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Tech Talk: A search for new planets, fighting dementia in women and more | Technically Speaking – Tucson, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona 2021-07-30 04:00:00 –

With a major research university in the backyard, a strong military presence and innovative companies throughout the metropolitan area, southern Arizona has a lot of interesting scientific, medical and technical news. Here is a breakdown of the most interesting recent developments.

I’m looking for a new planet. The new device at Kitt Peak National Observatory, west of Tucson, recently embarked on a mission to discover extrasolar planets after passing a preparatory review by NASA and the National Science Foundation. The NEID spectrometer is dedicated to high-precision Doppler observations and is used in combination with a 3.5-meter telescope at the observatory. According to the University of Arizona, university researchers led a test run of the instrument, demonstrating that the spectrometer meets the technical and scientific requirements of its operation. The university also acts as a hub for NEID’s software pipeline. The pipeline “transforms subtle changes in the star’s light spectrum into data that tells astronomers about planets orbiting stars that cannot be observed directly.”

Chadbender, a NEID instrument scientist and quasi-astronomer at UA’s Steward Observatory, said: “We can use our observations of the Sun to better understand the activity of stars and apply that knowledge to other Sun-like stars looking for planets like Earth.”

For centuries, planets orbiting stars outside our solar system have been hypothesized. However, the existence of extrasolar planets was confirmed in 1992. Since then, nearly 5,000 exoplanets have been detected in 3,500 solar systems, thanks to the rapidly increasing astronomical technology and efforts.

The name NEID (NASA / NSF-Exploring the search for extrasolar planets with Doppler spectroscopy) is also derived from the Tohono O’odham word “ñeid” which means “see”.

A mature missile. Earlier this month, the US Air Force awarded a $ 2 billion engineering and manufacturing development contract for Raytheon missiles and defense for “long-range stand-off” cruise missiles. Longrange standoffs replace the aging AGM-86B air-launched cruise missiles deployed in the early 1980s. According to Air Force Maj. Gen. Anthony Gennatempo, the LRSO Program Office has leveraged pioneering reliability and manufacturing approaches to establish a highly capable and mature design at the stage of technological maturity and risk mitigation. A contract is a single-source acquisition and occurs when the government considers a particular contractor to be the only source available for the contract, rather than going through the normal competitive process of a government contract. Work on the contract will take place at Raytheon’s Tucson location and will be completed in February 2027.

“The LRSO team has been working for almost three years to ensure that the Air Force achieves a stable cruise missile design that meets national requirements for reliable airlift nuclear deterrence over the next years,” the LRSO program said. Manager Elizabeth T. Thorne said. “Obtaining an EMD contract represents the next step in completing development, fully maturing manufacturing technology, and demonstrating that LRSO meets operational requirements.”

Reduction of Alzheimer’s disease. Women receiving menopausal hormone therapy may have an reduced risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study from the University of Arizona. According to the National Cancer Institute, menopausal hormone therapy is recommended by doctors to relieve common menopausal symptoms and to address long-term biological changes in the body of menopausal and postmenopausal women. It is a treatment method to do. However, there is increasing evidence that certain hormone therapies reduce the risk of cancer and now also reduce neurodegenerative diseases.

The study “Relationship between Menopausal Hormone Therapy and Risk of Neurodegenerative Diseases”, published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia, studied records of more than 300,000 women with and without hormone therapy. According to this study, hormone therapy is associated with a reduced risk of all neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, with longer treatment periods and higher efficacy of natural steroids. In particular, women who received menopausal hormone therapy for more than 6 years were found to be 79% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and 77% less likely to develop neurodegenerative disease.

“This study gives us mechanical knowledge. This reduction in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia shares a common driver in which these diseases are regulated by estrogen. That means, if you have a common driver, you may have a common treatment, “said Dr. Roberta Diazbrington, director of the UA Innovation Center. PhD in brain science and senior author of treatises. “The important thing is that hormone therapy is not a cure, but it maintains the functioning of the brain and this system as a whole and leads to prevention. It does not reverse the disease. Keeping the brain healthy prevents the disease. doing.”

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