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Needling into addiction

By | February 1, 2008

Credit: © istockphoto.com / Oleg Kozlov" /> Credit: © istockphoto.com / Oleg Kozlov Was Kate Moss on to something? In 2006 the BBC reported that the supermodel and sometimes drug user was getting acupuncture to combat her cravings. "People say it seems to work," says Kenneth Kwong, at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Now, Kwong and his colleagues think they might know why. Acupuncture is thought to release beta-endorphins, which have analgesic effects - something

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Tunisian trailblazer

By | February 1, 2008

Tunisians (above) come from an interesting gene pool. Credit: wikimedia.org" />Tunisians (above) come from an interesting gene pool. Credit: wikimedia.org In the 1960s, Habiba Chaabouni was one of a handful of women enrolled in medical school in Tunisia. There, she often met families with two or three sick children. "There was a lot of chronic disease," she recalls, and she wanted to find out why. In some ways, Tunisia is a geneticist's paradise. The native population primarily d

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Call of the squash

By | January 1, 2008

Lacayote squash Credit: Courtesy of Thomas Andres" />Lacayote squash Credit: Courtesy of Thomas Andres Last fall, Thomas Andres was wandering around New York City's Chinatown when he happened upon the subject of his doctoral dissertation: the lacayote, Cucurbita ficifolia, a South American squash rarely sold in the United States. He was happy to shell out $6 for the mottled green gourd. Twenty-five years ago, he had dreamed of discovering its wild ancestor on some scrubby hillside in

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Fortifying food

By | January 1, 2008

Two images of the nisin PLA polymer, outer surface (left) and cross-sectional (right) views. Nisin is evenly distributed, ensuring its slow but continuous release. Credit: Courtesy of Tony Jin" />Two images of the nisin PLA polymer, outer surface (left) and cross-sectional (right) views. Nisin is evenly distributed, ensuring its slow but continuous release. Credit: Courtesy of Tony Jin Food scientist Tony Jin's dissertation had something most don't: A picture of a Jack in the Box rest

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The virus hunter

By | January 1, 2008

Epidemiologist Anne Rimoin (left) investigates a case of monkeypox in Lomela, Congo. The patient eventually died from monkeypox-related complications. Credit: © Lynn Johnson / National Geographic" />Epidemiologist Anne Rimoin (left) investigates a case of monkeypox in Lomela, Congo. The patient eventually died from monkeypox-related complications. Credit: © Lynn Johnson / National Geographic For University of California, Los Angeles, epidemiologist Anne Rimoin, 2007 was a ro

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Trash to treasure

By | January 1, 2008

As Anna Dhody tells it, sometime in 2000 or 2001 she and her supervisor Steven LeBlanc, director of collections at Harvard's Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, were discussing ways to obtain ancient DNA from secondary archeological finds over lunch. Recalling her training as a forensic anthropologist, Dhody, now curator of the Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, mentioned how things like cigarette butts or discarded coffee cups from crime scenes

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A knockout strikes out

By | December 1, 2007

Knockout mice perform just as well as wild type in learning and memory test. Credit: Courtesy of Valerie Galton" />Knockout mice perform just as well as wild type in learning and memory test. Credit: Courtesy of Valerie Galton About two years ago, Valerie Galton, a professor at Dartmouth College, was proceeding along a straightforward line of scientific inquiry. She and her colleagues had developed a knockout mouse deficient in type 2 deiodinase (D2), an enzyme that was thought to be

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Joint venture

By | December 1, 2007

Used polyethylene knee bearings Credit: Courtesy of Dartmouth Biomedical Engineering Center for Orthopaedics (DBEC)." />Used polyethylene knee bearings Credit: Courtesy of Dartmouth Biomedical Engineering Center for Orthopaedics (DBEC). Inside a bright, freshly remodeled basement lab at Dartmouth College's Thayer School of Engineering, John Collier slides a small white rectangle of polyethylene plastic toward me. He and I, along with his colleague Michael Mayor, are sitting at a la

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Operation roadkill

By | December 1, 2007

Joshua Tewksbury (left) hangs off the back of his truck as it rumbles from one field site to the next in southern Bolivia. At night, the team will be scanning these same roads for nightjars. Credit: Courtesy of Brendan Borrell" />Joshua Tewksbury (left) hangs off the back of his truck as it rumbles from one field site to the next in southern Bolivia. At night, the team will be scanning these same roads for nightjars. Credit: Courtesy of Brendan Borrell Ecologist Joshua Tewksbury and h

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Passive protection?

By | December 1, 2007

From a few human cases on the east coast in 2001, the West Nile virus rapidly spread west in 2002, the year represented in this map. Credit: Redrawn from CDC Map" />From a few human cases on the east coast in 2001, the West Nile virus rapidly spread west in 2002, the year represented in this map. Credit: Redrawn from CDC Map Eight years ago, a mysterious virus hit New York City. It caused encephalitis in eight patients at Flushing Hospital in Queens, who all lived within a two-mile ra

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