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Do Cell Phones Cause Infertility?

Do cell phones decrease male fertility?  Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic think so.  According to Ashok Agarwal, et. al., greater use of cell phones is associated with decreased sprem count.  Other factors, such as sperm motility, are diminished as well. Effect of cell phone usage on semen analysis in men attending infertility clinic: an observational…

Z Machine

Deputy Dog has a post detailing “5 unbelievably cool research facilities.”  The one shown here is the Z Machine, at the Sandia National Lab in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  (Sandia Labs have more than one location.) This device produces X-rays.  Sure, there are a lot of X-ray machines.  But only one can burn 290 trillion watts.…

Roche Molecular Diagnostics offers a test that can determine which type of genes a person has for enzymes that metabolize antidepressant medication.  The test costs $ 300 to $400, and can be ordered by healthcare professionals, or by consumers. The idea is that it might be possible to predict which medications might be better for…

Shrinky-Dink Tech

For years, universities have struggled to find ways to move esoteric technologies from the lab to the commercial sector.  Now, scientists at UC Merced have begun to grapple with another problem: how to move technology from the toy shop into the lab. Chemical & Engineering News has a cute little article explaining how a new…

Cannabis Extract for Cancer?

Any time something related to a medical use for cannabis is found, it makes headlines.  Mostly, the interest is generated by the relationship to an illegal drug.  Sometimes, though, the media do a decent job of reporting the real issue. Researchers at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute have announced that one of the…

Genetic Test for Suicidal Ideation?

Actually, the full headline is: Genetic test for suicidal ideation in patients using antidepressant drugs. A company called Neuromark has made available a genetic test that it claims can identify persons who would have an increased risk for suicide after starting an antidepressant medication.  They call the test Mark-C™.  It is based upon the finding…

I just love things like this.  An open-access article in PNAS reports on a previously-unknown method of signaling employed by squirrels.   The squirrels have a way of enhancing a tail-flagging movement with an IR signal.  The IR enhancement is optional.  It turns out they use it when confronted by rattlesnakes that are sensitive to…

Oxytocin for Shyness

There is new information indicating that an oxytocin nasal spray could be used to treat shyness.  Oxytocin is a peptide hormone best known for its role in childbirth and breastfeeding.  These are known as peripheral actions, meaning they take place outside of the central nervous system (CNS). However, it also is known as a neurotransmitter,…

This is Making Us Safer?

Remember the recent reports about lab workers at a biodefense laboratory (Texas A&M) who became infected with “select agents” (Brucella and Coxiella burnetii)?   An editorial in Nature expands upon this report.  The findings are not reassuring.  Indeed, they are frightening.  The problems are not limited to a single lab: Safety clause US research on…

We are most accustomed to seeing power generation windmills on dry land, here in the USA.  In Europe, some are on land and some are offshore.  They generally are considered eyesores.  Myself, I think they are beautiful.  I love to see them up on a ridge, turning away, churning out megawatts for our energy-hungry populace.…