The movable wall helped a chaotic swarm of robots to seep into the gap

The movable wall helped a chaotic swarm of robots to seep into the gapA. Deblais et al. / Physical Review Letters, 2018

French physicists have found that if a chaotic swarm of autonomous robots are elongated to limit the movable deformable wall, they spontaneously begin to form clusters, and the whole system begins to move, not chaotically, and directed. Due to this effect, such a swarm can seep through the cracks or go around small obstacles, the scientists write in Physical Review Letters.

To run robots, some tasks may be more convenient to use one automated device, but a set of several similar elements. If such systems contain at least a few dozen elements, they are usually called swarm robots and their collective behavior is determined by the laws of swarm dynamics, which is based on the interaction of elements with the environment and with each other. Since all the elements in this system have been used for the first time, in different directions.

French physicists from the University of Bordeaux under the guidance of Amida, Kelle (Hamid Kellay) proposed to control a swarm of Autonomous robots, limiting their movable deformable wall. For this, the researchers used a swarm of robots plastic oblong with a length of about four centimeters, which are driven using the vibrating motor, operating at a frequency of 60 to 150 Hz. Under vibration, the robots start moving, asymmetrical plastic feet, with the result that they move in a random direction with a speed of 20 to 40 centimeters per second.

A swarm of these robots, up to 120 devices, scientists placed in a circular region with a diameter of 20 to 60 inches, limited movable flexible tape. It turned out that the robots in this movable “pen” do not behave exactly as in free space. If elements in the system is sufficiently small, then their dynamics is practically no different from an open system is a chaotic and diffusive character. When you increase the number of devices in the system, their collective behavior becomes organized. Exceeding a certain critical number leads to the fact that some of the robots begin to form ordered clusters. The system thus formed the two poles, which can occur in directed motion.

Scientists have quantitatively described the system by using the distribution of the cluster sizes. It turned out that in the system of a small number of robots almost all of them are either singly or in very small groups and can be described theoretically using a diffusion model. In large swarms, where robots have to constantly face each other, in addition to single elements, clusters are also present, and most likely the formation of one or two groups, consisting of several dozen elements. The exact number of elements in the cluster depends on the average speed of robots, and they are formed near the wall, pushing into it and moving the “pen” in space.

The movable wall helped a chaotic swarm of robots to seep into the gap

The size distribution of clusters of robots in the systems of 60 elements (green symbols) and 120 items (blue symbols). To the left are the experimental data

A. Deblais et al. / Physical Review Letters, 2018

Scientists have discovered that these clusters, which together move the wall in one direction solely due to the Autonomous and controlled outside of the movement, moves the entire system in a preferential direction (swarms of a small number of robots also move the wall, but in a chaotic fashion). When the directional movement is a redistribution of robots between clusters, which allows the system to seep through the cracks or around obstacles.

According to the authors of the study, the ability to control the movement of a swarm of Autonomous robots, limiting their movement of the movable wall can be very useful for the development of automated systems of micro-robots that have configurable properties. In particular, such mechanisms can be used to create a soft robots that needs to be sepped through the cracks or around obstacles of complex shapes.

For swarming robots, sometimes find a rather unusual application: for example, a group of scientists from the United States and France have an autonomous robots as the interface I / o, instead of the keyboard and monitor. Interestingly, a similar system can not be realized at the molecular level. Control a swarm of molecular robots is also in its mechanisms, so as to make the molecular motors from the microtubules to carry the joint action, for example to carry out a control method using the DNA molecules.

SpaceX has successfully launched a modification of the Falcon 9 missile

SpaceX has successfully launched a modification of the Falcon 9 missile

SpaceX first launched the modification of Block 5 of the powerful Falcon 9 rocket. The rocket was launched from the Kennedy Space Center site (USA) and delivered the first Bangladesh communication satellite Bangabandhu Satellite-1 into space.

Block 5 is considered the latest version of the reusable Falcon 9 missile, which is capable of much more launches than its predecessors. Ilon Mask reported that this version of the Falcon 9 is designed for 100 launches over the entire lifetime. One day the rocket will be able to deliver people into space.

Initially, the rocket had to start a day earlier, but the launch was interrupted by a fault signal 58 seconds before the start. A day later, the launch took place without incident, all the actions took place in the usual sequence. After the division, the first stage successfully landed on the barge SpaceX «Of Course I Still Love You“In the Atlantic Ocean, and the second delivered the Bangladeshi satellite to the geostationary orbit. This launch has become a test for the Falcon 9, as it is planned to be used in the future for fast commercial flights.

Photo: SpaceX

Space agency NASA will send a small autonomous helicopter with a mission to Mars, which starts in July 2020. Developers want to explore the potential of aircraft in the study of the Red Planet.

The technology of the project began to be developed in 2013. The helicopter weighs just under 1.8 kilograms, and its blades rotate at a speed of almost 3000 rpm, which is about 10 times higher than the helicopter’s speed on Earth. The helicopter also contains built-in equipment for working on Mars, including solar cells for charging and a heating mechanism.

The helicopter will be delivered to Mars along with the rover “Mars-2020”. Once a suitable location for the installation of the device is found on the surface of the planet, the rover will be removed from it to a safe distance from where the commands will be sent. Dispatchers from the Earth will operate the Mars helicopter remotely. Because of distance, you can not control it in real time, so an autonomous system will accept and interpret commands from Earth, and then independently carry out missions.

Photo: NASA / JPL-Caltech

Russian scientists first scanned the ancient underground structure in Dagestan

Russian scientists first scanned the ancient underground structure in Dagestan

MAKHACHKALA, may 8. / TASS /. Scientists nust "Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys" ("Misa") together with colleagues from Dagestan State University for the first time in Russia held Naryn-Kala in Derbent. This structure may be the Christian Church in the early fourth century, told TASS leading expert of nust "Misa" head of laboratories of the physics Institute imeni P. N. Lebedev Academy of Sciences (LPI RAS), Professor Natalia Polukhina.

Russian scientists first scanned the ancient underground structure in DagestanEngineers Misa started designing cameras for the experiment of CERN in search of the hidden particles

"Naryn-Kala in Derbent, because until now, there are serious disputes about archaeologists about what it is. In its structure it is very similar to a Christian Church, we are talking about a possible Dating 300 years of our era. We hope to see the structure of this building and, perhaps, some of the surrounding buildings, with our method"- said Polukhin.

According to her, the method of muon radiography allows the scanning of large quantities of natural and industrial objects in the same way as does x-ray.

"Particles from space – the muons, which make up the natural background that passes through the object, absorbed in different parts with different density. Where the object is more dense, stronger and they are absorbed, respectively, taken shadow image, where the object is empty, we see the cavity"- explained the expert.

As told by Professor Polukhina, muon sensors were installed at a depth of 10 meters inside the building. "Two months they were exposed to cosmic muons, April 20, we took them off and now have to analyze that. Most likely, then we will put the sensors for a longer time and in a slightly different place to cover a large area and give a more accurate picture of this structure"- said the Agency interlocutor.

The final result should be the creation of the 3D models of the underground structures, which will allow to judge about his appointment.

The temple or the tank?

As told in the press service of nust "Misa" researched 12-meter room, hidden under the ground. After the capture of Derbent by the Arabs (about 700 BC), the building was covered with earth and was later used as storage for water. However, the study of ancient structures using traditional methods – using the excavation – it is difficult.

"First, the fortress Naryn-Kala refers to the objects of cultural heritage, and secondly, it is unclear how to behave when freed from earth, so long exposed to water"- explained the press service.

Russian scientists first scanned the ancient underground structure in DagestanThe fortress of Naryn-Kala

So today, scientists continued to argue about what was a mysterious structure under the ancient fortress. Some researchers believed that it was originally built as a conventional water tank.

"In this fortress there is at least one such building is the 10 meter depth, but it is simply a rectangular "box". Here is a cross-shaped form, walled up the entrances, facing the cardinal directions. It is unclear why build a tank of such a complex shape? But while common opinion about the purpose of the building does not exist, there are two equal points of view. We do not claim to define the historical purpose of the building, but if it is confirmed by the hypothesis that it is a temple, I think it will be a very interesting discovery, not only for the Christian world"- said Polukhin.

The pyramid of Cheops and the prevention of tragedies

According to the expert, now in the world. In particular, it is used for exploration of gold deposits in Canada, as well as in the study of the structure of a glacier in Switzerland.

"One of the last and the most famous results is the study of the pyramids in Egypt, which was held by our Japanese colleagues together with the Cairo University. In 2016 this method was found in the pyramid of Cheops. In addition, was found another void above the main entrance to the great pyramid. This was the largest discovery in the study of the Egyptian pyramids since the nineteenth century"- said Professor Polukhina.

According to her, in Russia, this method is still under implementation, and the ancient structure, in Dagestan, was chosen for the first time. In the future, the method will not only help to archaeological studies, but also to prevent the tragedy.

"This technique can be used, for example, for monitoring of mines. Tragic cases, like mine peace (in August 2017, as a result of the breakthrough of water from the quarry, had eight people were missing, . No other way to enlighten kilometer thickness of the earth is impossible. Our method allows to determine the presence of these voids, and accordingly, to prevent such tragedies in the future"- said the interlocutor of the TASS.

Scientists have tested the first medicine that cleans arteries from plaques

Scientists have tested the first medicine that cleans arteries from plaques

© Depositphotos / billiondigital

MOSCOW, May 12 – RIA News. American physicians created special nanowires capable of removing cholesterol plaques and fatty growths in human vessels, and successfully tested their work in mice that suffered from atherosclerosis. The results of the experiments were presented at the ATVB 2018 scientific conference in San Francisco.

Scientists have tested the first medicine that cleans arteries from plaques

Scientists told about the benefits of vegetables for the health of elderly women

"The development of atherosclerosis can be slowed down with the help of statins and other drugs that reduce the concentration "bad" kinds of cholesterol. On the other hand, statins, as recent experiments show, are not capable of eliminating existing traces of the disease. Our threads can solve this problem"”Says Neel Mnsukhani of Northwestern University in Chicago, USA.

According to WHO statistics, atherosclerosis and concomitant diseases of the heart and blood vessels are one of the main causes of the development of heart attacks and, accordingly, deaths in most countries of the world. As a rule, the disease begins with the accumulation of cholesterol plaques on the walls of the vessels, which after a while leads to their thickening, the accumulation of calcium in them and the loss of flexibility.

While scientists have not found any specific mechanisms for the formation of cholesterol plaques and calcareous deposits in the walls of blood vessels. On the other hand, long-term observations show that smoking, improper diet and lack of regular physical activity significantly increase the chances of their appearance. This, however, does not answer the main question – what to do to people who already have these plaques?

Mansukhani and his colleagues took the first step toward creating a real medicine for atherosclerosis, experimenting with short protein molecules that, when ingested, can assemble themselves into long threadlike chains.

Scientists have tested the first medicine that cleans arteries from plaquesScientists have found that "western diet" accelerates the development of Alzheimer’s disease

Scientists have modified them in such a way that their "head" began to resemble the structure of a key part of the protein apoA1, responsible for cleaning the cells of excess fat, including cholesterol. According to biologists, such threads will cling to fatty plaques, tear them from the surface of the vessels and transport them to the liver, where they will disintegrate and gradually be removed from the bloodstream.

Guided by this idea, scientists have introduced a solution of such filaments into the body of several mice that have removed the LXR gene responsible for the normal processing of cholesterol. If such rodents are fed fatty foods, they quickly develop atherosclerosis and they die as a result of aortic overgrowth with cholesterol plaques.

Scientists have tested the first medicine that cleans arteries from plaquesPhysicians created gene therapy that protects a person from atherosclerosis

As experiments have shown, the introduction of even small doses of protein strands in just eight weeks reduced the number of cholesterol plaques by 9% and 11% in all parts of the circulatory system of mice and markedly prolonged their life.

Mansukhani and his colleagues hope to begin preclinical and clinical trials of this medicine in the near future. At the same time, scientists emphasize that it is not worth waiting for that their drug will appear in pharmacies already tomorrow – it will take several more years to check its safety and effectiveness.

A new Russian hybrid reactor will be assembled at the Kurchatov Institute by the end of 2018

A new Russian hybrid reactor will be assembled at the Kurchatov Institute by the end of 2018

MOSCOW, May 14. / TASS /. A hybrid reactor that could eventually replace nuclear power plants, scientists of the research center "Kurchatov Institute" will be assembled by the end of 2018, the physical start-up of the facility is planned for 2020. This was announced on Monday by the scientific adviser of the Kurchatov complex of thermonuclear energy and plasma technologies Peter Khvostenko.

Hybrid reactor combines the principles of thermonuclear and nuclear power. Unlike the nuclear reactor, it will work on thorium, which is cheaper and has more reserves than uranium. So, according to the scientists of the Institute, the reserves of uranium-235 will last only 50 to 70 years. Unlike a thermonuclear reactor in a hybrid, superhigh temperatures are not needed to generate energy.

"The hybrid tokamak is now called the T-15MD. This is a big installation, at the end of the year we have to assemble it on the site of the old T-15 in this building [Kurchatov Institute]. We dismantled [the old installation], we are building a new one on its foundation", – said Khvostenko, adding that in 2020 there will be a physical launch of a new installation, and that scientists will work out those technologies, "which are necessary for a thermonuclear neutron source precisely for a hybrid reactor".

The next stage in the development of the power industry should be a thermonuclear reactor. So, Russia, and also the countries of Europe, China, the USA and others are building in France the International Experimental Thermonuclear Reactor (ITER). It is based on the installation of tokamaks, which is considered to be the most promising device for implementing controlled thermonuclear fusion. The aim of the project is to demonstrate that thermonuclear energy can be used on an industrial scale.

Russian scientific organizations are responsible for the manufacture of 25 systems. The Institute of Nuclear Physics (INP) of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences will become the center of integration for the foreign participants of the ITER project. Elements made from different countries will be assembled and tested on its territory. The first plasma on ITER is planned to be received in 2025.

The spider trained to jump on command

Scientists have trained the spider to jump from platform to platform, in order to learn what techniques it uses when jumping. Experts hope that in the future, based on this knowledge, they will be able to develop a new generation of robots.

The spider trained to jump on command

In nature, there are many spiders that have the ability to jump. For example, Phidippus regius is a kind of spider-race that inhabits the eastern part of North America; its specialists and used in a new study, which is briefly reported by the ScienceAlert portal.

Spiders-horses jump surprisingly far – they can jump a distance of six times the length of their body. So, a spider, at a length of about 15 millimeters, can jump at least 60 millimeters. (For comparison, a person can barely jump a distance, one and a half times the length of his body.)

Researchers from Manchester University tried to teach females Phidippus regius to jump on a team that was not a simple task. It is noted that only one spider “learned the idea” – and learned to jump to a special platform. The scientists gave the name Kim.

In addition, the researchers photographed – with the help of advanced cameras – the process of jumping. It turned out that Kim had several different jumping techniques. When jumping for short distances (exceeding the length of her body by about two times) she preferred a faster, lower trajectory – for higher speed and accuracy. However, for longer jumps (at distances exceeding the length of the spider’s body by approximately six times), the spider used more energy-efficient techniques.

Researchers note that Kim could choose the optimal angle for the jump – it means that she understood before what task is at a certain moment. And besides, according to experts, she could count the time it would take to jump to make the best jump in energy costs. The scientists also noticed that the spiderworm attached a spider thread to the platform (with which the jump was made), which, according to their assumption, helped it to stabilize during the jump.

Based on CT scans, experts have built a model for the body of the spider and the structure of its legs. The analysis of the video – together with the study of models – allowed researchers to better understand what forces are at the base of the spider jump. As already known to biologists, spiders use hydraulic pressure, which allows them to expand their limbs, but the question of whether these arthropods can use this mechanism to enhance or even replace muscle strength remains open. Kim, as noted, the last was enough to make a jump.

Better understanding how spiders make jumps, researchers hope to develop more effective mechanisms for future robots. After studying Kim, specialists built a simple hopping mechanism, approximately the size corresponding to a spider, but development at this stage was unsuccessful. In the future, researchers plan to create a functional robot based on the information received, but for this they, as noted, will need to study the mechanics of jumping spider more carefully.

The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Why are we in vain afraid of electro shock treatment

Why are we in vain afraid of electro shock treatment

We do not fully understand how it works, but electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) helps patients get rid of the symptoms of the disease in more than 80% of cases. That brand, which is attached to it, prevents use of this method for the benefit of sick people, the author of popular scientific articles and books is convinced.

80 years ago in one of the oldest universities in the world, the University of Rome "Sapienza", doctors let through a head of the 39-year-old man a current with a voltage of 100 volts.

A week ago this man was detained by the police. He wandered the streets, muttering words that no one understood.

"He was absolutely unemotional, he did not react to anything. He was like a tree that does not bear fruit", wrote a young psychiatrist, Ferdinando Accornero, at the time.

It was impossible to establish the identity of the man, no one was looking for him. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia in a difficult stage.

"The prognosis was bad, “Accorero wrote. – We concluded that we are dealing with a completely destroyed psyche and there is no hope even for a partial recovery".

However, it so happened that after a few weeks the mysterious patient was already talking normally, returned home to his wife, and even again began working as an engineer in Milan.

The patient designated as "E.S.", became the first person for whose treatment the electric shock method was applied. And although the symptoms a few months later, by the time the man himself and the doctors already knew – E.S. it is quite possible to treat.

Today, electroconvulsive (electroconvulsive) therapy, formerly known as electroshock or electroshock therapy, is often seen as something barbaric, as a tool of torture, with which the brain is destroyed and which has no place in modern medicine.

And yet, ECT remains the most effective method of treating a small group of mental illnesses.

Although no one fully understands how this method works, with the help of ECT one can get rid of the symptoms of severe depression, catatonia and various mania

No one fully understands how this works. But in more than 80% of cases, ECT helps to get rid of the symptoms of various mania, catatonia or severe cases of depression, often ending with suicide.

The method of electroconvulsive therapy is far from perfect. For example, it can not completely cure a patient, ECT should be applied every few months to prevent the return of initial symptoms. In addition, there is a risk of memory loss (although often – only temporary), headaches and pains in the jaws.

But do these side effects justify the stigma that accompanies this method of treatment? Chemotherapy, for example, is also a dangerous thing, it causes suffering to the patient and often does not bring success – nevertheless it continues to be considered one of the main methods of cancer treatment.

For many people, electroconvulsive therapy could save lives.

Suicide (often associated with a mental illness) is the main cause of death in British men between the ages of 20 and 49 years. In the world, this is the second leading cause of death in people aged 15 to 29 years.

And depression is the main global cause of incapacity, surpassing in this any other disease.

What is the truth about electroconvulsive therapy?

Why are we in vain afraid of electro shock treatmentAmerican novelist William Styron was one of many thousands of people who suffered and suffer from depression and who are visited by thoughts of suicide

Every morning, at 9 o’clock, the alarm on my phone reminds me that it’s time to take antidepressants. Unlike the previous ones, these pills seem to work.

Combined with regular counseling from a therapist and two courses of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy (CPT), this gave me nearly four months of life without a single bout of depression. Prior to this, such attacks occurred with a frequency of every two weeks, at best – once a month.

I have not recovered yet, I just have remission. Depression will return – it would be naive for me to think otherwise.

The loss of interest in things that used to bring joy, the inability to love your loved ones, the thoughts of suicide that haunt you, will all return.

However, even those few months (and maybe more), during which I am free from the shackles of depression, are priceless for me.

Why are we in vain afraid of electro shock treatmentFor several decades, the main method of treating depression was placing a person in a psychiatric hospital

I often think: how would my depression be treated if I lived at another time? At the beginning of the 20th century, I would probably be placed in one of those psychiatric hospitals that were scattered around the countryside of Britain.

In the 1930s, I would have been prescribed amphetamines (a class of medicines that includes ecstasy), which were advertised as the first antidepressants.

In the 1940s (the decade when my parents were at my present age, 25-35 years old), I would be tried to treat with electric shock.

Electroconvulsive therapy at that time was so popular that it was often used in polyclinics – about the same way as people went to the dentist, they went on an electric shock procedure and then returned home. (In one study in 1980 it was found that 50% of the respondents feared a visit to the dentist more than ECT procedures.)

The idea of ​​using convulsions (cramps) for the treatment of mental illness belongs to the neurologist from Budapest University Laszlo Medun.

Like other doctors working in psychiatric hospitals, he noticed that schizophrenic patients became noticeably better after convulsions (which were the result of taking strong medications). They got rid of hallucinations, incoherence speech and delirium.

And although the symptoms returned with time, Meduna thought about how to use the cramps most effectively to treat patients in his area.

Why are we in vain afraid of electro shock treatmentIn the 1940s, electric shock treatment was so popular and common that it was performed in polyclinics

In 1934, he began to use a drug called cardiazol (or metrazole in the US), which provoked seizures within seconds or a couple of minutes after the injection in the muscle.

Having recovered, the patients who had suffered from catatonia began to walk on their own, to dress, and in some cases for the first time in several years they spoke.

The new method caused an explosion of enthusiasm. Is it now possible to cure previously incurable?

Hearing about cardiuzzole, Hugo Cherletti, dean of the Faculty of Psychic and Nervous Diseases of the University of Rome "Sapienza", I thought that I knew a much better way to get cramps.

He had used short and strong discharges of electricity for many years during animal experiments. This led to seizures similar to epileptic ones.

The method of Cherletti looked affordable, cheap and highly manageable. Unlike cardiazole, which could act differently, the impact of electricity had two main variables – the number of volts and the length of time (fractions of a second).

Based on these two parameters, one of the students of Cherchetti, Lucio Bini, designed and built an apparatus on which it was possible to raise and lower the voltage, and using an automatic stopwatch to limit the discharge time by one tenth of a second.

"Apparatus of Cherletti Bini" sent electric discharge on two electrodes (wrapped in a cloth impregnated with saline solution), fixed on both sides of the patient’s head, over the temples.

Why are we in vain afraid of electro shock treatment

Doctors at the hospital in the Canadian city of Toronto strengthen the electrodes on the patient’s head during the simulation of the ECT procedure (1976)

What happened to the patient then, could not be called pleasant. All the muscles at once contracted, the patient’s body arching, as if in a grotesque yoga posture, the air whistled from the lungs, legs and arms made chaotic movements, because of the contraction and tension of all tendons, the body began to get rid of urine and feces, and in men – even from seminal fluid.

Bones cracked – although these were microscopic cracks, visible only on the x-ray and rapidly growing together, it was quite frightening.

There was also reported a loss of memory. After coming to consciousness after the procedure, some patients did not understand where they were, how they got here and who their immediate relatives were.

Although in most cases memory was restored within a few days or weeks, to some it never returned.

Responding to critics of electroconvulsive therapy, Lothar Kalinowski, one of Cherletti’s former colleagues, wrote in 1946: "The surgeon does not refuse the necessary operation because it is risky … Mental disorders are as destructive as a malignant tumor, and bear more terrible suffering. Thus, the risk is justified".

Indeed, with all its shortcomings, ECT was unusually effective in the treatment of some of the most difficult mental illnesses to cure – especially, as it soon turned out, severe depression.

In 1945, a study conducted by psychiatrists at the McLean Hospital in Massachusetts showed that ECT helped to get rid of a severe depression episode of 80% of patients. At least two of them were in this state from 10 to 15 years – after six or seven procedures conducted within a few weeks, the depression left them.

As a forest fire releases seeds from cones of coniferous trees, so electric discharge – or more precisely, convulsions, which it generates, – frees the patient from the psychic shell, in which he is chained by the disease.

As once, in the 1950s, Peter Cranford, a psychiatrist from the state of Georgia, wrote in his diary, "Today he is in a catatonic stupor, and tomorrow he plays basketball".

From the very first days the method of electroconvulsive therapy was often misused, and at times they were simply abused. In 1944, when the Second World War was coming to an end, Emil Gelni, a doctor who worked in two psychiatric hospitals in Austria and a member of the Nazi Party, perfected the ECT apparatus so that it could be used to kill patients with mental illness.

He added four more electrodes, and the device gave a discharge for not milliseconds, but several minutes. Thus, 149 patients were killed whose life "did not represent value".

And although far more people died from lethal injections and hunger, it is understandable why "Job" Gelney cast a dark shadow on the future of ECT.

Often this therapy was used where she simply could not help. In 1946, two Italian psychiatrists from Siena wrote: "Today there is no such mental illness that would not be tried with ECT".

Including homosexuality, which for many years was officially considered a form of mental illness – in particular, in the directory of the American Psychiatric Association.

Such widespread use of ECT – often without the patient’s consent – was a way to control uncontrolled patients. After the procedure, they were in a drowsy state, with a clouded consciousness, so it was easier to cope with them. So this was not a cure, but a deprivation of liberty.

Why are we in vain afraid of electro shock treatmentFilm "flying over Cuckoo’s Nest" with Jack Nicholson in the title role (where the hero was repeatedly punished with electric shock) helped form a negative image of electroconvulsive therapy

With words "electroconvulsive therapy" comes to mind to anyone who watched the movie "flying over Cuckoo’s Nest" with Jack Nicholson as McMurphy, for which the actor received an Oscar? Forced treatment without pain as a punishment.

However, the production of Hollywood does not necessarily relate to real life. Already in the 1940s, ECT was used with anesthesia and medications to relax the muscles, to rid the body of convulsive contractions, to prevent cracks in the bones. The patient just slept during the procedure.

As an anesthetic, curare extract was used in combination with strong sedatives. However, this led to an increase in the number of deaths (four by 11 thousand patients by 1943), because drugs could stop and breathing.

In the 1950s, instead of curare, succinylcholine was used in combination with conventional anesthesia.

And today this procedure looks completely different from the one that frightens. All cramps occur only in the patient in the brain, which is confirmed by an electroencephalogram.

Why are we in vain afraid of electro shock treatmentBefore ECT, the patient is given pain medication – by the middle of the 20th century this has become a common practice

Such a "modified electroconvulsive therapy" much safer. It reduced the death rate to about one case per 10,000 patients – this is lower than that of normal anesthesia.

As one physician in Chicago wrote in 1977, "ECT is about 10 times safer than childbirth".

Despite all the improvements, after the 1960s, ECT fell into disgrace, they tried to forget about it. Although, as the medical historians Edward Shorter and David Healy wrote in 2007, forgetting about it is about the same as forgetting penicillin.

This was partly due to the fact that doctors began to prescribe drugs for the treatment of depression – although they were often much less effective in severe cases. And partly because of what the image of ECT has developed.

In the 1970s, Shorter and Healy wrote in his book "Shock therapy", the growing anti-psychiatric sentiment was directed by the Church of Scientology, which proclaimed that ECT destroys the brain.

Why are we in vain afraid of electro shock treatmentDemonstration of 1977 for passing a law obliging to warn patients about the risk of ECT

There is no convincing evidence for this. In 1991, after performing the ECT procedure for 35 patients with depression, Edward Coffey and his colleagues from Duke University concluded: "Our results confirm (…) that there is no connection between ECT and brain damage".

The loss of memory, however, is a problem with which both scientists and Scientologists agree, at least to a certain extent.

Although memory is usually returned a few weeks after ECT, there is evidence of a complete loss.

As in the case of other diseases or operations, physicians must be weighed in each case, which will be more profitable for ECT – harm or benefit.

The most important issue here is not whether the evil or good electroconvulsive therapy is, but whether it helps those people who need it.

There is sufficient evidence that ECT is not just an effective method of treatment, it is in some cases the best method available.

"The truth is that this is an unusually good method, “says Vikram Patel, a professor at the Harvard School of Medicine. – This is a method that saves lives of people, one of the few in psychiatry".

"In fact, I have never seen methods of treatment in psychiatry that would work as phenomenally as ECT".

Why are we in vain afraid of electro shock treatment

A patient with severe depression is preparing for an ECT procedure at a North Carolina hospital (2008)

In 2004, a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (USA) found that of the 253 patients with severe and psychotic depression, 238 (94%) experienced significant symptom reduction after ECT.

189 (75%) patients achieved complete remission after an average of seven ECT procedures for three weeks. 10 people (4%) stopped their course due to problems with memory or confusion.

In comparison, antidepressants, similar to those that I take, are usually effective in only two out of three people (66%) with depression, and remission occurs in one of three (33%).

Regarding the potential of ECT, George Kirov, a clinical professor at Cardiff University in Britain, wrote in 2017 that "If a patient with psychotic depression does not improve during the course of ECT, then we must figure out what we are doing wrong".

An excellent prognosis is even for such susceptible people who are often not able to take antidepressants, like pregnant women and elderly people.

When I was collecting material for this article, I discussed ECT with a few friends and family members. And every time the conversation began with a similar reaction: "What, it still do ?!" Distrust, horror and even shock.

And this is understandable. Even those who did not look "flying over Cuckoo’s Nest", the use of an electric discharge in relation to a person is more likely to be torture than treatment.

But this image of electroconvulsive therapy as a barbaric, painful, brain-destroying method hinders to help those people who are in great need of it.

Because of this image, not only in hospitals, reluctantly resort to ECT, but people who can help the method perfectly do not see it as a treatment option.

Stigma, lying on ECT, is not just harmful, it interferes with healing and saving people from death.

But interest in ECT is coming back. According to the latest data, the number of people who decide to turn to it is growing.

For example, in Britain in 2015-2016. 22600 ECT procedures were performed – this is 11% more than a year earlier.

Together with ECT, more selective forms of electrotherapy have been used, such as deep brain electrical stimulation and transcranial magnetic stimulation (both are increasingly being used to treat depression, Parkinson’s disease and other mental disorders).

As for me, it calms the fact that if suddenly my antidepressants stop working and my condition worsens, there is a promising alternative.

Although we do not understand how ECT works, it is often compared to rebooting a computer.

Perhaps, it is also time to restart our outdated ideas about electroconvulsive therapy.

Alex Riley lives in Bristol and writes articles on scientific topics. Now he is working on a popular science book on how depression is treated in different countries.

You can read the original of this article in English at BBC Future.

NASA published a survey of the erupting volcano Kilauea in Hawaii

The cloud of volcanic ash that rose over Hawaii is clearly visible even from the orbit.

NASA published a survey of the erupting volcano Kilauea in Hawaii

In Hawaii, the Kilauea volcano erupts – one of the most active in the world. Fortunately, there were no casualties and deaths, but many residents of the island were evacuated a week ago because of the dangerous concentration of toxic sulfur and nitrogen compounds released by the volcano in the air, and also because of deep cracks in the ground, the lava fountains rose in some places up to a height of seventy meters.

The Kilauea volcano is one of the most studied: it is surrounded by monitoring stations with seismic sensors and other devices. About a week before the eruption, volcanologists realized that something unusual is happening to the volcano: the level of lava in the lava lakes of the island rose, and the earthquakes that on the island lying on the cushion of mobile magma, in general, are common, began to occur more often – and steel stronger. Then the level of lava in the lava lakes fell sharply. After a few hours it became clear where the lava had gone: she began to work her way up through the cracks far from the lakes. The roads and residential areas were in danger, the lava destroyed several houses and outbuildings; Across the part of the island was acid rain.

And now NASA has published satellite photos of the Hawaiian archipelago: they clearly see a cloud of volcanic ash that stretches from the top of Kilauea to the southwest.

NASA published a survey of the erupting volcano Kilauea in Hawaii

The pictures were taken by the Terra apparatus, which removes the Earth by nine cameras giving different viewing angles. Due to the difference in angles, scientists were able to combine the photographs, to estimate the height of the volcanic cloud; the results of the calculations are shown by the gradient in the photo on the right.

The end of a legend: in the tomb of Tutankhamun found no secret rooms

The end of a legend: in the tomb of Tutankhamun found no secret rooms

The tomb of Tutankhamun to explore for many years, but only now, archaeologists have been able to say that there are no unknown areas.

In the tomb of Tutankhamun. These are the results of the most thorough in the history of the sounding of the tomb of the young Pharaoh.

But everything is so promising started, and "News.Science" ( closely follows this story. In 2012, the experts carried out a three-dimensional survey of all parts of the burial chamber. In the pictures, the British archaeologist Nicholas Reeves (Nicholas Reeves) saw something like signs of a bricked up doorway.

Sam Reeves it was decided that here was buried the beautiful Nefertiti, wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten and mother of Tutankhamun. Scientist even wrote a book about it, seriously fueled interest in this topic. The specialists and Egyptians are practically unanimous in the opinion that the mummy of the Egyptian Queen has been already found.

In 2015, Japanese archaeologists scanned the tomb with radar and announced that the wall of the burial chamber is a cavity containing human remains. However, American experts, who carried out a second probe, confirmed the findings of colleagues.

In this regard, and was assigned to the third, the most thorough study. It was involved in three ground-penetrating radar, magnetometers and other instruments. Data collection began in February 2018. The task of scientists to provide a full three-dimensional map of the tomb and adjacent area.

The end of a legend: in the tomb of Tutankhamun found no secret rooms

So the other day the results were officially published. Specifically, the researchers used three independent radar to map the data between themselves and to exclude the possibility of error. The conclusion is pessimistic: no hidden premises could not be found.

"Maybe it’s a bit of frustrating that the walls of the tomb of Tutankhamun are there, but, on the other hand, I think that’s a good scientific study"- says Francesco Porcelli (Francesco Porcelli) from the University of Turin, head of the research group, quoted in the BBC.

The Ministry of Antiquities of Egypt has the results of this examination.

"There is compelling evidence of the absence of hidden cameras, adjacent to the tomb of Tutankhamun, or inside it"- said in an official statement, quoted by the online phys.

Well, the series "The boy-pharaoh and the chamber of secrets" at the same time, it seems, may be over. But despair not, because the hollow of unknown origin, it seems, discovered in the pyramid of Cheops. And if this story will be continued, the authors "News.Science" will tell you about it.

Scientists predict powerful explosions of the volcano in Hawaii



The outburst of volcanic activity on the Big Island (Hawaii) continues and, according to scientists, in the near future can lead to a powerful explosion.

Kilauea is the longest active shield volcano (a shallow-shaped volcano) on the island of Hawaii. It is located to the southeast (almost on the slope) of the higher Mauna Loa volcano. This is a separate volcano, since it has an independent magma chamber. Last week, a transient flow of underground magma broke through the surface in a residential area, releasing streams of molten rock and toxic gases.

Scientists from the observatory of the US Geological Survey said that the movement of the magma formed a lava lake on top of the volcano. When this lava lake reaches the groundwater level, a series of powerful steam explosions will occur, which will bring down tons of molten rocks and ash outbursts to the surrounding area.

Volcanologist Donald Swanson warns that the affected area is approximately 800 meters. The occurrence of an explosion or multiple explosions will depend on the fall of the lava inside the volcano and its encounter with groundwater. Falling rocks can form a dam, resulting in steam creating pressure until it breaks through the obstacle. Scientists say that they can not predict with absolute precision the timing of the explosions, but, in their opinion, this can happen in the next few weeks.

Photo: USGS

7 photos hot Sharon Illungi, who does not like to wear a bra

Scientists predict powerful explosions of the volcano in HawaiiPhotos from the women’s locker room

Astronomers have removed how the Earth’s magnetic field resists solar flares

For the first time, scientists have observed a process that forms the protection of the Earth from solar flares and magnetic storms. Four NASA spacecraft observed what is called a magnetic reconnection.

Magnetic reconnection is the destruction and connection of opposing lines of the magnetic field, which reflects the flows of charged particles and directs them down the invisible trajectories. A magnetic reconnection around the Earth has been observed many times, but usually in calm conditions. A new phenomenon occurred outside the outer boundary of the magnetosphere, where the solar wind was in a state of turbulence. Experts have identified a new type of magnetic reconnection – an electronic magnetic reconnection, which is very different from what happens in a less turbulent magnetosphere, closer to Earth.

Astronomers say that, having the opportunity to study magnetic reconnection on such a scale, one can not only understand the space device, but also improve the technologies for protecting the planet from external influences. New ideas can help to understand how such phenomena affect the Earth’s atmosphere, people in space and the work of satellites and spacecraft.

Photo: NASA / GSFC

Astronomers have discovered an unusual double star. This is a very compact binary system, where one of the stars is a superdense neutron star (an x-ray pulsar) that rotates very fast.

The orbit of the stellar system is very small. Two objects need only 38 minutes to fly around each other. This is the fastest orbital period of any binary X-ray pulsar that has ever been observed. The system is named IGR J17062-6143 (or simply J17062) and was discovered back in 2006. For a detailed study of the star, modern technology was required. NICER (Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer) – an instrument for astrophysical observations, a component of the International Space Station. It was with his help that we managed to establish that the pulsar J17062 rotates at a rate of 163 times per second (almost 9,800 rpm).

NICER allowed researchers to obtain much more information about J17062. Astronomers were able to make sure that two stars are separated by a distance of only 300,000 kilometers, this is less than the distance from Earth to the Moon. These two factors and the analysis of the spectra of stars made it possible to conclude that the companion of the pulsar is a small white dwarf whose mass is only about 1.5% of the mass of the sun.

Boston Dynamics, an engineering company specializing in robotics, published a video in which a bipedal robot named Atlas goes for a run.

One can observe how the Atlas easily crosses different types of terrain, both gentle slopes and dense thickets. With the help of squat and jump Atlas overcomes obstacles, which usually hamper the movement of robots.

This is not the first time that Boston Dynamics robots have coped well with the intersection of all types of terrain and the performance of everyday human affairs. They can jump, open doors and even use force. The mechanisms work on internal powerful batteries, not relying on external power sources.

The second video of Boston Dynamics demonstrates the robot SpotMini, which completely autonomously without any help moves along a certain path through the warehouse. Sensors on the front, back and sides of the robot help him navigate and see what surrounds him in real time.

Users of social networks reacted to published videos with comic comments about the rebellion of machines, but the new technologies really look impressive. The company Boston Dynamics was founded by Mark Raybert in 1992 on the basis of a group of engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Known for its development of robots commissioned by DARPA for military purposes.

Photos and videos: Boston Dynamics

From May 15 to May 21, the 14th Sevastopol International Festival of Documentary Films and TV programs “Won Together” will be held.

The festival, organized on the initiative of the heroes of the Soviet Union, residing in Sevastopol, in memory of the general military feat of the countries participating in the Second World War, since 2014 passes under the jurisdiction of Russia. Over time, he acquired a new sound, revealing the themes of heroism and victory in the modern world, in various spheres of life – in the cultural, social, professional and others, comprehending the heroics, poetics and problems of our day.

Traditionally, special attention is paid to military and historical themes. The festival’s President Vladimir Menshov said that more than 500 documentary works from 33 countries of the world were considered for participation in the festival. 83 films will take part in the competition programs. Directors from the USA, Great Britain, France, Germany, Sweden, China, Hungary, Belarus, Poland, Finland, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Syria, Germany, Denmark, Austria, Armenia, Israel, Norway, Kyrgyzstan, Estonia, Iraq will present their works in Sevastopol. , Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, South Ossetia, Argentina, Italy. The program also includes works created in the People’s Republic of China, the People’s Republic of China and the Pridnestrovskaia Moldavskaia Respublika.

May 18 in the framework of the festival program “Eurasian panorama – Masters” will be shown the film “Life with bacteria”, filmed by the order of the television channel “Science”. You can also see the tapes “Platskart”, “Great madness of bees”, “Shock wave”, “In the light” and others.