Stepping Through the Mirror

theoddmentemporium:

The Mother of Modern-Day Genetics: Henrietta Lacks. Lived: 1920-1951
When tobacco farmer Henrietta Lacks was diagnosed with cervical cancer at the age of 30 in 1951, all she wanted to do was get better. Sadly, after eight months of radiation and surgery at Johns Hopkins University Hospital, Lacks and her tumor-riddled body lost the battle with the disease.
However, unbeknownst to her and her family, her cells lived on — right up until today. Known as HeLa cells (a combo of the first two letters of her first and last name), they have been multiplying since the sample was (secretly) taken from one of Lacks’ tumors and sent to Dr. George Gey’s tissue-culture research lab back in the 1950s. Not only did Lacks’ cells help scientists test the polio vaccine, HeLa cells were also sent into space.
Unfortunately, Lacks’ family didn’t find out about the grand experiment till the early 1970s when a researcher from Johns Hopkins called them. But now Rebecca Skloot’s recently released “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” will ensure history knows the unprecedented role Lacks played — and how her body revolutionized modern science.
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theoddmentemporium:

The Mother of Modern-Day Genetics: Henrietta Lacks. Lived: 1920-1951

When tobacco farmer Henrietta Lacks was diagnosed with cervical cancer at the age of 30 in 1951, all she wanted to do was get better. Sadly, after eight months of radiation and surgery at Johns Hopkins University Hospital, Lacks and her tumor-riddled body lost the battle with the disease.

However, unbeknownst to her and her family, her cells lived on — right up until today. Known as HeLa cells (a combo of the first two letters of her first and last name), they have been multiplying since the sample was (secretly) taken from one of Lacks’ tumors and sent to Dr. George Gey’s tissue-culture research lab back in the 1950s. Not only did Lacks’ cells help scientists test the polio vaccine, HeLa cells were also sent into space.

Unfortunately, Lacks’ family didn’t find out about the grand experiment till the early 1970s when a researcher from Johns Hopkins called them. But now Rebecca Skloot’s recently released “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” will ensure history knows the unprecedented role Lacks played — and how her body revolutionized modern science.

(via margaretmoony)

Your Storytelling Brain

Cognitive Neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga, a pioneer in the study of hemispheric (left vs. right brain) specialization describes “the Interpreter” - a left hemisphere function that organizes our memories into plausible stories.

Study: Having An Abortion Does Not Increase Risk of Mental Health Problems, Unwanted Pregnancy Does

Last week, the UK Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AMRC), published the world’s largest, most comprehensive and systematic review of mental health outcomes and abortion care. The review included 44 high-quality studies done in developed countries and published between 1990 and 2011. …

On the basis of the best evidence available, the Steering Group concluded that:

  • Having an unwanted pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of mental health problems. However, the rates of mental health problems for women with an unwanted pregnancy are the same, whether they have an abortion or give birth. 
  • The most reliable predictor of post-abortion mental health problems is having a history of mental health problems. In other words, women who have had mental health problems before the abortion are at greater risk of mental health problems after the abortion.

DUH.  [Emphasis mine.]

    

Huge news: multiple sclerosis is a metabolic disorder

In the latest issue of the Quarterly Review of Biology (Vol 86 Number 4, December 2011), in a paper titled “Multiple Sclerosis is Not a Disease of the Immune System,” Dr Angelique Corthals argues that multiple sclerosis (MS) isn’t a disease of the immune system: it is caused by faulty lipid metabolism.  …  This is huge. It is not an incremental improvement of what’s known about MS, it’s a paradigm shift. It will change the way MS is understood, researched, and treated.

Software Developers and Insomnia: Pushing Beta Brainwaves to Extremes.

The mental activity associated with coding and all IT work is that of mathematics”, says Dr. David Dubin, medical director for Sleep Recovery Centers, Inc. “And the frequency produced by the mathematical brain is clearly that of beta. In code writers, that beta is totally pushed to extremes”.

It seems that there is also a fine line between mathematical beta and and the anxiety producing brainwave hi-beta as well. When the human brain develops an habitual daily pattern of beta, it can migrate upward into this next level of frequency range. And if this goes on long enough, chronic insomnia is usually what follows.

Wild Cat Found Mimicking Monkey Calls; Predatory Trickery Documented for the First Time in Wild Felids in Americas

ScienceDaily (July 9, 2010) — In a fascinating example of vocal mimicry, researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and UFAM (Federal University of Amazonas) have documented a wild cat species imitating the call of its intended victim: a small, squirrel-sized monkey known as a pied tamarin. This is the first recorded instance of a wild cat species in the Americas mimicking the calls of its prey.

The extraordinary behavior was recorded by researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society and UFAM in the Amazonian forests of the Reserva Florestal Adolpho Ducke in Brazil. The observations confirmed what until now had been only anecdotal reports from Amazonian inhabitants of wild cat species — including jaguars and pumas — actually mimicking primates, agoutis, and other species in order to draw them within striking range.

Learning Difficulties May Be Centred in the Eye, Not the Brain

ScienceDaily (June 14, 2010) — Problems with math? And perhaps with handwriting — and motor skills? Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) believe that the explanation for your troubles may be that not all of the cells in your eyes work the way they should.

Neurobiological Cause of Intergroup Conflict: 'Bonding Hormone' Drives Aggression Towards Competing out-Groups

ScienceDaily (June 15, 2010) — Researchers at the University of Amsterdam provide first-time evidence for a neurobiological cause of intergroup conflict. They show that oxytocin, a neuropeptide produced in the brain that functions as hormone and neurotransmitter, leads humans to self-sacrifice to benefit their own group and to show aggression against threatening out-groups. This finding qualifies the wide-spread belief that oxytocin promotes general trust and benevolence.

Experience Shapes the Brain's Circuitry Throughout Adulthood

ScienceDaily (June 15, 2010) — The adult brain, long considered to be fixed in its wiring, is in fact remarkably dynamic. Neuroscientists once thought that the brain’s wiring was fixed early in life, during a critical period beyond which changes were impossible. Recent discoveries have challenged that view, and now, research by scientists at Rockefeller University suggests that circuits in the adult brain are continually modified by experience.

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