MS hope from ‘off-the-shelf’ drugs.


Existing drugs for motor neurone disease, asthma and heart disease are being tested as possible treatments for advanced multiple sclerosis (MS).

About 500 people with late-stage MS are to enrol in clinical trials in England and Scotland to see if three common drugs can slow disease progression.

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Research suggests the medicines may protect the brain from further damage.

There is currently no treatment for secondary progressive MS, a form of the disease marked by increased disability.

About 100,000 people are living with MS in the UK. Symptoms include problems with walking, balance, speech, vision and extreme fatigue.

Multiple Sclerosis

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease affecting nerves in the brain and spinal cord, causing problems with muscle movement, balance and vision
  • Around 8 out of 10 people with MS have the relapsing remitting type of MS, where symptoms are mild or disappear altogether at times – for days, weeks or sometimes months
  • Remission is followed by a sudden outbreak of symptoms, known as a relapse, which can last for weeks or months
  • After about 10 years, around half of people with relapsing remitting MS go on to develop secondary progressive MS
  • In secondary progressive MS, symptoms gradually worsen and there are fewer or no periods of remission
  • The least common form of MS is primary progressive MS where symptoms gradually get worse over time and there are no periods of remission
  • Source: NHS Choices

Treatments are available to help with relapses and symptoms of MS during the early stages of the disease. However, despite clinical trials, scientists have so far failed to find a medicine that works in the late stages of MS.

Now, after reviewing published data on drug treatments that might help protect nerves in the brain, UK researchers are focusing on three drugs that are licensed for other conditions.

The three drugs are amiloride – currently licensed to treat heart disease and high blood pressure; ibudilast – an asthma drug used in Japan – ; and riluzole, the sole treatment for motor neurone disease.

All have shown some promise as a treatment for MS in small-scale trials.

Participants in the larger trials in London, Edinburgh and 13 other sites in the UK will be monitored for signs of progression of MS with scans and other clinical tests.

Dr Jeremy Chataway is consultant neurologist at University College London, which will carry out the London study.

He said the drugs selected are the most promising candidates for testing to see if they have an effect in slowing the progression of MS.

He told BBC News: “There is no treatment for secondary progressive MS. This is a really appropriate and scientific way of getting a pipeline of drugs so that we can one day get a treatment that works.”

Case study

Anthony Stone, aged 50, from London is living with MS.

“Once you’re secondary progressive there aren’t any disease-modifying treatments, so anything that addresses that is something to welcome – it’s very encouraging,” he told BBC News.

” In the past – in my case – it was about the management of decline and I think that the possibility of drug treatments for secondary progressive MS – halting the progress – is something to be welcomed.

“For lots of people with secondary progressive [MS] there aren’t the treatments out there – people may feel they’re being ignored.”

Patients entering the trial will be given brain scans at the beginning and end of the two-year study to see whether the drugs have an effect on slowing down brain tissue loss.

“We hope at least one of these drugs will show that it significantly reduces the rate of brain loss – we’re hoping for 30% or 40% reduction,” he added.

Step forward

The MS-SMART trial, as it is known, will test the three drugs against a dummy treatment (placebo) in 440 people with secondary progressive MS.

Dr Susan Kohlhaas, head of biomedical research at the MS society, said: “People with MS have lived for years in hope that one day we will find an effective treatment for secondary progressive MS; this trial, although still early stage, takes us one step closer to make that hope a reality.”

Commenting on the approach to the research, Prof Jayne Lawrence, chief science adviser for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said finding new medical uses for existing drugs offered hope to patients.

Aspirin, for example, had found many therapeutic uses – as a painkiller and in preventing strokes and heart disease, she said.

“It’s becoming much more popular now because it costs so much to develop a [new] drug. At least you’ve got an idea of what the toxicity is so you can reduce the time it takes to develop the drug.”

Source: BBC

 

Machine turns sweat into drinking water for Unicef.


A machine that takes sweat-laden clothes and turns the moisture into drinking water is in use in Sweden.

The device spins and heats the material to remove the sweat, and then passes the vapour through a special membrane designed to only let water molecules get through.

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Since its Monday launch, its creators say more than 1,000 people have “drunk other’s sweat” in Gothenburg.

They add the liquid is cleaner than local tap water.

The device was built for the United Nation‘s child-focused charity Unicef topromote a campaign highlighting the fact that 780 million people in the world lack access to clean water.

Moist cyclists

The machine was designed and built by engineer Andreas Hammar, known locally for his appearances on TV tech show Mekatronik.

He said the critical part of the sweat machine was a new water purification component developed by a company named HVR in collaboration with Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology.

“It uses a technique called membrane distillation,” he told the BBC.

“We use a substance that’s a bit like Goretex that only lets steam through but keeps bacteria, salts, clothing fibres and other substances out.

“They have something similar on the [International] Space Station to treat astronaut’s urine – but our machine was cheaper to build.

“The amount of water it produces depends on how sweaty the person is – but one person’s T-shirt typically produces 10ml [0.3oz], roughly a mouthful.”

The kit has been put on show at the Gothia Cup – the world’s largest international youth football tournament.

Mattias Ronge, chief executive of Stockholm-based advertising agency Deportivo – which organised the stunt – said the machine had helped raise awareness for Unicef, but in reality had its limitations.

“People haven’t produced as much sweat as we hoped – right now the weather in Gothenburg is lousy,” he said.

“So we’ve installed exercise bikes alongside the machine and volunteers are cycling like crazy.

“Even so, the demand for sweat is greater than the supply. And the machine will never be mass produced – there are better solutions out there such as water purifying pills.”

Source: BBC

 

 

 

Genetic advance in Down’s syndrom.


US scientists say they have moved a step closer to being able to treat disorders caused by an extra chromosome.

They have “switched off” the chromosome that causes the symptoms of Down’s syndrome in human cells in the lab.

The research, published in Nature, could one day lead to new medical treatments for the condition.

Future work may be of real benefit to people with Down’s syndrome, said the UK Down’s Syndrome Association.

Humans are born with 23 pairs of chromosomes, including two sex chromosomes, making a total of 46 in each cell.

People with Down’s syndrome have three – rather than two – copies of chromosome 21.

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 “Start Quote

This is an exciting breakthrough, but this process is still at a very early [cellular] stage and we are nowhere near seeing this procedure being used in the treatment of Down’s syndrome in people”

Dr Lucy RaymondUniversity of Cambridge

This causes symptoms such as learning disabilities and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, as well as a greater risk of blood disorders and heart defects.

Gene therapy, which uses genes to treat illnesses, has been attempted for problems caused by a single defective gene. But until now, the idea of being able to silence the effects of a whole chromosome had appeared beyond the realms of possibility, even in the lab.

Now scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School have shown that, in theory, this might be possible but would take decades of research.

A team led by Dr Jeanne Lawrence inserted a gene called XIST into the stem cells of a person with Down’s syndrome grown in the lab.

‘Exciting research’

The gene plays a role in normal cell development by switching off one of the two X chromosomes present in female embryos, ensuring daughters avoid a double dose of X chromosome genes.

The experiments showed that the gene was able to silence the extra copy of chromosome 21, helping correct unusual patterns of growth in the cells.

Dr Lawrence told BBC News: “The research means that we have a new way – right away – to study the cellular basis for Down’s syndrome, that could help identify drugs for Down’s syndrome.

“At the same time we have made it conceivable – not necessarily possible or effective, that still needs to be proven – but conceivable that you could use just a single gene to correct the over-expression of the whole chromosome. So it makes genetic therapy for Down’s syndrome more conceivable where it really wasn’t before.”

Commenting on the study, Carol Boys, chief executive of the Down’s Syndrome Association, said it was exciting new research from a very well-respected team.

“The findings could have serious implications for future work that may be of real benefit to people with Down’s syndrome,” she said.

“We are a very long way from understanding how these findings might translate into clinical applications but it could be that they will be of great assistance in the search for conventional treatments for some of the health conditions that affect people with Down’s syndrome.”

Dr Lucy Raymond, from the department of medical genetics at the University of Cambridge, said the group had demonstrated an important proof of concept.

“This is an exciting breakthrough, but this process is still at a very early [cellular] stage and we are nowhere near seeing this procedure being used in the treatment of Down’s syndrome in people.”

Source: BBC

Cancer surgery: Tumour ‘sniffing’ surgical knife designed.


An “intelligent” knife that can sniff out tumours to improve cancer surgery has been developed by scientists.

The Imperial College London team hope to overcome the dangerous and common problem of leaving bits of the tumour in a patient, which can then regrow.

knife

Early results, in the journal Science Translational Medicine, showed the “iKnife” could accurately identify cancerous tissue on the spot.

It is now being tested in clinical trials to see if it saves lives.

To avoid leaving cancerous tissue behind, surgeons also remove surrounding tissue.

They can even send samples off for testing while the patient is still in theatre, but this takes time.

Yet one in five patients who have a breast lump removed still need a second operation to clear their tumour. For lung cancer the figure is about one in 10.

New tool

 “Start Quote

We believe it has the potential to reduce tumour recurrence rates and enable more patients to survive”

Dr Zoltan TakatsImperial College London

The team at Imperial College London modified a surgical knife that uses heat to cut through tissue.

It is already used in hospitals around the world, but the surgeons can now analyse the smoke given off when the hot blade burns through tissue.

The smoke is sucked into a hi-tech “nose” called a mass spectrometer. It detects the subtle differences between the smoke of cancerous and healthy tissue.

This information is available to the surgeon within seconds.

Tests on 91 patients showed that the knife could accurately tell what type of tissue it was cutting and if it was cancerous.

Dr Zoltan Takats, who invented the system at Imperial, said: “These results provide compelling evidence that the iKnife can be applied in a wide range of cancer surgery procedures.

“It provides a result almost instantly, allowing surgeons to carry out procedures with a level of accuracy that hasn’t been possible before.

“We believe it has the potential to reduce tumour recurrence rates and enable more patients to survive.”

Trials are now taking place at three hospitals in London – St Mary’s, Hammersmith and Charing Cross.

Prof Jeremy Nicholson, head of the department of surgery and cancer at Imperial College London, said: “This is part of what we call precision medicine, we’re trying to change the world by very aggressively translating scientific discovery in to the NHS.”

Surgeon Dr Emma King, of Cancer Research UK, said: “The iKnife is an exciting development to guide cancer surgeons during operations.

“If its usefulness is supported in further clinical trials, it could potentially reduce the time spent in theatre for many patients.”

Source: BBC

Lung cancer ‘secrets’ to be probed.


Scientists across Britain are to map the genes of the tumours of 850 lung cancer patients in a bid to understand more about the deadly disease.

The £14m research at six centres aims to find out how lung cancers become resistant to treatment; they are the most common cause of UK cancer death.

 

The study will trace how lung tumours develop and evolve over nine years.

Some 42,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK every year, with about 35,000 deaths from the disease.

Scientific progress has lagged behind that made for other cancers – only 9% of patients survive beyond five years.

Researchers in London, Leicester, Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester and Aberdeen, will create a genetic profile of each patient’s tumour to study how the cancer changes and evades treatment.

Patients with non-small-cell lung cancer patients, which make up about 78% of lung cancers diagnosed in England and Wales, will be recruited.

‘Better understanding’

Lead researcher Prof Charlie Swanton, of Cancer Research UK’s London Research Institute and University College London, said success in treating lung cancer had been difficult to achieve, but his team hoped to change that.

He told BBC News: “The main hope will be a much better understanding of how non-small-cell lung cancer changes and adapts over time.

“And by understanding how it changes and adapts over time, I hope we’ll get a better insight into developing better therapeutics to stop those changes and adaptations from happening.”

In one of the largest studies of its kind, scientists will analyse genetic changes inside lung cancers of hundreds of patients from diagnosis and throughout treatment.

Case study

Joe Suckling was diagnosed with lung cancer at the age of 50.

Following radiotherapy, he has now been clear of cancer for five years.

He said:”I was lucky but it shouldn’t be about luck.

“That’s why this research is so important.

“It’s very vital that we get on top of this so there can be more people like myself.”

This will involve sequencing billions of letters of DNA – the equivalent of more than 65,000 human genomes.

Scientists hope they will be able to identify common genetic mutations that can be targeted by drugs at different stages of the disease.

Dr Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said research into lung cancer had been underfunded compared with other cancers, which was why the charity was now making it a research priority.

“Typically we’re diagnosing lung cancer patients very, very late,” he said.

“By which time their cancers are already very advanced, they’ve often already spread around the body and often that means that those patients are too ill to go onto a clinical study or for us to get access to a sample of their tumour on which we can then do research.

‘Smoking myth’

“Getting access to that sample is critical for us to be able to understand the disease.”

Dr Kumar said it was a myth that lung cancer was just a smoker’s disease as two Out of 10 lung cancers were unrelated to smoking.

“We mustn’t take our eyes off smoking,” he told BBC News. “We know that smoking causes a quarter of all cancer deaths not just lung cancer – of all cancer deaths.

“So it is a problem that still needs to be tackled. But it is wrong to think that all lung cancer is caused by smoking.”

Some 42,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK every year, with about 35,000 deaths from the disease.

Source: BBC

Pioneering adult stem cell trial approved by Japan.


The first trial of stem cells produced from a patient’s own body has been approved by the Japanese government.

Stem cells can become any other part of the body – from nerve to bone to skin – and are touted as the future of medicine.

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Researchers in Japan will use the cells to attempt to treat a form of blindness – age-related macular degeneration.

The announcement was described as “a major step forward” for research in the field.

There are already trials taking place using stem cells taken from embryos. But this is ethically controversial and the cells will not match a patient’s own tissues, so there is a risk of rejection.

Induced pluripotent stem cells, however, are made by coaxing a sample of the patient’s skin to become stem cells, so there should be no risk of rejection.

Sight saving?

Japan’s health minister, Norihisa Tamura, has ruled that the cells can now be tested in patients.

The trial will by run by the Riken Center for Developmental Biology and the Institute of Biomedical Research and Innovation Hospital in Kobe.

Initially, six patients will receive transplants of cells to see if the procedure can restore their damaged vision.

Prof Chris Mason, an expert on regenerative medicine at University College London said: “This was expected, but it’s obviously a major step forward.

“They are beneficial for two main reasons. One, they are from the patients themselves so the chance of rejection is greatly reduced and there are the ethical considerations – they do not have the baggage which comes with embryonic stem cells.

“On the down side we are a decade behind on the science. Induced pluripotent stem cells were discovered much later, so we’re behind on the safety.”

In 2012, Prof Shinya Yamanaka shared the Nobel prize for medicine or physiology for his discovery that adult human tissue could be coaxed back into a stem cell state.

Source: BBC

Evaluation of Human Papillomavirus Antibodies and Risk of Subsequent Head and Neck Cancer..


Abstract

PURPOSEHuman papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16) infection is causing an increasing number of oropharyngeal cancers in the United States and Europe. The aim of our study was to investigate whether HPV antibodies are associated with head and neck cancer risk when measured in prediagnostic sera. METHODSWe identified 638 participants with incident head and neck cancers (patients; 180 oral cancers, 135 oropharynx cancers, and 247 hypopharynx/larynx cancers) and 300 patients with esophageal cancers as well as 1,599 comparable controls from within the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition cohort. Prediagnostic plasma samples from patients (collected, on average, 6 years before diagnosis) and control participants were analyzed for antibodies against multiple proteins of HPV16 as well as HPV6, HPV11, HPV18, HPV31, HPV33, HPV45, and HPV52. Odds ratios (ORs) of cancer and 95% CIs were calculated, adjusting for potential confounders. All-cause mortality was evaluated among patients using Cox proportional hazards regression.ResultsHPV16 E6 seropositivity was present in prediagnostic samples for 34.8% of patients with oropharyngeal cancer and 0.6% of controls (OR, 274; 95% CI, 110 to 681) but was not associated with other cancer sites. The increased risk of oropharyngeal cancer among HPV16 E6 seropositive participants was independent of time between blood collection and diagnosis and was observed more than 10 years before diagnosis. The all-cause mortality ratio among patients with oropharyngeal cancer was 0.30 (95% CI, 0.13 to 0.67), for patients who were HPV16 E6 seropositive compared with seronegative. CONCLUSIONHPV16 E6 seropositivity was present more than 10 years before diagnosis of oropharyngeal cancers.

Source: Pubmed

HPV virus ‘linked to third of throat cancer cases’.


One third of people diagnosed with throat cancer are infected with a form of the HPV virus, a study suggests.

HPV (human papillomavirus) is the major cause of cervical cancer, and the virus is known to spread through genital or oral contact.

Actor Michael Douglas is reported to have spoken about the link after his own diagnosis with throat cancer.

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Experts said this study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, which quantifies the link, showed “striking” results.

There are more than 100 types of HPV. Most people will be infected with HPV at some point, but in most the immune system will offer protection.

There are two HPV strains which are most likely to cause cancer – HPV-16 and HPV-18.

HPV-16 is thought to be responsible for around 60% of cervical cancers, 80% of cancers in the anus and 60% of oral cancers.

Around 1,500 people are diagnosed with throat cancers each year in the UK, with around 470 people dying from the disease.

Survival benefit

This study looked at HPV’s link with cancer of the back of the throat – oropharyngeal cancer.

It looked at blood test results collected from people who took part in a huge prospective study into lifestyle and cancer, who were all healthy at the start.

Everyone gives a blood sample when they join the study, and in this case the researchers were able to check for the presence of antibodies to one of HPV’s key proteins – E6.

 “Start Quote

Condoms won’t stop infections completely.””

E6 knocks out part of cells’ protection system, which should prevent cancer developing.

Having the antibodies means HPV has already overcome that defence and caused cancerous changes in cells.

The researchers compared blood test results – some more than 10 years old – for 135 people who went on to develop throat cancer and for 1,599 cancer-free people.

The University of Oxford team found 35% of those with throat cancer had the antibodies, compared with fewer than 1% of those who were cancer-free.

However, these patients were more likely to survive throat cancer than people whose disease had other causes, such as alcohol or tobacco use.

The study found 84% of people with the antibodies were still alive five years after diagnosis, compared with 58% of those without.

Broader effect?

Dr Ruth Travis, a Cancer Research UK scientist at Oxford who worked on the study, said: “These striking results provide some evidence that HPV-16 infection may be a significant cause of oropharyngeal cancer.”

Sara Hiom, Cancer Research UK’s director of health information, said: “HPV is an extremely common virus.

“Practising safer sex may reduce the risk of getting or passing on HPV, but condoms won’t stop infections completely.”

She added: “If the HPV vaccine can also protect against oral HPV infections and cancers, then it could have a broader potential protective effect, but we don’t have enough research yet to tell us. ”

Source: BBC

Carl Sagan on the Meaning of Life.


 “We live in a vast and awesome universe in which, daily, suns are made and worlds destroyed, where humanity clings to an obscure clod of rock.”

Carl Sagan was not only one of the greatest scientific minds in modern history, he was also an unrelenting humanist with profound insight on spiritualitypsychology, and even literature. From The Meaning of Life: Reflections in Words and Pictures on Why We Are Here (public library) — the same wonderful 1991 anthology that gave us timeless meditations on existencefrom such luminaries as John Cage, Annie Dillard, Stephen Jay Gould, Arthur C. Clarke, and Charles Bukowski — comes a remarkable contribution from Sagan, an anchoring reminder that rings with exquisite timeliness.

timewarped

In the past few decades, the United States and the Soviet Union have accomplished something that — unless we destroy ourselves first — will be remembered a thousand years from now: the first close-up exploration of dozens of other worlds. Together we have found much out there that is magnificent, instructive and of practical value. But we have found no trace, no hint of life. The Earth is an anomaly. In all the solar system, it is, so far as we know, the only inhabited planet.

We humans are one among millions of separate species who live in a world burgeoning, overflowing with life. And yet, most species that ever were are no more. After flourishing for one hundred fifty million years, the dinosaurs became extinct. Every last one. No species is guaranteed its tenure on this planet. And humans, the first beings to devise the means for their own destruction, have been here for only several million years.

We are rare and precious because we are alive, because we can think. We are privileged to influence and perhaps control our future. We have an obligation to fight for life on Earth — not just for ourselves but for all those, humans and others, who came before us and to whom we are beholden, and for all those who, if we are wise enough, will come after. There is no cause more urgent than to survive to eliminate on a global basis the growing threats of nuclear war, environmental catastrophe, economic collapse and mass starvation. These problems were created by humans and can only be solved by humans. No social convention, no political system, no economic hypothesis, no religious dogma is more important.

The hard truth seems to be this: We live in a vast and awesome universe in which, daily, suns are made and worlds destroyed, where humanity clings to an obscure clod of rock. The significance of our lives and our fragile realm derives from our own wisdom and courage. We are the custodians of life’s meaning. We would prefer it to be otherwise, of course, but there is no compelling evidence for a cosmic Parent who will care for us and save us from ourselves. It is up to us.

The Meaning of Life is superb in its entirety. Pair it with Sagan’s reading list, hisgentle warning to future Mars explorers, and his superb advice on mastering the vital balance between skepticism and openness.

Source: http://www.brainpickings.org

 

 

 

 

 

Carl Sagan on Science and Spirituality.


 “The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.”

The friction between science and religion stretches from Galileo’s famous letter to today’s leading thinkers. And yet we’re seeing that, for all its capacity for ignorance, religion might havesome valuable lessons for secular thought and the two need not be regarded as opposites.

sagan_life

In 1996, mere months before his death, the greatCarl Sagan — cosmic sagevoracious reader,hopeless romantic — explored the relationship between the scientific and the spiritual in The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (public library). He writes:

Plainly there is no way back. Like it or not, we are stuck with science. We had better make the best of it. When we finally come to terms with it and fully recognize its beauty and its power, we will find, in spiritual as well as in practical matters, that we have made a bargain strongly in our favor.

But superstition and pseudoscience keep getting in the way, distracting us, providing easy answers, dodging skeptical scrutiny, casually pressing our awe buttons and cheapening the experience, making us routine and comfortable practitioners as well as victims of credulity.

And yet science, Sagan argues, isn’t diametrically opposed to spirituality. He echoes Ptolemy’s timeless awe at the cosmos and reflects on what Richard Dawkins has called the magic of reality, noting the intense spiritual elevation that science is capable of producing:

In its encounter with Nature, science invariably elicits a sense of reverence and awe. The very act of understanding is a celebration of joining, merging, even if on a very modest scale, with the magnificence of the Cosmos. And the cumulative worldwide build-up of knowledge over time converts science into something only a little short of a trans-national, trans-generational meta-mind.

“Spirit” comes from the Latin word “to breathe.” What we breathe is air, which is certainly matter, however thin. Despite usage to the contrary, there is no necessary implication in the word “spiritual” that we are talking of anything other than matter (including the matter of which the brain is made), or anything outside the realm of science. On occasion, I will feel free to use the word. Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual. So are our emotions in the presence of great art or music or literature, or of acts of exemplary selfless courage such as those of Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.

Reminding us once again of his timeless wisdom on the vital balance between skepticism and openness and the importance of evidence, Sagan goes on to juxtapose the accuracy of science with the unfounded prophecies of religion:

Not every branch of science can foretell the future — paleontology can’t — but many can and with stunning accuracy. If you want to know when the next eclipse of the Sun will be, you might try magicians or mystics, but you’ll do much better with scientists. They will tell you where on Earth to stand, when you have to be there, and whether it will be a partial eclipse, a total eclipse, or an annular eclipse. They can routinely predict a solar eclipse, to the minute, a millennium in advance. You can go to the witch doctor to lift the spell that causes your pernicious anaemia, or you can take vitamin Bl2. If you want to save your child from polio, you can pray or you can inoculate. If you’re interested in the sex of your unborn child, you can consult plumb-bob danglers all you want (left-right, a boy; forward-back, a girl – or maybe it’s the other way around), but they’ll be right, on average, only one time in two. If you want real accuracy (here, 99 per cent accuracy), try amniocentesis and sonograms. Try science.

Think of how many religions attempt to validate themselves with prophecy. Think of how many people rely on these prophecies, however vague, however unfulfilled, to support or prop up their beliefs. Yet has there ever been a religion with the prophetic accuracy and reliability of science? There isn’t a religion on the planet that doesn’t long for a comparable ability — precise, and repeatedly demonstrated before committed skeptics — to foretell future events. No other human institution comes close.

Source: http://www.brainpickings.org