, living state. It’s possible, he …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business

      

College kids are living like kings in this city’s empty mansions

By Natalie Wong and Natalie Obiko Pearson | Bloomberg

Isaiah Boodhoo, 22, thought it was a “complete hoax” when he saw a rental listing on Facebook for a bedroom in a Vancouver mansion for only $825 a month (or $1,100 Canadian).

It turned out the glass chandeliers, luxurious blue drapes, steam room and billiards table were for real. The nine-bedroom home, dubbed “The Castle” by the 14 students who share the property, is apparently owned by an Afghani pop artist, according to Boodhoo.

“Honestly, I would stay here for as long as I could,” he said, sitting on a white couch while sipping from a Slurpee cup. “$1,000 bucks for all this?”

The Vancouver House building stands under construction in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on Monday, April 8, 2019. Government policies to tame the housing market — from new taxes to stricter mortgage regulations — have fueled a plunge in sales to the weakest since the global financial crisis. Prices are down 8.5 percent from their peak in June, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. Photographer: Jennifer Gauthier/Bloomberg

A nine-bedroom rental property, shared by 14 students, stands in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on Sunday, April 7, 2019. Government policies to tame the housing market — from new taxes to stricter mortgage regulations — have fueled a plunge in sales to the weakest since the global financial crisis. Prices are down 8.5 percent from their peak in June, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. Photographer: Jennifer Gauthier/Bloomberg

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A realtor stands in the entrance of a mansion for sale in West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on Wednesday, April 10, 2019. Government policies to tame the housing market — from new taxes to stricter mortgage regulations — have fueled a plunge in sales to the weakest since the …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business

      

Opinion: Is living in Silicon Valley a dream or nightmare?

I have lived and worked in Silicon Valley for almost 50 years. I have watched it grow and change from a “little sister” suburb of San Francisco to what has become the technology innovation center of the world. When I first moved to the South Bay in 1970, the name Silicon Valley had not yet been coined. But it didn’t take long as the semiconductor companies and chip makers made their homes in Mountain View, Sunnyvale, and Santa Clara. With silicon the major component of the new technologies, the new moniker was a natural.

The rapid innovation enabled by the new silicon technologies, combined with the concentration of top universities and venture capital firms created the explosion of new firms in computer hardware (Apple), social media (Google, Facebook), and many other technology-related companies. The list of tech companies headquartered in Silicon Valley and the wider Bay Area is unlike anywhere else in the world, and literally thousands of multi-millionaires have been created over the past 20-plus years as employees of early-stage companies cashed in stock options making them richer than they could have imagined when their employers went public — the American Dream. Now, with the pending initial public offerings of Uber and Lyft, thousands of new multi-millionaires will be minted, realizing their dreams.

But, after the new multi-millionaires look to take their winnings and try to turn some of their after-tax wealth into their dream homes, they may awaken to the nightmares faced by many Bay Area residents — unaffordable homes, overcrowded schools, and hours-long commutes. There are not that many “dream homes” on the market, and those that are list for $6-30 million. Beyond that, it is questionable whether there are enough desirable single-family homes that may not be “dream homes” available on the …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business

      

Google readies big north San Jose expansion, buys north Mountain View buildings

SAN JOSE — Google has leased four office buildings in a vast north San Jose tech campus where it could employ 3,000 or more, and has bought a trio of old office buildings in north Mountain View for a quarter-billion dollars, marking eye-popping new expansions of the search giant’s Silicon Valley operations.

The tech titan has undertaken the deals for the seven Silicon Valley properties with legendary South Bay developers John Arrillaga and Richard Peery.

Google paid $250.2 million for the north Mountain View buildings, according to public documents filed on Tuesday with Santa Clara County.

For a considerable time, the tech company has eyed the outright ownership of the north Mountain View buildings, which are all part of Google’s fast-expanding footprint near its GooglePlex headquarters in that city, according to eight real estate sources that are familiar with the digital behemoth’s property plans.

But the Peery Arrillaga real estate firm, the sources all said, initially resisted selling the aging buildings in Mountain View to Google — until the tech company agreed to lease at least a portion of a 2-million-square-foot campus the developers have begun to construct in north San Jose near the corner of North First Street and Brokaw Road just east of the city’s airport.

The four north San Jose buildings that Google has leased, which together total 729,000 square feet, could accommodate 3,600 to 4,900 company employees. Google spokeswoman Katherine Williams confirmed the lease of the four buildings.

In Mountain View, Google paid $138.6 million for a 92,000-square-foot building at 900 Alta Ave. in one transaction, county documents show. In a separate Mountain View purchase, Google paid $111.6 million for a 61,000-square-foot building at 1053 Joaquin Road and a 14,000-square-foot building at 1489 Charleston Road, according to the property records.

The north San Jose property includes the now-bulldozed former site of the Bay …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business

      

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