Health & Wellness


Shock Doctrine Applied: Some Political Views May be Related to Physiology

View a video interview and podcast with researcher John Hibbing of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

People who react more strongly to bumps in the night, spiders on a human body or the sight of a shell-shocked victim are more likely to support public policies that emphasize protecting society over preserving individual privacy. That's the conclusion of a recent study by researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). Their research results appear in the Sept. 19 issue of Science magazine.

Duke medical team finds genetic link between immune and nerve systems

Duke University Medical Center researchers have discovered genetic links between the nervous system and the immune system in a well-studied worm, and the findings could illuminate new approaches to human therapies.

For some time, researchers have theorized a direct link between the nervous and immune systems, such as stress messages that override the protective effects of antibodies, but the exact connection was unknown.

"This is the first time that a genetic approach has been used to demonstrate that specific neurons in the nervous system are capable of regulating immune response in distant cells," said Alejandro Aballay Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Duke Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology.

They studied a neural circuit in the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans.

European Parliament urges commission to ban animal cloning for food supply

Cow and calf

On 3 September the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling for a ban on the cloning of animals for food supply purposes, as well as an embargo on imports of cloned animals and their produce and offspring. The main concerns were threats to animal welfare, genetic diversity, consumer confidence and the image and substance of the European agricultural model.

Animal cloning is usually carried out using somatic cell nucleus transfer (SCNT). This process involves inserting genes from the donor animal into an egg that has had its nucleus removed. This egg then forms an embryo, which is transferred to a surrogate mother. Cattle and pigs that have been successfully cloned using SCNT are apparently normal; however, severe adverse health effects and developmental abnormalities are seen in animals when failures occur during the 'reprogramming' phase of cloning.

Sydney lab cleared to clone human embryos

Sydney scientists have been given approval to attempt a world first in medical research. Researchers at fertility company Sydney IVF were yesterday issued with Australia's first licence to produce cloned human embryos.

By extracting stem cells from the cloned embryos, they hope to gain unprecedented insights into how crippling conditions including muscular dystrophy and Huntington's disease develop, and how to treat them.
Life Preserver

Moyamoya, Deadly And Mysterious Disease In Little People Can Be Treated

Neurosurgeon Gary Steinberg, MD, PhD, leads the largest and most successful program in the world for treating Moyamoya, a mysterious vascular time bomb in the brain . Patients from Alabama to Australia have been seeking Steinberg out in a desperate effort to treat a brain disease so rare most neurologists will never see a case.

US: Cancer Cases Investigated At Connecticut Plant

A new study may solve the question of whether the chemicals at a Pratt and Whitney plant are causing cancer clusters in its workers. The results from the first phase of the multi-year study.

Widow Carol Shea says "everyone is very anxious to find out what the first results will be."

Woman Suffers Orgasm-Related Stroke

Sex triggered a life-threatening stroke in a healthy 35-year-old Illinois woman, her doctors report. Sex- and orgasm-triggered strokes in relatively young women and men are rare, but not unheard of. They require a combination of factors and events not unusual in themselves, but which are highly unlikely to occur at the same time.

'Near death' has biological basis

Near death experiences appear to have a biological explanation, research suggests. The US team said the same parts of the brain are activated when people dream as in near death experiences.

The study, in Neurology, compared 55 people who had had near death experiences and 55 who had not. Those with near death experiences were more likely to have less clearly separated boundaries between sleeping and waking, the scientists found.

Study into near-death experiences

A large study is to examine near-death experiences in cardiac arrest patients. Doctors at 25 UK and US hospitals will study 1,500 survivors to see if people with no heartbeat or brain activity can have "out of body" experiences.

Some people report seeing a tunnel or bright light, others recall looking down from the ceiling at medical staff. The study, due to take three years and co-ordinated by Southampton University, will include placing on shelves images that could only be seen from above.

Conservatives Scare More Easily Than Liberals, Say Scientists

Deep-seated political differences aren't simply moral and intellectual: They're also biological.

In reflex tests of 46 political partisans, psychologists found that conservatives were more likely than liberals to be shocked by sudden threats.

Accompanying the physiological differences were deep differences on hot-button political issues: military expansion, the Iraq war, gun control, capital punishment, the Patriot act, warrantless searches, foreign aid, abortion rights, gay marriage, premarital sex and pornography.