Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff)

Blog of the real Xenophilius Lovegood, a slightly mad scientist

Archive for the ‘Strange’ Category

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 »

Sea Serpents Committing Suicide. Impending doom?

Posted by Anonymous on April 9, 2014

Late last year we mentioned an oarfish – an incredibly long, rarely-seen deep ocean species sometimes mistaken for a sea serpent (see image above) – coming ashore on the Californian coast. Now, some six months later, two oarfish have been sighted – and captured on film – beaching themselves at Isla San Francisco, by guests on a cruise boat:

The guests were enjoying a beach party in the afternoon sun, complete with a chest of ice cold Mexican beer. All of sudden, a cry went up from the folks who had elected to saunter down the beach and explore a bit.

“THERE’S A GIANT FISH OVER HERE!”

The guests had spotted something special in the lagoon, a pair of oarfish, each greater than twelve feet in length!

…The two guides manning the beach, Lia Stamatiou and Hannah Hindley, quickly realized what the guests had spotted, and they excitedly called it in to the vessel via radio. In a matter of minutes, guests and crew alike swarmed ashore to catch a view of these near-mythical leviathans. The two fish swam in the shallows of the lagoon, obviously dazed or ill, but still wondrous and beautiful. Guests in kayaks filmed videos of the fish swimming beneath them, and this writer was able get some video of one of them making its way along the bottom under its own power, thanks to a GoPro underwater camera.

Kind of sad to watch these incredible creatures swimming ashore, while being gawked at by humans. One can only wonder at what prompted the beaching. Hopefully not, as I mentioned in my previous post, a harbinger of an impending great earthquake – in Japan, oarfish are known as the ‘Messenger from the Sea God’s Palace’, whose appearance in shallow coastal waters foretells impending earthquakes.

Posted in Strange | Leave a Comment »

CCTV Shows Train Crash After Driver Dozed Off

Posted by Anonymous on April 2, 2014

Video has emerged of a train derailing at a busy Chicago station – as it was revealed its driver nodded off at the controls.

News of the operator’s admission was confirmed by a federal investigator, who is among those probing the crash at O’Hare International Airport.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Ted Turpin said the driver only woke up when the train jumped off the tracks and hit the escalator, injuring more than 30 people.

Mr Turpin said the woman told investigators she had also fallen asleep on the job in February, partially missing a station.

Chicago Transit Authority officials said their records showed the operator said she “closed her eyes for a moment” but that she did not indicate that she “dozed off.”

The CTA said it would reduce the speed of trains entering the station.

via CCTV Shows Train Crash After Driver Dozed Off.

Passengers should have a way to check to see if their driver is asleep. I don’t understand, however, what made the train jump the tracks. Wouldn’t it just keep right on going if she didn’t stop? I’m guessing this was an end of the line type stop with no track beyond this station?

 

 

Posted in - Video, Strange | Leave a Comment »

Lego is a tool of Satan, warns Polish priest

Posted by Anonymous on April 2, 2014

Father Slawomir Kostrzewa says toy company represents 'world of death' and that Zombie and Monster Fighter mini-figures can lead children 'to the dark side' A Polish priest has warned parents to be on their guard against Lego, warning the plastic blocks are a tool of Satan and can “destroy” children’s souls.

In a presentation aimed at parents, Father Slawomir Kostrzewa said the popular Danish toy company had taken a lurch to the dark side with its series of Monster Fighters and Zombie mini-figures, and that they “were about darkness and the world of death”.

“Friendly fellows have been replaced by dark monsters,” he explained. “These toys can have a negative effect on children. They can destroy their souls and lead them to the dark side.”

Lego’s Monster Fighters range features Lord Vampyre, a fanged Dracula-like character, who battles the likes of Doctor Rodney Rathbone and Major Quinton Steele as they try to prevent him from “cloaking the world in darkness”.

The priest also cited research by New Zealand’s University of Canterbury that found the facial expressions of Lego figures have also become angrier over the years, and that this compounded their evil potential.

“Facial expressions may be lead to confusion between good and evil,” said Father Kostrzewa. “It appears the good suffer in battle and the ‘villains’ have a face showing satisfaction with their evil deeds.”

But the claims that Lego blocks are becoming the work of the devil was dismissed by at least one expert.

Father Kostrzewa’s attack on Lego is not the first time he has accused toys of harbouring evil. Hello Kitty and My Little Pony have also come under his scrutiny, with the latter being described as a “carrier of death”.

Lego was unavailable for comment.

via Lego is a tool of Satan, warns Polish priest – Telegraph.

… Speaking in a Lent service directed at parents in the Polish town of Wolsztyn, Father Slawomir Kostrzewa mourned the lost innocence of the hugely popular Danish toy.

He said that until recently, Lego bricks represented a “very desirable toy for children, because of their educational value”.

But he decried the new Lego Monster Fighters range, which features “evil” characters including Lord Vampyre, The Ghosts, The Werewolf, The Swamp Creature and the completely non-derivative Crazy Scientist’s Monster.

“Friendly fellows have been replaced by dark monsters,” Father Kostrzewa explained. …

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/lego-is-a-tool-of-satan-which-turns-children-to-the-dark-side-warns-polish-priest-9228630.html

Perhaps not an April fools gag.

Posted in Strange | Leave a Comment »

Guinea: Ebola death toll reaches 70

Posted by Anonymous on March 31, 2014


At least 70 people are reported to have died from Ebola hemorrhagic fever in Guinea, according to a statement from the West African nation’s health ministry.Officials say there are at least 111 suspected cases of the viral disease, which spreads in the blood and shuts down the immune system, causing high fever, headache and muscle pain. The virus is transmitted by contact with the fluids of infected people or animals.Medecins Sans Frontieres MSF describes Ebola as “one of the world’s most deadly diseases.” It is rare, but it creates panic, because there is no cure and it’s fatal in most cases, according to MSF.”The priority is to isolate suspected cases,” said MSF, which has set up two isolation facilities in the most affected districts, Gueckedou and Macenta, both in southern Guinea.Four of the fatalities from the disease are in Conakry, the capital city, which is on the coast.Genetic analysis of the virus shows that it is closely related to Zaire Ebola virus, which was reported in 2009 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo formerly Zaire, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Senegal’s Interior Ministry decided to close its border with Guinea until further notice to prevent the spread of the disease, according to Senegal’s state news agency.The World Health Organization says that, to date, no confirmed cases of Ebola have been found outside of Guinea, but at least 12 suspected cases are under investigation in neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone.

via Guinea: Ebola death toll reaches 70 – CNN.com.

“Up to 90 percent of those who are infected may die,” said Tarik Jasarevic, a spokesman for the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. “That’s why every outbreak is serious.” Outbreaks tend to be localized because victims of the virus are generally too ill to travel, so the risk of exposure in the United States is extremely unlikely, Jasarevic said. Reaching epidemic levels in northeastern Congo, the Ebola virus has stricken people in the towns of Isiro and Viadana in Orientale province, which borders southern Sudan and northern Uganda.

Its incubation – the time between infection and appearance of symptoms – lasts between two and 21 days. Death can occur within a few days. “The incubation period can be long,” Jasarevic said. “But once you start showing symptoms, it goes very fast.”

Onset of illness may manifest in the form of fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat and weakness. Other early symptoms, such as red eyes and a skin rash, are nonspecific to the virus and can be present in diseases that occur much more commonly, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The illness progresses quickly to diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, impairment of kidney and liver function, and internal and external bleeding, which is why it is also called “hemorrhagic fever.” http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/09/13/ebola-death-toll-climbs-in-congo/

Posted in Health, Strange | Leave a Comment »

Something on Mars… Moved

Posted by Anonymous on March 23, 2014

20140322-235908.jpgA new gully has appeared on a sloped crater wall on Mars. The channel, which was absent from images in November 2010 but showed up in a May 2013 photo, does not appear to have been formed by water. Exactly what caused this Red Planet rivulet remains a mystery.

The winding gully seems to have poured out from an existing ribbon channel in a crater in Mars’ Terra Sirenum region. The leading hypothesis on how the gully formed is that debris flowed downslope from an alcove and eroded a new channel. Though it looks water-carved, the gully is much more likely to have been formed when carbon dioxide frost accumulated on the slope and grew heavy enough to avalanche down and drag material down with it.

Because the pair of images, taken by the orbiting HiRISE camera onboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, were taken more than a year apart, scientists don’t know in exactly which season the new gully formed. Similar activity has been seen to occur during the Martian winter at temperatures too cold for water, which is why researchers think carbon dioxide is a likelier cause. While the formation of these gullies on Mars is well documented, scientists have yet to work out exactly how they work.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2014/03/mars-gully-not-water

It looks like the gully was ready to cave in before. How big is it? Has NASA made the connection with the spice yet? ;-)

There are so many mysteries left to uncover. For example, why this wacky WordPress updated app for the iPhone demands a “greater than” sign at the end of whatever I decide to type here.

Posted in Space, Strange | Leave a Comment »

Physics lecture: Universe could wink out of existence

Posted by Anonymous on March 17, 2014

During a 7 mile hike around Mt. Diablo today, I was asked why, if atoms are 99.9% empty space, things seem solid.

The best answer I could give is that there are two classes of all particles, bosons which can move through each other and fermions which can’t, due to the Pauli Exclusion Principle.

Fermions are the constituents of matter: electrons, protons, neutrons; while bosons are particles that transmit interactions (force carriers), or the constituents of radiation: Photons, the force carriers of the electromagnetic field, W and Z bosons, the force carriers that mediate the weak force and gluons the force carriers underlying the strong force.

This is not an answer, of course. It merely says that we have observed and named minute details of reality.

You might say that it would require infinite energy for two fermions to be in the same place at the same time. Why? Because that’s the nature of fermions.

Clear as mud?

Oh, and if the universe winks out, it will be at the speed of light. You probably won’t feel a thing.

Posted in Physics, Strange | 1 Comment »

Company proposes meat from celebrity tissue samples

Posted by Anonymous on March 17, 2014

20140316-203013.jpg“It’s people! Soylent green is made out of people”, to quote from the classic 1973 science fiction film and Charlton Heston’s memorable line. …

Once more life imitates art, and a startup called BiteLabs is looking for support to create meat products from celebrity body parts, aiming to take cells from willing celebs and using them to grow protein into test-tube meat.

LATimes.com spoke with a representative of the organization: “At the moment, our primary goal is to provoke discussion and debate around topics of bioethics and celebrity culture.” …

Los Angeles Times’ “Daily Dish” reports on the newest and ’coolest’ way to devour ourselves:

[...]Here’s how it will work, according to the BiteLabs website. A sample of tissue containing myosatellite cells (the type of cells that help repair and regrow damaged muscle) will be taken from a person during a biopsy. Those cells are multiplied in a lab using a medium that acts as an artificial blood to grow muscle.

Once the cells are mature enough, they will be ground and mixed with different kinds of meat, spices, fats and oils for flavor using one of the company’s “time-honored recipes for the creation of fine cured meats.” It will then be stuffed into casings, seasoned again then dry aged and cured before packaging for distribution.

The company outlines how this type of test-tube meat would eliminate environmental and ethical concerns associated with livestock production, claiming its celebrity meat production would require less than 1% of the land used in traditional farming. The site also notes, the lab meats will not be affected by growth hormones or come into contact with any pesticides or chemicals.

And as far as the celebrity angle, BiteLabs is hoping they can use celebrities to warm people up to the idea of consuming the meat. …

http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-79519061/

Posted in Food, Strange | 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 »

Man faces charges in ‘alien invasion’ school threat

Posted by Anonymous on March 12, 2014

20140312-093240.jpgA Trenton man is facing charges of false public alarm after he allegedly tried to call in an alien invasion to the county’s special services school district twice in nine days, police said.

Darren Morris, 31, has no obvious connection to the school for disabled and troubled youths and was not a student there, Capt. James Stevens said today.

It was unclear why Morris made phone calls on Feb. 25 and March 6 on a main line an administrator wound up answering.

In the calls, Morris said he was being followed by aliens, that they had taken people, and they were coming to abduct more, Stevens said.

“And he was warning the school that there were ‘robot aliens,’” Stevens said.

The school called police following both the first call at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 25 and again around 7:30 a.m. March 6. At neither point was the school evacuated or put on lockdown, but officials wanted the calls reported.

“And no one at the school wanted to take the chance,” Stevens said.

“There was definitely some concern when he called a second time,” Stevens added.

The school’s caller ID recorded the number Morris was using on the second call, and Detective Len Gadsby traced it to a pay phone at the Trenton train station. NJ Transit police pulled video camera footage that identified Morris as a suspect, and he was arrested at the station Saturday morning.

The single charge of false public alarm is an indictable offense, Stevens said, and Morris is being held at the county workhouse in lieu of $5,000 bail.

Mercer County spokeswoman Julie Willmot confirmed school officials received two calls within weeks of each other.

“Both calls were nonspecific and noncredible,” she said.

http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2014/03/trenton_man_faces_charges_in_alien_invasion_school_threat.html

Great, now who will stop the robot aliens?

Posted in Aliens, Strange | 2 Comments »

 
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