Friday, July 16, 2010

Malaria-proof mosquito engineered

The researchers, from the University of Arizona, introduced a gene that affected the insect's gut, meaning the malaria parasite could not develop.

They report the advance, which also reduced the insects' lifespan, in the journal PLoS Pathogens.

The ultimate goal is to introduce malaria-resistant mosquitoes into the environment.

"Before we do this, we have to somehow give the mosquitoes a competitive advantage over the disease-carrying insects," explained Professor Michael Riehle from the University of Arizona a principle investigator on the project.

In the study the researchers altered a gene that codes for a "signalling molecule".

This molecule, a protein, enables the mosquito's cells to communicate with each other, and is crucial for parasite development inside the mosquito.

The genetic tweak artificially increased its production, disrupting the whole process, and also shortened the insect's lifespan.

The team was able to add a fluorescent tag to the gene, to ensure that it had been successfully "expressed" by the mosquito larvae.

Professor Riehle said: "This is the first time that we've been able to completely block the parasite from developing in the mosquito."

Gareth Lycett, a malaria researcher from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in the UK, said it was an important advance.

"They have tested it on the most harmful of the malaria parasites, Plasmodium falciparum," he told BBC News. "It is another step on the journey towards potentially assisting malaria control through GM mosquito release."

But Dr Lycett pointed out that the this work had not been carried out specifically on the Anopheles gambiae mosquito. "That is the major vector of malaria in Africa where the disease is most prevalent," he explained.

This study was a collaborative project with the University of California Davis and the University of Georgia funded by the National Institutes of Health.

What happens next?

This is a key step in a long genetic battle against a global killer. The ultimate aim is to tackle the root cause of malaria's spread by releasing the parasite-proof mosquitoes into the environment.

For that to be successful, the genetically modified insects would have to "take over" from the naturally occurring, disease-spreading mosquitoes.

This means giving the GM insects a competitive advantage - something that has not yet been achieved. Researchers are investigating a number of genetic "tricks" in pursuit of this.

One of these is to ensure that the gene that blocks the parasite's development is guaranteed to be passed down to the modified mosquitoes' offspring - thereby making sure that the gene eventually spreads throughout the population.

The other is to give the malaria-resistant mosquitoes an additional genetic boost, such as a gene that makes them resistance to toxins that could be used against unmodified mosquitoes.

But there are serious ethical concerns about releasing a genetically modified insect into the environment. Once the science is pinned down, the risks and benefits to the environment, and to human health, will have to be properly assessed.

By Victoria Gill (Science reporter, BBC News)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Finally, It's Settled: The Chicken Came First

"It had long been suspected that the egg came first, but now we have the scientific proof that shows that in fact the chicken came first," Sheffield University's Dr Colin Freeman, according to a report in the Metro.

Researchers from Scotland and England used a supercomputer called HECToR to look in such detail at a chicken eggshell that they were able to determine the vital role of a protein used to kick-start the egg's formation.

That protein is only found, wait for it... inside a chicken.

Freeman, who worked on HECToR with counterparts at Edinburgh's Warwick University, said the protein had been identified earlier by scientists and was known to be linked to egg formation, "but by examining it closely we have been able to see how it controls the process," he added, describing it as a catalyst.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Paul the Oracle Octopus goes eight for eight, is amazing

Eight picks, eight correct, eight tentacles. Paul the Oracle Octopus is clearly the biggest winner of the World Cup after recording a perfect prognostication record whether he knows it or not (he probably doesn't).

The big question was whether Paul's predictive superpowers would translate to the final - the first match he was asked to predict that did not involve his native Germany. But such piddly concerns did not bother Paul. Mostly because he's an octopus. Just as he predicted, the European champions Spain became world champions for the first time with an Andres Iniesta goal in extra time. And as the Spanish celebrated, Paul floated in his tank, sure of his genius and probably craving a fresh clam.

Since Paul is an international celebrity of the highest order now, everyone wants a piece of him - both literally and figuratively. Italy is trying to claim that he was caught in Italian waters, Spanish businessmen are trying to buy him for €30,000 ($38,000), and Dutch priests tried to dismiss him.

But in Spain, Paul is an icon. The Spanish prime minister has already spoken of his desire to protect "Pulpo Paul" and the mock up of a new version of Spain's flag could be dangerously close to becoming real.

So what becomes of Paul now? Well, he'll probably continue to live out the remainder of his days at the Sea Life aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany, no longer forced to pick his food out of flag-covered boxes while surrounded by an obscene number of media types. He will swim at his leisure and continue to be oblivious to the existence of sports. He will retire a winner and a global sensation - what every other octopus (and even a few pundits) wishes they could be.

All hail Paul.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

woman gives birth on plane - then 'tries to flush her baby down the toilet'

An unmarried Indian woman gave birth while on board an international flight - then allegedly tried to flush her baby down the airplane toilet.

Horrified cabin crew on board the Turkmenistan Airlines flight discovered the baby in the toilet as they were going through the cabin after passengers had disembarked in Amritsar, India.

They prised the toilet from the plane with the baby still inside and rushed it to hospital.

There surgeons had to cut the toilet away with a saw to get the newborn out, Dr HP Singh said, according to reports.

The baby remains in critical condition at Amritsar's Fortis Escorts hospital, Dr Singh said.

The mother, believed to be aged 25, was arrested in the airport.

She was admitted to the same hospital. He said she was in stable condition.

'She was unmarried. It looks like she wanted to get rid of the baby,' Dr Singh told CNN. Newspapers reported the mother was an unmarried medical student returning home after completing a degree abroad.

Police confirmed she was single and plan to question her once she was declared medically fit.

The mother's flight originated in Ashgabat in Turkmenistan, police said. She originally comes from Punjab's Hoshiarpur district.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Good news for premature problems-well, for some of it, if not for all.

According to Medscape Medical News, Dapoxetine Hydrochloride (Dapoxetine) has been shown to be effective in all doses for treatment of premature ejaculation (PE). Experts are hopeful that this promising treatment will do for PE what other hugely popular drugs have done for erectile dysfunction.

There are many products that claim to help with PE, but this is the first that is simple, quick and has been proven in scientific studies. Dapoxetine is an easy, on-demand solution for the 30-70% of men who experience premature ejaculation and are looking for a way to last longer in bed.

Dapoxetine was developed specifically for enabling men to lengthen the time before ejaculation. An imbalance in the brain chemical Serotonin has long been believed to be a factor in rapid ejaculation. Because of this, SSRIs are often used "off label" to treat men who experience severe premature ejaculation.

Dapoxetine is considered a "novel SSRI", however, because unlike many similar medications that take over 2 weeks to become effective, it starts working within an hour. The drug is also quickly metabolized by the body. This eliminates the risk of long term side-effects often associated with other SSRIs.

Dapoxetine HCL is the first orally administered drug developed specifically for the treatment of men with premature ejaculation. The safety and effectiveness of Dapoxetine for the treatment of men with PE were studied in five, double-blind, placebo-controlled, Phase III clinical trials. These trials involved over 6,000 men from 30 countries worldwide, including countries in North America, South America, Europe and Asia, and in Israel and South Africa.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Maldivian style of politics- A no win game

Heard it was a Islamic republic,
Heard it was a dictator who was elected by the people,
Heard the votes were rigged,
Heard the people actually sold the vote for couple of bucks
Says the actor turned politician.

Heard there was a new guy,
Who was full of democracy and sanadhu (certificates of all sorts)
Heard him say that he is the most capable
Heard he claims that he is the “fader” of new Maldivian democracy.
Heard him suggesting it’s okey to build places of worship to non-Muslims.
Heard Maldivians were pissed off.

Heard him say he will bring so much to the country,
Saw him go abroad and beg for money,
Saw him sell all the public investments for couple of bucks
That meant nothing in the long run- says the economist.
He tells lies and he is full of crap- says a common man.
He brought shame to the blue sees,
He bought hatred and cacophony to us- says a poor.

Now that the nation is in trouble,
Now he is making drama with his drama queen,
Now he wants to fool every one with his play script,
But we aren’t gonna get fooled just like that-says old folks.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Short inspirational Parable Of The Pencil

The Pencil Maker took the pencil aside, just before putting him into the box.

"There are 5 things you need to know," he told the pencil, "Before I send you out into the world. Always remember them and never forget, and you will become the best pencil you can be."

"One: You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be held in Someone's hand."

"Two: You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, but you'll need it to become a better pencil."

"Three: You will be able to correct any mistakes you might make."

"Four: The most important part of you will always be what's inside."

"And Five: On every surface you are used on, you must leave your mark. No matter what the condition, you must continue to write."

The pencil understood and promised to remember, and went into the box with purpose in its heart.

Now replacing the place of the pencil with you. Always remember them and never forget, and you will become the best person you can be.

One: You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be held in God's hand. And allow other human beings to access you for the many gifts you possess.

Two: You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, by going through various problems in life, but you'll need it to become a stronger person.

Three: You will be able to correct any mistakes you might make.

Four: The most important part of you will always be what's on the inside.

And Five: On every surface you walk through, you must leave your mark. No matter what the situation, you must continue to do your duties.

Allow this parable on the pencil to encourage you to know that you are a special person and only you can fulfill the purpose to which you were born to accomplish.

Never allow yourself to get discouraged and think that your life is insignificant and cannot make a change.

by the Unknown Author