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Remodeling replaces cut axons

By | December 7, 2009

Neurons in the fly can radically remold their cytoskeleton to rebuild a severed axon -- a finding that might provide clues to how neurons recover from injury, researchers reported yesterday at the American Society for Cell Biology meeting in San Diego. Image: Wikipedia To rebuild the severed axon, neurons in the fly ramp up their production of microtubules -- the main structural elements of the cytoskeleton -- and recreate the microtubules characteristic of the axon in a nearby part of the ce

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27 more hESC lines head for OK

By | December 4, 2009

Twenty-seven human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines are ethically derived and should be approved for use in research funded by the US linkurl:National Institutes of Health; (NIH), a committee advising the NIH director linkurl:recommended today (December 4).; These findings come just two days after the approval of the first 13 lines linkurl:earlier this week.; Human embryonic st


A robotic arm breakthrough?

By | December 3, 2009

We at __The Scientist__ are always on the lookout for overhyped research, and we suspect we've run across an example in an linkurl:Associated Press; story about a brain-controlled prosthetic arm published yesterday (December 2). The article stated that researchers in Italy had used a robotic arm, controlled via electrodes implanted in the nerves of an amputee's arm, that allowed him "to feel sensations in the artificial limb an


NIH OKs 13 stem cell lines

By | December 2, 2009

Thirteen human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines have received approval for use in federally funded research, with the promise of more to come as soon as this Friday, linkurl:the National Institutes of Health announced; today (December 2). Human embryonic stem cellsImage: Wikimedia commons, Nissim Benvenisty"This is a significant day," NIH director Francis Collins said at a teleconference. "These [new lines] now becoming available we believe will


PNAS review policy... by numbers

By | December 2, 2009

Some in the research community grouse about how members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) can hand pick reviewers and essentially fast track the publication of their papers or papers written by select non-academy members in the high-impact __Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America__ (__PNAS__). But a citation analysis linkurl:published;


Immunologist faked data

By | December 1, 2009

An immunologist duplicated images and falsified data in a study on regulating factors of autoimmune disease published in Nature Medicine in 2006, the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) reported. Image: FlickrCreativeCommons/Julo According to ORI's linkurl:statement,; released this fall, Zhong-Bin Deng, then a postdoc at the linkurl:Medical College of Georgia,; manipulated data to show that the autoimmune regulator (AIRE


School halts baboon anthrax study

By | December 1, 2009

Oklahoma State University (OSU) administrators have aborted a federally-funded study of anthrax vaccines because the project involved sacrificing the baboons involved in the research -- even though the project had already received approval by a unanimous vote from the university committee overseeing animal research. A photomicrograph of Bacillus anthracis bacteriaImage: Wikimedia commons, CDC"It was a considerable surprise to pretty much everybody involved," said linkurl:Michael Davis,;http://w


The end of hypoallergenic cats?

By | December 1, 2009

A controversial company that claimed to develop hypoallergenic cats and dogs will bow out of the companion animal business and launch a new venture focused on veterinary diagnostic services starting next year, according to a statement sent out in their corporate newsletter this Sunday (29th November). Image: Wikimedia Commons"Following our recent acquisition, the business will be taking a new direction from 2010, specifically, fine-tuning and launching our proprietary veterinary genetic molecul


Science paper pulled

By | November 30, 2009

Researchers are retracting a highly-cited linkurl:2004 Science paper; describing a new way of adding sugars to proteins -- a longstanding challenge in molecular biology -- citing their inability to repeat the results and the absence of the original lab notebooks with the experiment details, they linkurl:announced; in Science last Thursday (November 26). Image: Wikimedia commons"


Q&A: The future of HIV vaccines

By | November 30, 2009

Despite the slew of failures in the past, the most recent $105 million HIV vaccine study among 16,000 Thai volunteers is the first to show any (albeit modest) success. With this first sign of promise in HIV vaccine research, linkurl:Norman Letvin,; professor of Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, who was not involved in the Thailand trial, weighs in on the topic in an opinion piece published linkurl:



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