The Cell Phone gives you cancer, Real or Fake? See what WHO thinks about it?

For years we’ve heard that cell phones cause brain tumors, they cause skin cancer, and they make unborn babies turn into Godzilla! Okay, the last one is fake, but the other two? … well turns out they are more real that we thought, we just need more “research”, and more “time”.

The World Health Organization – WHO- for short, has come to a pseudo conclusion. After a group of 31 scientists from 14 countries working in the org’s International Agency for Research on Cancer claimed that based on a survey of the literature — those electromagnetic fields are as likely to be “potentially” carcinogenic as 266 other cancerous substances.

They rated the Cell Phone Waves next to, DDT pesticide and the exhaust from your automobile.

So we go back to the “in theory” moment, WHO, is not saying that cellphones give you cancer, they are saying that they need more research. The decision 31 scientist came up with was merely a call of action for more research.

After a week of “research” they came up with the following results…

“The evidence was reviewed critically, and overall evaluated as being limited (2) among users of wireless telephones for glioma and acoustic neuroma, and inadequate (3)to draw conclusions for other types of cancers. The evidence from the occupational and environmental exposures mentioned above was similarly judged inadequate. The Working Group did not quantitate the risk; however, one study of past cell phone use (up to the year 2004), showed a 40% increased risk for gliomas in the highest category of heavy users (reported average: 30 minutes per day over a 10‐year period).”

So really what they learned was a way to scare us a little bit more, they looked over some books and came up with what we already knew. Not to bash the scientist or anything, but after 1 week of working in a lab, I would think they could come out with more than just a ‘we need more money’ and if all of this were true, what would happen then? what happens when we finally figure out – Cell Phones do give us cancer – is not like you can stop cell phone usage, will the cellphone companies send out what could possibly be the biggest recall in human history?

Via: Engadget

Su 2.0 the 45 Year old woman who’s brain was “rebooted”

Imagine waking up one morning to realize… nothing. Thats practically what happened to Su. When Su Meck was only 22, she was hit with a ceiling fan, the fan caused so much trauma to the brain that Su had a full % 100 memory loss. Her Husband Jim called her “Su 2.0. she had rebooted” like a computer only… slower.

After the accident, Su was reverted back to the brain of a 4 year old child, she forgot how to do just about everything. She couldn’t read, and she really couldn’t do anything by her self. NOTHING… except put a few phrases together. Her brain was blank, she practically  had to restart her entire childhood, and her entire life, the only difference is that she had a Husband, and she had two baby sons… and that’s never good. Specially for the Husband, Jim had to take care of his entire family without the assistance of his #1 support, his wife.

That was 23 years ago, Now at the age of 45, Su 2.0 is back to full gear, her brain fully rebooted, and learned to do the impossible. The doctors described her brain “like a shaken jell-O” and stated that it had more cracks that Sony’s firewall system.

She went to Montgomery College where she graduated with a Music Degree and a 3.9 GPA,that alone is an impressive task, I love to play the guitar but I lack the talent to receive a music degree. A lot of it has to do with the lack of discipline. However, Su had to have more than just discipline. She also needed to have the drive to push her to have it, and that drive was her Husband Jim.

I always wondered: What am I supposed to do now? What is the plan? What is the goal? Am I supposed to be this other person who I was, or am I supposed to be this new person?

What’s really challenging about the whole ordeal  is the fact that you have to re-build relationships with people, friends, colleagues, but most importantly your husband, and your children. How can you love them all over again? aside from that, She had to learn to eat by her self all over again, she learned to dress up by her self, to make phone calls, and even to read and write. Talking on the telephone was very difficult in the first few years out of the hospital, so Su and her family communicated through letters. Su wrote hers with the spelling and penmanship of a young child, but that didn’t stop her from tying to learn, she eventually learned how to use a computer, in one of her emails sent to her mother, you can really see how she struggled through the entire process, the e-mail read:

The boys play good with Legos now so givs me a chance to rite. I hav to go to mor doctors be case fall lots to hitig head bad head ackes.

But finally nearly two decades later, she did it. She learned to drive, and learned to live a somewhat “normal” life. Finally, she got her associates music degree after four years of studying hard, reading things again and again to keep them in her memory, now she plans in going to college and get her Bachelors Degree in Music

Truly unbelievable, if you want to read more check out the original post over at Washington Post
Via: Gizmodo

Researchers Growing a Brain in a Petri Dish

The image to the left is actually a Petri dish that contains an artificial brain made out of 60 rat neurons, the brain has a 12 second working memory, just enough for it to say … wtf is this?… and then it’s over.

The researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are the people responsible for growing these artificial brains, they use a silicon disk and add a layer of proteins on it then the add some cultured embryonic rat hippocampus cells on the silicon disk. The researchers than wait a couple of seconds and the cells grow together into a ring shaped neural network that can transmit and receive information from other cells.

The researchers were able to stimulate the neurons with an electrical pulse, the pulse then traveled traveled around the dish for up to 12 seconds, what that means to us is, the neurons were actually storing and transmitting the signal in sequence, forming a sort of short-term memory:

 

“Persistent activity in the brain is involved in working memory and motor planning. The ability of the brain to hold information ‘online’ long after an initiating stimulus is a hallmark of brain areas such as the prefrontal cortex.”

And just like that, were getting closer to figuring out how our brains work.

Google search records can track the Spread of MRSA

Google tracks more than just your cellphone usage,it can track the spread of MRSA, and it’s actually very interesting as to how it’s done. Check out the image to the right, that has a representation of Google Searches and the infected MRSA people in hospitals, if you look at the trend in Red, you can see that as the trend goes up and down, the searches for Google also go up and down. This is because the people infected by the MRSA – methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus, always resort to online searches to figure out how to cure something… How many times have you found a small wound in your body and instantly go to WebMD to figure out that even a small mosquito bite comes back as cancer?

Currently there is no Surveillance mechanism for the tracking of MRSA so this is actually very cool to have, hospitals and scientist have no way of figuring out how the infection rate of MRSA is changing over time, but thanks to Google we can now see the trend. I wouldn’t recommend basing anything like this on Google searches alone primarily because if you look in between 2007 and 2008 there was a huge spike, if I was a doctor and saw that spike I’d be like “holly crap! it’s an epidemic” when in reality it was just 5 thousand people trying to figure out why they have a minor bump on their skin on WebMD and it came back as “you have MRSA”

This Google Search timeline is similar to that used by Google Flu Trends, when it caught researchers’ attention after flu symptom-related searches in Mexico preceded the 2009 swine flu outbreak.

But whereas Flu Trends was seen as a potential source of early warning signs, better methods of MRSA surveillance are necessary to understand what’s already happening.

“If we had a comprehensive, linked electronic health records system that researchers had access to, we wouldn’t need it. There are systems like that in Scandinavian countries, where you can analyze disease factors in all kinds of ways. But you can’t do that in the U.S,” said Lauderdale.

Added study co-author Michael David, a University of Chicago MRSA specialist, “Right now, in the U.S., there is no surveillance system to track MRSA infections overall.”

Another reason that the Google trend is difficult to be reliable is the fact that many people searching for MRSA actually search for Mersa which is the phonetically correct way of pronouncing MRSA. Also, the trend is thrown off balance due to media out breaks or popular articles.  Regardless of what they are searching, if you are a good researcher you can see trends in many different things using Google Alone, you just have to decipher whats real and whats “popular”.

Via: Wired

The Sport of Planking claims it’s first life

The Sport of planking, (no it has nothing to do with the antics of pirates making you walk the “plank”) is the action of lying face down with arms to the sides of the body, in unusual public spaces and photographing it for other to enjoy. It has started fan pages on Facebook, and has gotten media attention world wide. An Australian Facebook group has denounced May 25, 2011 as the first official National Planking day.

While this may seem like simple fun, it can be quite dangerous. If you look at the video below, it looks like an episode of South Park as even police officers are calling it “episodes of planking” And today Planking actually claimed the life of a “Planker” as he fell from a 7 story building to his death. Not to devalue his death but it could be avoided %100 if he had been smarter than what he was working with. He laid flat on a rail less than 5 centimeters in width, lost his balance and fell, ending his career as a “planker”.  Really, not trying to make fun of anything, and I feel sorry for his death, but this isn’t a sport. This is putting your self in danger for the amusement of others.

In the famous words of Dwight Schrute – Try not to be an idiot, ask your self “will an Idiot do that thing, if the answer is yes… try to not do that thing” in short, be smarter than what you are working with. Watch the video below to see the news covered by Newsy

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3d Organ Printer – One step closer to figuring it all out!

This is old news but these people are still making the news, now they have developed fully working organs, the scientist over at Invetech created a printer that copies out and prints out cells in any type of desired pattern.
Basically think of it this way, while we are pretty good at creating flat surfaces of skin, (we grow them in a lab) it’s been difficult and up till 2009, close to impossible to create a 3D organ. lets look at a cinder block and compare that to a cell. We are pretty darn good at making houses out of the cinder blocks, but that’s because we can hold out the block, and stick it together using cement. Now the same can’t be said for Cells. They are much much smaller and for some reason when you try to build it in a 3D model it all collapses. So the scientist first had to develop a way to build a sort of scaffold and that’s only 1/4th of the process. Next they had to build the cells in the scaffold but finally they managed to get it all together the exert below is from their 2009 article.

The printer, developed by Invetech, fits inside a standard biosafety cabinet for sterile use. It includes two print heads, one for placing human cells, and the other for placing a hydrogel, scaffold, or support matrix. One of the most complex challenges in the development of the printer was being able to repeatedly position the capillary tip, attached to the print head, to within microns. This was essential to ensure that the cells are placed in exactly the right position. Invetech developed a computer controlled, laser-based calibration system to achieve the required repeatability. read more here  RDMAG
now all they need to figure out is how to build the plumbing, “the veins” of the structure… they have much more to go but they are almost there.

Freezing your self at -270 degrees to be better at sports? How bout a hottub instead?

So you know that most athletes are trying to push their limits one way or another right? well they just figured out how to take their body one step further, and NO it’s not with drugs, or blood transfusions, it’s a very simple concept… Freeze your self by entering a nitrogen gas chamber. The chamber is called cryosauna and it cools skin to 32 degrees at a depth of around half a millimeter, which gives the body a mild shock and draws its blood supply inward to the vital organs. After two-and-a-half minutes, when the sauna is finished, that blood is supposed to rush back to the muscles, full of oxygen and nutrients, and repair damaged tissue. It is a $50,000 variation on the ice bath.

Sounds like fun right? well, like every other experimental tool it does have it’s risk, the vapors are hundreds of degrees below zero when pumped into the cylinder and cold enough to freeze body hair in seconds. But according to the scientist, the worst you can get is a minor frostbite burn… thats bad enough for me, call me a sissy but until they perfect this thing I’m going to stand clear of it all, but in case you want to read more about it, check it out here Cryosauna