Life Lines

Archives for February, 2013

Eating Insects to Save the World

I read an interesting article today on how eating insects may save the world. The rationale: eating insects are not only nutritious (high in protein and fat), but would also help to save the Earth’s resources as the human population continues to expand. According to Aaron T. Dossey, a biochemist, entomologist, and founder and owner…

Why dentists may have rats to thank

  What does tooth decay have to do with rats? For Neandertals, tooth decay was a rare occurance. Research suggests that tooth decay became more prominent with the development of agriculture. Dr. Ordaz, Stanford School of Medicine, and colleagues analyzed common strains of bacteria (Streptococcus mutans) responsible for causing cavities. They found that the bacteria began expanding exponentially around 10,000…

Diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar. The cause of high blood sugar differs for people with type 1 versus type 2 diabetes. For type 1 diabetics, the pancreas produces little or no insulin, the hormone responsible for lowering blood sugar. For type 2 diabetics, tissues in the body are not responsive to insulin, termed…

Dr. Tomas Brodin (Umea University, Sweden) and colleagues have discovered that trace amounts of the drug oxazepam that ends up in rivers and streams (from toilets) greatly effects local fish. The drug is used to treat anxiety in humans and also calms fish. However, for wild perch, which normally hunt in schools, the antisocial effects of the drug in fish…

Understanding Peer Review

 Ever wonder how to tell if “scientific” information that you find on the internet is believable or just plain bogus? I came across a website called Sense About Science that explains how research is published and how to determine if it is credible. They also give advice and answer questions about claimed scientific evidence. Here is a synopsis…

Dog smarts

I just found out there is a website, Dognition, dedicated to helping you discover just how smart your furry friend is. The site claims that dogs are actually smarter than we think and that even the apparently dumbest dog is intelligent in one way or another. (There is hope for my dog after all!) The scientist behind the website…

Could Camels Cure Cancer?

Researchers from King Abdulaziz University (Jeddah) have tested the effectiveness of micro and nanoshells for delivering a substance from camel urine, PMF701, thought to be a cure for cancer. These findings will be presented at the 2nd Biotechnology World Congress (Feb 18-21). PMF701, not yet approved by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, is currently in…

I just read an interesting article published in The Scientist today about cryptozoology, a field of research specializing in the study of animals about which only anecdotal or partial evidence exists. In other words, no actual specimens have been studied…think Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster. There is now a new peer-reviewed scientific journal,…