Friday, April 27, 2007

Your Comments Needed!

There's a blog posted at the Buffalo News in which some readers are debating the merits of human embryonic stem cell research. I've weighed in a few times, along with others.

Your comments are welcome.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Chemicals That Block Anthrax

Anthrax survives for long periods of time as spores that can germinate to form new bacteria capable of releasing a potentially deadly toxin. A new research study describes seven chemicals that are able to block the germination of anthrax spores. One of the chemicals, called 6-thioguanosine, was able to prevent the germination of anthrax spores within mammalian cells, thereby blocking infection. The next step will be to test these chemicals for therapeutic potential on anthrax-infected mice. Research teams from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas recently published this report in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Atom Jokes

Two hydrogen atoms walk into a bar.
One turns to the other and says,
"I think I've lost my electron."

The other asks, "Are you sure?"
"Yes," the first says, "I'm positive."

A neutron walks into a bar.
He asks the bartender for a drink.

When it's served, he asks how much it will be.
"For you," the bartender answers, "no charge."

From Lori's humor page:

Monday, April 09, 2007

Federal Stem Cell Bill is Back...

From the Society for Neuroscience:

Dear Eyedoc,

Immediately upon their return from recess on April 10, the Senate will consider the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (S. 5). Please contact your Senators now and urge them to vote YES on S. 5.

The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005 (H.R. 810) passed with strong bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate, but President Bush used his first and only veto when the bill reached his desk in July 2006. Similar legislation (H.R. 3) passed the House earlier this year; now the Senate must take up this vital bill.

On April 10, the Senate will debate S. 5 and another stem cell research bill, S. 30. No amendments will be allowed and each bill must receive 60 votes to pass. The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act has been modified from the version passed earlier this year by the House of Representatives (H.R. 3) to include language that encourages the NIH to pursue all forms of stem cell research. S. 30 advocates support for adult stem cell research and attempts to define and protect embryos from use in stem cell research.

Therefore, SfN supports the passage of S. 5, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, the only bill under consideration that will advance federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Please contact your Senators immediately to ask that they vote yes on S. 5. Please visit CapWiz, an online legislative action center, provided to you by SfN:

The Society for Neuroscience

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Repost From Last Year Because It's Funny....

I discovered this silly website a couple of years ago. It's still hysterical and especially appropriate for Easter week-end. It seems that some scientists (apparently with some time to kill in the lab) are conducting laboratory experiments on marshmallow peeps. They have an entire website devoted to their studies.

One particularly cute experiment was "the effect of alcohol and smoking on marshmallow peeps."

First, the peep was exposed to alcohol and did exhibit s
ome signs of inebriation, such as bumping into the walls of the swimming vessel:

Then, the peep was permitted to select a brand of cigarette and smoked without apparent ill effects:

However, when smoking and alcohol were combined, the effects were catastrophic:

Their conclusions: "The synergistic effect of smoking and alcohol in Peeps produces a rapidly exothermic oxidation reaction, leading to a chemical and morphological divergence from the wild-type Peep phenotypes."

The marshmallow peep appears to be an excellent experimental model for the synergistic effects of smoking and alcohol!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Stem Cell Victory in New York!!

On Saturday, March 31, Governor Spitzer, Lieutenant-Governor Paterson, Senate Majority Leader Bruno, and Assembly Speaker Silver signed off on a long-term package to fund stem-cell and regenerative medicine research in the State of New York, beginning with an appropriation of $100 million for the fiscal year that begins April 1, 2007. The package was voted in as part of the Executive Budget by the full Assembly and Senate this morning. The bill provides for creation within the State Department of Health of an Empire State Stem Cell Board, comprising a Funding Committee and an Ethics Committee, both of which will be chaired by the Commissioner. The Funding Committee will provide for an "independent scientific peer review committee" composed of expert scientists, set standards and scoring criteria, and solicit and accept proposals. More details are sure to follow.

A big thank you to all who devoted so much hard work to the stem cell effort!