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Ethics Shmethics: Scientists Obsessed with Embryonic Stem Cells

With non-controversial adult stem cell research zooming along, like finding ways to prevent adult stem cells (ASC) from aging (PhysOrg), providing hope for leukemia patients (Science Daily) and giving mastectomy patients a chance for beauty once again (Science Daily), why are so many scientists adamant about keeping embryonic stem cell research on the public dole? […]

Nerve Traffic Cop Identified

What makes signals go in one direction in neurons?  It’s important, because a reflex signal from a bump on your knee needs to go in the direction of the controlling muscle and on to the brain, not any which way.  Is there some kind of traffic cop that directs the placement of “one way” signs […]

Embryonic Stem Cell Researchers Reeling from Judge’s Decision

Political conservatives have often been stunned by lone judges overturning the will of the people.  This time, liberals in support of embryonic stem cell research are reeling from the decision of a federal judge that halts funding of such research that was recently energized by the President.     Federal Judge Royce Lamberth’s August 23 […]

Atheist Doctors Might Kill You

Your doctor’s religious beliefs – or lack of them – might have a lot to do with how soon you exit this world when elderly or infirm.  Science Daily reported, “Atheist or agnostic doctors are almost twice as willing to take decisions that they think will hasten the end of a very sick patient’s life […]

Stem Cell News: Adults Still Lead

Stem cells are still hot.  Most of the significant findings are coming from adult stem cells (AS) or induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) rather than embryonic stem cells (ES).  For example, a PhysOrg article described progress at the University of Michigan in predicting what cell types stem cells will become.  Nothing was said in the […]

Cell Regulation Doesn’t Just Happen

Scientists are finding that it’s not just having the right parts that makes a body go; it’s having those parts controlled by the right regulators.  Recent stories make the case with their headlines: “‘Guardian of the Genome’: Protein Helps Prevent Damaged DNA in Yeast,” announced Science Daily.  “Scientists find gas pedal – and brake – […]

Electricity Forms Your Heart

Did you know your heart is an electrical appliance?  That’s right.  Currents of electrical ions are vital to its function as a contractile organ.  Now, researchers at the University of California have found another thing electricity does for your heart: it guides the developing heart into the proper shape.  This is a key study showing […]

Darwin Caught Out of Bounds

What business does Darwin have in quantum mechanics or engineering?  Wasn’t his a theory on the origin of species – that is, plants, animals and living things?  Some scientists seem intent on extrapolating his views to all of reality, including areas commonly thought to be in the domain of intelligent design.  Let’s get physical:  An […]

Heal the Blind with Stem Cells

Have you heard that some cases of corneal blindness can be cured by stem cells #– from the person’s own eyes?  New Scientist recounted some recent successes for victims blinded in one eye by burns or acid.  Stem cells taken from the limbus, a disk surrounding the iris, and transplanted onto the damaged cornea, were […]

The RNA Code: Pseudogenes Functional, Help Prevent Cancer

A surprising function has been discovered for a “pseudogene” – an apparently mutated copy of a regular gene that till recently was thought to be genetic junk.  This pseudogene, reported in Nature today,1 not only has a function unrelated to the production of proteins, but a function that could save your life.  It is part […]

Get a Life with Nature

Feeling bored, low on energy, exhausted?  Don’t reach for a cup of coffee.  Get out into nature.  Researchers at the University of Rochester ran some controlled experiments on college students and found that those who spent a little time outdoors felt happier and more energetic.  “Spending time in nature makes people feel more alive,” the […]

Stem Cells: Hope, Politics, Charity, and Clarity

Those promising little cells that can differentiate into almost any tissue continue to make news – but they also continue to generate controversy.  Actually, only some of them generate controversy: the embryonic stem cells.  Not all of the articles about stem cells make that clear.  Defining life:  With the stroke of a pen, South Korea […]

Could This Protein Delay Aging?

It’s called Heat Shock Protein 10.  It responds to stress, and might just slow the aging process, scientists are finding.  Science Daily reported, “Scientists in the UK and the U.S. have discovered that a protein which responds to stress can halt the degeneration of muscle mass caused during the body’s aging process.”     Why […]

Clock Gene Same in Humans and Birds

Science Daily, this “not only sheds light on how our internal annual body clocks function but also shows a key link between birds and mammals that has been conserved over 300 million years.”     Mammals, including humans, have a hormone released by the pituitary gland that controls melatonin levels – known to affect the […]

To Sleep, To Dream: To Dream, Perchance, to Learn

When you have learned a complex task, take a nap and dream about it.  A new study shows that dreaming helps consolidate the memory in your mind and helps you perform the task better next time around.     Science Daily reported on research by scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  They tested 99 […]
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