Posts tagged as: biomed

information

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

 

Bacteria make major evolutionary shift in the lab

‘A major evolutionary innovation has unfurled right in front of researchers’ eyes. It’s the first time evolution has been caught in the act of making such a rare and complex new trait.

And because the species in question is a bacterium, scientists have been able to replay history to show how this evolutionary novelty grew from the accumulation of unpredictable, chance events. [..]

But sometime around the 31,500th generation, something dramatic happened in just one of the populations – the bacteria suddenly acquired the ability to metabolise citrate, a second nutrient in their culture medium that E. coli normally cannot use.

Indeed, the inability to use citrate is one of the traits by which bacteriologists distinguish E. coli from other species. The citrate-using mutants increased in population size and diversity.’


faq

Japanese scientists create diesel-producing algae

‘Under the gleam of blinding lamps, engulfed by banks of angrily frothing flasks, Makoto Watanabe is plotting a slimy, lurid-green revolution. He has spent his life in search of a species of algae that efficiently “sweats” crude oil, and has finally found it.

Now, exploiting the previously unrecognised power of pondlife, Professor Watanabe dreams of transforming Japan from a voracious energy importer into an oil-exporting nation to rival any member of Opec. [..]

Professor Watanabe’s vision arises from the extraordinary properties of the Botryococcus braunii algae: give the microscopic green strands enough light – and plenty of carbon dioxide – and they excrete oil. The tiny globules of oil that form on the surface of the algae can be easily harvested and then refined using the same “cracking” technologies with which the oil industry now converts crude into everything from jet fuel to plastics.’


tools

Study indicates grape seed extract may reduce cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease

‘A compound found in grape seed extract reduces plaque formation and resulting cognitive impairment in an animal model of Alzheimer’s disease, new research shows. The study appears in the June 18 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

Lead study author Giulio Pasinetti, MD, PhD, of Mount Sinai School of Medicine and colleagues found that the grape seed extract prevents amyloid beta accumulation in cells, suggesting that it may block the formation of plaques. In Alzheimer’s disease, amyloid beta accumulates to form toxic plaques that disrupt normal brain function. [..]

Moderate consumption of red wine—approximately one glass for women and two glasses for men, according to the Food and Drug Administration—and its constituent grape compounds has reported health benefits, particularly for cardiovascular function. Pasinetti previously found that red wine reduced cognitive decline in mice genetically modified to develop Alzheimer’s disease. In subsequent studies, Pasinetti and colleagues have attempted to isolate which of the nearly 5,000 molecules contained in red wine are important in disease prevention. “Our intent is to develop a highly tolerable, nontoxic, orally available treatment for the prevention and treatment of Alzeheimer’s dementia,” Pasinetti said.’


suggest

Monday, June 16, 2008

 

Miracle baby born twice

‘t may sound unusual, but Macie Hope McCartney was born twice. The baby, who is now one month old, was returned to the womb after surgery, only to have a second arrival 2 months later, reports the MSNBC news channel.

Keri McCartney was 23 weeks into pregnancy when an ultrasound scan revealed the foetus had a noncancerous tumour. It was the size of a grapefruit – and almost as big as the foetus itself.

Normally a tumour like this remains small and can be treated after birth, but this was not the case for little Macie Hope. It grew rapidly and was threatening the baby’s life as it was stealing nourishment from the foetus. Surgery was the only option.

Doctors put Keri into deep anesthesia to completely relax her womb and extracted about 80 percent of Macie Hope’s body – leaving only the head and upper body in the womb. Then they quickly removed the tumour and put the foetus back, since exposure to air could provoke a cardiac arrest. This part of the four-hour-long procedure lasted about 20 minutes.’


Thursday, June 12, 2008

 

Ovulation moment caught on camera

‘A human egg has been filmed in close-up emerging from the ovary for the first time, captured by chance during a routine operation.

Fertile women release one or more eggs every month, but until now, only animal ovulation has been recorded in detail.

Gynaecologist Dr Jacques Donnez spotted it in progress during a hysterectomy.

The pictures, published in New Scientist magazine, were described as “fascinating” by a UK fertility specialist.

Human eggs are produced by follicles, fluid-filled sacs on the side of the ovary, which, around the time of ovulation, produce a reddish protrusion seen in the pictures.’


Sunday, June 8, 2008

 

Scientology luxury cruise ship remains locked down; Cult put thousands at high cancer risk

‘Six weeks after public health authorities on the Caribbean island of Curaçao (Netherlands Antilles) impounded the Scientology cult’s 440-foot luxury liner “Freewinds,” the ship remains locked down. Experts advise that decontaminating the ship would cost millions of dollars and may not even be possible. Meanwhile, the cult continues to solicit funds for cruises that will not happen.

After the ship was quarantined on April 26, the Curaçao Drydock Company was contracted to carry out refurbishment and repairs. The contamination was so extensive that the company decided that the risk to its workers was too great, and ceased operations. At that point Scientology sent a team of its “Sea Org” internal paramilitary force to clean the ship themselves. They are bringing the blue asbestos by the truckload to dump at the island’s Selikor landfill site at Malpais. [..]

Incredibly, top leaders of the Scientology cult were informed of the pervasive contamination back in 1987, but chose to do nothing. [..] Since Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard had never mentioned that asbestos was dangerous, they were not going to worry about it. Scientologists believe that disease is caused not by microbes or toxic substances, but by the presence of “suppressive persons” (SPs), or people who disagree with Scientology and its goals. Moreover, Scientologists believe that high-level Sea Org members cannot get cancer or any other disease.’


Saturday, June 7, 2008

 

Dying man wins gamble on his own life

‘A dying man who literally gambled on his own life plans to spend his bookie’s winnings on booze, fags and death-defying theme park rides!

“Well, why not?” said pragmatic Jon Matthews who has been living on borrowed time ever since he was diagnosed with an untreatable asbestos-linked cancer more than two years ago. [..]

He walked into Fenny Stratford’s William Hill Bookmakers last September and told surprised staff he wanted to take out a £100 bet against the doctors’ prediction that he’d dead by Christmas.

“I thought it would be a bit of fun and I thought it would give me an incentive to battle this horrible illness and survive a bit longer. The people at William Hill checked all the facts and gave me odds of 50-1.”‘


report

Thursday, June 5, 2008

 

Fake bus stop keeps Alzheimer’s patients from wandering off

‘German nursing homes are using a novel strategy to stop Alzheimer’s patients from wandering off: phantom bus stops.

The idea was first tried at Benrath Senior Centre in Düsseldorf, which pitched an exact replica of a standard stop outside, with one small difference: buses do not use it. [..]

“It sounds funny but it helps,” said Franz-Josef Goebel, the chairman of the “Old Lions” association.

“Our members are 84 years old on average. Their short-term memory hardly works, but the long-term memory is still active.

“They know the green and yellow bus sign and remember that waiting there means they will go home.”

The result is that errant patients now wait for their trip home at the bus stop, before quickly forgetting why they were there in the first place.

“We will approach them and say that the bus is coming later and invite them in for a coffee,” said Richard Neureither, Benrath’s director. “Five minutes later they have completely forgotten they wanted to leave.”‘


notice

Morphine Makes Lasting – and Surprising – Change in the Brain

‘Morphine, as little as a single dose, blocks the brain’s ability to strengthen connections at inhibitory synapses, according to new Brown University research published in Nature.

The findings, uncovered in the laboratory of Brown scientist Julie Kauer, may help explain the origins of addiction in the brain. The research also supports a provocative new theory of addiction as a disease of learning and memory.

“We’ve added a new piece to the puzzle of how addictive drugs affect the brain,” Kauer said. “We’ve shown here that morphine makes lasting changes in the brain by blocking a mechanism that’s believed to be the key to memory making. So these findings reinforce the notion that addiction is a form of pathological learning.”‘


Tumour turns out to be 25-year-old towel

‘Doctors in Japan who carried out surgery on a man to remove a tumour had good news and bad news for him.

The good news was he did not have cancer.

The bad news: The growth that had been causing him pain was in fact a 25-year-old surgical towel.

The patient had been carrying the cloth since 1983, when surgeons left it in him after a minor operation to treat an ulcer, a spokesman for the hospital said.

The man, now 49, went in to another hospital in late May after suffering abdominal pain. [..]

“The towel was greenish blue although we are not sure about its original colour,” the Asahi General Hospital spokesman said, adding it had been crumpled to the size of a softball.’


service

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

 

Heavy pot smokers shrinking their brains

‘Australian researchers have found that long-term heavy use of marijuana may cause parts of the brain to shrink.

Published in this month’s Archives of General Psychiatry, the study found that the hippocampus and amygdala were smaller in men who were heavy marijuana users compared to non-users.

The study looked at 15 men heavy marijuana users, who had smoked at least five marijuana cigarettes daily for on average of 20 years.

Brain scans showed that on average their hippocampus volume was 12% less and amygdala volume was 7% less than in the 16 men who were not marijuana users.

The hippocampus regulates memory and emotion, while the amygdala plays a critical role in fear and aggression.’


information

Saturday, May 31, 2008

 

Werner Forssmann

‘Werner Forßmann, (August 29, 1904 – June 1, 1979) was a physician from Germany. He is credited with the first catheterization of a human heart. In 1929, while working in Eberswalde, he made an incision into his arm and fed a urinary catheter into the right atrium of his own heart. He then walked down a flight of stairs to the radiology department, where he had an X-ray taken showing the catheter in his heart. Although he was later fired from another hospital for this, he received his Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1956 for his pioneering feat into cardiological studies.’


‘Pixie Dust’ May Regrow Troop’s Finger

‘Doctors at Brook Army Medical Center are testing a regeneration powder that could help injured soldiers regrow fingers and other body parts lost in battle.

The powder, nicknamed “Pixie Dust” after the fairy dust that enabled children to fly in Disney’s Peter Pan, is made from tissue extracted from pigs. It attracts stem cells and convinces them to grow into the tissue that used to be there. This was reported first on CNN.

Doctors at BAMC used the powder last week on a wounded soldier to encourage the regeneration of a finger in lost in Iraq.

“If it is next to the skin, it will start making skin. If it’s next to a tendon, it will start making a tendon, and so that’s the hope, at least in this particular project, that we can grow a finger,” Dr. Steven Wolf told CNN.

Doctors said they are watching patients for unexpected side effects, such as cancer.’


faq

Deadly snake bites man’s penis

‘A roadside toilet stop ended in pain, embarrassment and almost death for a tourist when a highly venomous snake bit the end of his penis.

The deadly brown snake slithered between his legs and lunged at his manhood as he crouched on a roadside near Laura, 300km northwest of Cairns, about a month ago.

Details of the incident only came to light yesterday after they were confirmed by a paramedic.

“It certainly had a swipe at him,” an ambulance spokesman said yesterday.

“But it didn’t envenomate him.

“As it came through it must have got a bit of a shock.”‘

Australia should make this into an advertising slogan to attract tourists. ‘Come to Australia. Our wildlife will bite you on the cock.’ Can’t fail. 🙂


tools

Thursday, May 29, 2008

 

Group wants Wi-Fi banned from public buildings

‘A group in Santa Fe says the city is discriminating against them because they say that they’re allergic to the wireless Internet signal. And now they want Wi-Fi banned from public buildings.

Arthur Firstenberg says he is highly sensitive to certain types of electric fields, including wireless Internet and cell phones.

“I get chest pain and it doesn’t go away right away,” he said.

Firstenberg and dozens of other electro-sensitive people in Santa Fe claim that putting up Wi-Fi in public places is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.’


suggest

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

 

Dade City Teen Tainted Allergic Mother’s Food

‘A 16-year-old Pasco High School student was arrested Tuesday and charged with aggravated domestic violence after allegedly spiking her mother’s food.

The deputies said the girl’s mother was allergic to many types of food. Her allergies are actually so severe that she carries around an EpiPen, a spring-loaded injector of epinephrine or adrenaline, which prevents her from entering anaphylactic shock.

On May 7, when deputies said the teen added seasoning salt to her mother’s food, the 39-year-old woman had a severe allergic reaction.

Apparently, the woman’s reaction was so serious that she couldn’t inject herself with the EpiPen, as usual, and her teenage daughter had to do it for her.’


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

 

Why Some Hospitals Are Allowing Unnecessary Suffering

‘”His heart filled virtually his whole chest,” recalls Dr. Diane Meier describing her very first patient, an 89-year-old suffering from end-stage congestive heart failure.

It was the first day of Meier’s internship at a hospital in Portland Oregon, and after being assigned 23 patients, she was suddenly told that one of her patients, who had been in the Intensive Care Unit for months, was “coding.” She raced to the ICU where the resident told her to put in a “central line.”

“I didn’t know how,” Meier admits. “I felt overwhelmed and inadequate. Then, the patient died …

“Everyone just walked out of the room,” she remembers. I stood there. I still sometimes flash back on that scene: the patient, naked, lying on the table, strips of paper everywhere, the room empty. This was my patient. I felt I was supposed to do something — but I didn’t know what.”‘


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

 

Image of Taser use lingers

‘Blake Dwyer remembers pain:

And shouting.

And fear.

“I thought a swarm of wasps was after me,” the 17-year-old Guyer High School athlete said. “I was trying to fight them off.”

He doesn’t remember the epileptic seizure he suffered July 18, 2007, when he was 16.

He doesn’t remember fighting to keep from being tied to a stretcher or hitting a paramedic.

His brother, Travis Baker, 17, remembers all of it. He recalls screaming at Corinth police to stop shocking Blake with a Taser. His mother, Deana, remembers hearing Travis crying on the telephone.

“He was saying, ‘Blake is having a seizure, and they’re hurting him,'” she said.’


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

 

The Spoon Theory

‘My best friend and I were in the diner talking. As usual, it was very late and we were eating French Fries with gravy. Like normal girls our age, we spend a lot of time in the diner while in college, and most of the time we spent talking about boys, music or trivial things, that seemed very important at the time.

We never got serious about anything in particular and spend most of our time laughing.

As I went to take some of my vitamins with a snack as I usually did, she watched me this time with a kind of start, instead of continuing the conversation. She then asked me out of the blue what it felt like to have MS and be sick.’

It’s not a bad theory. Generally applicable to all sorts of things.


report

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

 

Unable To Breathe, Man Performs Self-Tracheotomy

‘An Omaha man saved a life, his own life by getting the courage to turn a knife on himself and perform a tracheotomy.

Steve Wilder has faith in God and after a near death experience last week he has a lot of faith in himself. “I was scared to death. I was thinking about dying.”

Just after midnight, Wilder found himself in a dead sleep. Dead because he woke up and couldn’t breathe, his air passage swollen shut

“It just blocked all the way and I just got up and I panicked!” The 55-year-old Wilder, who didn’t think he had time to call and wait for help, faced an unimaginable choice. Either lie there and suffocate to death or take matters into his own hands with a steak knife. [..]’


notice

Taking the Piss

‘In homes, apartments, and shanties throughout Buenos Aires, thousands of graying women joyfully pee into plastic containers at all hours of the day.

It isn’t exactly the picture postcard image that Argentina’s Secretariat of Tourism wants spread around the globe.

Gauchos, mountain peaks, tango, Patagonia, steak – now that’s the stuff of travel brochures.

Yet at any given moment, there are thousands more 65-year-old matrons holding a piece of Tupperware between sagging thighs – silently praying that their hand is steady and aim direct – than tight-assed 20-year-olds twirling the Tango.

Properly aged piss, it turns out, is one of Argentina’s least-known but most-valued exports.

The liquid gold from the ripe bladders of postmenopausal women has been helping “float” the Argentine economy by tens of millions of dollars a year for the last decade. Somewhere deep within the pungent molecules of senescent whiz – we’re clearly running out of original ways to say pee – is a high-value hormone used to combat infertility in younger women with ripe, but unwilling eggs.’


Saturday, May 10, 2008

 

MRI Danger

(367kB and 3.8meg Flash videos)

see it here »


service

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

 

You Walk Wrong

‘Walking is easy. It’s so easy that no one ever has to teach you how to do it. It’s so easy, in fact, that we often pair it with other easy activities—talking, chewing gum—and suggest that if you can’t do both simultaneously, you’re some sort of insensate clod. So you probably think you’ve got this walking thing pretty much nailed. As you stroll around the city, worrying about the economy, or the environment, or your next month’s rent, you might assume that the one thing you don’t need to worry about is the way in which you’re strolling around the city.

Well, I’m afraid I have some bad news for you: You walk wrong.

Look, it’s not your fault. It’s your shoes. Shoes are bad. I don’t just mean stiletto heels, or cowboy boots, or tottering espadrilles, or any of the other fairly obvious foot-torture devices into which we wincingly jam our feet. I mean all shoes. Shoes hurt your feet. They change how you walk. In fact, your feet—your poor, tender, abused, ignored, maligned, misunderstood feet—are getting trounced in a war that’s been raging for roughly a thousand years: the battle of shoes versus feet.’


information

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

 

your mom will kill us all!

‘The world is in shock as news sinks in.

“It’s only a matter of time before your mom kills you and everyone you know.” said Dr. Paul Rathburg, a University professor who is the spokesman for the World Health Organization.

Contact with, or even being in the proximity of your mom is known to trigger acute merman syndrome, sleeping sweats, and a deadly soup of bacteria called gumbo that shoots out of your nostrils.

“We know that your mom needs little time to reach sufficient levels to kill,” Rathburg said.

Rathburg said the first victim was a young man who had a web design job, and worked for a well respected university. “He was perfectly fine when he went to work,” Rathburg said in a telephone interview.

“After about 15 minutes, he had a case of nasal face and collapsed on the floor. The autopsy clearly indicates he died from exposure to your mom,” said Rathburg, who would not disclose the man’s name or the precise place and time of his death for privacy reasons.’


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

 

Tampa woman charged with child neglect after passing out, leaving child to fend for herself

‘A woman is in custody for child neglect this morning after mixing prescription medication with alcohol and leaving her 2-year-old child to fend for herself.

Neighbors saw Tiffany Garland’s daughter playing on the balcony and eating cigarette butts for at least four hours.

According to reports, Garland took the antidepressant Paxil and drank an unspecified amount of tequila.

The child was seen on the balcony a short time after and police were called.’


faq

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

 

Potent HIV killer found in alligator blood

‘Powerful infection-fighting proteins found in alligator blood could help fight HIV and antibiotic-resistant ‘superbugs’ in humans, suggests new American research.

Scientists who successfully extracted the active proteins from alligators’ white blood cells have found that these kill a wide variety of bacteria, fungi and viruses. The findings were presented over the weekend at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans.

“We’re very excited about the potential of these alligator blood proteins as both antibacterial and antifungal agents,” says Mark Merchant, principal investigator at McNeese State University in Louisiana, USA, and co-author of the study. “There’s a very real possibility that you could be treated with an alligator blood product one day.”‘


tools

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

 

Medical high jinks leave Tom Cruise camp fuming

‘Tom Cruise isn’t getting any giggles from a new strain of medical marijuana being marketed as “Tom Cruise Purple.”

Word is that the actor’s lawyers are taking a serious look at the strong brand of bud after we brought it to their attention.

One of Cruise’s friends found it “outrageous” that licensed cannabis clubs in Northern California are selling vials of pot featuring a picture of Cruise laughing hysterically. [..]

Staffers at several California clinics we called said they were forbidden to discuss any of the herbal varieties in their “inventory.”

But one weed devotee said, “I heard it’s the kind of pot that makes you hallucinate.”‘


suggest

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

 

Mr. T brought boy out of coma

‘Former The A-Team star Mr. T once stunned a sick child’s family by bringing him out of a coma – after doctors begged the actor for help.

The poorly kid fell unconscious in Detroit, Michigan in the mid-1980s – and the only physical movement he made was in response to hearing Mr. T’s name.

And when the mohawked star was in town, he stopped by the hospital to visit the ill boy – with miraculous results.’


Sunday, March 30, 2008

 

Hackers Assault Epilepsy Patients via Computer

‘Internet griefers descended on an epilepsy support message board last weekend and used JavaScript code and flashing computer animation to trigger migraine headaches and seizures in some users.

The nonprofit Epilepsy Foundation, which runs the forum, briefly closed the site Sunday to purge the offending messages and to boost security.

“We are seeing people affected,” says Ken Lowenberg, senior director of web and print publishing at the Epilepsy Foundation. “It’s fortunately only a handful. It’s possible that people are just not reporting yet — people affected by it may not be coming back to the forum so fast.”

The incident, possibly the first computer attack to inflict physical harm on the victims, began Saturday, March 22, when attackers used a script to post hundreds of messages embedded with flashing animated gifs.

The attackers turned to a more effective tactic on Sunday, injecting JavaScript into some posts that redirected users’ browsers to a page with a more complex image designed to trigger seizures in both photosensitive and pattern-sensitive epileptics.’

People are cunts.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

 

AP Probe Finds Drugs in Drinking Water

‘A vast array of pharmaceuticals — including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones — have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, an Associated Press investigation shows.

To be sure, the concentrations of these pharmaceuticals are tiny, measured in quantities of parts per billion or trillion, far below the levels of a medical dose. Also, utilities insist their water is safe.

But the presence of so many prescription drugs — and over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen — in so much of our drinking water is heightening worries among scientists of long-term consequences to human health.

In the course of a five-month inquiry, the AP discovered that drugs have been detected in the drinking water supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas — from Southern California to Northern New Jersey, from Detroit to Louisville, Ky.’