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What Really Happened With GRB 080319B? NASA Talks About The Most Intrinsically Bright Object Ever Observed In The Universe

Burst Alert! March 19th was an exciting day for NASA. We know “why” it was special, but we...

'Self-Control' Is To 'Sudoku;' Can You End Addiction With Analogies?

Better self-control is linked to higher intelligence. But until now psychologists have been unsure...

You May Be Addicted To The Internet If…

Do you ever think you might have a serious problem because you have to check your e-mail about...

Will Mona Lisa Smile More When She's Clean? The Science Of Art Conservation

Tom Learner isn’t afraid of taking a scalpel to multi-million dollar Monets or Picassos. But...

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Matthew BrownRSS Feed of this column.

Matthew Brown comes to Science 2.0 from the University of Oxford, where he received his Master of Science degree in Physiology.

His previous research has included Cardiac Allograft

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If you can’t help but sing your heart out with your best friend when you hear Aladdin's A Whole New World or Johnny Cash and June Carter’s Jackson, maybe you can learn a thing or two about duets from birds. Vocal duets in the animal kingdom have long been known to occur in animals like birds, primates, and whales. But despite much research, the answer to why animals duet has been elusive and controversial. Research by Dr. Daniel Mennill, an Associate Professor at the University of Windsor in Ontario, is helping to change that with some pretty technical equipment, one duet at a time. Daniel Mennill studying duetting wrens in the humid Santa Rosa forests of Costa Rica. Photo Credit: Dale Morris.
A nerdy R&B-esque science music video that's been stuck in my head since I watched it. I want to buy one right now. Scientists don't always take themselves too seriously. I also thought this perspective on the video, from a female scientist, was interesting.
In a commentary released today in the September 3rd issue of the medical journal JAMA, Dr. Arnold Relman, Professor of Medicine Emeritus at Harvard and former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, takes on the issue of industry support of medical education once again, and offers his suggestions for ending the medical profession's dependence on industry support. Should pharmaceutical companies be allowed to fund medical education? Should they be allowed to give doctors gifts? Should they even be allowed to pick up the tab for lunch? No, no, and no, says Dr. Relman, adding that if “busy physicians believe that detailing visits by industry representatives are worth their time and want them to continue, let them at least not accept the gifts, food, and other favors from industry, which make it appear as if physicians’ interest and brand loyalty are being purchased.”
If you use Q-Tips to clean your ears, you may want to read this. And if you use a water pick to clean your ears, you may want to read this too (yes, some people actually use a dental water pick to clean their ears). The guidelines, which will appear as a supplement to the September 2008 issue of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, are the first comprehensive clinical guidelines to help health care practitioners identify patients with cerumen impaction. Who knew earwax could be so interesting? But it's still gross.
It’s been known for quite some time that Fido and Spot can lower levels of stress in their owners. Studies by Karen Allen, a professor in neurology at the University of Buffalo, have shown that “the presence of a pet dog can diminish stress responses to real-life daily stress over which caregivers have no control.” Owning a pet dog can lower blood pressure, can play a therapeutic role in confronting disability or injury, and can actually lower stress even more than your BFF—unless, of course, that BFF is also a dog. Now, research that will be presented in Tokyo on August 30th at the International Congress of Behavioral Medicine shows that chewing gum may also help to reduce stress.

"If gum is good, and dogs are good...what if I let my DOG chew GUM!"

It has long been a dream of developmental biologists to easily reprogram one type of fully formed adult cell into another type of adult cell without using stem cells. By reprogramming cells, you might be able to treat many diseases where certain cells are lost or damaged, like diabetes or Parkinson's. Now, a truly exciting new study from the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) is making that dream become reality. In a brand new study published in the journal Nature, Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) co-director Doug Melton and post doctoral fellow Qiao "Joe" Zhou report having taken one type of fully differentiated cell, called an exocrine cell (it makes gut enzymes and is involved in digesting food), and converting it into an entirely different cell using certain kinds of genes called transcription factors (a gene that encodes proteins that turn 'on' or 'off' other sets of genes). In many ways, their different kind cell is a much more useful kind of cell. The amazing thing? They didn't use stem cells.