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Dec 21
2010

Weekly Wrap-up: Important Senate decisions

Posted by moveforward21 in U.S. Senate , U.S. military , Robert Gates , Kirsten Gillibrand , Harry

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U.S Senate The U.S. Senate has had an incredibly busy week. Among other notable decisions, the Senate has passed a historical bill that repeals the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, passed the new food safety bill, and also hopes to pass a revised 9/11 bill.

Now you can ask and tell

The Senate has finally repealed the 17 year old “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that allowed gays and lesbians to serve in the military only if they hid their orientation. With eight Republicans and Joe Lieberman (an independent) joining the Democrats, the bill passed with 65-31 votes. The House also passed the bill with 250 to 175 in favor of the bill. President Obama will sign the bill into law later this week. This is a huge victory for Obama who promised to end the hugely discriminatory policy, although it had to happen soon since in January the Republicans, many of whom don’t support the new bill, will have control of the House.

Dec 06
2010

Childhood restrictions may affect smoking

Posted by moveforward21 in thrill seeking behavior , smoking , Radboud University Nijmegen , R-rated movies

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R rated warning

It’s interesting how the smallest things can have the biggest effects (cue the Butterfly Effect here). A new study suggests that parents who do not allow their children to watch R-rated movies actually cut the chances by about a third that their kids will start smoking. Because smoking is usually positively displayed or even glamorized in such movies, children that watch more of them are likely to emulate the same behavior.

 

The study was done by Dutch and U.S. researchers and was led by Rebecca N.H. de Leeuw from the Radboud University Nijmegen, in the Netherlands. In the study that started in the mid 1990’s and spanned two years, 6,500 randomly selected American children between the ages of 10 and 14 years old were questioned on three separate occasions. Questions were about their smoking behaviors, as well as their thrill seeking tendencies and how strict their parents were with the types of movies they were allowed to watch.

Nov 18
2010

New Merck cholesterol drug shows great promise

Posted by moveforward21 in statin , Merck , LDL cholesterol , heart attack , HDL cholesterol , Bringham

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Merck, the pharmaceutical giant, has announced a new experimental drug that showed incredible results in its initial trial of 1,623 patients. What makes it so different, is that for years statins (cholesterol lowering drugs) such as Lipitor and Zocor, focused on just that—lowering bad cholesterol (LDL) levels, but this new drug, anacetrapib, would be the first of its kind in that it decreases LDL levels while at the same time increasing the good cholesterol (HDL) levels.

The findings were simply spectacular and have got Dr. Christopher Cannon of Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the study’s leader, very excited. He said that this “could really be the next big thing.” In the trial, the patients who were already taking statins because of their elevated risk for a heart attack took the drug for 6 months. At the end, those who took the drug saw that their LDL levels drop from 81 to 45, as opposed to a decrease from 82 to 77 in those taking a placebo. Also amazing, was that HDL levels increase from 41 to a staggering 101 in the drug taking group, in contrast to the paltry increase of 6 points (from 40 to 46) in those taking a placebo. (Recommended healthy levels of LDL are 100-129 and 40-59 for HDL.)  Even after a year after the trial, the initial changes were still in place.

Sep 21
2010

Maybe Gene Therapy is Worth the Risk

Posted by moveforward21 in therapy , gene therapy , gene

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Widely unaccepted gene therapy thought to help treat people with genetic diseases, which has resulted in a number of fatalities, has had a recent triumph.

In a recent New York Times article, a man with a blood disease used gene therapy to avoid blood transfusions for two years.

According to Genomics.energy.gov, “Gene therapy is a technique for correcting defective genes responsible for disease development.” The website says the most common approach used for gene therapy include inserting a normal gene into a nonspecific location within the genome to replace a nonfunctional gene. Other techniques include trading an abnormal gene for a normal gene through the homologous recombination process, or utilize reverse mutation to repair an abnormal gene to a functional, normal gene.

Sep 08
2010

Ahhhh! My sense of smell!

Posted by moveforward21 in smell , memory

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As the saying goes, our sense of smell is tied to our memory and it’s true!

There is no dispute that the human memory can be triggered by sense of smell. Smell has been a key sense for humans in detecting food and poisons, but is not taken as seriously as the other senses like sight and hearing.

An interesting fact is that loss of smell can be related to memory loss and related diseases.