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Showing posts from July, 2012

Ecstasy and Memory Loss

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In the news: "Ecstasy May Cause Memory Problems" by Laura Sanders ScienceNews July 26, 2012 S6407 Ecstasy pills with designs on them which assure users of their quality. Ecstasy (3, 4- methylene dioxymethamphetamine) is an illegal drug which gives users a sense of well-being, affection for the people around them, increased energy and sometimes hallucinations. Possible short-term problems associated with ecstasy include feeling ill, a sense of losing control and dehydration. Long-term problems include memory and weight loss. There have been deaths associated with the use of ecstasy. These are generally caused by an accumulation of water in the brain because the drug affects the body's internal signals rather than being due to the drug's direct toxicity. Credit: C. Molloy / Photo Researchers, Inc.

A Model Pathogen

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In the news: "Virtual germ created on computer for first time" by Paul Marks New Scientist July 23, 2012 SK6302 Mycoplasma genitalium, colored transmission electron micrograph (TEM). M. genitalium has the smallest genome (total genetic material) of all living organisms. Its genome was mapped in 1993, making it the second complete bacterial genome to be sequenced. In January 2008, a team at the J. Craig Venter Institute, USA, used this map to make a synthetic bacterial chromosome, called M. laboratorium, from scratch. A chromosome is made up of proteins and DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). DNA contains sections (genes) that encode the cell's structure and function. The new chromosome, containing only the genes needed for life, was then inserted into a M. genitalium bacterium with its genome removed. Having a different chromosome changes the bacterium's function, making it different from wild M. genitalium bacteria. Magnification: x43,000 when printed 10cm wide. Cred…

Sally K. Ride

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In the news: "NASA Offers Condolences on the Passing of Pioneering Astronaut Sally Ride" NASA
July 23, 2012 BG8055 Astronaut Sally K. Ride, mission specialist on STS-7, monitors control panels from the pilot's chair on the Flight Deck. Floating in front of her is a flight procedures notebook. Credit: NASA / Science Source / Photo Researchers, Inc.

Devastating Dought Declared Disaster

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In the news: "Widespread Drought Is Likely to Worsen"
by John Eligon  New York Times
July 19, 2012 7C8232 Drought conditions affecting crops. An ear of corn with incomplete development due to lack of water. Photographed in Waterloo, Iowa during the 1988 drought. Credit: Robert J. Erwin / Photo Researchers, Inc.

Bacillus anthracis and Chlorine

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In the news: "Killer Silk" by Jef Akst The Scientist July 1, 2012 3L7375Anthrax bacteria in lung. Colored scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a cluster of anthrax bacteria (Bacillus anthracis) in capillary of the lung. These rod-shaped, Gram-positive bacteria are pathogenic. Commonly an infection of livestock, B. anthracis is transmitted to humans by contact with contaminated animal hair, hides, or excrement. Two forms of the disease occur: pnumonia in the lungs (woolsorter's disease), and cutaneous anthrax, which causes a large boil at the site of the bacteria's entry. Antibiotic treatment, if prompt, may be effective for the skin infection. Pulmonary anthrax is fatal in most cases. Magnification: x540 at 6 x 7 size. x1750 at 7.5 x 9.5 Credit: CAMR / A. Barry Dowsett / Photo Researchers, Inc.

Intravenous Immunoglobulin Therapy (IVIG)

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In the news: "Immune Drug Shows Promise for Alzeimer's" by Shirley S. Wang Wall Street Journal - Health July 18, 2012 7L4542 Diseased brain tissue from an Alzheimer's patient showing amyloid deterioration in the gray matter of the brain; 250x magnification. Axon and Congo Red Stain.  Credit: Martin M. Rotker / Photo Researchers, Inc.

Mounting Evidence of Dinosaur Sex

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In the news: "Dinosaur Sex Experts Concur That Animals Mated Front to Back" Huffington Post- Science July 11, 2012 SP4855 Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaurs nuzzling, computer artwork. T. rex was one of the largest carnivorous dinosaurs, measuring 5 meters tall and weighing 7 tonnes. It lived in North America and Asia during the late Cretaceous period, between 85 and 65 million years ago. A predator and scavenger, T. rex had the strongest bite of any dinosaur, with teeth that could penetrate bone. Credit: José Antonio Peñas / Photo Researchers, Inc.

Dental Work Makes you Mental?

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In the news: "White dental fillings may impair kids' behavior" by Janet Raloff ScienceNews July 16, 2012
6Z5117 Dental bonding, a procedure in which a composite resin is bonded to the teeth for either structural or cosmetic purposes. Credit: Sam Pierson / Photo Researchers, Inc.

An Apple A Day

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In the news: "That Fresh Look, Genetically Buffed" by Andrew Pollack The New York Times July 12, 2012 4K5040 Light Micrograph (LM) of a stained longitudinal section of apple (Malus domestica) fruit. Magnification X1:8 at 35mm. Credit: M. I. Walker / Photo Researchers, Inc.

Victory Dance!

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In the news: "Why Humans Raise Their Arms in Victory" DNA (Daily News and Analysis) July 11, 2012 SK9706 Athletes finishing a race. Enhanced X-ray of a group of athletes crossing a finishing line. Credit: Gustoimages / Photo Researchers, Inc.

Enterovirus Type 71 (EV-71)

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In the news: "Can a deadly form of hand, foot and mouth disease hit the US?" By Deborah Kotz July 10, 2012 Boston Globe SB7332 Enteroviruses. Colored transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of a cluster of unidentified enteroviruses. The protein coat of each virus is light blue; RNA genetic material is red. Around the viruses are specific antibody molecules. Enteroviruses belong to the Picornaviruses, a group of small (25-30 nanometers in diameter) RNA viruses with cubic symmetry. They primarily inhabit the intestine, though they are also commonly found in the upper respiratory tract of humans. Enteroviruses can be divided into three groups: polioviruses, coxsackieviruses and echoviruses. Credit: Dr. Linda M. Stannard, University of Cape Town / Photo Researchers, Inc.

Metformin has Many Functions

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In the news: "Diabetes Drug Grows Neurons" by Hayley Dunning The Scientist July 5, 2012 BR7566 Molecular model of Metformin, an oral antidiabetic drug and the first-line drug of choice for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. In this image, carbon molecules are black, hydrogen molecules are white, and nitrogen molecules are blue. Credit: Carol and Mike Werner / Photo Researchers, Inc.

Higgs-like Particle Matters to the Masses

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Confirming an earlier tentative announcement last December, scientists at CERN have announced the discovery of a new subatomic particle of 125-126 GeV, which is probably the much-sought-after Higgs boson, sometimes called the "God Particle," a massive elementary particle predicted to exist by the Standard Model of particle physics and named for Professor Peter Higgs, whose "Higgs mechanism" explains the origin of mass in elementary particles.
Explore a gallery of our Higgs-related images here. SN9425
Higgs mechanism. Number 3 in a series of 5 cartoons explaining how the Higgs field confers mass on particles. Physicists in a room represent space filled with only the Higgs field. When a famous scientist enters the room he attracts a cluster of admirers (yellow). The cluster around him increases his resistance to movement, in other words he has acquired mass. This is the same as a particle moving through the Higgs field and crea…

Higgs boson Particle Proof?

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In the news: "CMS spokesman: 'We've observed a new particle'" By Science News Staff ScienceNews July 3, 2012 SA3297 Simulated detection of Higgs boson. Computer simulation of an event in which the decay of a Higgs boson particle produces four muons. Two of these muons are seen here (green tracks). The muons, along with countless other particles (red and blue tracks), are produced in a head-on collision between two protons. The Higgs boson is a localized clustering in the Higgs Field. This field permeates space, and local distortions of the Higgs Field are thought to be the way that particles gain mass. This image shows how the Higgs boson might be seen in the CMS detector on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the European particle physics laboratory. Credit: David Parker / Photo Researchers, Inc.