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Breaking the mucus barrier

By | August 21, 2008

Step aside sound barrier: Chemical engineers at Johns Hopkins University have broken the mucus barrier, a long-standing adversary to drug delivery in diseases such as cystic fibrosis, lung cancer, and cervical cancer. "We get asked all the time, 'Why on Earth do you want to study mucus?'" said Samuel Lai, a postdoc at Hopkins who presented the work yesterday (August 20) at the annual American Chemical Society meeting in Philadelphia. Lai has an easy answer to that question: Mucus has evolved

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London gets new neuro institute

By | August 21, 2008

The University College of London will be the likely host to a new $261 million neuroscience institute, according to a statement sent to The Scientist from the Wellcome Trust, a co-developer of the new center. Beating out Oxford and Cambridge Universities, UCL will host the new center devoted to researching neural circuits and behavior, and could be completed as soon as 2011, Nature linkurl:reported;http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080819/full/454922b.html?s=news_rss yesterday. Work at the instit

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The scent of fear

By | August 21, 2008

The nose may know more than we think: New research suggests a poorly-understood structure in the tip of the nose may regulate a vital mammalian alarm system. According to a paper published in linkurl:Science;http://www.sciencemag.org/ tomorrow (August 22), mice detect alarm pheromones -- signals evoking behavioral reactions such as fear and anxiety -- through a bundle of cells on the roof of the nasal cavity. This cell structure, first described by Hans Grueneberg in 1973 and called the Gruene

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Blood line = life line?

By | August 20, 2008

Will findings by Worcester, MA-based Advanced Cell Technologies (ACT) on large-scale blood production from stem cells help the company pull in some much-needed capital? By now you've likely seen reports on a linkurl:paper;http://bloodjournal.hematologylibrary.org/cgi/content/abstract/blood-2008-05-157198v1 appearing today in Blood in which researchers differentiated human embryonic stem cells into oxygen-carrying blood cells, in large quantity. The results suggest it may be possible to create

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eBay score: a new insect species

By | August 20, 2008

Sure, you can score vintage cars, one-of-a-kind guitar straps, even the odd linkurl:mass spectrometer;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15309/ on linkurl:eBay.;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15331/ But now it seems that a place in science history can also be purchased on the popular auction website. So learned entomologist linkurl:Richard Harrington,;http://www.rothamsted.bbsrc.ac.uk/Research/Centres/index.php?Centre=BCC vice president of the United Kingdom's Royal Entom

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Muscle-like fat?

By | August 20, 2008

All fat is not not created equal: In the past couple years researchers have come to realize that there's good fat and bad fat, and a study in this week's __Nature__ points to a biological reason for this difference. White fat, the main type of fat in the body, develops from fat precursor cells and stores excess energy. Brown fat, however, burns energy rather than storing it, and the new findings suggest it originates from muscle precursor cells. That means that "brown fat is one gene away from

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Pharma's presidential picks

By | August 19, 2008

In an industry known for backing Republicans, Sen. Barack Obama has emerged as a surprising pharma favorite in the US presidential election. In April, Obama won a mock election at the annual DTC national meeting, a drug advertising conference, with a 53% to 46% victory over Sen. John McCain. Drug companies have also put the money where their mouth is: Pharma has donated three times more to the Obama campaign than to McCain's. According to a linkurl:Bloomberg News report;http://www.bloomber

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The following is a post by Eric Vance, a freelancer for Scientific American, who sent us this story. PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA -- It was perhaps the most highly touted linkurl:press conference;http://www.sciam.com/blog/60-second-science/post.cfm?id=bigfoot-press-conference-an-early-r-2008-08-15 of the week, but it didn't reveal much in the way of evidence: Three Bigfoot enthusiasts announced today that a series of genetic tests performed on samples taken from a carcass they claim is a linkurl:Sasqu

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Calif. bill to protect researchers

By | August 15, 2008

A bill that would criminalize some of the key methods used by animal rights protestors to target researchers cleared a California senate committee yesterday (Aug 14). Bill linkurl:AB 2296;http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/07-08/bill/asm/ab_2251-2300/ab_2296_bill_20080811_amended_sen_v92.html makes it a misdemeanor to enter a researcher's home or publish their personal information or that of their immediate families to encourage violent crime against them. University of California administrators ye

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Did Elsevier break its own rules?

By | August 15, 2008

A science publisher that holds copyright supreme has a double standard, a science blogger is arguing. This week, science blogger Mike Dunford of linkurl:The Questionable Authority;http://scienceblogs.com/authority/ posted a linkurl:blog;http://scienceblogs.com/authority/2008/08/reed_elsevier_caught_copying_m.php saying that Reed Elsevier had copied some of the content from his blog without permission. While checking out links to his blog, Dunford came across a page run by LexisNexis (a Reed El

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