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Lick Your Wounds

Saliva contains a powerful anti-infection protein, say scientists from the Netherlands.  Science Daily reported that if this compound could be mass-produced, it offers hope for those with diseases, burns and injuries prone to infection.     Saliva is a complex concoction with many kinds of molecules.  With controlled experiments, the researchers were able to identify […]

Adult Stem Cells May Cure Muscular Dystrophy

Muscular dystrophy leaves children and adults in a nearly helpless state.  Parents watch in agony as their children suffer rapid and progressive weakness.  Attempts to support research, like the annual Labor Day events Jerry Lewis has held for over 40 years, have betrayed their inability to find a cure by the very fact of their […]

Can Psychology Figure Out Humans?

Psychology is often considered a soft science.  Anything they pronounce one year is likely to be modified or overturned the next.     A few years ago (and still in some quarters), self-esteem was all the rage (now fading, though; see 05/12/2003).  We should be assertive and confident, we were told, and make our feelings […]

Love Your Heart: Look at Nature

Heart patients can get instant relief from stress by simply looking out at nature through a window, reported Science Daily.  It worked better if the patient looked at the real thing, not just a picture on TV.     In a study funded by the National Science Foundation, scientists tested the heart rates of patients […]

Beware of Starstuff

Stars can be dangerous.  They spew out deadly particles, unless you are protected from them in a safety bubble – like Earth has.  The Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere only let in the life-giving part of sunlight.  Studies of other stars, and our own moon, show that things could be far worse. Record flare:  A […]

Whence Plague?

Where did bubonic plague come from?  Science News reported that two mutations turned the bacterium from a docile, innocuous bacterium into a curse.     The combination of two mutations disabled the gene for aspartase, an enzyme that breaks down aspartic acid.  When the crippled Yersinia pestis enters a host, more aspartic acid is generated […]

Evolution After the Fact

Many scientific theories are evaluated on their ability to make predictions.  Good theories suggest experiments that lead a researcher to discover new things.  In biology, however, “evolution” is a word often invoked as an after-market explanation for observations that emerged outside of the theory.  Here are some recent examples: Ant farm:  Science Daily reported on […]

Mars Lacks Safety Shield for Humans

Forget all those optimistic, futuristic sci-fi tales of humans landing on Mars.  It isn’t safe, said Space.com.  NASA’s space radiation program doubts that a human body could survive prolonged exposure to space.  This is a problem for long stays on the moon, too.     “The magnetic field of Earth protects humanity from radiation in […]

Mr. Clean Is Sick

Do you get sick too easily?  Did you grow up with allergies?  One reason might be your home environment is too clean, says a story on PhysOrg.     The “hygiene hypothesis” asserts that our immune system over-reacts to lack of stimulation by turning on itself – producing autoimmune diseases and allergies.  It “blames increased […]

For Healthy Society, Father Knows Best

Science Proves Common Sense Dept.  Swedish scientists have found that “Children Who Have An Active Father Figure Have Fewer Psychological And Behavioral Problems,” according to a report on Science Daily.  In addition, “Children who lived with both a mother and father figure also had less behavioural problems than those who just lived with their mother.”  […]

Beat the Crowds: Go Outdoors

Fewer people are feeling close to nature, said a report on PhysOrg.  According to a study done by Oliver Pergams (U of Illinois) and Patricia Zaradic (Environmental Leadership Program, Pennsylvania), a decline in visitation at national parks corresponds to an increase in sedentary activities like playing video games, surfing the Internet and watching movies.  They […]

Zatta Fact?  “Scientific Facts” Evolve

Every once in awhile it is good to be reminded that “scientific facts” are in a constant state of revision.  Here are some recent examples of scientists with surprised looks on their faces: Cholesterol for health:  Surprise, says EurekAlert: cholesterol may actually pose health benefits.  “… don’t push aside bacon and eggs just yet,” it […]

Stem Cells: It’s a New Ball Game

A year ago, the ethical battle over human embryonic stem cells was raging.  Now, both Science and Nature have acknowledged that the new induced pluripotent stem cell technology (see 11/20/2007) has opened up a new era that may make embryonic stem cells practically obsolete.     Martin Pera, writing in Nature1, left open only a […]

Your Body Says: Resolve to Exercise

Even moderate exercise can prevent health risks, an article in Science Daily says.  Want to keep the waist trim?  Reduce the bad cholesterol and triglycerides, and increase your HDLs?  Want to lower your risk of diabetes, heart attack and stroke?  Then get out and walk.  You don’t have to become a jogger or gym addict.  […]

Will Adult Stem Cells Cure Sickle Cell Anemia?

It’s been just weeks since two labs announced success harvesting pluripotent stem cells from skin cells (11/20/2007), and already beneficial applications are in sight.  Science Daily and Live Science reported on initial tests that show the new “induced pluripotent stem cells” offer hope for millions afflicted with sickle-cell anemia.  Though it’s too early to tell […]
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