Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff)

Blog of the real Xenophilius Lovegood, a slightly mad scientist

Archive for the ‘Biology’ Category

How to grow a new tooth in 9 weeks

Posted by Anonymous on April 11, 2014

20140412-073744.jpgThe loss of a tooth is a minor deformity and a major pain. Although dental implants are available, the healing process can take months on end, and implants that fail to align with the ever-growing jawbone tend to fall out. If only adult teeth could be regenerated, right?

According to a study published in the latest Journal of Dental Research, a new tissue regeneration technique may allow people to simply regrow a new set of pearly whites.

Dr. Jeremy Mao, the Edward V. Zegarelli Professor of Dental Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, has unveiled a growth factor-infused, three-dimensional scaffold with the potential to regenerate an anatomically correct tooth in just nine weeks from implantation. By using a procedure developed in the university’s Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory, Dr. Mao can direct the body’s own stem cells toward the scaffold, which is made of natural materials. Once the stem cells have colonized the scaffold, a tooth can grow in the socket and then merge with the surrounding tissue.

Dr. Mao’s technique not only eliminates the need to grow teeth in a Petri dish, but it is the first to achieve regeneration of anatomically correct teeth by using the body’s own resources. Factor in the faster recovery time and the comparatively natural process of regrowth (as opposed to implantation), and you have a massively appealing dental treatment.

Columbia University has already filed patent applications in regard to the technology and is seeking associates to aid in its commercialization. In the meantime, Dr. Mao is considering the best approach for applying his technique to cost-effective clinical therapies.

http://www.stemcellpioneers.com/showthread.php?3512-Stem-Cell-Dental-Implants-Grow-New-Teeth-Right-In-Your-Mouth

I don’t recommend doing this at home just yet. If you don’t know what you are doing you might accidentally grow an ear, a toe, a nostril, or even a vagina in there, but the cool
thing is that the success with animals was four years ago so they may have secret trials with humans going on already.

Posted in Biology | Leave a Comment »

Doctors implant women with lab-grown vaginas

Posted by Anonymous on April 11, 2014

20140412-072528.jpgTo implant the lab-grown vaginas, surgeons first had to create a canal in the women’s pelvic areas. The surgeons then sutured the biodegradable scaffold to the patients’ already existing reproductive structures. In the weeks following the operation, the women’s nerves and blood vessels gradually expanded and started integrating themselves into the engineered tissue. As this was happening, the women’s bodies were slowly absorbing the scaffolding. By the time the scaffolding had completely disappeared, it was no longer needed — the cells had laid down their own permanent support structure.

More about the announcement:

… a miraculous scientific advancement was announced: The long-term success of lab-made regenerative human tissue! Between June 2005 and October 2008, laboratory generated vaginas were implanted in four teenage girls born with a rare genetic disease. The results of the procedures were published yesterday in the science journal the Lancet, and it was announced that up to eight years later, the women are doing quite well. The patients can now have painless sex and even orgasm!
The women were all born with the genetic disease Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome, which affects one in 4,500 girls. The syndrome causes women to be born with either an underdeveloped or absent vagina and uterus. The lab-grown vaginal organ was implanted in women ages 13 to 18. Eight years later they all have normal organ function, according to Atlantida-Raya Rivera, who was a lead author of the study.
“Tissue biopsies, MRI scans and internal exams using magnification all showed that the engineered vaginas were similar in makeup and function to native tissue,” Rivera said. Dr. Rivera is also the director of the HIMFG Tissue Engineering Laboratory at the MRKH in Mexico City, the location of the surgeries….

http://www.salon.com/2014/04/11/miraculous_medicine_lab_grown_vaginas_successfully_implanted_in_4_women_born_with_rare_genetic_condition/

More:

Scans of the pelvic region were used to design a tube like 3D-scaffold for each patient
Four women have had new vaginas grown in the laboratory and implanted by doctors in the US.

A tissue sample and a biodegradable scaffold were used to grow vaginas in the right size and shape for each woman as well as being a tissue match.

They all reported normal levels of “desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction” and painless intercourse.

Experts said the study, published in the Lancet, was the latest example of the power of regenerative medicine.

In each woman the vagina did not form properly while they were still inside their mother’s womb, a condition known as vaginal aplasia.

Current treatments can involve surgically creating a cavity, which is then lined with skin grafts or parts of the intestine.

The scaffold is made of a biodegradable material
Doctors at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre in North Carolina used pioneering technology to build vaginas for the four women who were all in their teenage years at the time.

Scans of the pelvic region were used to design a tube-like 3D-scaffold for each patient.

A small tissue biopsy was taken from the poorly developed vulva and grown to create a large batch of cells in the laboratory.

Muscle cells were attached to the outside of the scaffold and vaginal-lining cells to the inside.

The vaginas were carefully grown in a bioreactor until they were suitable to be surgically implanted into the patients.

One of the women with an implanted vagina, who wished to keep her name anonymous, said: “I believe in the beginning when you find out you feel different.

“I mean while you are living the process, you are seeing the possibilities you have and all the changes you’ll go through.

“Truly I feel very fortunate because I have a normal life, completely normal.”

All the women reported normal sexual function.

Vaginal aplasia can lead to other abnormalities in the reproductive organs, but in two of the women the vagina was connected to the uterus.

There have been no pregnancies, but for those women it is theoretically possible.

The scaffold is placed in an incubator
Dr Anthony Atala, director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest, told the BBC News website: “Really for the first time we’ve created a whole organ that was never there to start with, it was a challenge.”

He said a functioning vagina was a “very important thing” for these women’s lives and witnessing the difference it made to them “was very rewarding to see”.

This is the first time the results have been reported. However, the first implants took place eight years ago.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-26885335

Are the cells, and thus tissues and organs, grown this way the same biological age (in terms of number of times the cells can divide) as the donor or younger? Next up: replacement organs to prolong life.

Posted in Biology, Strange, Survival | Leave a Comment »

A Toxin By Any Other Name: Aspartame’s Name Changed to AminoSweet

Posted by Anonymous on April 11, 2014

Used as a sugar substitute and often marketed as Nutrasweet and Equal, aspartame is an excitotoxin that destroys the brain and body. Its use has been a controversial subject since the 1980s when the CEO of Searle, Donald Rumsfeld, pushed for it’s approval to be sold on the market. Now, its name is being changed, with FDA approval, to try to dupe millions into purchasing and consuming this toxin once again.

Aspartame, even renamed Amino Sweet, is not safe. This substance is made using genetically modified bacteria in the US, but according to a Monsanto source, the UK market does not have to eat genetically modified bacteria excrement. Many ‘low-calorie’ foods contain GMO aspartame, however, even overseas. Aspartame may cause blindness, cancer, and brain tumors.

Just as a reminder of who is pushing this excrement – quite literally – on the consumers of the United states, it was Mr. Rumsfeld who went on to become George W. Bush’s secretary of Defense, and crony-Capitalist agenda-pusher. This one substance has continually been shown to cause harm to human health, so why is the FDA renaming it instead of banning it completely from the food supply? There is considerable evidence that artificial sweeteners cause cancer, including aspartame specifically – so why not name it something more appropriate at least? ‘Sickeningly Sweet’ might be more appropriate.

Even saccharin eventually had to be made with a label, mandated by Congress, that says, “Use of this product may be hazardous to your health. This product contains saccharin, which has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals”. The FDA’s own toxicologist, Dr. Adrian Gross told Congress that without a shadow of a doubt, aspartame can cause brain tumors and brain cancer and that it violated the Delaney Amendment.

via » Aspartame’s Name Changed to Amino Sweet: A Toxin By Another Name is Still a Toxin Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind!.

Slowly poisoning someone is totally legal in the USA … as long as you make money from doing it. ;-)

Posted in Biology, Food, Health | Leave a Comment »

Are plants controlling you?

Posted by Anonymous on March 16, 2014

I’ve joked that humans are an invention of water for the purpose of moving itself from place to place.

This video, based on a book, proposes that we are are being used by certain plants.

Posted in Biology, Strange | Leave a Comment »

GMO Science Credibility Falls with Two Retracted Studies

Posted by Anonymous on March 11, 2014

The pesticide producers are one of the most powerful industries on the planet, the influence they possess is enormous. You have probably heard that an Elsevier journal has retracted the Seralini study which showed evidence of harm to rats fed a GMO diet, despite admitting they found no fraud or errors in the study.

This journal had also just recently appointed an ex-Monsanto employee as an editor – one could only guess the value of this strategy for the pesticide industry. Expect Seralini to sue as this story develops, as it appears he has a very strong case.

Alas, the scientific ground on which the genetic engineering of plants is built may now be shakier than ever, thanks to GMO promoting scientists like Dr. Pamela Ronald. A recent article in Independent Science News1 questions whether she’ll be able to salvage her career, as two of her scientific papers (published in 2009 and 2011 respectively) were recently retracted.

With the loss of her credibility, and the domino effect these retractions are likely to cause within the scientific field, the entire chemical technology industry stands to suffer a great blow to its scientific integrity.

“Her media persona… is to take no prisoners,” Jonathan Latham, PhD writes.2 “After New York Times chief food writer Mark Bittman advocated GMO labeling, she called him ‘a scourge on science’ who ‘couches his nutty views in reasonable-sounding verbiage.’ His opinions were “almost fact- and science-free” continued Ronald.

In 2011 she claimed in an interview with the US Ambassador to New Zealand: ‘After 14 years of cultivation and a cumulative total of two billion acres planted, GE crops have not caused a single instance of harm to human health or the environment.’”

She may have to turn down her criticism a notch, considering the fact that not one but two of her own studies were found to contain sizeable scientific errors, rendering her findings null and void. Questions have also been raised about a third study published in 2011, according to the featured article.

Public Face of GMOs Loses Scientific Credibility

Ronald’s research group claimed to have identified a molecule used by rice plants to detect pathogenic rice blight, as well as a quorum sensing molecule (meaning a molecule that can coordinate gene expression according to the density of the local population).

These two studies, both of which are now retracted,3, 4 formed the basis of her research program at the University of California in Davis, which is investigating how rice plants detect certain pathogenic bacteria.

Ronald blamed the erroneous work by long gone lab members from Korea and Thailand, referring to the errors as a “mix-up.” She didn’t name her bungling colleagues, however. And while media coverage applauded Ronald for “doing the right thing” by retracting the studies, the featured article5 questions whether she really deserves such accolades:

“[S]cientific doubts had been raised about Ronald-authored publications at least as far back as August 2012… German researchers had been unable to repeat Ronald’s discoveries… and they suggested as a likely reason that her samples were contaminated.

Furthermore, the German paper also asserted that, for a theoretical reason, her group’s claims were inherently unlikely. In conclusion, the German group wrote: ‘While inadvertent contamination is a possible explanation, we cannot finally explain the obvious discrepancies to the results…’

Pamela Ronald, however, did not concede any of the points raised by the German researchers and did not retract the Danna et al 2011 paper. Instead, she published a rebuttal.

The subsequent retractions, beginning in January 2013, however, confirm that in fact very sizable scientific errors were being made in the Ronald laboratory. But more importantly for the ‘Kudos to Pam’ story, it was not Pamela Ronald who initiated public discussion of the credibility of her research.

… Ronald’s footnotes [in the explanation that accompanied the retraction of her second article6 admit two mislabelings, along with failures to establish and use replicable experimental conditions, and also minimally two failed complementation tests. Each mistake appears to have been compounded by a systemic failure to use basic experimental controls.

Thus, leading up to the retractions were an assortment of practical errors, specific departures from standard scientific best practice, and lapses of judgment in failing to adequately question her labs’ unusual (and therefore newsworthy) results.”

The Snowball Effect of Retracted Studies

According to data from Thomson Reuters,7 the numbers of scientific retractions have climbed more than 15-fold since 2001. What many don’t realize is that even a small number of retracted studies can wreak absolute havoc with the science-based paradigm. Other scientists who have based their research on the results from studies that, for whatever reason, end up being retracted, are now perpetuating flawed science as well. In one example, two retracted medical studies led to the retraction of another 17.

In this case, the first of Dr. Ronald’s retracted studies has been cited eight times.8 The second? 113 times.9 That sounds like an awfully large cleanup job in a field that’s already heavily criticized for its preponderance of “lousy science,” to use the words of award-winning geneticist Dr. David Suzuki.

The Problem with GMO Plant Science

It’s important to realize that genetically engineered plants and animals are created using horizontal gene transfer (also called horizontal inheritance). This is in stark contrast to vertical gene transfer, which is the mechanism in natural reproduction. Vertical gene transfer, or vertical inheritance, is the transmission of genes from the parent generation to offspring via sexual or asexual reproduction, i.e., breeding a male and female from one species.

Horizontal gene transfer, on the other hand, involves injecting a gene from one species into a completely different species, which yields unexpected and often unpredictable results. Proponents of genetically engineered crops assume they can apply the principles of vertical inheritance to horizontal inheritance, but according to Dr. David Suzuki, this assumption is flawed in just about every possible way and is “just lousy science.”

Genes don’t function in a vacuum — they act in the context of the entire genome. Whole sets of genes are turned on and off in order to arrive at a particular organism, and the entire orchestration is an activated genome. It’s a dangerous mistake to assume a gene’s traits are expressed properly, regardless of where they’re inserted. The safety of genetically modified food is based only on a hypothesis, and this hypothesis is already being proven wrong.

The kind of horizontal gene transfer that is currently used to create new crop seeds tends to produce highly inflammatory foreign proteins. As one would expect, were there a connection, inflammation-based chronic diseases have indeed increased right alongside with the proliferation of GMO foods in the US. Clearly, Dr. Ronald never bothered to look at such data, and her declaration that “GE crops have not caused a single instance of harm to human health or the environment”10 is as lacking in scientific support as her retracted research.

Posted in Biology, Food, Health, Technology | Leave a Comment »

Scientists Study Woman Who Can Have Out-of-Body Experiences On Demand

Posted by Anonymous on March 11, 2014

20140310-231031.jpgPlenty of attention being given to a new study with a subject who can apparently have out-of-body experiences (OBEs) on demand:

After a class on out-of-body experiences, a psychology graduate student at the University of Ottawa came forward to researchers to say that she could have these voluntarily, usually before sleep. “She appeared surprised that not everyone could experience this,” wrote the scientists in a study describing the case, published in February inFrontiers in Human Neuroscience.

…The 24-year-old “continued to perform this experience as she grew up assuming, as mentioned, that ‘everyone could do it.’” This is how she described her out-of-body experiences: “She was able to see herself rotating in the air above her body, lying flat, and rolling along with the horizontal plane. She reported sometimes watching herself move from above but remained aware of her unmoving “real” body. The participant reported no particular emotions linked to the experience.”

An unusual find, wrote the scientists, University of Ottawa researchers Andra M. Smith and Claude Messier – this is the first person to be studied able to have this type of experience on demand, and without any brain abnormalities. Instead of an “out-of-body” experience, however, the researchers termed it a “extra-corporeal experience” (ECE), in part because it lacks the strong emotions that often go hand-in-hand (such as shock & awe, for example).

To better understand what was going on, the researchers conducted a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study of her brain. They found that it surprisingly involved a “strong deactivation of the visual cortex.” Instead, the experience “activated the left side of several areas associated with kinesthetic imagery,” such as mental representations of bodily movement. …

http://www.dailygrail.com/Mind-Mysteries/2014/3/Scientists-Study-Woman-Who-Can-Have-Out-Body-Experiences-Demand

More:

The results suggest that the ECE reported here represents an unusual type of kinesthetic imagery that shares some features of previously described out-of-body experiences and some features of more typical motor imagery.

The cerebellum also shows strong activation that is consistent with the participant’s report of the impression of movement during the ECE. There are also left middle and superior orbital frontal gyri activations, structures often associated with action monitoring….

http://madworldnews.com/scientists-scan-womans-brain-body-experience-witnessed-incredible/

It is amazing that she can do this easily at will. Recall that the experience can most likely be reproduced in anyone if a brain surgeon stimulates the person’s right angular gyrus:

Olaf Blanke, a neurosurgeon at University Hospitals of Geneva and Lausanne, wasn’t trying to set off the sensations in his patient but was using electrical stimulation to map the activity of her brain in preparation for surgical treatment. But by recording the patient’s reactions and matching them with specific electrodes, Blanke was able to pinpoint the region where out-of-body experiences seem to originate.

“We wanted [and needed] to be sure that what the patient experienced and told us was related to the actual stimulation,” says Blanke.

When Blanke and colleagues activated electrodes placed just above the patient’s right ear — a region known as the right angular gyrus — the woman began to have the strange sensations. Depending on the amplitude of the stimulation and the current position of the patient’s body, her experience varied. Each of the patient’s four episodes lasted about two seconds.

After one stimulation, the patient said she felt as though she were sinking into her bed and then she felt as though she were “falling from a height.” After another stimulation she said felt like she was “floating” about 6½ feet above her bed, close to the ceiling. When she was asked to watch her legs during the stimulation, the patient said she saw her legs “becoming shorter.” …

http://abcnews.go.com/m/story?id=97897

This isn’t the only case, either. Here’s how it works:

The angular gyrus reacts differently to intended and consequential movement. This suggests that the angular gyrus monitors the self’s intended movements, and uses the added information to compute differently as it does for consequential movements. By recording the discrepancy, the angular gyrus maintains an awareness of the self.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angular_gyrus

20140310-233008.jpg

Posted in Biology, Mind, Strange | 2 Comments »

The Eagle Cam

Posted by Anonymous on March 9, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-03-08 at 10.53.49 PMBoth cameras are equipped with infrared (IR) technology that allows viewing at night. This light spectrum is outside the viewing range of both bald eagles and humans. When on location at night, no light source can be seen by the naked eye.

In September 2013, our bald eagle couple returned to the Berry College campus and to their nest in a tall pine tree situated between the main entrance and the parking lot of the Steven J. Cage Athletic and Recreation Center.

The couple spent several months repairing and adding to the nest and catching fish and coots in the nearby Berry quarry, Oostanaula River and Garden Lakes. An egg was produced on January 14, 2014, followed by a second egg on January 17. An eaglet chick hatched on Saturday, February 22, from one of the two eggs laid in January. But the other egg is not viable and is still in the nest.

Feeds for live streaming cameras are featured on this page. This is the only live, streaming video camera of a bald eagle nest in Georgia.

Berry College’s original bald eagle parents began making the nest in March 2012, an unusual time for nest-building in the life-cycle of eagles.

http://www.berry.edu/eaglecam/

Enjoy the eagle, it is awesome… but think about the political irony for just a second… the great bald eagle, symbol of America, is now under secret surveillance.

Posted in Biology | Leave a Comment »

Kangaroo eats penguin

Posted by Anonymous on March 5, 2014

20140304-232010.jpgWHILE KANGAROOS ARE known to munch grass, with the addition of fruit, flowers, sap and bark for tree kangaroos, who knew they favour an occasional bite of meat?

Sam Murray, who captured this curious footage, happened upon this western grey kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus) tucking into a penguin on the beach at Cape Le Grande national park, located east of Esperance, WA in March 2013.

“We were walking down to the beach in the late evening before sunset, and we noticed a group of five or six kangaroos gathered on the beach. We started towards them and all the others were quick to hop away, but not this smaller one,” Sam says.

“He was really quite focussed on what he was doing. Even when we got to within a metre and a half of him, he wouldn’t stop eating.”

Kangaroos sometimes eat meat

Professor Graeme Coulson, a zoologist at the University of Melbourne, explains that “All living macropods appear to be gentle herbivores. They [generally] lack the equipment to capture and kill other animals, or the digestive system to handle a meaty diet.”

While penguins aren’t a typical kangaroo snack, Graeme says that “Australia once had carnivorous macropods. The largest of these was Propleopus oscillans, which stood up to 2 m tall and had teeth that were well adapted to eating meat. This ‘killer kangaroo’ went extinct tens of thousands of years ago.”

While this footage may strike many as peculiar, Professor Tim Flannery, an expert mammalogist, says “This is unusual, I admit, but most herbivores will eat some protein if it’s available. Tree kangaroos will eat birds and even cows will chew on a bone.”

Graeme also recognizes that known herbivores are not all strict vegetarians. “White-tailed deer in the USA have been reported stealing trout from a fishing camp and removing nestlings from nests hidden in prairie grassland. Captive macropods are known to eat a wide range of foods, including chicken and lamb chops. This western grey kangaroo was simply taking advantage of an easy meal,” Graeme says.

http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/wildlife/2014/02/video-kangaroo-eats-a-penguin

Posted in Biology, Food, Strange | Leave a Comment »

30,000-Year-Old Giant virus revived

Posted by Anonymous on March 4, 2014

20140303-221845.jpgA 30,000-year-old giant virus has been revived from the frozen Siberian tundra, sparking concern that increased mining and oil drilling in rapidly warming northern latitudes could disturb dormant microbial life that could one day prove harmful to man.

The latest find, described online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, appears to belong to a new family of mega-viruses that infect only amoeba. But its revival in a laboratory stands as “a proof of principle that we could eventually resurrect active infectious viruses from different periods,” said the study’s lead author, microbiologist Jean-Michel Claverie of Aix-Marseille University in France.

“We know that those non-dangerous viruses are alive there, which probably is telling us that the dangerous kind that may infect humans and animals — that we think were eradicated from the surface of Earth — are actually still present and eventually viable, in the ground,” Claverie said.

I’d like to see a movie like Jurassic Earth where we revive dinosaurs and they almost wipe us out then we revive this giant virus which is harmless to us but kills them all in 5 days and then there are only a few people left on earth and I’m one of them. And so are you.

Posted in Archaeology, Biology | Leave a Comment »

Non-invasive blood glucose monitoring using near-infrared spectroscopy

Posted by Anonymous on February 16, 2014

20140216-155106.jpgBlood glucose monitors are used to measure the amount of glucose in blood, especially of patients with symptoms or a history of abnormally high or low blood glucose levels. Most commonly, they enable diabetic patients to administer appropriate insulin doses. The availability of home-use glucometers, as opposed to clinical-use equipment, has greatly improved the quality of life of such individuals. However, such monitors require a blood draw through finger pricks for each test, which causes pain and inconvenience. Each test also requires a new test-strip, contributing to the recurring cost of such a device.
> Optimum insulin dosage, however, requires frequent/continuous monitoring of blood glucose, and currently available glucometers do not address this requirement. Continuous monitors do exist, but they need to be implanted under the skin, causing trauma while being implanted, and they need to be replaced every week. An alternative exists in non-invasive blood glucose monitors. This article introduces an architecture that uses Near Infrared (NIR) spectroscopy to determine blood glucose levels based on transmittance spectroscopy on the ear lobe. Using various body parameters, such as tissue thickness, blood oxygen saturation, and a linear regression-analysis based calibration system, an accurate and real-time architecture is proposed. An example implementation using full analog, digital, and mixed signal capabilities of a programmable system-on-chip, the PSoC-5LP controller from Cypress, is given as well.
> http://www.edn.com/design/medical/4422840/Non-invasive-blood-glucose-monitoring-using-near-infrared-spectroscopy

I’d really like a non-invasive device to show my blood sugar. What’s the hold up? Is the FDA stalling to protect the US junk food industry?

Posted in Biology, Food, Health, Technology | Leave a Comment »

 
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