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Avian flu promotes Parkinson's?

By | August 10, 2009

Avian influenza can cause a predisposition to Parkinson's disease, according to research linkurl:published;http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0900096106 this week in the __Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.__ "It's an exciting finding," said linkurl:Malu Tansey;http://www.pdonlineresearch.org/members/profiles/266 from Emory University School of Medicine, who was not involved in the research. Influenza A virusImage: Wikimedia Commons, CDC, Erskine Palmer Epidemiological s

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One biotech gasps for breath

By | August 10, 2009

Around noon on a sunny Wednesday in mid-May, 25 or so employees of the Waltham, Mass-based biotech linkurl:Altus Pharmaceuticals;http://www.altus.com/ are unwrapping their offerings for a company-wide potluck; orzo salad, meatballs, curried cauliflower, chicken wings, fancy fruits, and an assortment of sweets soon cover a long table by the kitchen's window. "What is this, the last supper?" quips Nazer Khalaf, a small, round-faced man with a salt and pepper moustache, and at 15 years, Altus's mo

5 Comments

Collins confirmed as NIH head

By | August 7, 2009

Geneticist Francis Collins was confirmed by the US Senate this afternoon (7th August) as the next director of the National Institutes of Health, a spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told __The Scientist__. Collins's confirmation proceeded via unanimous consent, without the need for a hearing in the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions or a roll-call vote on the Senate floor. "Dr. Collins will be an outstanding leader," said Department of Health and Human

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Stem cell fraud...again?

By | August 6, 2009

Stem cell researchers at the University of Minnesota are once again under investigation for falsifying data, linkurl:New Scientist reported;http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20327205.000-doubts-over-stem-cell-images-prompt-new-inquiry.html?DCMP=NLC-nletter&nsref=mg20327205.000 this week. Mouse embryonic stem cellsImage: Wikimedia commonsEarlier this year, New Scientist identified at least two potentially manipulated or duplicated images in a linkurl:2008 American Journal of Physiology pape

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Collins confirmation imminent

By | August 5, 2009

Francis Collins may be just days away from officially being confirmed to lead the National Institutes of Health, according to Congressional staffers close to the issue. Francis CollinsImage: WikipediaA spokesperson for Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), who is ranking member of the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, told __The Scientist__ that the committee OKed Collins's nomination without holding a confirmation hearing. The spokesperson, Craig Orfield, said that the committe

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Contract research on the rise

By | August 5, 2009

The global economic crisis has got most businesses pinching pennies just to stay afloat, and the drug development industry is no exception. But at least one area of the biotechnology sector -- contract research organizations (CROs) -- is on the rise. Image: Wikimedia commons, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Image LibraryCROs first showed up in the biotech industry in the late 1970s and quickly took on a significant role in research and development (R&D), eventually ex

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Plum Island for sale?

By | August 5, 2009

Looking for a little island property near the Hamptons in New York? How about a charming old Biosafety Level 3 facility? Plum Island Animal Disease Center Image: Wikipedia The US government is taking steps to sell Plum Island Animal Disease Center, the government-run lab which has conducted experiments on pathogens such as foot and mouth disease. The town board of Southold in Long Island, New York, received a visit this week from representatives of the United States General Services Administrat

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Severed axons regrow to target

By | August 2, 2009

Scientists have met one of the long-standing challenges of regenerative medicine: For the first time, they have succeeded in coaxing an injured spinal cord to regenerate sensory axons in rats that reinnervate the specific place they would need to reach in order to regain function. Human vertebral columnImage: Gray's Anatomy, via Wikipedia However, the paper, published online in Nature Neuroscience, showed that the regenerated axons, which also formed synapses, showed little to no activity. "

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Newton the gumshoe

By | July 31, 2009

Everyone knows the story about Sir Isaac Newton's run-in with an apple. But when you read linkurl:Newton and the Counterfeiter;http://www.amazon.com/Newton-Counterfeiter-Detective-Greatest-Scientist/dp/0151012784 by Thomas Levenson, you realize that there was more to the man than an extraordinary understanding of physics and philosophy. The book tells the story of how, in the author's words: "Newton, only months removed from the life of a Cambridge philosopher, managed incredibly swiftly to mast

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NIH 2010 budget tweaked

By | July 30, 2009

A U.S. Senate panel has okayed President Barack Obama's request for next year's funding for the National Institutes of Health -- a $442 million boost, for a total of $30.8 billion. According to linkurl:a statement;http://appropriations.senate.gov/News/2009_07_28_Summary_of_FY_2010_Labor_HHS_Appropriations.pdf?CFID=7971628&CFTOKEN=44101372 released by the Senate, lawmakers decided not to award the agency a huge amount of funding because of the recent stimulus package, which passed $10 bi

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