Biosingularity

Archive for August 2008

A recent study shows that popular fish oil supplements have an effect on the healing process of small, acute wounds in human skin. But whether that effect is detrimental, as researchers initially suspected, remains a mystery.

The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils are widely considered to benefit cardiovascular health and other diseases related to chronic inflammation because of their anti-inflammatory properties. But insufficient inflammation during the initial stage of wound healing may delay the advancement of later stages.
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Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have discovered that vitamin A, when applied to breast cancer cells, turns on genes that can push stem cells embedded in a tumor to morph into endothelial cells. These cells can then build blood vessels to link up to the body’s blood supply, promoting further tumor growth.
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Morphology: Thrombocytopenia, 4+ schizocytes, 3+ spherocytes, 4+ polychromatophilic rbc.

Diagnosis: Disseminated carcinomatosis with DIC

DIC With Microangiopathic Hemolytic Anemia on Flickr – Photo Sharing!.

Protein chips – or ‘protein arrays’ as they are more commonly known – are objects such as slides that have proteins attached to them and allow important scientific data about the behaviour of proteins to be gathered.

Functional protein arrays could give scientists the ability to run tests on tens of thousands of different proteins simultaneously, observing how they interact with cells, other proteins, DNA and drugs.
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Cocoa flavanols, the unique compounds found naturally in cocoa, may increase blood flow to the brain, according to new research published in the Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment journal. The researchers suggest that long-term improvements in brain blood flow could impact cognitive behavior, offering future potential for debilitating brain conditions including dementia and stroke.
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Segway inventor Dean Kamen is looking to re-invent the prosthetic arm. IEEE Spectrum caught up with Kamen and one of his “test pilots,” to see the robotic arm (named after Luke Skywalker’s articficial limb) in action.

Scientists have identified about two dozen genes that control embryonic stem cell fate. The genes may either prod or restrain stem cells from drifting into a kind of limbo, they suspect. The limbo lies between the embryonic stage and fully differentiated, or specialized, cells, such as bone, muscle or fat.

By knowing the genes and proteins that control a cell’s progress toward the differentiated form, researchers may be able to accelerate the process — a potential boon for the use of stem cells in therapy or the study of some degenerative diseases, the scientists say.
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