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Cutting with Acoustics. A Single Gene for Smarts? & More AcceleRoundup 4/22

The stylized image depicts a sound bullet superposed onto a brain MR image provided by Mike Tyszka of the Caltech Brain Imaging Center. Photo: Spadoni & Daraio/CaltechNicknamed "Sound Bullets," researchers at Caltech are developing a way of using an "acoustic lens" that can be used like a scalpel "to revolutionize applications from medical imaging and therapy to the nondestructive evaluation of materials and engineering systems." Link

Key Molecular Step to Fighting off Viruses Identified… sometimes you can’t improve upon a Science Daily headline. Quote: "’Activation of RIG-I is the first line of our immune defenses against viral infections,’ said Dr. Chen, an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at UT Southwestern. ‘Understanding how it comes to life is a key step in developing new approaches to antiviral therapies. Having this test-tube system could help us identify substances that enhance the body’s antiviral immunity.’"

Scientific American revisits Ecstasy and Psilocybin as therapeutic tools. "Can The Peace Drug Clean Up the War Mess?" Ah? Ahhhhhhh…

This report in Salt Lake City Tribune on the discovery of a "gene linked to intelligence" seems like it may contradict our writer Athena Andreadis’ assertion:

"About half of our genes contribute directly to brain function; the rest do so indirectly, since brain function depends crucially on signal processing and body feedback. This makes the brain/mind a bona fide complex (though knowable) system. This attribute underlines the intrinsic infeasibility of instilling virtue, intelligence or good taste in clothes by changing single genes."

Quoting from the Tribune article:
"Korenberg’s team studied 10 genes, but the one that jumped out was STX1A, which helps control electrochemical processes at the synapses, the junction between nerve cells. It can account for 15.6 percent of variation in cognitive function."

Anyway, let the debate rage… or else leave in a Huff (the automobile preferred by online commentators with their knickers in a twist)…

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