"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!!

Monday, September 13, 2004

Breathe, Dream, Dye 

Asthma and COPD suffers may see a new type of treatment: Heliox. This gas cocktail, usually used for SCUBA divers, has the Nitrogen component of air replaced by Helium, making it lighter, less dense, and it turns out, easier to breathe. Asthmatics saw significantly improved attack courses, and COPD patients saw improved walking endurance with Heliox versus control. Plus their friends, family and caretakers were no doubt entertained by their squeaky voices.

Most of what we know about behavioral neuroscience comes by accident: chance injuries that very specifically knock out some function, like the ability to use verbs (but not nouns or adjectives), or, in the case of Charcot-Wilbrand syndrome, to dream. Swiss researchers have examined a stroke patient with this condition, and found that areas in the deep occipital lobes (visual cortex?) and right posterolateral thalamus were affected, and that the dreaming process does seem to in fact be separate from the REM sleep function. This is all really interesting. Anyone got full-text?

As proteonomics quickly becomes a dominant force in bioscience research, new ways to measure cell protein levels, in real time, are critical. UNC researchers have developed a new dye that seems to allow visualization of active proteins in vivo, a major step forward. This kind of measurement will be key to better understanding of cell and gene functions, as well as drug effects and possible outcome predictions. Watch for more technologies like this to come along quickly after this!

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