September 28, 2006 Tuesday, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a bill extending protections for women who donate their eggs for research. Several California universities have indicated their interest in creating stem-cell lines with cloned human embryos, and for that, they'll need egg donors. Today, the Institute of Medicine and the California agency that will distribute the $3 billion approved for stem-cell research in California are sponsoring a workshop on what is known about the risks of egg donation.
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September 20, 2006 German scientists have promising results from an experimental treatment to mend ailing hearts. The treatment involves taking a heart-attack patient's bone-marrow cells and injecting them into their heart. The injections, proven in animal tests, show promise for humans.
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September 12, 2006 NASA's Mars rover Opportunity is about to reach Victoria Crater. Scientists are excited about exploring the crater, where satellite pictures indicate more than 100 feet of exposed bedrock. By studying the layers of bedrock, researchers hope to learn how it was shaped -- and maybe answer the question of whether liquid water once covered the Martian surface.
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September 12, 2006 Cancer researcher Ira Pastan tried combining a toxin that kills cells with a type of antibody that targets certain cells. The idea was to create a "cocktail" that would seek out cancer cells -- and only cancer cells -- and kill them with the toxin. It's been 10 years since Pastan first tried this method. Did it work? Well, yes and no...
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September 6, 2006 Three separate research teams agree: A gene that prevents cancer also accelerates aging. The gene plays a role in preventing cells from dividing. That's good if they're cancer cells, but bad if they're healthy cells that need replenishing.
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September 5, 2006 Attention statisticians. This just in from NPRs super-duper science correspondent Joe Palca, who had not one, but two foul balls land on him a recent baseball game. On Sunday's game between the Diamondbacks and the Nationals at RFK, I was sitting in section 427, row B, seat 1 when Nationals catcher Brian Schneider fouled back a pitch. I remember that I thought, "Wow, that looks like it's coming straight to me." So I reached down and caught it. Then I dropped it, but then I picked it up. It's the first foul ball I've ever snagged in 45 years of going to major league baseball games...
August 31, 2006 For more than 20 years, a team of scientists at the National Cancer Institute has been trying to cure cancer by using a patient's own immune system. In the latest twist, they use gene therapy to enhance the immune system's ability to recognize tumors.
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August 21, 2006 Ten years ago, researchers announced they were closing in on a vaccine for malaria, one of the deadliest diseases plaguing the developing world. But like many scientific breakthroughs making news when they're first announced, progress toward a vaccine has run into complications.
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August 21, 2006 One hallmark of aggressive cancer tumors is that they have an unusual number of chromosomes. If doctors knew which tumors had unexpected numbers of chromosomes, they'd know which tumors to treat aggressively. Now researchers have found an easy way to estimate the number of chromosomes.
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August 16, 2006 The human brain definitely differs from the brains of our primate relatives. But how did we get such big brains? A paper in the journal Nature says part of the answer may lie in a snippet of DNA buried deep in the human genome.
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August 10, 2006 What happens to the body when it's exposed to excessive heat? Sweating, of course. But there are other changes, as well. A complex series of systems work to keep the human body from overheating when the temperature soars.
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August 4, 2006 In the early days of kidney transplants, it was important to find a donor that was a nearly exact tissue match to the recipient. But now, with the improvement of anti-rejection drugs, tissue matching is no longer as crucial, and some suggest it should be abandoned as a criterion for allocating kidneys.
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August 1, 2006 To paraphrase a former president, you won't have Joe Palca to kick around any more. As of Wednesday I'm officially known as the former host of Mixed Signals. But don't fear. I leave you in the capable hands of someone with a clear eye, a cool head and a very unusual last name. David assures me his father was a Folkenflik too.
August 1, 2006 There's a video floating around on the Internet that some Web slingers are claiming is a recruitment video for Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. I won't say it's the worst video I've ever seen, but it's pretty bad. Watching it might make you want to buy a used car, but not attend an institute of higher education. But was it really made as a recruitment tool? "We would never create something like that to attract students," says Dr. Lorin Baumhover Chief of Staff for the Office of the Chancellor at Appalachian State. "It's horrible." Baumhover maintains the video was created as a kind of joke, to be shared with alumni and friends of the university. He says about a year ago, someone posted it on the Web, and they've been getting queries ever since. "I wish someone could put a stake through it," says Baumhover. It's a lesson for the Internet age. Don't create anything you aren't prepared to share with the entire world. (via Boing Boing)
August 1, 2006 I checked with Bud Aiello, director of engineering technology at NPR, about Greg's Roadrunner. That's the piece of equipment I mentioned earlier that allows broadcast studio quality audio to be sent down an ISDN line. Bud says the Roadrunner should arrive in Miami tomorrow morning. I'm guessing Miami's Cuban community will still be in the news by then.
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