Archive for the ‘PopSci’ Category

Cancer’s Invasion Equation

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

Cancer’s Invasion Eqn, by @DrSidMukherjee
https://www.NewYorker.com/magazine/2017/09/11/cancers-invasion-equation terms: Soil-v-seed, metastasis matching + overcoming “denominator” problem

QT:{{”

“This is medicine’s “denominator problem.” The numerator is you—the person who gets ill. The denominator is everyone at risk, including all the other passengers who were exposed. Numerators are easy to study. Denominators are hard. Numerators come to the doctor’s office, congested and miserable. They get blood tests and prescriptions. Denominators go home from the subway station, heat up dinner, and watch “The Strain.” The numerator persists. The denominator vanishes.” “}}

Ancient Viruses Are Buried in Your DNA

Saturday, October 28th, 2017

QT{{”
“Early on, the cells in an embryo can turn into any tissue. As these stem cells divide, they can lose this flexibility, committing to becoming one kind of cell or another. After that, cells typically shut down their viral genes.
Viral proteins appear to help keep stem cells from losing this potential. …
Viruses might have exploited embryos to make more copies of
themselves. By keeping their hosts as stem cells for longer, the viruses were able to invade more parts of the embryo’s body.” “}}

Ancient Viruses Are Buried in Your DNA, by @CarlZimmer
https://www.NYTimes.com/2017/10/04/science/ancient-viruses-dna-genome.html Nice #intuition on why they may promote the stem-cell state

What Happens When a Superstorm Hits D.C.?

Friday, September 29th, 2017

What Happens When a #Superstorm Hits DC?
http://www.RollingStone.com/politics/news/what-happens-when-a-superstorm-hits-dc-w504341Storms estimated at 1/100yr in ’50 now could be 1/3yr. Are coastal areas prepared?

QT:{{”
“A report compiled in part by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and published in 2013 in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, included a study that found that increases in sea-level rise related to climate change have
significantly increased the probability of a Sandy-level flood as compared to 1950. … Another paper, published in 2012 in the journal Nature Climate Change, determined that by the end of the century what is presently considered a 100-year storm-surge flood in New York could actually be occurring as frequently as once every three years. … “Other nations are well aware of this changed risk regime,…In Britain, the Thames Barrier, completed in 1982, presently protects London against a one-in-1,000-year flood, … The Dutch design levees and regulations to protect their cities against a one-in-10,000-year flood, and are considering fixes that would ensure protection against a one-in-100,000-year flood.
“}}

Naked mole rats: Can they help us cure cancer? – Slate Magazine

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

Naked mole rats: Can they help..cure cancer?
http://www.Slate.com/articles/health_and_science/the_mouse_trap/2011/11/naked_mole_rats_can_they_help_us_cure_cancer_.html Live >6x longer than C57BL/6 & have “insectile” queen-domimated society

Amazon.com: Brain Myths Exploded: Lessons from Neuroscience (Audible Audio Edition): The Great Courses, Professor Indre Viskontas, The Great Courses: Baby

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

https://linkstream2.gerstein.info/tag/brainmyths0mg/

https://www.amazon.com/Brain-Myths-Exploded-Lessons-Neuroscience/dp/B01MUA54I0

You Look Familiar. Now Scientists Know Why.

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

You Look Familiar. Now Scientists Know Why
https://www.NYTmes.com/2017/06/01/science/facial-recognition-brain-neurons.html #Privacy implications: determining whether a suspect recognizes a face

QT:{{”

“One day, the authors suggested, it might even be possible to render a face seen by, say, a crime witness just by analyzing his brain activity.

“Cracking the code for faces would definitely be a big deal,” said Brad Duchaine, an expert on face recognition at Dartmouth.

Human and monkey brains have evolved dedicated systems for recognizing faces, presumably because, as social animals, survival depends on identifying members of one’s own social group and distinguishing them from strangers.”
“}}

Mind the gaps: The holes in your brain that make you smart

Sunday, June 11th, 2017

Mind the gaps: The holes in your brain…make you smart
https://www.NewScientist.com/article/mg23331180-300-mind-the-gaps-the-holes-in-your-brain-that-make-you-smart/ Contrasts connectivity from graphs vs large-scale topology

Vitamin D on Trial | The Scientist

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

#VitaminD on Trial
http://the-Scientist.com/2012/03/01/vitamin-d-on-trial Interesting mail the med. trial where participants aren’t explicitly checked for compliance

QT:{{”

“Once a month for the next 5 years, 20,000 people across the United States will find a package containing 62 pills in their mailboxes. As participants in a clinical trial, the recipients agreed to swallow two of the pills daily. But inevitably as the years pass, some pill packets will become buried under a stack of letters, or forgotten in a drawer. After all, these pills contain only vitamin D, fish oil, or an inert placebo—a person doesn’t need them to make it through the day. Plus, no one monitors who takes the pills daily and who does not.”

….

Scientists critical of the VITAL study question whether the daily dose of 2,000 IU is enough to distinguish the treatment group from the controls. If this were a drug trial, the placebo group would go without the drug completely. But it’s unethical to ask anyone to go without vitamin D. Doctors inform all participants that they can take up to 800 IU of vitamin D daily (the national recommendation for people over 70 years old) in addition to the pills they receive in the mail. If they do, the control group will sustain more than adequate levels. But some participants might decide to break the rules and head to the nearest corner store for high-dose supplements after being told that vitamin D may help prevent cancer and other diseases. And of course, many participants won’t follow through with taking the pills they’ve been sent in the mail. “You hope drop-ins and drop-outs will be equal on both sides, but they may not be,” warns biostatistician Gary Cutter at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

A higher dose of vitamin D would widen the gap between the treatment and the control group, but Manson isn’t swayed. She says 2,000 IU will lift the treatment arm well above the level suggested to help protect against nonskeletal diseases, while she expects the controls to stabilize at levels sufficient for healthy bones. “Sure, we could have tested higher doses, but then right off the bat, we might have had safety issues,” Manson says.

Nonetheless, in other disease-prevention trials, investigators are gunning for better compliance and a fighting chance of showing an effect by doling out large, periodic doses of vitamin D. In the United Kingdom, a trial looking at the effect of vitamin D on respiratory infections (including the flu) is giving participants 120,000 IU of the vitamin every 2 months. And participants in the treatment arm of a vitamin D trial for type 2 diabetes prevention take an average dose of 89,684 IU once per week.
“}}

How DNA Editing Could Change Life on Earth

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

QT:{{”
“One of Esvelt’s goals at M.I.T. is to facilitate that shift. Part of his job, as he sees it, is to challenge what he describes as “the ridiculous notion that natural and good are the same thing.” Instead, he told me, we ought to think about intelligent design as an instrument of genetics. He smiled because the phrase “intelligent design” usually refers to the anti-Darwinian theory that the universe, with all its intricacies and variations, is too complex to have arisen by chance—that there had to be a guiding hand. The truth is more prosaic, and also more remarkable: for four billion years, evolution, driven by natural selection and random mutation, has insured that the most efficient genes would survive and the weakest would disappear. But, propelled by CRISPR and other tools of synthetic biology, intelligent design has taken on an entirely new meaning, one that threatens to transcend Darwin—because evolution may soon be guided by us.”
“}}

How DNA Editing Could Change Life on Earth
http://www.NewYorker.com/magazine/2017/01/02/rewriting-the-code-of-life Intelligent design from CRISPR & gene drive rather than natural selection

Through a glass, darkly: Testing the methods of neuroscience on computer chips suggests they are wanting | The Economist

Saturday, February 11th, 2017

Through a glass, darkly: Testing the [largely correlative] methods of neuroscience on [6502] computer chips
http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21714978-cautionary-tale-about-promises-modern-brain-science-tests-suggest