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Varmus votes - how will you?

By | February 4, 2008

Tomorrow is Super Tuesday, so who are you going to vote for? Yesterday, Harold Varmus, president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, told Wired that he linkurl:plans to cast his ballot;http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/02/harold-varmus-e.html for Senator Barack Obama on Tuesday, February 5. Obama represents "a new kind of leader, one without ties to a divisive past and one who portrays through his personal history a global perspective that is both crucial and unprec

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Is autoimmunity like cancer?

By | February 2, 2008

The first keynote presentation of this week's Keystone meeting on autoimmunity and transplantation tolerance ended in a rather surprising way -- the speaker was actually heckled during the question answer session for comparing autoimmunity to cancer. When the mechanisms that keep the immune system from attacking itself break down, diseases like diabetes type 1, lupus, and psoriasis can result. Many in the field have focused on how particular inherited mutations change the immunological landsca

4 Comments

A rare malaria victory

By | February 1, 2008

I've been looking into how global health programs evaluate the effects of their interventions for a story that will appear in our March issue. Public health experts have told me again and again that too little attention has been paid to evaluation across the board. This morning (Feb.1), both linkurl:__The Washington Post__;http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/31/AR2008013101943.html?wpisrc=newsletter and linkurl:__The New York Times__;http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/01/he

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Journal vs. docs: malnutrition spat

By | February 1, 2008

The editor of __The Lancet__ has banned members of international aid group Doctors Without Borders (Medicins sans Frontieres or MSF in French) from publishing articles in the journal, according to a linkurl:story;http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/short/319/5863/555 in __Science__ magazine today (Feb. 1). Did members of the aid organization break an linkurl:embargo?;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53943/ Fail to disclose conflicts of interest? Fabricate data? Nope. They just posted

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More delay for Boston biolab

By | February 1, 2008

Additional safety studies for Boston's planned Biosafety Level 4 lab, demanded by the Massachusetts Supreme Court last year, will further delay the opening of the facility, according to court documents filed by the NIH this week. In November, 2007, an outside scientific panel linkurl:concluded;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53944/ that the NIH had flubbed the safety evaluations for the lab, and in December, the Massachusetts Supreme Court linkurl:ruled;http://www.the-scientist.com/bl

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New drug hopes for RNAi?

By | January 31, 2008

Researchers linkurl:report;http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/319/5863/627 that they have overcome one of the major roadblocks to using small interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutically - they have developed a new method to linkurl:deliver siRNA;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/53307/ to silence genes in specific cells in vivo, according to this week's Science. "I'm really actually quite excited about the paper," said linkurl:John Rossi,;http://www.coh.org/Researchers/RossiJ

1 Comment

Should trial sponsors pay for treatment?

By | January 31, 2008

What is the linkurl:responsibility of a company sponsoring a clinical trial;http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2008/01/31/when-drug-trials-go-wrong/ when one of its participants gets sick? That's the theme of a linkurl:story;http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120173515260330205.html in today's Wall Street Journal. As Sarah Rubenstein reports, the family of a woman who took part in a clinical trial of a drug for Parkinson's disease is suing the sponsors and university organizers of the trial. They say the

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Do adult brains learn by neurogenesis?

By | January 30, 2008

While researchers agree that the birth of new neurons plays an important role in the adult brain, they have long linkurl:debated;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/23351/ to which aspects of learning, memory and behavior the process contributes. A new linkurl:study;http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nature06562.html published today (January 30) in Nature has used a gene knockout approach to link adult neurogenesis to spatial learning. The paper showed that adult mice

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Light helmet to treat Alzheimer's?

By | January 30, 2008

A linkurl:story;http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7208768.stm by the BBC last week reporting that a treatment of infrared light through the scalp could reverse Alzheimer's disease has scientists -- and skeptical science writers -- scratching their heads. Gordon Dougal, director of a UK-based company called Virulite, is leading a study that tests whether infrared light, beamed on the head from a special helmet, might boost cell growth in the brain (Virulite currently sells a product also based i

1 Comment

NEJM reviewer leaked Avandia study

By | January 30, 2008

A reviewer of last year's linkurl:meta-analysis;http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/abstract/356/24/2457 of GlaxoSmithKline's diabetes drug, linkurl:Avandia,;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53284/ leaked the study to the company prior to its publication in the __New England Journal of Medicine__, according to a linkurl:story;http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080130/full/451509a.html appearing today (Jan. 30) in __Nature__. Last year, Avandia, joined the ranks of blockbuster drugs associ

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