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Jan 01 2010

Happy 2010! Have some science!

It’s a new year, and there are a few interesting scientific news bits and posts with which to celebrate the decade’s rollover. What better way to start the year than to soak in some science!

Ginkgo Biloba has no effect at all in improving memory or mediating effects of dementia or mental decline due to age, sayeth rigorous tests performed by the NCCAM. I’ve only been told to take it a dozen times in the past dozen years, and while this does say that I should probably work on my swiss-cheese-like medium-term memory, at least I have something to tell those folks. That is, if I can remember the contents of the post.

Scientists have also discovered specific patterns in the brains of patients with generalized anxiety disorder. This is excellent news, both for testing and detecting, and for possibly treating the disorder.

Apparently prions, mere proteins devoid of life, are subject to natural selection and evolution. This doesn’t really surprise me, though it does impress me that scientists have proved as much — that pressures applied by the environment might lead to selecting certain prions over others, and that prions can cause proteins to fold like themselves (the entire basis for Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease), it’s kind of self-evident. Not that I would have come up with the idea myself of course — but it has the ring of truth. This is great news.

What isn’t great news, on the other hand — the UK libel laws are being used as cover for a drug company and their apparent attempt at retribution regarding some criticism being leveled against them by a Danish radiologist.

And finally, ERV discusses scientists having pigs’ retroviruses “optimized out”, so their cells can be used to treat diabetes. She being ERV, the post is titled PERVs and MANIMALS. If that doesn’t get you to click, I have no idea what will.

Hooray for science! And hooray for an arbitrarily selected division of the solar orbit!

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