My medical student has apparently had a discussion with his classmates regarding which is the most important organ in the body. Is it the heart? The lungs? The kidneys? What do you think?
My medical student thinks it’s the kidney because of the complicated functions it must perform. I think it’s the skin because it holds everything together and keeps our economy going. What do you think? What is the most important organ in the body and why?
This post follows a lengthy conversation I had with my wife, a physician-scientist, about this very topic.
Many of you who attended the ScienceOnline2010 conference here last January probably met Carmen Drahl, the Princeton-trained chemist who now writes for Chemical & Engineering News and their appropriately-named drug discovery blog, The Haystack, as well as their Newscripts feature.
For the latter, Dr. Drahl pointed us toward a recent “Crosstalks” paper in Chemistry & Biology by Thomas U. Mayer and Andreas Marx of the University of Konstanz (and her interview with the authors) who mused as follows from their abstract:
Which five molecules would you take to a remote island? If you imagine yourself as a castaway on an island you might pick water, glucose, penicillin, and ethanol in combination with aspirin. However, as a scientist, you may ask yourself which molecules impressed you most by their chemical or biological property, their impact on science, or the ingenuity and/or serendipity behind their discovery. Here, we present our personal short list comprising FK506, colchicine, imatinib, Quimi-Hib, and cidofovir. Obviously, our selection is highly subjective and, therefore, we apologize up front to our colleagues for not mentioning their favorite compounds.
The authors pose two different questions: a) Which molecules, drug or not, would you take as the sole occupant of a desert island? and b) Which drugs most impress you with their chemistry, biology, or impact on science? Read more »
A British research project called BioCouture is working on clothing made out of bacterial cellulose that was grown in a hacked-together bioreactor.
As Gizmodo notes, it’s not clear what the point of the project is, seeing how we already grow cotton in a pretty efficient manner, but we kind of like the concept nevertheless. It’s sure to be a hit in biology labs everywhere.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the world’s biggest sponsor of research in the life sciences. Today’s biologists, clinical researchers, and many others rely on the NIH for their funding.
To help people better understand how the peer review process happens within the NIH, the agency’s Center for Scientific Review created the following video that includes samples of research being openly discussed by a number of scientists:
Click here to view another video of tips for NIH grant applicants.
*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*
On SBM we have documented the many and various ways that science is abused in the pursuit of health (or making money from those who are pursuing health). One such method is to take a new, but reasonable, scientific hypothesis and run with it, long past the current state of the evidence. We see this with the many bogus stem cell therapy clinics that are popping up in parts of the world with lax regulation.
This type of medical pseudoscience is particularly challenging to deal with, because there is a scientific paper trail that seems to support many of the claims of proponents. The claims themselves may have significant plausibility, and parts of the claims may in fact be true. Efforts to educate the public about such treatments are frustrated by the mainstream media’s lazy tendency to discuss every study as if it were the definitive last word on a topic, and to site individual experts as if they represent the consensus of scientific opinion.
Recent claims made for low-dose naltrexone (LDN) fit nicely into this model –- a medical intervention with interesting research, but in a preliminary phase that does not justify clinical use. And yet proponents talk about it as if it’s a medical revolution. Read more »
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