Tag Archives: vaccine

Science Quickies: The Universe In A Single Photo, Pink Leopards, Extreme Face Transplant, and Sexy Newt Kidneys

12 Apr

Neil deGrasse Tyson has a new book out, which states his argument on why funding of space exploration is essential. He also did a recent interview with NPR which is definitely worth listening to. In other astronomy news, new models show that we have several “mini-moons” orbiting around us, from the size of a softball to a washing machine. They are hard to spot, but can occasionally enter our atmosphere, creating a brilliant fireball, according to National Geographic. NASA also recently released a new photo, which is essentially our entire universe in a single photo. It’s absolutely beautiful! According to Huffington Post: “NASA recently unveiled a new atlas and catalogue of the entire infrared sky, which includes more than a half billion stars, galaxies and other objects captured by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission. It is comprised of more than 2.7 million images taken at four infrared wavelengths of light, capturing everything from nearby asteroids to distant galaxies.”

In the world of medicine and public health, a few things caught my attention.
First, a Chinese kid recently sold his kidney in order to raise money for an iPad, and later suffered from renal failure. He only received $3,500 for the organ, which typically goes for $35,000 in the Chinese black market, according to the article.
In a far less depressing story, researched of Lund University in Sweden announced that a vaccine against heart attacks may be available in 10 years. Scientists have discovered a new drug that stimulates the body’s immune system to produce antibodies which prevent heart disease by stopping fat building up in the arteries. Fat buildup can be reduced by 70%, the researchers claim.
A Virginia man has just had the most extensive face transplant in history.

A 1997 gunshot injury left Richard Norris without a chin, nose, teeth, and lips. The face transplant took 36 hours and is the result of a team of 150 medical professionals. According to the article: “Just six days after his surgery, Norris was saying some words, shaving and brushing his teeth. He’s also beginning to get some feeling back in his face.”
Is there a link between burns and cancer? A recent study from the University of Western Australia seems to think so.


A “strawberry” leopard has been discovered in a South African reserve
, the first documented case of its kind. The leading theory is that the leopard has erythrism, which could cause the pink coloration. Also, red-spotted newts have incredibly sexy kidneys. Seriously.  In other news of adorable amphibians, 5 species of frogs have been rediscovered in recent field expeditions on the Congo, including a species of transparent frog. In Indonesia, a new species of wasp has been found, which has several unusual characteristics and is shrouded in mystery.

Advertisements

Science Quickies: Space Trains and Shiny Dinosaurs, Birth Control Myths and HIV vaccines.

11 Mar

Sweet zombie Jesus, we could be building space trains!!! Why, oh why, do we not have space trains yet? They’re trains that send things into goddamn space!!!

Ancient dinosaurs were not only feathered, but shiny! Pigment-containing organelles show that the Microraptor had black iridescent feathers, much like a crow. It also had four wings, and was about the size of a pigeon. I am in favor of bringing these guys back, as it would make feeding birds in the park a lot more entertaining.

A new study shows that in America’s HIV “hot spots,” African-American women testedt five times higher then the national average. The US hot spots were Atlanta, GA, Raleigh-Durham, NC, Washington D.C., Baltimore, MD, Newark, NJ, and New York City, and the tested age range was from 18 to 44.

In light of the recent contraception funding, Heina of Skepchick wrote a great article outlining 7 common birth control and abortion myths.

Scientists, with their admirable persistence, made a huge step forward in HIV vaccine development. Keep it up, darlings!

Checking into a hospital soon? Make sure you go to one whose infection prevention programs are led by a director who is board certified in infection prevention and control, as such hospitals have lower incidences of MRSA infections. This is one of those studies that seems like a no-brainer and waste of time and resources, but it’s often the very obvious studies that are the most cited; A good reminder that we can’t simply assume things. We must have the evidence to back us, even on the obvious things.

Science Quickies: The Ocean In Space, High Tech Cows, and Racism Drugs

10 Mar

The largest, oldest body of water has been discovered. It lives in space. No, seriously. Space has oceans now. Beachfront resorts are coming soon.

My thoughts and support are with Phumeza Tisile, a Doctors Without Borders tuberculosis blogger who received some bad news this week.

NPR reports on Claudia, the high tech cow who produces 75 gallons of milk a day, as opposed to the 30 gallons by a normal cow. Moo.

In blood news, scientists have examined the crystal x-ray structure of full length human plasminogen, which provides insight on activation and conversion to plasmin.

Bellicum Pharmaceuticals raises $20M to progress cell transplant and cancer vaccine products.  Further proof that all a research scientist has to do is walk into a room and say “cancer,” and money will be thrown at them.

The Journal of Microscopy is offering their first issue of 2012 free online.

Propranolol, a beta blocker which has made the news often with its effective anxiety treatment, “abuse” in the musical performance community as a “performance enhancer,” and promise as a memory erasing post-trauma drug, is back in the news again, with claims that it can cure racism.