New algorithm sharpens focus of world’s most powerful microscopes

New algorithm sharpens focus of world's most powerful microscopes
A composite image of the enzyme lactase showing how cryo-EM’s resolution has improved dramatically in recent years. Older images to the left, more recent to the right. Credit: Veronica Falconieri/National Cancer Institute

We’ve all seen that moment in a cop TV show where a detective is reviewing grainy, low-resolution security footage, spots a person of interest on the tape, and nonchalantly asks a CSI technician to “enhance that.” A few keyboard clicks later, and voila—they’ve got a perfect, clear picture of the suspect’s face. This, of course, does not work in the real world, as many film critics and people on the internet like to point out.


However, real-life scientists have recently developed a true “enhance” tool: one that improves the resolution and accuracy of powerful microscopes that are used to reveal insights into biology and medicine.

In a study published in Nature Methods, a multi-institutional team led by

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Researchers used miniature microscopes to conduct first-ever study of astrocyte calcium activity in sleep in freely behaving animals — ScienceDaily

A new study published today in the journal Current Biology suggests that star-shaped brain cells known as astrocytes could be as important to the regulation of sleep as neurons, the brain’s nerve cells.

Led by researchers at Washington State University’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, the study builds new momentum toward ultimately solving the mystery of why we sleep and how sleep works in the brain. The discovery may also set the stage for potential future treatment strategies for sleep disorders and neurological diseases and other conditions associated with troubled sleep, such as PTSD, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and autism spectrum disorder.

“What we know about sleep has been based largely on neurons,” said lead author and postdoctoral research associate Ashley Ingiosi. Neurons, she explained, communicate through electrical signals that can be readily captured through electroencephalography (EEG). Astrocytes — a type of glial (or “glue”) cell that interacts with neurons

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