Besides behavioural immaturity and experimental curiosity, the teenage years are also marked by brain development—making the rise of adolescent binge drinking particularly worrisome to neuroscientists. Read more
BP’s efforts to staunch the flow of oil from its ruptured wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico have failed.
The ‘top kill’ operation – pumping drilling mud over the leak – was followed by a ‘junk shot’ to force debris into fissures in the leaking pipe. Neither attempt worked
Long derided by much of the mainstream medical community, acupuncture may have just got a little bit less alternative.
Despite thousands of years of anecdotal evidence claiming benefits in treating ailments from allergies to hiccups, acupuncture faces two big challenges to acceptance in mainstream medicine: most clinical trials have found no evidence of efficacy; and there is no scientifically accepted mechanism for how the treatment could work. Many researchers assume that any benefits are down to the placebo effect.
Now, research in mice has provided a biochemical explanation that some experts find more persuasive, although it might account for only some of the treatment’s supposed benefits. “Our study shows there is a clear biological mechanism behind acupuncture,” says Maiken Nedergaard, a neuroscientist at the University of Rochester, New York, who led the research, published in Nature Neuroscience.
The thorny issue of blood donation and sexuality is getting another public airing in North America, as the US considers rescinding the controversial ban on blood from men who have sex with men.
The New York Times ran an interesting story yesterday about safety in biology research labs. The reporters were clearly hamstrung by the lack of real data on the issue, but the anecdotes – which include a University of Chicago scientist who died of the plague he was studying – make for troubling reading.
The Royal Society, Britain’s top scientific organisation, is reviewing its position on climate change after receiving a complaint from 43 of its 1361 fellows, according to the BBC News.
It is in the ordained order of things on Capitol Hill that Congress shall, more often than not, hold hearings when large scientific splashes are made. Thus did the House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Democrat Henry Waxman of Los Angeles, convene this morning to hear from J. Craig Venter the details of his latest coup: the manufacture and insertion of a fully synthetic bacterial genome into a closely-related cell which then booted up and began life’s processes according to the directions of that genome.