"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!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Permanent Damage 

We learned last week that stress seems to be especially bad for kids - this week suggests another reason why. Illinois researchers found that when young rats were severely stressed, new brain cells they generated die off more than expected. This could lead to any number of problems later on, but may point at some kind of interventions for people after severely traumatic experiences.

Speaking of traumatizing: it appears that snowboarders, aside from being annoying what with their constant extreme this and extreme that, are stressing out alpine wildlife, and putting them at risk. I wonder if snowboarders' frequently enviro-hippie nature will persuade them to take more care, or if this just makes them feel more EXTREME.

Brain damage is, of course, a really stressful event. A French case study suggests that some help may come to the severely brain-damaged from a surprising source: the drug zolpidem (Ambien). A woman who had had severe hypoxic brain damage, leaving her unable to move, speak, or care for herself at all, was able to move and feed herself, and communicate on some levels, when treated with the drug. Trials are underway, but the presumed mechanism is zolpidem's agonism of the GABA system. This is really cool.

Finally, some really good news (maybe) comers from Manchester. Researchers there have found a possible key to TB's toughness: it contains many more P450 genes than are expected from bacteria. The upshot of this is that a class of antifungal drugs, the azoles, can kill TB by inhibiting this molecule. This is potentially a MAJOR step in finally getting rid of TB, which kills millions of (mostly poor) people each year.

UPDATE: Men stare at people and animal's crotches when watching TV, women look at faces. Yeah, this pretty much sums up gender theory. (via BoingBoing)

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