"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, November 07, 2005

Excitotoxicity, Estrogen, and Making the Blind See 

Taint was fun. Tired this morning. Cool news though:

NASA researchers have developed a visor, called JORDY, inspired by Star Trek: TNG's Geordi La Forge, which allows the functionally blind to see well enough to read or watch TV, etc.

Researchers have found that inflammatory neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimers and HIV-1-associated-dementia, are associated with increased dendritic susceptibility to excitotoxicity, such that it occurs even at usually non-toxic glutamate levels. This is an encouraging step to understanding more about the pathophysiology, etiology, and hopefully treatment and prevention of these diseases.

Another experiment in mice suggests that estrogen is central to fat storage and metabolism, as well as insulin regulation. Women famously gain weight and become more prone to diabetes after menopause, so this is a nice confirmation of ideas. The thing is, taking estrogen supplements wouldn't be guaranteed to help you lose weight, or at least there would be side-effects. Now the goal is to isolate the ways in which estrogen performs these functions, so hopefully targeted drugs can be developed.

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