Monday, February 19, 2007
My current crop of biostats classes are so based in the underlying mathematics that I feel I'm losing sight of what it's all used for...my college courses didn't suffer this problem, as they were almost all applied classes. Hopefully now the semester will get easier!
After that, there's of course good science news. An international coalition of researchers has identified a possible Autism gene: neuregulin 1, on chromosome 11p appears to be altered in autistics. Neuregulin plays a key role in interneural communication, so its involvement in autism is not a great shock. The discovery raises hopes for future targeted treatments for the condition, but almost certainly doesn't represent a complete etiologic profile. There must be more genes and environmental factors out there that play a role.
Lost a tooth? Nasty cavities? Well, a Japanese team may have a solution for you: they successfully grew mesenchymal and epithelial cells, first in culture and then in situ, into replacement teeth for mice. The procedure's nowhere near ready for testing in humans, but will hopefully lead to effective tooth regrowth technology in the future.