Posts Tagged ‘research’

ESPecially Good News For Budding Psychics

The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a peer-edited academic publication, has come out with a paper that supports the notion people may be able to see into the future according to the Telegraph. Other researchers are crying foul and say the findings should have been the subject of ‘more scrutiny’.

The oft-impugned clairvoyant “Miss Cleo” aka Youree Dell Harris.

Experiments conducted by researchers at Cornell University ostensibly demonstrate that students were better at predicting which one of two curtains would reveal an erotic image than they were at predicting where more mundane images would be. The researchers claim that this proves an ability to truly predict future (sexy) events. For good measure, we’ll let James Randi have his say courtesy of TED. We’d also like to point out that we knew you’d read this.

Kickin’ The Bug

As Goodosphere’s de facto Science editor, I’d like to share a story with you.

Several years ago a man, an American living in Germany, contracted HIV. Obviously, even with the advances in treatment the disease is extremely serious. To complicate things further, the man had also been living with Leukemia for many years. And so the man, in his early forties, faced rather grim prospects.

In time, doctors at Berlin’s Charite Clinic treated the man’s leukemia with a bone marrow transplant. It was then that something amazing happened. The marrow (and the stem cells it contains) were very unique in that their donor had a “genetic profile which led to the CCR5 co-receptors being absent” from their cells. The CCR5 co-receptor is like a ‘docking station’ for the HIV virus so its absence essentially creates an immunity to the virus. In other words, the donor was like 1 in every 1,000 Europeans and Americans: naturally resistant to HIV.

More than two years later, the man who had been infected with HIV shows no signs of the virus. Tests on his bone marrow, blood and tissues have all been negative. The case is exceptional and rare, but it offers a new potential approach to combating HIV and AIDS and may spur increased genetic interest and research.

Each time science (or medicine) inches closer to tackling a seemingly insurmountable obstacle I’m reminded of how potent human enguinity is. Here’s to the researchers, the scientists, the doctors and technicians who spend their careers trying to battle disease. One day they’ll beat HIV and I hope that by the time that day comes, all nations have agreed that everyone’s life is equally valuable.

Read more at BBC.

Cyberslapping Cancer And Other Diseases

Maybe you’ve heard about distributed computing. No? Well, distributed computing allows many participants with standard PCs to each pool a fraction of their processing power in order to collectively tackle enormous computing tasks.

SETI@Home is one popular (popular with the geeks) example of distributed computing. SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) developed the program to help researchers comb vast areas of the universe, looking for signs of alien intelligence.

But if ET isn’t your thing, you have the opportunity to contribute to another good cause: cutting-edge disease research. Scientists at Stanford University (do cool stuff) have created Folding@Home that allows folks like you and me to contribute in the battle against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and cancer. By downloading and running the Folding@Home program, your computer will help crunch small packets of data that will further research to combat these devastating diseases.

It may be a drop in the bucket, but what are you saving your drops for anyway? Besides, the beauty of distributed computing is that collectively we can do enormous, supercomputer-esque things. Oh, and one more thing: you can form your own team and compete with other teams around the world to see who can process the most information. This might be as close as you can get to the frontlines against cancer without a degree in biochemistry.

For Once We’re Paying Too Little Attention to Breasts

Okay, so there’s been a little bit of bad news lately. We’ve got an oil spill, a sinkhole, violence on a flotilla, and just to kick us while we’re down, Al and Tipper call it quits.

You know things must be bad (outside of the Goodosphere) because a pretty amazing story has garnered relatively little media coverage thus far. Here’s the scoop: Researchers believe they may be on to a vaccine for breast cancer!

The Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute’s study, published in the June issue of Nature Medicine, demonstrates how the vaccine was able to prevent breast cancer from developing in genetically engineered mice. Researchers are quick to add that not all drugs that work in mice go on to prove successful with humans, but the results indicate significant progress in the fight against breast cancer.

Whether it’s still theoretical or FDA-approved, I’m ready to celebrate. We need this. It’s a win for science, a win for progress, and goddamnit it — a win for breasts. These are the kind of breakthroughs the future always promised. So, let’s hear it for science (and let loose a carefree chuckle when we drive past San Onofre).