"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, January 08, 2007

Bat Suckers, Cells, Bodies, and Marketing 

While some biologists are all a-twitter over the discovery of a new species of sucker-footed bat - Myzopoda schliemanni - in the drier regions of Madagascar, a few very important other discoveries are also happening.

Wake Forest researchers have found that amniotic stem cells can be grown into brain and other useful tissues, and may be a good source free of many ethical questions bogging down embryonic cell research. It is not, however, clear that these cells are as entirely pluripotent as the embryonic ones. ...baby steps...

Speaking of cells. University of Cincinnati researchers have added genetically modified skin cells to grafts, finding that they help impede infection. They hope to start animal testing next year; if this succeeds it could really dramatically improve lives of people, especially burn victims who need grafts.

Moving from cell to body, it seems that the eating disorder bulimia may be linked, in girls at least, to an excess of testosterone. Anti-testosterone therapy reduced or eliminated symptoms in patients, but it's not clear yet how widely applicable this is. Could be though, and it's very interesting!

And finally, the culmination of years of pharmaceutical industry marketing and lobbying: a drug for people who aren't sick! A study (funded, of course, by Glaxo SmithKline, which makes the drug) suggests that the SSRI antidepressant Paxil may be useful in treating hypochondriacs. Not to belittle people who compulsively think themselves sick, but really, this is bloody hilarious!!!

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