"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, April 09, 2007


We all know that being too fat is bad for you, and a UCSD study may help understand pert of why. The researchers found that human colon cancer cells have leptin receptors which, when activated, cause the cancers to grow. The more body fat you have, the more leptin you have, which could explain why obesity is such a strong risk factor for colon (and maybe other types of) cancer.

Another problem with being too fat is the likelihood of developing the beetis. Well, if you do, there may be good news: New Zealand doctors say that a man who had piglet islet cells injected into him ten years ago to help control his diabetes still has some of them alive and producing insulin in him. This result is quite promising for future xenotransplantation procedures, which could perhaps actually cure, rather than merely reduce the symptoms of, disease.

But, if taking insulin remains necessary, that drug may soon be cheaper and easier to get: a Canadian firm claims that it's gotten safflower plants to produce human insulin in their oil. If true, this would be a massive breakthrough. And yes, I understand the environmental concerns (and am very wary of corporatizing food production), but I think this is worthwhile.

Speaking of plants, it appears that an herbal remedy may be helpful in clearing urinary tract infections: Duke researchers found that high doses of forskolin (which agonizes c-AMP receptors in the bladder) seem to force E. coli out of hiding to be cleared. Now remains the question of whether this works in humans too. And of course the question of what side effects such potent c-AMP agonism might have.

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