"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink

Science is best when discussed: leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments!!

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Brains and Sounds 

The Placebo effect is a long recognized phenomenon. It's been more viewed as an occasionally useful nuisance than anything else, mostly (I think) because it simply hasn't been well researched. A new study from the University of Denver shows a very impressive, and clinically useful, placebo effect: sham surgery helps Parkinson's patients. I'd say that that's pretty damn cool. Now maybe we can get some decent research on why there is this effect we scientists take so much care to control.

U. Texas scientists have found another protein crucial to memory formation: RIM1 alpha knock-out mice are "incredibly stupid." A single gene this important is, needless to say, a Big Deal. The press release doesn't give details, but the article is published in Neuron, so it's likely to be pretty robust. I just can't wait for GNC or whomever to start marketing something that "boosts RIM1 alpha levels," although actually all it is is phenylalanine. But I hope they can soon bottle the real stuff up and make me smarter!!

And, in the realm of Things I Don't Understand, Even A Little, Stevens Institute of Technology scientists have achieved some breakthroughs in time-reversal acoustics. I like the sound of "time reversal," even though I know it doesn't mean "letting me have a mulligan of all the shit I fucked up yesterday," and new medical imaging techniques are always cool. I like new toys.

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