Medical News: 5-7-08


Scientists discover why the plague is so lethal– Bacteria that cause the bubonic plague may be more virulent than their close relatives because of a single genetic mutation

Bacterial slime helps cause serious disease – Leptospirosis is a serious but neglected emerging disease that infects humans through contaminated water. Now research published in the May issue of the journal Microbiology shows for the first time how bacteria that cause the disease survive in the environment.

Ferreting Out HIV – Compound that pulls the virus out of hiding is synthesized.

China rushes to quell viral outbreak as Olympics approach – A viral outbreak in China has sickened more than 6,300 people and killed another child, raising the death toll to 26 children

Reprogrammed Stem Cells Work on Parkinson’s – A study in rodents suggests that skin cells can be transformed into neurons to treat neurodegeneration.

Mini Milky Ways Pack a Big Punch

Astronomers looking at galaxies in the universe’s distant past found nine young, compact galaxies, each weighing in at 200 billion times the mass of our Sun. Each compact galaxy is only 5000 light years across which is a fraction of our own grown up Milky Way but contains roughly the same number of stars.

A planet in a compact galaxy would see 200 times more stars in the sky than you do from Earth. Get the full story from

Compact galaxies

Made in Mexico: Domesticated Sunflowers


New evidence confirms that the sunflower was domesticated in Mexico more than 4,600 years ago, contrary to the widely held belief that it was converted into a food crop only in the Mississippi Valley. Researchers use to believe Spanish conquistadors were responsible for bringing domesticated sunflowers to Mexico from the north. But genetic research on ancient seeds found at formerly inhabited sites indicate that indigenous people in different parts of Mexico were using sunflowers 1800 years before being conquered by the Spaniards.

LA Times has the story.

Med/Sci News Links 5-3-08


U.S. Congress bans genetic discrimination

Fully automated anesthesia

A new anti-evolution push

Surgery for backward, upside-down feet

Exoskeleton industry gears up

Living artificial kidneys

Plastic blood cells

Fetal cells may protect mom against cancer

Women’s voices are sexier during fertility peaks

Magician holds his breath for 17 minutes

Flowers bring wasps to orgasm

Testosterone makes female birds better fighters but worse parents

Nat. Geographic: Next Decade Will Be Cooler

Global Warming

Cooler climate may hit N.America and Europe Next Decade

If National Geographic prints it, it must be gospel.

A new forecasting model, based on past and present sea surface temperatures, suggests the imminent onset of a cool-down cycle for currents in both the North Atlantic and tropical Pacific.

Of course, it could turn out to be temporary with following decades getting warmer, but it’ll be hard to train people to prepare for heat tomorrow when it’s cool today.

The Holy Nanochip

Nanochip Quran

The smallest copy of the Quran in the world has been on display at The Bride Show this week drawing crowds of visitors to see one of the most fascinating and technologically advanced products set into spectacular pieces of jewelry.

These little books have 10,000 lines of text, are etched onto sapphire and spans 5.8mm by 9mm in size. This tiny bible of Islam is being marketed in small numbers to brides and grooms to adorn themselves on the ‘big day’.