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Wed, 26 Feb 2020
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Evil Rays

U.S. approves first bird flu vaccine

BEIJING - U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved a bird flu vaccine, the first of its kind with U.S. approval.

The Sanofi-Aventis vaccine could be used to prevent people from becoming infected with the H5N1 bird flu virus. It would be used if the strain mutated into a form that spreads easily from person to person, sparking a pandemic, according to media reports.

Take 2

The Age of Autism: Mercury link to Case 2

In 1943, a child known only as Frederick W. became part of the first medical report of a strange new disorder. Frederick was Case 2 of 11 children whose behavior differed "markedly and uniquely from anything reported so far," wrote Dr. Leo Kanner, the psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins University who introduced the syndrome to the world and named it "autism."

Bizarro Earth

Argentine cow clones to produce insulin in milk

Argentine scientists said on Tuesday they had created four cloned and genetically modified calves capable of producing human insulin in their milk, a step they said could cut the cost of treating diabetes.

The newborn Jersey heifers -- who the scientists have named Patagonia 1, 2, 3 and 4 -- will start producing the human hormone when they reach adulthood, said the biotechnology company behind the project, Bio Sidus.

"This model of a genetically modified cow is a model that allows us to produce large quantities of products at very low cost," said managing director Marcelo Criscuolo, adding that insulin produced by cows would be at least 30 percent cheaper.

Attention

What's In The Water? Estrogen-like Chemicals Found In Fish Caught In Pittsburgh's Rivers, USA

A new study from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute's Center for Environmental Oncology suggests that fish caught in Pittsburgh rivers contain substances that mimic the actions of estrogen, the female hormone. Since fish are sentinels of the environment, and can concentrate chemicals from their habitat within their bodies, these results suggest that feminizing chemicals may be making their way into the region's waterways.

The study, abstract number 3458, being presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, April 14-18, at the Los Angeles Convention Center, also demonstrated that the chemicals extracted from the local fish can cause growth of estrogen-sensitive breast cancer cells cultured in the laboratory. Extracts of fish caught in areas heavily polluted by industrial and municipal wastes resulted in the greatest amount of cell growth.

Question

How The Sensory-deprived Brain Compensates

Whiskers provide a mouse with essential information to negotiate a burrow or detect movement that could signal a predator's presence. These stiff hairs relay sensory input to the brain, which shapes neuronal activity. In a first, studies of this system by Carnegie Mellon scientists show just how well a mouse brain can compensate when limited to sensing the world through one whisker. Published April 4 in the Journal of Neuroscience, the results should help shape future studies of sensory deprivation that results from stroke or traumatic brain injury, say the authors.

"Our findings are the first to show this degree of brain adaptability in a setting with significantly limited sensory input," said Alison Barth, assistant professor of biological sciences and a member of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC). "This finding tells us that brain function is plastic, or reparable, when a sense like touch has been profoundly diminished. Plasticity is an important indicator that the brain is reorganizing to compensate for an injury or deficit."

For a decade, neuroscientists have known that the brain can increase its plasticity, or adapt, in response to injury that limits bodily motion. This latest study is the first to show such an impressive enhancement of brain activity in an animal with sensory loss. Losing sight, hearing, taste, smell or touch are common disabling side effects of traumatic brain injury and stroke.

Ambulance

Surprise: Ethanol as Deadly as Gasoline For Now

Fuels high in ethanol may pose an equal or greater risk to public health than regular gasoline, new findings suggest.

Magic Wand

Forming social memories

Does a specific memory exist for events involving humans? French researchers from the Vulnerability, Adaptation and Psychopathology Laboratory (CNRS/Universitי Paris VI) and Canadian researchers from Douglas Hospital, McGill University (Montreal) have identified the internal part of the prefrontal cortex as the key structure for the memory formation of social information.

Social events like a party with friends, a work meeting or a row with a spouse are an integral part of daily life. Our ability to remember these events, and more particularly to remember the people and the relationship we have with them, is absolutely vital if we are to be well adapted to our social life. Different parts of the brain, particularly the hippocampus, are directly involved in learning and memory. Some of these regions are specialized in learning certain types of information, such as the amygdala, which is specialized in the memory of emotions.

Evil Rays

Doublespeak Alert! FDA: Irradiated Food Won't Be Labeled as Such.

The U.S. Food and Drug administration has finally figured out a way to ease people's concern about food irradiation, the process of exposing food to ionizing radiation to kill bacteria and extend shelf life. The FDA solution? Simply don't tell folks it is being used.

On April 4 the FDA proposed a revision to the law requiring proper labeling for foods treated with irradiation. Apparently consumers have been a little queasy about buying foods stamped "treated with irradiation," the wording required since 1986.

So the new plan would be to change the name "irradiation" to "pasteurization" or some more fanciful term, or just forgo the crazy, cumbersome label idea all together.

Comment: Yes, There are some people who are interested in culling the human population. See 94%


Coffee

Chocolate gives people more of a buzz than passionate kisses: study

British researchers said Monday they were stunned to discover that people get more of a buzz from eating chocolate than passionately kissing their lovers.
"These results really surprised and intrigued us," said psychologist David Lewis, who led a study that recorded brain activity and heart rate from volunteers who tasted pieces of dark chocolate or kissed their partners.

Health

Neurotic Men Die Sooner Than Their More Mellow Counterparts

While mellowing with age has often been thought to have positive effects, a Purdue University researcher has shown that doing so could also help you live longer.

Dan Mroczek (pronounced Mro-ZAK), an associate professor of child development and family studies at Purdue University, compared neurotic and non-neurotic men over time and tied change in the trait with mortality.

"We found that neurotic men whose levels dropped over time had a better chance at living longer," Mroczek said. "They seemed to recover from any damage high levels of the trait may have caused. On the flip side, neurotic men whose neuroticism increased over time died much sooner than their peers."