Life Lines

Archives for June, 2012

Life-saving microparticles

Scientists have been able to keep rabbits alive for up to 15 minutes after their windpipes had been blocked by injecting microparticles (yellow in the image below) containing oxygen into their bloodstream.  These microparticles are able to deliver the life-saving oxygen directly to red blood cells allowing the animals to survive with normal blood pressure and heart rates in…

Goodbye Lonesome George

The last known member of the subspecies Pinta Island tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni), affectionately named Lonesome George, passed away on Sunday at about 100 years old (no one knew his exact age). He had been the last of his kind in the Galapagos Islands for the past 40 years, earning his nickname. The suspected cause of…

What’s so funny?

In this video, Dr. Jaak Panksepp describes how he discovered that rats apparently laugh, producing an ultrasonic sound which more resembles chirping than laughter as we typically think of it: Further research by Dr. Panksepp has shown that young rats tend to be more ticklish that older rats and that “laughter” ceases when the animals…

Dr. Charles Ide from Western Michigan University has become a leader in the fight against Multiple symptom atrophy, or MSA, all because of frogs. His research on how contaminants in the Kalamazoo River impacts the health of frogs lead to the discovery that frogs injected with PCBs developed Parkinson’s disease like symptoms. Dr. Ide describes MSA (aka:…

The return of the cougar

  Image from Scientific American   Great news for cougars: According to a recent study published in The Journal of Wildlife Management, cougars (Puma concolor) are beginning to repopulate the Midwest after an extended absence going back to the early 20th century. Their population declined in the Midwest when prey dwindled and they were being hunted to protect livestock and…

According to the report on the Discover Magazine website, George Levick, a surgeon and zoologist, went on an Antarctic expedition with Captain Robert Scott (the Terra Nova Expedition) where he spent time observing and documenting the largest colony of Adélie penguins at Cape Adare (image above). Following his trip he published a story about the penguins for the general public…

Zoobiquity

I was delighted to turn on my radio this morning and hear the interview with Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz (UCLA) and journalist Kathryn Bowers about their book called “Zoobiquity: What animals can teach us about health and the science of healing” on the Diane Rehm show (NPR). This book describes many diseases that are shared between humans and…

Building bones from fat

Drs. Chia Soo and Bruno Péault, from the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA, have found a way to turn stem cells from fat tissue into bone of higher quality than that grown with prior techniques. The mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) isolated from the fat tissue may develop into bone,…

Relaxing with jellyfish

I came across this relaxing video of comb jellyfish on Scientific American that I thought you would enjoy. I wonder if I could make this my screensaver…

  Idiopathic autism has been on the rise in recent years and is thought to be caused by a mixture of genetic risk factors as well as some as yet unknown environmental factors. Research suggests a link between antidepressant use by pregnant women and the development of autism. Further, some unmetabolized psychoactive pharmaceuticals (UPPs) have…