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

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Monday, October 02, 2006

Sex, Babies, and Cancer 

Conventional thought is that it takes much more time to get a woman aroused than a man, but some really cool thermal imaging research suggests otherwise: women get hot just as fast as men! They had participants watch either porn or Canadian tourism guides on video, and monitored body temperature: not shockingly, only one of these stimuli caused arousal.

Testosterone is often credited with males' greater sex drive and arousal rates, but it seems it may do something else as well: make them dumber. Kinda. Yale researchers have found that androgen steroids induce apoptosis in nerve cells, in vitro. They claim that this effect explains 'roid rage,' but I'm not totally convinced. In neuroscience especially, in vitro is often very different from in vivo, if only because of the Blood-Brain Barrier, and likely also because of supportive glial effects.

All this arousal is supposed to be a good thing - we still need it to make babies. But we may not for much longer: researchers claim to have cloned mice from adult granulocytes, challenging conventional wisdom that you need stem cells to make clones. The results are interesting, even if not really too convincing.

After the future cloned babies grow up, they'll probably have to worry about cancer as much as the rest of us, and they'll be glad of new research that suggests two powerful treatments: siomycin A and aldose reductase blockers. The former is an antibiotic which specifically targets FoxM1, a gene needed for cancer cell proliferation; the latter blocks an enzyme, aldose reductase, which seems to be critical for colon cancer growth. Great news!

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