Wednesday, April 23, 2014

An Apple a Day, and Other Myths

SAN DIEGO — A trip to almost any bookstore or a cruise around the Internet might leave the impression that avoiding cancer is mostly a matter of watching what you eat. One source after another promotes the protective powers of “superfoods,” rich in antioxidants and other phytochemicals, or advises readers to emulate the diets of Chinese peasants or Paleolithic cave dwellers.
But there is a yawning divide between this nutritional folklore and science. During the last two decades the connection between the foods we eat and the cellular anarchy called cancer has been unraveling string by string.
This month at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, a mammoth event that drew more than 18,500 researchers and other professionals here, the latest results about diet and cancer were relegated to a single poster session and a few scattered presentations. There were new hints that coffee may lower the risk of some cancers and more about the possible benefits of vitamin D. Beyond that there wasn’t much to say.
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Monday, April 21, 2014

Why You Shouldn't Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Talk about dirty money: Scientists are discovering a surprising number of microbes living on cash.
In the first comprehensive study of the DNA on dollar bills, researchers at New York University's Dirty Money Project found that currency is a medium of exchange for hundreds of different kinds of bacteria as bank notes pass from hand to hand.
By analyzing genetic material on $1 bills, the NYU researchers identified 3,000 types of bacteria in all—many times more than in previous studies that examined samples under a microscope. Even so, they could identify only about 20% of the non-human DNA they found because so many microorganisms haven't yet been cataloged in genetic data banks.
Easily the most abundant species they found is one that causes acne. Others were linked to gastric ulcers, pneumonia, food poisoning and staph infections, the scientists said. Some carried genes responsible for antibiotic resistance.
"It was quite amazing to us," said Jane Carlton, director of genome sequencing at NYU's Center for Genomics and Systems Biology where the university-funded work was performed. "We actually found that microbes grow on money."

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Grandmother Uses Oculus Rift as Therapy

Spokane doctor brings first retina laser to Angola

It took two years of fundraising and a mountain of paperwork for Dr. Eric Guilielmo of Spokane Eye Clinic to install a retina laser at a hospital in Angola, a country located on the southwest shore of Africa. Many of the patients there suffer from retinal eye conditions and up until Dr. Guilielmo brought the disassembled laser to the country there was nothing available to save them from blindness.

Angola gained independence from Portugal in 1975, and then spent the next 27 years engaged in a blood diamond funded civil war. President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has  been in power since 1975 and has been accused of corruption and of plundering the country’s oil wealth. According to Forbes, the people of Angola live off of $2 a day while President dos Santos has secured a $3 billion fortune for his daughter through questionable government funded business deals.
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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Younger Skin Through Exercise

Exercise not only appears to keep skin younger, it may also even reverse skin aging in people who start exercising late in life, according to surprising new research.
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Monday, April 14, 2014

TEAMWORK IS BEST WHEN MAKING SURGERY DECISIONS FOR ELDERLY

Deciding if a sick, elderly patient should have surgery should be a team effort, with input from the patient, family members, the surgeon, primary care physician, nurses, and non-clinicians, such as social workers or advocates.
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Sunday, April 13, 2014

How Much Does Your Doctor Really Make?

The U.S. government released payment data for 880,000 physicians this week—to widespread misinterpretation. What the numbers can actually tell us.




These approaches to looking at the new payment records suffer three major flaws.
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lunartabspro

The purpose of Lunar Tabs is to give a person who is blind the ability to more easily access electronic guitar tablature (tabs) by converting electronic tabs to a format that a screen reader can process.
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Saturday, April 12, 2014

GOOGLE IS KNOWN FOR ITS ZANY OFFICE DESIGNS, FROM STROOPWAFEL CEILINGS TO SLIDES TO SCOOTERS. AND YOU THOUGHT YOUR OFFICE'S FOOSBALL TABLE 
WAS COOL.

Link

Friday, April 11, 2014

Breakthrough in Quest to Grow Body Parts

Lab-Made Vaginas Transplanted Into Patients Whose Own Were Absent Due to Rare Disease

Scientists have successfully transplanted laboratory-made vaginas into four teenage girls whose own were absent because of a rare disease, marking a milestone in the quest to grow structurally complex body parts.
The experiment was published Thursday in the journal Lancet along with another study, in which a separate group of researchers transplanted lab-made nostrils into patients whose noses were damaged by cancer.
The vaginas were created from the patients' own cells and implanted between 2005 and 2008. Today, the women report normal sexual function.
..
Dr. Atala began the effort to make a lab-grown vagina in the late 1990s to address disorders that cause some girls to be born without normal vaginas. Cancer and trauma can also lead to vaginal damage or loss. Currently, doctors reconstruct the vagina using a patient's own skin or part of the intestine, but both cause other physical problems.
The effort immediately hit a roadblock: "We couldn't even get the vaginal mucosal cells to grow outside the body," Dr. Atala recalled. After solving that problem, the team needed to find something to serve as a scaffold—or skeleton—on which the cells would sit. They rejected various options, including the material used to make surgical sutures, before settling on one they liked: tissue from a pig's intestine.
The pig tissue was first bathed in detergent, which removed the original cells and left behind a scaffold-like structure made from collagen. This was coated on one side with epithelial cells, which line the body's cavities, and which had been obtained via a biopsy of the patient's external genitals. The other side was coated with smooth muscle cells, also from the patient. When the scaffold was placed in an incubator and nourished with chemicals and oxygen, the cells began to grow.
The scaffold was hand-sewn into a vagina-like shape and tailored to fit the patient. Surgeons created a cavity in the patient's pelvis and sutured the cell-populated scaffold to reproductive structures, including the uterus.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Play It Again And Again, Sam

A couple of years ago, music psychologist Elizabeth Margulis decided to make some alterations to the music of Luciano Berio. Berio was one of the most famous classical composers of the 20th century, a man internationally recognized for the dramatic power of his compositions. But Margulis didn't worry much about disrupting Berio's finely crafted music. After loading his most famous piece into a computer editing program, she just randomly started cutting.
"I just went in and whenever there was a little pause on either side of something, I grabbed that out and then I'd stick it back in — truly without regard to aesthetic intent," she says. "I wasn't trying to craft anything compelling."
The idea behind this vandalism was simple: Margulis wanted to see if she could make people like Berio's music more by making it more repetitive.

..
They reported enjoying the excerpts that had repetition more," Margulis says. "They reported finding them more interesting, and — most surprising to me — they reported them as more likely to have been crafted by a human artist, rather than randomly generated by a computer."
What's So Seductive About Repeats?
We are drawn to repetition. It surrounds us, not just in modern American pop music, Margulis says, but everywhere.
..
So mere exposure is one of the reasons we respond so well to repetition — both of music and in music — but Margulis clearly doesn't think it's the whole story. She says repetition also allows us to shift our attention around, from the surface aspects of the music to other aspects.
And in that way, she says, it allows us to shift our experience of the reality around us

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Samsung Releasing Smartphone-Paired Technologies for Blind People

Today’s smartphones have a surprising amount of technology built into them to help people do all sorts of things that were otherwise impossible not so long ago. Their brilliant screens are one of their greatest draws, but somewhat surprisingly at first, the technology within can be harnessed and expanded to help blind people navigate, “see” their environment in a new way, andcommunicate with others. Now Samsung is pushing the boundaries of what smartphones can do for blind people by releasing three new assistive devices that work with their Galaxy Core Advance phones.
The most exciting is perhaps the Ultrasonic Cover that works like a virtual white cane to spot objects ahead of the user. It will vibrate or use text-to-speech (TTS) to notify the user when something is within a couple meters of the cover. 
Link
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