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In 1990, Theresa (Terri) Schiavo had a cardiac arrest that caused irreversible brain damage which led to a persistent vegetative state diagnosis. A few years later, this diagnosis became a source of conflict over the interruption of artificial nutrition.

The "Schiavo Case" was widely discussed from a medical, ethical and social standpoint in the United States and elsewhere. In an article to be published in the September 23 issue of Neurology, , a team of bioethicists composed of Dr. Éric Racine of the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM) and experts from Stanford University, in California, and the University of British Columbia examines the media coverage featuring this famous case.

A team of researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has used brain imaging, genetics and experimental psychology techniques to identify a connection between brain reward circuitry, a behavioral measurement of preference and a gene variant that appears to influence both.

The report in the August 4 issue of Archives of General Psychiatry describes how variations in a gene involved with the brain's reward function are associated with the activity of a key brain structure and, in parallel, with the effort study participants 'invest' in viewing emotion-laden facial images. The findings have implications for how genes may influence healthy or dysfunctional behavior involving choices in many different areas.

Scientists at the University of Sheffield writing in the journal Bioinformatics,say they have shown how bacteria could be used as a future fuel, a milestone in producing truly sustainable fuels in the future.

Like all living creatures, bacteria sustain themselves through their metabolism, a huge sequence of chemical reactions that transform nutrients into energy and waste. With mathematical computer models the Sheffield team have mapped the metabolism of a type of bacteria called Nostoc. Nostoc fixes nitrogen and, in doing so, releases hydrogen that can then potentially be used as fuel. Fixing nitrogen is an energy intensive process and it wasn't entirely clear exactly how the bacterium produces the energy it needs in order to perform. Now the new computer system has been used to map out how this happens.


Overall alcohol use—particularly consumption of beer—is declining in the US, according to a new study published in the August 2008 issue of The American Journal of Medicine. Researchers examined 50 years of data and found several changes in alcohol intake but no change in alcohol use disorders.

Americans are drinking significantly less beer and more wine, while hard liquor use has remained fairly constant. More people now report that they are non-drinkers. People born later in the 20th century drink more moderately than older people. As we age, our individual alcohol consumption goes down.

Did you know that Norwegian trees require only a few minutes to replace the timber used to produce the first edition of Aftenposten - equivalent to the time we spend making our morning coffee.

Norway is full of forests and the trees are growing. With just one-third of the growth logged, there is plenty of growth each year. In fact, since sheep and other domestic animals no longer graze the scrub, the landscape is actually starting to be overgrown.

Meanwhile, paper production is less and less profitable, hurting the forestry industry. But that won't last, say a group of experts. In fact, the value of Norwegian wood is going to go up.

The reason, they say, is second generation biodiesel and bioethanol. First generation production of fuel from rapeseed(Brassica napus) and maize has faced strong criticism. Producing fuel on valuable topsoil in the face of greater worldwide food demand is unpopular.

But as much criticism as biofuels have taken, there is no question the world has huge areas that can be better utilized, and timber from agriculture and forestry can produce more useful growth.

Mimmi Throne-Holst, research scientist at SINTEF in Norway, is one of those who believe that Norwegian forests can provide the fuels of the future and that Norway should prioritize this because of considerable experience with bio refinery (Borregaard, Norske Skog) and large-scale production.


A 'cloud computing', applications and services provided seamlessly on the Internet, approach to malicious software detection developed at the University of Michigan could make old antivirus software techniques a relic of the past.

Traditional antivirus software is installed on millions of individual computers around the world but according to researchers, antivirus software from popular vendors is increasingly ineffective.