15 posts · 24,497 views
Sticking stuff that wasn't made to be stuck to stuff that wasn't made to have stuff stuck to it.
When I came across this post "Medical Advice for Headbangers" on Boing Boing today, I couldn't help but click through to read the paper. What I found was a pun-fest of scholarly research, and I'm left intensely curious about who funded this research. Ironically enough, at the time I came across the post I was listening to an auto-swung version of Metallica's "Enter the Sandman" (songs run through a rather neat Python script to swing them*).When Toaster was a young whelp in The Ozarks, it event........ Read more »
Patton, D., & McIntosh, A. (2008) Head and neck injury risks in heavy metal: head bangers stuck between rock and a hard bass. BMJ, 337(dec17 2). DOI: 10.1136/bmj.a2825
Imagine waking up trapped in a prison of your own flesh, blinking awake in the dull glow of a softly bleached hospital room. Your arms and legs are unresponsive to the will to move them, to the simple desire to reach up and scratch the itchiness of morphine from your eyes. Nothing happens, nothing responds, nothing moves, nothing feels. You are an immobile head trapped on an unresponsive body, and no matter how loudly you scream against the walls of your confinement from inside your head, not........ Read more »
Li, Z., O'Doherty, J., Hanson, T., Lebedev, M., Henriquez, C., & Nicolelis, M. (2009) Unscented Kalman Filter for Brain-Machine Interfaces. PLoS ONE, 4(7). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0006243
Apoptosis means doom for an individual cell. As such we tend to automatically assume that apoptosis is a Bad Thing, but in reality apoptosis often is quite necessary for normal physiological function at the organism level. In order for our bodies to maintain the homeostasis that defines so many of our cellular processes, we have to sacrifice some cells. As it turns out, we actually wind up sacrificing enormous numbers of cells every day. Worn out red blood cells, dangerously self-reactive ly........ Read more »
ORIORDAN, M., BAULER, L., SCOTT, F., & DUCKETT, C. (2008) Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins in Eukaryotic Evolution and Development: A Model of Thematic Conservation. Developmental Cell, 15(4), 497-508. DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2008.09.012
You're running through the cool woods on a hot day, barefoot as dead leaves rustle underfoot and the cold flint tickles beneath. The green leaves and kudzu blur past as you dodge beaming shafts of sunlight and the hot ground they illuminate. You scan the earth ahead for sinkholes and patches of poison ivy, but still, the chilled, humid air coiled around the trees flowing in your ears feels joyous in comparison to the sauna of the open field. You dart between two trees, then suddenly stop and ........ Read more »
Agnarsson, I., Dhinojwala, A., Sahni, V., & Blackledge, T. (2009) Spider silk as a novel high performance biomimetic muscle driven by humidity. Journal of Experimental Biology, 212(13), 1990-1994. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.028282
You are never alone. Not even when you might want to be. Tucked away within the ~100m2 of your bowels are ~1014 (there are ~1013 somatic and germinal cells in the human body) of your closest friends, collectively termed The Microbiota. They eat, spawn, conjugate, die, poop, fight, and secrete right there inside of you, unseen and mostly unthought of except when something is wrong. This system, the remarkably homeostatic mammalian gut, forms what is perhaps the densest and most complex microb........ Read more »
Artis, D. (2008) Epithelial-cell recognition of commensal bacteria and maintenance of immune homeostasis in the gut. Nature Reviews Immunology, 8(6), 411-420. DOI: 10.1038/nri2316
Milk isn't just milk. The pasteurized cow milk that we can purchase in the grocery store has been cleaned, processed, and in many cases chemically scrubbed of fat. Unique among mammals, we Western humans stubbornly persist in our consumption of dairy products well into adulthood regardless of whether or not our guts like it. But the cow milk in the store is very different from the fresh milk humans nurse their newborns with. Fresh human milk contains growth factors, vitamins, an astounding d........ Read more »
Verhasselt, V., Milcent, V., Cazareth, J., Kanda, A., Fleury, S., Dombrowicz, D., Glaichenhaus, N., & Julia, V. (2008) Breast milk–mediated transfer of an antigen induces tolerance and protection from allergic asthma. Nature Medicine, 14(2), 170-175. DOI: 10.1038/nm1718
First off, props to Dr. Isis, who in the discussion of her Cairo haze post referenced the work of L. Calderón-Garcidueñas, which set me off into the literature. What I have initially found was sobering.Air isn't something we often think about. We take it entirely for granted. We complain about how hot or humid it is, but we usually don't have to think about what in that air might be making us, or our children, sick. Those of us fortunate enough to live in Western, industrialized countries ........ Read more »
Calderón-Garcidue˜nas, L. (2000) Respiratory tract pathology and cytokine imbalance in clinically healthy children chronically and sequentially exposed to air pollutants. Medical Hypotheses, 55(5), 373-378. DOI: 10.1054/mehy.2000.1070
Dendritic cells (DCs) are the extremely important interface cell type between the innate and adaptive immune systems. Without them, the adaptive immune system has a very hard time getting started and the organism has a much more difficult time fighting off pathogens. But DCs don't just save our lives when we're sick, they also save us from ourselves when we're not. It has recently been found that constitutive knockout of dendritic cells leads to the development of spontaneous fatal autoimmuni........ Read more »
Ohnmacht, C., Pullner, A., King, S., Drexler, I., Meier, S., Brocker, T., & Voehringer, D. (2009) Constitutive ablation of dendritic cells breaks self-tolerance of CD4 T cells and results in spontaneous fatal autoimmunity. Journal of Experimental Medicine, 206(3), 549-559. DOI: 10.1084/jem.20082394
Background: TH17 discussed previously here; previous brief run-down of T-cell development here.TH17 cells are an inflammatory T-cell subtype implicated in acute adaptive immune response as well as chronic autoimmune diseases. We have known for a while now how to create TH17 cells in a dish: just as TGFb and IL-6 (a general T-cell proliferation cytokine such as IL-2 wouldn't hurt either). However, we haven't been very clear on how exactly those kind of conditions would arise in vivo. TGFb is a........ Read more »
Torchinsky, M., Garaude, J., Martin, A., & Blander, J. (2009) Innate immune recognition of infected apoptotic cells directs TH17 cell differentiation. Nature, 458(7234), 78-82. DOI: 10.1038/nature07781
Having somewhat recently realized that I don't want to have the awesomely statuesque physique of a stick figure for the rest of my life, I began working out (before and after picture below). I still have no idea how to use most of the equipment in the gym and I'm not going to ask Pikkuveli (="little brother") how to use it just because he has ~130kg of muscle to my paltry ~60kg (we're also the same height: ~2.07m). But I am willing to ask where muscles come from.So I hit up Current Opinion in ........ Read more »
So I recently realized that I don't know nearly enough about mammalian metabolism, or my own, really. Therefore, naturally, I turned to my best friends for answers: PubMed and Google Scholar. I learned some stuff. And now I'm going to learn you some stuff about the metabolic hormones.We all know about insulin, even if we have no idea what it does. Basically, you eat stuff. Stuff has sugar. Stuff + stuff sugar gets absorbed across intestinal epithelium into your bloodstream. Serum levels o........ Read more »
Meier, U. (2004) Endocrine Regulation of Energy Metabolism: Review of Pathobiochemical and Clinical Chemical Aspects of Leptin, Ghrelin, Adiponectin, and Resistin. Clinical Chemistry, 50(9), 1511-1525. DOI: 10.1373/clinchem.2004.032482
By now it has become very well established that naive T-cells can and do differentiate into many many many different terminal states, although most of them will die along the way. A naive T-cell arriving in the thymus expressed both CD4 and CD8, and has to choose based on intercellular interactions with APCs (antigen-presenting cells) and the cytokine environment whether to be CD4+ or CD8+ and wind up recognizing antigen on MHCII or MHCI, respectively. CD4+ T-cells can then further differentia........ Read more »
Yeonseok Chung, & Chen Dong. (2009) Don't leave home without it: the IL-23 visa to TH-17 cells. Nature Immunology, 10(3), 236-238.
(Previous asthma research-blogging here)Marsha Wills-Karp, Jackie Luyimbazi, Xueying Xu, Brian Schofield, Tamlyn Y. Neben, Christopher L. Karp, Debra D. Donaldson (1998). Interleukin-13: Central Mediator of Allergic Asthma Science, 282, 2258-2261Abstract:The worldwide incidence, morbidity, and mortality of allergic asthma are increasing. The pathophysiological features of allergic asthma are thought to result from the aberrant expansion of CD4(+) T cells producing the type 2 cytokines interleuki........ Read more »
Marsha Wills-Karp, Jackie Luyimbazi, Xueying Xu, Brian Schofield, Tamlyn Y. Neben, Christopher L. Karp, Debra D. Donaldson. (1998) Interleukin-13: Central Mediator of Allergic Asthma. Science, 2258-2261. DOI: www.sciencemag.org
This post is part of Cyber Journal Club with Science Bear and R.E.S.E.A.R.C.H.E.R.S..Figure A: EHEC + other stuff on sorbitol MacConkey Agar. Most EHEC cannot ferment sorbitol and on SMAC agar it will grow translucent. Other stuff pictured here can ferment sorbitol and as such is pink because it has raised the local pH and tripped the pH indicator in MacConkey plates.(For background, I've discussed Shiga toxin and EHEC in greater detail before.)EHEC = enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7........ Read more »
Robinson, C. (2006) Shiga toxin of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli type O157:H7 promotes intestinal colonization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 103(25), 9667-9672. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0602359103
It’s a beautiful spring day, the first warm and sunny day of the year and the snow has finally melted. So naturally, you’re outside, enjoying it. The birds have reemerged from their hiding places, and all the plants are heavy with green and bloom. The whole earth smells clean, as though the snow and sleet somehow scrubbed the very grass and have made it shine, even if it is still brown and crinkles underfoot. Off in the birdsong distance, you can see the tree boughs tossing in the breeze........ Read more »
Jose G. Venegas, Tilo Winkler, Guido Musch, Marcos F. Vidal Melo, Dominick Layfield, Nora Tgavalekos, Alan J. Fischman, Ronald J. Callahan, Giacomo Bellani, & R. Scott Harris. (2005) Self-organized patchiness in asthma as a prelude to catastrophic shifts. Nature, 434(7034), 777-782. DOI: 10.1038/nature03490
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