"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!!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

It's Good for You, I Swear 

Plastics are all too often at the center of environmental crises. Petrol used to make them gets spilled, and plastic wastes clog landfills with their near-endless lifespan. And of course there's the cute stuff (see picture).

But now researchers have found a way for a plastic to be potentially Earth-saving: US and Korean scientists developed a plastic film with hourglass-shaped pores, which act like semi-permeable membranes found in plants, filtering CO2 and other smaller molecules selectively. The technology could go a long way not only in improving processing of waste gas and harvesting fuels, but also in cleanup of things like oil spills. Cool!

Speaking of novel, a phase I trial of an ovarian cancer vaccine yielded very encouraging results. The vaccine contains an immune stimulant and some surface proteins from common cancer cells, and seem to effectively stimulate the body to kill cancer cells (which it usually won't do). If this pans out in Phase II and III trials and in life, it would be huge, not only for cancer but potentially for many other diseases as well.

And finally, we have the oldest cure (and my favorite): booze! US researchers found that red wine (but not white) seems to inhibit infection by food-borne pathogens Listeria, Salmonella, E. coli, and H. pylori. Grape juice had a similar effect, but that's no fun. Plus, an Australian man's life was saved (after he drank antifreeze) by a three-day IV drip of vodka. Sadly, he was unconscious and didn't get to enjoy it.

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