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Appendix to the Vestigial Organs Story: Whoops, Function Found

The appendix is not just a useless organ left over from our evolutionary past, new research is showing.  According to an Associate Press article (see MSNBC News), this “seemingly useless organ may produce, protect good germs for your gut.”  Scientists at Duke University Medical School believe that the appendix can regenerate the normal bacterial flora […]

Stem-Cell Advocates Try to Shield Ethical Concerns

Would an embryonic stem cell by another name cease being human?  Several recent articles on embryonic stem cells are going beyond just touting the potential cures from the controversial research, which involves creating and destroying a human embryo.  Some are blurring the line between embryonic and adult stem cells (cf. 12/02/2006) and attempting to avoid […]

Gratitude Protects Against Health Loss

A study in the “new science of gratitude” showed that thankfulness is good therapy.  Researchers at UC Davis and Mississippi University for Women tracked 12 female patients who kept journals of their hospital stays while receiving organ transplants.  A control group just reported “medication side-effects, how they felt about life overall, how connected they were […]

Keep the Stem Cell News Straight

Stem cell technology continues to make news, but the phrase “stem cells” alone can mask serious ethical issues.  Adult stem cells (AS) and embryonic stem cells (ES) are both being investigated for their ability to transform into any cell type in the body.  Both are advertised as promising dramatic cures for debilitating diseases, with their […]

Chinese Eat Dragon Bone for Health

Chinese villagers dig up dinosaur bones for health food.  Yahoo News reported, “Villagers in central China dug up a ton of dinosaur bones and boiled them in soup or ground them into powder for traditional medicine, believing they were from flying dragons and had healing powers.”  The article says the bones are calcium rich and […]

Health News that Brings Hope

Why do we never see articles claiming that exercise is bad?  Here are some more reasons to get moving. Work your brain:  Who wouldn’t mind a few more brain cells?  EurekAlert reported research from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden that exercise can stimulate the formation of new brain cells.  They think this helps explain why […]

More Reasons to Enjoy Creation Outdoors

Evidence keeps mounting that exercise is good for almost every body.  It can prevent and alleviate many ailments.  But isn’t that only natural? Low back pain:  Laziness increases the risk of back pain, reported EurekAlert on work from Australia.  Staying in bed shrinks muscles needed to support the back.  So does prolonged inactivity at a […]

Could Germ Toxicity Be an Environmental Effect?

Listeria becomes nasty when starved of oxygen, reported EurekAlert.  “Limiting oxygen produces bacteria up to 100 times more invasive than similar bacteria grown with ample oxygen supplies.” Could this imply that a world with different atmospheric or soil conditions could have been less prone to disease?  Could the bacteria we fear most have been placid […]

Take a Walk in the Biodiversity Park

A walk in the park is good for your spirit.  That much we already knew.  Researchers at the University of Sheffield now claim, though, that the more biodiversity in the park, the better: “Dr Richard Fuller and colleagues from the University’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, and De Montfort University in Leicester, have been […]

Human Adaptation Can Be Rapid

How long does it take for humans to adapt to environmental changes?  Some recent papers investigated this question. Paleface:  If it is assumed that humans started out medium or dark-skinned, how long did it take for Europeans to lose much of that original pigment?  An article in Science April 20 says maybe just 6,000 to […]

Dirt for Physical and Mental Health

Live Science has an article suggesting that exposure to dirt can improve your mood by boosting the immune system.  This is an unexpected twist on the “hygiene hypothesis” that childhood exposure to dirt and animals helps innoculate the body to certain diseases (see 08/02/2006).  Certain bacteria might not only boost the immune system, but also […]

Adult Stem Cells Form Heart Valve

The BBC News reported that part of a heart valve was grown from stem cells.  The article did not state till halfway down the page that the feat was achieved with adult stem cells, not embryonic stem cells. Everybody knows that the big battle over stem cells revolves around the ethics of using human embryos […]

Lunar Dust Is Deadly

A significant fraction of lunar dust could pose deadly risks to future astronauts stationed on the moon, a BBC News report says.  About 1-3% of moon dust particles are too small to be coughed up or removed by the cilia lining the respiratory tract.  These would lodge in the lungs and become inflamed.  As in […]

Have Scientists Found the Secret of Aging?

There’s a tragic disease that speeds up aging.  Known as progeria (Huntington-Gilford progeria syndrome, HGPS), it is caused by a single point mutation in exon 11 of the NMLA gene.  Children afflicted with this disease look old beyond their years and often die at 13 of heart attack and stroke – essentially, of old age. […]

Skin Includes Built-In Damage Protection

Ultraviolet radiation that tans skin can also cause skin cancer, right?  Right, but the skin also produces a cancer fighter to come to the rescue, reported EurekAlert.  Scientists at the Dana-Farber cancer institute detected a known cancer fighter named p53 that is produced right under the skin.  Their results, published in Cell (see summary on […]
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