"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!!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Meet the Toyger... 

Seriously, a mini-tiger? YES PLEASE! I'm not even a cat person, but I want one of these guys so bad it hurts.

And that's not the only wonderful science brings us today.

Canadian researchers have identified a peptide, which they are calling innate defense regulator peptide (IDR-1), that appears to be able to upregulate the innate immune system without a dangerous inflammatory response, offering hope against antibiotic resistant infections (among other things).

The battle against HIV/AIDS may get some new help now, as the WHO has published its recommendation that heterosexual men in sub-Saharan African be circumcised as a preventive measure. Now, I won't re-hash all the innumerable problems with this approach and its announcement (go here for a good, if shrill, discussion), but if it has any chance of helping, I say go for it. The potential harm is minimal, especially if the media is willing to be a little, teensie bit responsible about it.* In a possibly-more-important discovery, a US-UK team of researchers have found that green tea's famous epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) could help stop HIV, by interfereing with its ability to bind to cells. The work is really preliminary, but also has tons of potential.

And possibly good news for ADD** folks (like me): MIT researchers have found that different kinds of attention seem to be governed by different areas of the brain. The executive-function type attention, which is often the thing that us ADD folks lack seems to reside in the PFC, and could perhaps be improved separately from other attention types. Interesting...

* OK, so there's a good chance this'll be a disaster.
* * I don't actually buy any of this ADD stuff. 50 or 100 years ago, people who were interested in lots of different things and didn't like to do one thing too long were called "Renaissance Men," which was a compliment. Now we get tossed on Ritalin and told to settle down, which makes no one happier.

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