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Taking the epilepsy drug topiramate alone or along with other epilepsy drugs during pregnancy may increase the risk of birth defects, according to a study published in the July 22, 2008, issue of Neurology.

Research has shown that many epilepsy drugs increase the risk of birth defects, but little research has been done on topiramate. Studies have shown that topiramate increases the risk of birth defects in animals. Maintaining effective epilepsy treatment during pregnancy is crucial because seizures may cause harm to the fetus.

Even if you're a caricature of the worst kind of maintenance person, such as Groundskeeper Willie in "The Simpson", there's a lesson for real life teachers.

Apparently, the lesson is 'don't be like that.' And the rest of the Simpsons supporting cast can teach educators a thing or two as well, say two academics in their paper, “Images of the Teacher in The Simpsons: Subversive, Superficial, or Sentimental?” which was presented at “The Teacher: Image, Icon, Identity” conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

“Given the often central role that the figure of the teacher plays in ‘The Simpsons,’ there is a…rich vein that could be mined for the purposes of teacher education, whether through initial training or continuing professional development,” says Gavin Morrison, curator of the University Galleries at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth and co-author Alan Britton of the University of Glasgow.

Few things say as much about our culture as the food we eat. A new book, Glazed America: A History of the Doughnut by Paul R. Mullins, Ph.D., an Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis anthropologist, explores the development of America's consumer culture through our relationship with the doughnut; beloved by all but a symbol of temptation and unhealthiness to some.

It's unknown when in in pre-history someone dropped flour into oil but it happened and the ancestor of the doughnut was born. Since then, every culture has fried flour and many add something sweet to the dough.

Mullins is certainly a fan of his subject. He enjoys his doughnuts at an Indianapolis mom and pop shop which has been serving up those fried delicacies for 55 years, though he is also an avid runner who logs approximately 45 miles per week, often past that doughnut shop.

In a major step in understanding how the nervous system and the immune system interact, scientists at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have identified a new anatomical path through which the brain and the spleen communicate.

The spleen, once thought to be an unnecessary bit of tissue, is now regarded as an organ where important information from the nervous reaches the immune system. Understanding this process could ultimately lead to treatments that target the spleen to send the right message when fighting human disease.

Nutrients from the Amazon River spread well beyond the continental shelf and drive carbon capture in the deep ocean, according to the authors of a multi-year study. The finding does not change estimates of the oceans' total carbon uptake, but it reveals the surprisingly large role of tropical oceans and major rivers.

The tropical North Atlantic had been considered a net emitter of carbon from the respiration of ocean life. A 2007 study estimated that ocean's contribution to the atmosphere at 30 million tons of carbon annually.

Geoscientists at the California Institute of Technology have come up with a new explanation for the formation of monsoons, proposing an overhaul of a theory about the cause of the seasonal pattern of heavy winds and rainfall that essentially had held firm for more than 300 years.

The traditional idea of monsoon formation was developed in 1686 by English astronomer and mathematician Edmond Halley, namesake of Halley's Comet. In Halley's model, monsoons are viewed as giant sea-breeze circulations, driven by the differences in heat capacities between land and ocean surfaces that, upon heating by sunlight, lead to temperature differences between warmer land and cooler ocean surfaces--for example, between the Indian subcontinent and the oceans surrounding it.