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News From the Petri Dish

I subscribe to Eureka Alert Breaking News – and although a lot of their press releases are on small studies of questionable relevance, I do think that some of the basic science research is provocative.  Let’s see if I can pique your interest with the best of this week’s Petri dish news:

1.  Tylenol may inhibit bone growth?  A small study conducted at the University of Granada suggested that bone forming cells (called osteoblasts) were inhibited by a Tylenol bath.  As far as pain killers are concerned, we’ve known for a while that non steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) may indeed inhibit bone growth. But since Tylenol is not an NSAID, we were hoping that it would not adversely affect bone healing.  Could this mean that Tylenol is not so great for bone surgery pain after all? That’s a stretch… but an interesting question.

2.  Can you clean blood with a laser?  Boy it sure would be nice to be able to kill all the potential viruses in blood used for transfusions.  Apparently there’s a new pulsed laser technique that shows some promise in fracturing viruses with laser vibrations.  So far, the laser was successful in reducing bacterial viruses by 1000x.  Next up?  Let’s see what the technique can do to Hepatitis C and HIV viruses.

3.  Skinny people might have a “skinny gene.” Scientists have been studying a gene called Adipose (Adp) for over 50 years now.  It was first discovered in fat fruit flies (I kid you not).  Apparently if the Adp gene doesn’t work well, the flies become fat and “have difficulty getting around.”  Worms, mice, and humans seem to have the same gene.  Further analysis might unlock the secret to the genetics of thinness.  Or maybe we should just eat less and exercise more?This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at

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2 Responses to “News From the Petri Dish”

  1. RH Host Pia says:

    Wow, some interesting information, specially about the Tylenol. Thank you!!

  2. john52 says:

    leptin is an interesting hormone what about its level in the obese.

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