Medicine


UK scientists have created the worlds first genetically modified chickens that do not spread bird flu.Writing in Science journal, the team says their work demonstrates it is possible to create a variety of GM farm animals resistant to viral diseases.The research team inserted an artificial gene into chickens; this introduces a tiny part of the bird flu virus into chicken cells.These birds become infected but render the virus harmless to other poultry.The team believes that the genetic modification they have introduced is harmless to the chickens and to people who might eat the birds.

Now, they’re working on a chicken that can tell us which came first.

via BBC News – Worlds first flu-resistant GM chickens created.

 

This may be the oddest story I’ve ever read, and I’d be very skeptical if this were April 1:

Matt Frerking, 39, from Portland, Oregon, is left immobile if he even has a romantic thought or sees others showing displays of affection.

The affliction has been diagnosed as a combination of the chronic sleeping disorder narcolepsy with cataplexy, a sudden weakening of the muscles which renders the person temporarily immobile but still aware of their surroundings and able to hear.

For Mr Frerking the feeling that sparks an attack is love and being around his family can send him into a state of physical paralysis.

He is unable to put his arm around Trish, his wife of 13 years, and suffers attacks on anniversaries. He can suffer attacks several times a day.

“Holding hands in public is something that we can do for a few seconds at most, and that’s about it,” Mr Frerking said.

“Putting my arm around her is something that I don’t do unless we’re sitting down and I know that it won’t matter that much if I just flop over. I have to limit those things very carefully.” During an interview with ABC News, he described having to avoid “warm and fuzzy” feelings before passing out after looking at photos in his wedding album.

Attacks are also triggered by trailers for romantic films and Mr Frerking said he tries to stave them off by thinking about scientific research.

Adding to the surreality: Mr. Frerking is a neuroscientist.

via The neuroscientist paralysed by love – Telegraph.

Even with bad antennae, Apple would have to be more competent than Washington:

Via: Wall Street Journal, Opinion Journal 8/19/10

A new low in highs:

Desperate heroin users in a few African cities have begun engaging in a practice that is so dangerous it is almost unthinkable: they deliberately inject themselves with another addict’s blood, researchers say, in an effort to share the high or stave off the pangs of withdrawal.

The practice, called flashblood or sometimes flushblood, is not common, but has been reported in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on the island of Zanzibar and in Mombasa, Kenya.

It puts users at the highest possible risk of contracting AIDS and hepatitis.

via Desperate Addicts Inject Others’ Blood – NYTimes.com.

THIS should be popular at the beach:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced it has approved the Implantable Miniature Telescope IMT to improve vision in some patients with end-stage age-related macular degeneration AMD.

Surgically implanted in one eye, the IMT is a small telescope that replaces the natural lens and provides an image that has been magnified more than two times.

via FDA Approves First Implantable Miniature Telescope to Improve Sight of AMD patients.

Despite losing his lower leg in an auto accident, Lance Blair has been around the world, hiking the Peruvian Andes and the Yucatan jungles.  His adventures are aided by a diesel-powered wheelchair.

Lance Blair was 18 when a truck blew a red light and removed his lower leg. “There was about a pinky-width of meat holding it on.” So Lance did the obvious thing: He built a diesel-powered wheelchair-accessible 4×4 adventure truck.

“The hip and pelvis were too damaged,” Lance told me. “Actually they told my mom I’d only make it until Monday.” Monday came and Lance was still alive. Cold comfort—he got to spend the next two months in intensive care. Then six months of therapy and a colostomy bag. “At 18 years old, pooing in a bag is way worse than losing your leg. You don’t talk to girls. You don’t socialize. Your whole self-confidence goes right out the window.

“The doctors didn’t think Lance was a good candidate for a prosthesis because of the extensive damage to the very place to which it would need to be attached, his hips and upper leg. So Lance lied to the prosthesis maker and told him that his orthopedic surgeon wanted him to have it. He was sick of being told how fast he should recover.

‘”There was no one around at that time who came to your hospital and said, ‘This is what your life’s going to be like now.’ I didn’t go to any support groups. I just started going back to work and started breaking quite a few prosthetics.”

He wasn’t breaking his prosthetic legs idly. Lance hiked the Peruvian Andes. He backpacked through the Yucatan jungles. He went all around the world. There were very few things in life he found that being a below-the-knee amputee prevented him from doing.

He became a nurse, and works with other

It’s the emotional drive that makes you transfer from your bed to the wheelchair. That makes you put your legs on. Or stop and take ‘em off, if that’s what you need to do. Working in the hospital kind of gives me that ability to be empathetic, to use my experiences to… you know, I can’t change anything for these people. I can’t say, ‘I can stick your leg back on.’ Or, ‘Hey, guess what? I can get you out of that wheelchair.’ But if nothing else, I can say, ‘I’ve been where you are. I laid in the bed. I pooped. I vomited. I did all that. I can’t make it any better, but I can make sure it’s not any worse than it has to be.'”

Good for him!

via Disabled Explorers In the World’s Most Badass Short Bus – Disabled explorers – Gizmodo.

A 13-year-old Croatian girl has awakened from a coma, speaking fluent German.

The girl, from the southern town of Knin, had only just started studying German at school and had been reading German books and watching German TV to become better, but was by no means fluent, according to her parents.

Since waking up from her 24 hour coma however, she has been unable to speak Croatian, but is able to communicate perfectly in German.”

A similar phenomenon has been reported in numerous cases through history, but cannot be explained.  And experts who have examined the Croatian teen cannot explain her condition.

Psychiatric expert Dr Mijo Milas added: “In earlier times this would have been referred to as a miracle, we prefer to think that there must be a logical explanation – its just that we haven’t found it yet.”

I can imagine that a brain trauma could deprive one of a native language, but cannot begin to  imagine how one could suddenly wake up fluent in a language that one did not previously know (or know well).

via Croatian teenager wakes from coma speaking fluent German – Telegraph.

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