Terrifying new research reveals cocaine makes the brain eat itself

High doses of the drug could cause cells in the brain to digest themselves, according to scientists

COCAINE could cause the brain to eat itself according to terrifying new research.

A study on mice discovered that the class A drug can trigger out of control “autophagy”, a scary process which makes cells literally start to digest themselves.

Research on mice showed several deaths brought on by the terrifying condition Getty

Properly regulated, the process is a vital “clean up” service ridding the body of unwanted rubbish dissolved by enzymes in cell “pockets”.

But the horrifying research has shown the process killed the mice when they were given high doses of coke.

The condition was also present in the mice whose mothers had been on the drug Getty


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Dr Prasun Guha, from John Hopkins University in the USA, who led the study said: “A cell is like a household that is constantly generating trash.

“Autophagy is the housekeeper that takes out the trash – it’s usually a good thing.

“But cocaine makes the housekeeper throw away really important things, like mitochondria, which produce energy for the cell.”

An antidote known as CGP3466B has been found but is still awaiting trials getty

The scientists also found evidence of autophagy in the brain cells of mice whose mothers had been given the drug while pregnant.

An experimental drug, called CGP3466B, was found to be able to protect the mouse nerve cells from a coke induced death due to the terrifying process.

The drug is already known to be fit for humans as it has been through clinical trials to treat Parkinson’s and motor neurone disease.

But far more research is needed to find out if the drug can counteract the harmful effects of cocaine abuse in people, according to the scientists.

Co-author of the report, Dr Maged Harraz, added: “Since cocaine works exclusively to modulate autophagy versus other cell death programs, there’s a better chance that we can develop new targeted therapeutics to suppress its toxicity.”

Science Proves That Working Before 10 AM Is Actually Unbearable

Science Proves That Working Before 10 AM Is Actually Unbearable

Most western societies have established a working system according to which a man should start working at around 9 AM everyday. However, most people, even the so-called “morning people”, find it difficult to wake up at 7 or 8 AM. It usually feels like a torture.

I’m not exaggerating; just remember of all the times you were afraid of listening to your alarm clock. It has happened to all of us.

Of course, some people tend to go to bed early, so that they can easily wake up at 8 AM. However, it’s still hard and somehow it doesn’t feel right.

That’s because waking up before 10 AM is actually biologically unnatural. According to Oxford University researcher Dr. Paul Kelley, obliging people to work before 10 AM isequivalent to torture. It is also making employees ill, exhausted, and extremely anxious.

As he told the National Post:

“Before the age of 55, the circadian rhythms of adults are completely out of sync with normal nine-to-five working hours, posing a “serious threat” to performance, mood and mental health.”

That is why Kelley thinks that there must be a world-wide change in work and school starting times so that they can fit within the natural clock of humans.

Studies based on circadian rhythms have proven that the average 10-year-old cannot fully focus on academic work until 8:30 a.m. According to the researcher, a 16-year-old should start at 10 a.m. for best results and university students should start at 11 a.m.

Dr. Kelley supports that a simple delay in school times could improve grades by 10 percent. Formerly a head teacher in Tyneside, he put his theory to the test and changed the school start time from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Surprisingly, the number of top grades rose by 19%!

Science Proves That Working Before 10 AM Is Actually Unbearable
Kelley also states that:

“Staff are usually sleep deprived. We’ve got a sleep-deprived society. It is hugely damaging on the body’s systems because you are affecting physical emotional and performance systems in the body.

Your liver and your heart have different patterns and you’re asking them to shift two or three hours. This is an international issue. Everybody is suffering and they don’t have to.

You’re more biddable because you’re totally out of it. Sleep deprivation is a torture,”.

Association of Vitiligo With Tumor Response in Patients With Metastatic Melanoma Treated With Pembrolizumab

Importance  Vitiligo is an autoimmune skin disorder that reacts against melanocytes. The association of vitiligo with tumor response in patients with melanoma who undergo immunotherapy has been reported but is still controversial.

Objective  To prospectively evaluate the appearance of vitiligo in patients receiving pembrolizumab, a monoclonal antibody directed against the programmed death cell receptor.

Design, Setting, and Participants  This prospective observational study was conducted from January 1, 2012, through September 24, 2013, in a single tertiary care hospital with a unit dedicated to patients with melanoma. Sixty-seven patients with metastatic melanoma who received pembrolizumab treatment in the context of a phase 1 study were included and screened for the emergence of vitiligo. Data were collected from January 1, 2012, to February 28, 2014, and analyzed from February through December 2014.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Objective tumor response with regard to the occurrence of vitiligo in patients receiving pembrolizumab therapy. Correlation between vitiligo occurrence and overall survival was also estimated using the Kaplan-Meier product-limit method and compared with a log-rank test. To prevent guarantee- or lead-time bias, a landmark analysis approach after 12, 16, and 20 weeks of treatment was retained.

Results  Of the 67 patients included in the study, 17 (25%) developed vitiligo during pembrolizumab treatment and 50 (75%) did not. An objective (complete or partial) response to treatment was associated with a higher occurrence of vitiligo (12 of 17 [71%] vs 14 of 50 [28%]; P = .002). The time to onset of vitiligo ranged from 52 to 453 (median, 126) days from the start of treatment. Of the 17 patients with vitiligo, 3 (18%) had a complete response, 9 (53%) had a partial response, 3 (18%) had stable disease, and 2 (12%) had progressive disease at the final follow-up. All the patients treated with pembrolizumab who developed vitiligo were alive at the time of analysis, with a median follow-up of 441 days.

Conclusions and Relevance  Vitiligo, a clinically visible immune-related adverse event could be associated with clinical benefit in the context of pembrolizumab treatment.

The Benefits Of Washing Your Face With Baking Soda!

A lot of people in the world have problems with enlarged pores around the nose area. These people, who usually suffer from this type of skin problem, usually get lots of dirt inside those pores, which eventually can cause acne or blackheads appearance. Well, we all know that it’s impossible to get rid of pores, because they are part of our skin. But, we can do other thing – we can make them smaller, and we can make that without spending too much money on expensive creams and other cosmetic products.

We can also mention that people who have more oily skin or so-called oily t-zone usually have larger pores, compared to those with drier skin. In this post we are going to show you the most effective, inexpensive and the best way to make your pores smaller.

The famous YouTube user, Angela Minji Kim, will show you in this video how to use the best ingredient – baking soda to reduce the appearance of enlarged pores. Angela Minji Kim noticed that baking soda is highly efficient and very useful in removing the dead skin cells buildup on your face and the dirt from the surface of your face.

Watch the video. URL:https://youtu.be/zecTmifMzHA

The Dirty Little Secret of Cancer Research

For 50 years, scientists have ignored widespread cell contamination, compromising medical research. Why are they so slow to fix it?

In the field of thyroid cancer, 58-year-old Kenneth Ain is a star. As director of the thyroid oncology program at the University of Kentucky at Lexington, Ain has one of the largest single-physician thyroid cancer practices in the country and more than 70 peer-reviewed publications to his name. Until recently, Ain was renowned for a highly prized repository of 18 immortal cancer cell lines, which he developed by harvesting tissue from his patients’ tumors after removal, carefully culturing them to everlasting life in vials. Laboratories around the world relied on the “Kentucky Ain Thyroid,” or KAT lines, both to gain insight into cellular changes in thyroid carcinoma and to screen drugs that might treat the disease, which strikes more than 60,000 Americans each year.
Kenneth Ain, a thyroid cancer physician and researcher at the University of Kentucky, found that many of his cell lines were contaminated.

In June 2007, all that changed. Ain attended the annual Endocrine Society meeting in Toronto, where Bryan Haugen, head of the endocrinology division at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, told Ain that several of his most popular cell lines were not actually thyroid cancer. One of Haugen’s researchers discovered that many thyroid cell lines their laboratory stocked and studied were either misidentified or contaminated by other cancer cells. Those included some of Ain’s. They were now hard at work unraveling the mystery.

There was a disaster brewing — it just wasn’t yet official.

Ain was shocked, and justifiably so. Research based on such false cell lines would undermine the understanding of different cancers and possible treatments, and clutter the scientific literature with bogus conclusions.

“At first I thought perhaps their samples were contaminated, not mine,” Ain recalls. “So I undertook systematic thawing and genotyping of all my lines.”

He found that 17 of the 18 most frequently shared KAT lines were imposters.

It was only a matter of time before Ain figured out what went wrong. “Early in my career,” says Ain, “the head of radiation oncology at UCLA, Guy Juillard, created a number of cancer cell lines. He generously shared a few of the thyroid lines with me. And it turns out that from the beginning those original lines were likely melanoma and colon cancer.” Both grow rapidly and can easily overtake slower-growing thyroid malignancies. Human error — a researcher working on two lines at the same time, a pipette used more than once, two scientists sharing the same incubator or lab space as they worked — had likely led to the original contamination and all the lines subsequently contaminated in Ain’s and other laboratories around the country.
But rampant contamination is not the shocker in this story. Ain retired all the lines; he never sent any of them out again. He also sent letters to 69 investigators in 14 countries who had received his lines. He heard back from just two.

Across different fields of cancer research, up to a third of all cell lines have been identified as imposters. Yet this fact is widely ignored, and the lines continue to be used under their false identities. As recently as 2013, one of Ain’s contaminated lines was used in a paper on thyroid cancer published in the journal Oncogene.
“There are about 10,000 citations every year on false lines — new publications that refer to or rely on papers based on imposter (human cancer) cell lines,” says geneticist Christopher Korch, former director of the University of Colorado’s DNA Sequencing Analysis & Core Facility. “It’s like a huge pyramid of toothpicks precariously and deceptively held together.”
Toxicologist Thomas Hartung of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore agrees: “Clinical drug trials in general are very well designed. They fail too often because we’re simply betting on the wrong horses in the first place. It’s a disaster.”

Like Edgar Allan Poe’s famous purloined letter, the problem of rampant laboratory contamination is out in the open for all to see, widely acknowledged by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Cancer Institute, major journals and innumerable bench scientists. Yet efforts of concerned scientists have failed to stanch the tide.
“I now give regular lectures about cell line contamination,” says Ain, “and every last person in the audience is shocked and horrified. But most scientists are not willing to test and verify their lines. The NIH doesn’t require it. Very few journals require it. And I can tell you that many scientists are reluctant to disembowel their curriculum vitae, even after they find out a cell line is false. What is an ethical researcher to do?”

Too Big To Fail
Cell lines are the workhorses of biology, routinely stocked and studied in every laboratory to understand cellular pathways, receptors, targets, hormones, and all aspects of normal and malignant physiology. “There is no cancer drug in current use that was not first tested in a cultured cell model,” says molecular geneticist Michael Gottesman of NIH. “Cell lines are an immortal, tissue-specific, physiologic test tube,” he says. “We need to know precisely which cell a culture represents.”

Containers of cultural HeLa cells are stored on shelves in an incubation cabinet. The cells are grown in the incubator in different concentrations in a culture medium. HeLa cells grow rapidly and have proven invaluable to all kinds of research. But their fast growth can be problematic.
When cell cultures were first crafted in 1907, they seemed to defy nature. Researchers coaxed cells to life in a broth of nutrients in hanging contraptions made of glass slides. By 1943, scientists had established the first cell line in mice.
The most studied and cherished cell line in all of biology is HeLa, cultured in 1951 from the strange, soft, purple cervical cancer of a young woman, Henrietta Lacks. The HeLa line proved extraordinarily robust. Viruses can multiply a million times in a few days in rapidly growing HeLa cells. HeLa allowed researchers to study polio, measles, papilloma virus (HPV), HIV and tuberculosis; it was used to create the first human-mouse cell hybrid, and even sent into space. It has played a role in more than 70,000 studies.

HeLa is also, unfortunately, the most common cell line contaminant, responsible for more than 20 percent of contaminated cell lines. This is not news: The first widespread HeLa contamination was identified in 1967, when geneticist Stanley Gartler of the University of Washington typed 18 different human cell lines. He found that every one was actually HeLa.
The HeLa discovery was just the beginning. Work on contaminated esophageal cancer lines has led to more than 100 scientific publications, 11 patents, three NIH research grants and ongoing clinical trials involving cancer patients. The cell lines were actually lung, colon and stomach cancers. A much-studied breast cancer line turned out to be melanoma and, according to Belgian biochemist Marc Lacroix, was assumed by scientists to represent a late-stage breast cancer with an unrivaled ability to metastasize. In truth, says Lacroix, unlike the melanoma it really was, “this particular metatastic behavior is rarely seen in breast cancer progression.”

Risk of Exposure
Exposing contaminated cell lines cost Walter Nelson-Rees his career. He was an expert in culturing human and animal cells at the University of California, Berkeley, and ran a cell line bank in Oakland. From 1975 to 1981, he published a series of articles in Science outing contaminated lines and naming the laboratories where they had originated. His angry colleagues called his publications a “hit list.” In an editorial, Nature’s editor-in-chief, John Maddox, railed against “self-appointed vigilantes.”

HeLa cells, with proteins labeled in blue and DNA in red, are responsible for over 20 percent of the cell line contaminations.
Nelson-Rees’ work made it clear that HeLa contamination was far from the only problem. Eventually, the NIH terminated his contract, and he became so isolated from his peers that he left science and became an art dealer.
In 2007, a 77-year-old retired cell biologist named Roland Nardone decided to spend the final chapter of his life ending the rampant contamination. Supported by 18 other cell biology experts, he drafted a widely distributed “white paper” calling for an end to contamination. Chastened, top officials with the federal Office of Research.

Integrity sent out an email to 45,000 scientists, exhorting them to test their lines to be sure they were authentic.

By that time, the cost of validating cell lines had dramatically fallen, and the power of the testing technology had dramatically increased. A nearly foolproof form of DNA fingerprinting called short tandem repeat (STR) — sequences of DNA that are highly variable from one individual to another and therefore useful for DNA profiling — was increasingly popular. Forensic pathologists often use the technique to fingerprint DNA from blood at a crime scene. It works exactly the same way in bench science. If two cell lines share the same STR fingerprinting result, they are indeed the same. According to chemist John Butler, a former group leader with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the chance of two cell lines coming up with the same STR fingerprinting profile is 1 in 100 million. “Scientists need to follow the fingerprinting where it leads,” says Butler. “If it’s not what you expect, it is not a problem with the fingerprinting. It’s a problem with the sample.”
But the NIH did not require fingerprinting for its grants, and so nothing changed. In 2009, immunologist Linda Miller, then executive editor at Nature, penned an unsigned editorial blasting funding agencies for allowing cell line contamination to continue. Miller suggested a global database of STR-fingerprinted cell lines. But her salvo went nowhere.

Today, cell lines known for nearly 50 years to be imposters are still in wide use under their assumed names — wrong identities regularly invoked in peer-reviewed publications. How can this be?

A Sisyphean Task
It’s just too damn hard.

How do you dismantle the false lines of an entire field? And just how long does it take to clean up one ordinary laboratory? Years. Ask Rebecca Schweppe, who in 2006 was recruited by endocrinologist Haugen to join the team of thyroid cancer researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Her expertise was in melanoma, which shares some features with thyroid cancer, including much-studied mutations in a gene known as BRAF.

Reprinted by permission from Macmillan Publishers Ltd John masters/Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology 1, 233-236 (December 2000)

Schweppe had no idea that her work was going to set off an avalanche powerful enough to reshape the field of thyroid cancer. Soon after she arrived, she ran an experiment on six different thyroid cancer lines, but her results came back impossibly clean: Three lines gave one identical result, and the other three gave another identical result. “I thought maybe I had only two thyroid lines, not six — that a number of them were misnamed and were actually redundant.”

Schweppe then turned to geneticist Korch, of the university’s DNA sequencing center. Korch was obsessed with cell line contamination. A 70-year-old Swede with silvery hair, neatly trimmed beard and gentle features, Korch has helped unmask more than 78 imposters since 2000.

Korch fingerprinted Schweppe’s lines and found that indeed there were only two. Schweppe and Haugen, worried that the contamination had occurred in their lab, asked colleagues to send them a fresh batch of the same six lines. “They turned out to be identical to our two lines,” and therefore false, says Schweppe.

But nobody yet knew what the cells actually were, since fingerprinting does not tell a scientist the origin of a cell. Without an original tissue sample to compare the cells to, the provenance of Schweppe and Haugen’s mysterious cells could remain forever uncertain. One can only pore through online databases, comparing their STR bar codes to the thousands that have already been fingerprinted, hoping to find a match.
Schweppe started searching the American Tissue Culture Collection (ATCC) database of nearly 1,200 fingerprinted human cell lines, both normal and malignant, from tissues, organs and tumors. It was as nerve-wracking as trying to find someone who had vanished into a witness protection program.

Alison Mackey/Discover after data from Christopher Korch.
“One Friday at midnight,” says Schweppe, “long after my husband and kids had gone to sleep, I was at the computer once again, searching the database, and found a match for one of our lines.” The ATCC called it breast cancer, but STR fingerprinting revealed the cells were actually melanoma cells. And they were an exact match for three of Schweppe’s false thyroid cancer cell lines.
So does it matter? Yes. Those false lines were used in the early trials of two drugs that were later tested in human patients with thyroid cancer. One, called bexarotene, had no significant benefit in 17 patients after a year, according to University of Colorado School of Medicine oncologist Joshua Klopper, the study’s lead author. “I’m not sure we would have moved ahead with the trial had we found out the truth earlier,” he says.

The other drug studied, vemurafenib, also failed; thyroid cancer patients are generally resistant to the drug. “If we had still been working with melanoma cell lines, thinking they were thyroid cancer,” Schweppe says, “we wouldn’t know why thyroid cancer patients were not responding in the clinic.”

Half Were False
Schweppe and her colleagues fingerprinted the remaining thyroid cancer lines. In fall 2008, they reported that 17 of 40 widely used lines were imposters. During the years they were compiling their results, Schweppe would warn other scientists when she knew they were researching on false lines. But until her team’s results appeared in a peer-reviewed journal, it was difficult to get the word out. She even served as a reviewer for papers using the false lines, but couldn’t say a word. “I hated it,” she recalls.

She and the lab then won part of a $1 million grant to characterize the remaining good lines and to establish new lines from thyroid tumors. “It’s very hard to create a new line,” says Schweppe. “We worked on it for two years and produced only two new cell lines.”

Geneticist Christopher Korch, of the University of Colorado’s DNA sequencing center, has helped uncover 78 imposter cell lines since 2000.
When head and neck cancer surgeon Jeffrey Myers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center read her paper, he realized he too had published on one of the false lines. It took Myers three years to clean up his own laboratory. “I sent every cell line we had to be fingerprinted. My head technician, Mei Zhao, spent three years of her career doing nothing but unfreezing cell line stocks and sending samples of DNA for fingerprinting.” Myers tossed out 4,000 vials, and contamination forced 50 lines into retirement. “We rebuilt and fingerprinted the entire stock with more than 70 new head and neck cell lines from their original source laboratories,” says Zhao.
Even then, with a completely clean lab highly focused on meticulous technique, a new contamination struck in 2013 — something Myers identified when several different cell lines showed up with exactly the same mutation. The cause of the contamination remains a mystery. Zhao thinks the most likely possibilities are a labeling error or cross-contamination. “I was shocked to learn that contamination can even occur under close watch. Scientists need to develop standard and reliable methods to solve these issues fundamentally,” says Zhao.

Myers sees contamination as an inevitable part of science, just as errors and complications are an inevitable part of clinical medicine. “Everybody thinks, ‘Our lab is not sloppy, so nothing will happen.’ But mistakes happen in every single lab. Our field needs to establish checklists, and post them in laboratories, and make sure everybody follows them.”
Today, MD Anderson urges all its scientists to fingerprint new cell lines as soon as they arrive in the lab and before publishing any data, and to complete an annual revalidation of all lines in their laboratories. Some universities and centers have their own sequencing facilities; others send cell lines to a contractor for $30 to $80 per sample. The results come back in a few days.
Sleight of Hand
In 2012, Korch was the lead author on a paper exposing 19 false endometrial and ovarian cell lines. Two of those endometrial false lines had been highly prized because they supposedly were drawn from normal tissue, which can be invaluable for studying the earliest steps to malignant transformation — potentially helping prevent cancers.

Once fingerprinting has revealed a line’s true provenance, such as HeLa, scientists sometimes claim their line does not behave or look like HeLa (or melanoma, or colon cancer, or whatever cell has invaded their line). “People treat their lines like pets,” says Gartler, who outed HeLa contamination in the ’60s. “They feel that merely by looking through a microscope they will know their cells by sight.”
But STR fingerprinting doesn’t lie. “This tool is extremely powerful and precise. It’s definitive,” he says. “If fingerprinting shows it’s HeLa, it is HeLa. Period.”

Experimental pathologist John Masters of University College London tells of a normal endothelium line that turned out to be bladder cancer, but researchers still refer to it as “endothelial-like” so they can use it in studies. (Endothelium cells line the interior of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels.) “They clearly know that these are not endothelial cells, but to get around it and not admit they are bladder cancer cells, they call them ‘endothelial-like.’ I don’t know how they reconcile the sleight of hand,” Masters says. “It is beyond my comprehension.”
Korch believes some of the waffling scientists truly are innocent: They actually don’t understand fingerprinting. They are also, he thinks, too enamored of testing cells’ behavior and function. As Korch points out, cells change appearance and function as they grow on plastic and are chemically manipulated while being studied. They also may mutate as successive generations are grown out over the years in different laboratories. Behavior is not proof of origin.

A Tarnished Reputation
In 2005, microbiologist Thomas Klonisch of the University of Manitoba created a highly prized “normal” uterine endometrial cell line, hTERT-EEC. It was a novel cell line to investigate the role of estrogen and progesterone in the endometrium, or uterine lining — including their role in endometriosis, miscarriage and cancer. “We hoped,” says Klonisch, “that researchers could use them to gain novel insights into important aspects of reproductive biology and the evolution of endometrial cancer.”

A researcher works with HeLa cells beneath a protective sterile hood, known as a laminar flow cabinet. Despite careful precautions such as these, cell contamination still regularly occurs in labs throughout the world.
Three years later, Korch’s colleague, Andy Bradford, a molecular biologist who studies gynecologic cancers, ordered three samples of the line. He sent them to Korch for fingerprinting as a matter of course. “I was very disappointed when they turned out to be breast cancer cells,” Bradford says. “Sometimes the truth sucks!” He asked Klonisch for another batch, hoping that perhaps his own lab had contaminated the first ones. But the new samples Klonisch sent were also breast cancer cells. After that, Korch and Bradford say, repeated emails to Klonisch went unanswered. During that time, research groups in at least three countries unwittingly studied and published papers on the line.
Klonisch struggles to explain why he did not immediately pay to fingerprint the line himself. One reason, he says, was the cost. At that time, the cost ranged from $67 to $475. “I offered to profile their samples as blind samples, with the identities sent to a neutral party ‘arbitrator,’ ” Korch says.

Klonisch felt he had a reasonable alternative. “We went through very extensive functional testing, and our data seemed to contradict that of Dr. Bradford. The uniqueness of our line meant that a lot was at stake. And our line did not seem to behave like breast cancer.”
How can scientists be so easily fooled by the behavior of a cell? “It’s the same concept as raising identical twins in different environments,” says Bradford. “They will look and behave differently, but their DNA remains the same.” If a breast cancer line had silently contaminated Klonisch’s cell culture early on, it would have been subject to the usual technique for immortalizing a normal cell (which involves applying enzymes, antibiotics and antibiotic-resistant genes). The only breast cancer cells that would proliferate would survive every one of those chemical manipulations. They would emerge functionally different than an untouched breast cancer cell because their environment had so radically changed.

In 2012, Korch, Bradford and colleagues published a paper detailing their false line and its breast cancer provenance. By May 2013, Klonisch did what a good scientist must: He offered corrections to the relevant journals, which have since published them. “My reputation was tarnished,” says Klonisch soberly, “and all my research in this field has been shut down. And we never intended any of this.”

Winds of Change
A global correction for cell line science has begun. In 2012, Korch, Masters and 16 other scientists formed the International Cell Line Authentication Committee (ICLAC). They agreed on STR fingerprinting as the global standard for authenticating cell lines. The committee also set up a public database (found at iclac.org) of all known false lines, which numbers more than 400.

Recently, the top four cell line repositories, in America, Germany and Japan, made plans to merge their online databases of cell lines validated through STR fingerprinting, with each fingerprint converted to a searchable genetic “bar code.” The consortium’s online tool (known as OSTRA, for Online STR Analysis) can beaccessed online.
As of this writing, at least 22 journals now require cell line authentication from authors. Norbert Fusenig, the Germany-based associate editor of the International Journal of Cancer, notes that the journal has had a steady increase in submissions since 2012, when it began to require authentication. “Our impact factor, a common measure of a journal’s success, has increased,” he says.

In April 2013, Nature published more stringent requirements, in which every author had to report the source of a study’s cell lines and whether the lines had been verified recently.
Immunologist Linda Miller, whose 2009 Nature editorial called for a global database of STR-fingerprinted lines, says, “Encouraging the community to authenticate, that’s the first step, but not the final step. Ultimately, it must become a requirement. Science, and the flow of money to scientists, depends on the public trust.”

Damage Control

Scientific integrity matters more than ever, and not just for cancer research. There is a rising tide of worry over the spike in fraudulent scientific papers.
• In the last 10 years, retractions of scientific papers have rocketed more than tenfold, while actual publications have increased by only 44 percent. — Nature, 2011

• The Office of Research Integrity, which pursues cases of scientific misconduct, received more than 400 allegations in 2012 — double the average from 20 years before.

• In October 2013, Science correspondent John Bohannon published an article reporting a sting operation. He
concocted a fraudulent scientific paper studded with anomalies and ethical approval problems, and sent it to more than 300 open-access peer-reviewed journals; more than half accepted the fake manuscript.

• Of 53 papers deemed “landmark” studies over the last decade, only six held up and were reproducible. — Commentary in March 2012 in Nature by oncologist Lee Ellis

• “To be successful, today’s scientists must often be self-promoting entrepreneurs whose work is driven not only by curiosity but by personal ambition, political concerns and quests for funding.” — Ferric C. Fang and Arturo Casadevall, editors-in-chief, Infection and Immunity — J.N.

Cosmic particles collected inside Egyptian pyramid could reveal how it was built

An international team of researchers will soon begin analysing cosmic particle data collected from inside Egypt’s Bent Pyramid, in the hopes of gaining insight into how the 4,600-year-old structure was built – including signs of any hidden passages or chambers.

For the past month, researchers have had highly sensitive detectors tucked away inside the pyramid, collecting data on invisible subatomic particles known as muons, which are constantly raining down on us from Earth’s atmosphere.

Muons are created when cosmic rays from deep space interact with the atoms in Earth’s atmosphere, and it’s estimated that around 10,000 of them fall on a square metre of Earth per minute, travelling at nearly the speed of light. Like more powerful X-rays, these particles easily pass through empty space, but can be absorbed or deflected by dense materials, such as thick slabs of rock.

This means if researchers detect muons in one spot for long enough, they can use the data to create a picture of what the particles passed through above the detector. This technique is known as muon radiography and it’s commonly used to map the inside structure of volcanoes.

“For the construction of the pyramids, there is no single theory that is 100 percent proven or checked. They are all theories and hypotheses,” Hany Helal, vice president of the Heritage Innovation Preservation Institute in Egypt, told AP.

“What we are trying to do with the new technology, we would like to either confirm or change or upgrade or modify the hypotheses that we have on how the pyramids were constructed.”

The Bent Pyramid is located around 40 km south of Cairo, and it’s believed to have been built by Pharaoh Sneferu around 4,600 years ago. It’s important because it’s thought to be the Egyptian’s first attempt at creating a smooth-sided pyramid, as opposed to the earlier steppe pyramids.

If the team is able to see from the cosmic particle detection that there are empty, or dense regions inside the pyramid, it will help Egyptologists to understand how the structure was formed, and what secrets it holds.

“Even if we find [a] 1-square-metre void somewhere, it will bring new questions and hypotheses and maybe it will help solve the definitive questions,” said Mehdi Tayoubi, president of the Heritage Innovation Preservation Institute.

This isn’t the first time scientists have used muons to map the inside of the pyramids. Back in the 1960s, a scientist called Luis Alvarez used a similar technique to unsuccessfully look for hidden chambers within Giza’s Pyramid of Chephren.

But this new attempt, part of the ambitious Scan Pyramids project launched last year, uses detectors that are a whole lot more sensitive than those used by Alvarez, so it’s hoped that the data collected will reveal more subtle details in the structure.

In November, the Scan Pyramids team announced that they’d found thermal anomalies in the 4,500-year-old Khufu Pyramid – the largest of the three Giza pyramids – suggesting that there may be a concealed chamber inside the structure. The team now plans to begin detecting muons inside Khufu in the coming months. We can’t wait to see what they uncover.

This $5,900 workstation lets you work lying down


If you thought standing desks were extreme, you are in for a treat, my friend.

Sonoma Valley, Calif. based startup Altwork has announced its first product, the Altwork Station, a workstation allowing users to sit and stand in all manner of positions. The Station, which the company says is designed for “high-intensity” computer users costs $5,900, but the company is selling its first run for $3,900.

This workstation is being marketed towards programmers, designers, writers and anyone else who uses a computer as their primary working tool.

The Altwork Station offers four modes, all configurable with buttons on the desk surface; standing, collaboration, regular and focus. Standing and regular are exactly what you’d expect and collaboration is simply turning your monitor on the built in arm to work with others. Focus mode is where it gets interesting though, as that’s where you can recline the chair to be completely horizontal, with the desk and monitor following suit.


To prevent everything from, you know, falling on you while you lay down, Altwork equipped the desk with magnets to keep your keyboard, mouse and other peripherals in place.

The idea behind having multiple configurations is that different tasks lend themselves better to different positions. For example, Che Voigt, one of the company’s founders, often starts his day standing but reclines later in the day when he needs to focus more intensely on a particular task.

I tried the Altwork Station at a demo put on by the company in Manhattan and I can see what he’s on about. After I got over the initial amusement of lying down, my mind calmed, with stray thoughts slowing down noticeably. Returning to a more conventional seated position definitely had an effect on my mental process.

This workstation made me acutely aware of my body and in turn, how poorly I sit in normal chairs. Sitting (and lying) in this chair felt like getting a massage on my neck and shoulders, which pointed out to me how much tension I carry in that area while I work.



The company’s basic guiding principle is that the way humans sit at a desk and work hasn’t evolved since the proliferation of the typewriter in the late 1800s, which doesn’t make sense in 2015. In the company’s eyes, the Altwork Station is a workstation for the 21st century.

Altwork believes that the ability to seamlessly work in a variety of different positions will increase efficiency for those so-called “high-intensity” computer users.

Of course, that efficiency doesn’t come terribly cheap, even considering the $3,900 “early adopter” price. That being said, the Station is made in the U.S. and features some very complex engineering. Especially complicated is the leg support portion, which folds in like almost like a scorpion’s tail; according to Voigt, it was one of the most complex parts to develop.

The color scheme of the chair is highly customizable and users can configure presets on the control panel.



One of the company’s big goals was fitting the chair in the same area as a cubicle, so it will better fit in open office plans. The problem I foresee with this is that offices would have to be layed out around these chairs; for example, Mashable has nearly everyone working in desks across from each other, so these workstations wouldn’t work here.

The magnets in the desk are a great solution to working in a reclined position, but I found it very weird having to hold the mouse against the surface, rather than it not wanting to fall. This would probably be less of an issue with a fixed trackpad. The only other issue was that it was somewhat difficult to get the desk to move smoothly at first, but this likely wouldn’t be an issue once you’re used to the desk.



For reasons of packaging, I struggle to see rows and rows of these in large offices, but for smaller, progressive offices or for those who work from home, these sort of make sense. It’s the sort of product that won’t appeal to everyone, but for a small subset of people, it will be perfect.

I will say, I missed the Altwork Station as soon as I got back to my normal desk.

Something Extraordinary Is Happening in the World, And Most People Haven’t Noticed

Most of us haven’t quite realized there is something extraordinary happening.

A few months ago, I freed myself from standard-procedure society. I broke the chains of fear that kept me locked up into the system. Since then, I see the world from a different perspective: the one that everything is going through change and that most of us are unaware of that.

Why is the world changing? In this post, I’ll point out the eight reasons that lead me to believe it.

1. No one can stand the employment model any longer.

We are reaching our limits. People working with big corporations can’t stand their jobs. The lack of purpose knocks on your door as if it came from inside you like a yell of despair.

People want out. They want to drop everything. Take a look on how many people are willing to risk entrepreneurship, people leaving on sabbaticals, people with work-related depression, people in burnout.

2. The entrepreneurship model is also changing.

Over the past few years, with the explosion of startups, thousands of entrepreneurs turned their garages into offices to bring their billion-dollar ideas to life. The vortex of entrepreneurship was to find an investor and get funded — to be funded was like winning the World Cup or the Super Bowl.

But what happens after you get funded?

“Isn’t it absurd that we, 7 billion of us living in the same planet, have grown further apart from each other?”

You get back to being an employee. You may have brought in people not sharing your dream, not in agreement with your purpose, and soon it’s all about the money. The financial end becomes the main driver of your business.

People are suffering with it. Excellent startups began to tumble because the money-seeking model is endless.

A new way to endeavor is needed. Good people are doing it already.

3. The rise of collaboration.

Many people have figured out that it doesn’t make any sense to go on by yourself. Many people have awakened from the “each man for himself” mad mentality.

Stop, take a step back, and think. Isn’t it absurd that we, 7 billion of us living in the same planet, have grown further apart from each other? What sense does it make to turn your back on the thousands, maybe millions, of people living around you in the same city? Every time it crosses my mind, I feel blue.

Fortunately, things are changing. Sharing, collaborative economy concepts are being implemented, and it points towards a new direction. The direction of collaborating, of sharing, of helping, of togetherness.

This is beautiful to watch. It touches me.

4. We are finally figuring out what the Internet is.

The Internet is an incredibly spectacular thing, and only now — after so many years — we are understanding its power. With the Internet, the world is opened, the barriers fall, the separation ends, the togetherness starts, the collaboration explodes, the help emerges.

Some nations saw true revolutions that used the Internet as the primary catalyst, such as the Arab Spring. Here in Brazil, we are just starting to make a better use out of this amazing tool.

Internet is taking down mass control. The big media groups controlling news by how it suits best what they want the message to be and what they want us to read are no longer the sole owners of information. You go after what you want. You bond to whomever you want. You explore whatever you may want to.

With the advent of the Internet, the small are no longer speechless. There is a voice. The anonymous become acknowledged. The world comes together. And then the system may fall.

5. The fall of exaggerated consumerism.

For too long, we’ve been manipulated to consume as much as we possibly can, to buy every new product launched — the newest car, the latest iPhone, the top brands, lots of clothes, shoes, lots and lots and lots of pretty much anything we could our hands on.

Going against the crowd, many people have understood that this is way off. Lowsumerism, slow life and slow food are a few types of action being taken as we speak, pointing out the contradiction of how absurdly we have come to organize ourselves.

“With the advent of the Internet, the small are no longer speechless. There is a voice. The anonymous become acknowledged. The world comes together. “

Fewer people are using cars. Fewer people are overspending. And more people are swapping clothes, buying used goods, sharing assets, cars, apartments, offices.

We don’t need all of that they told us we needed. And this consciousness of new consumerism can take down any company living on the exaggerated end of it.

6. Healthy and organic eating.

We were so crazy we even accepted eating anything! It only needed to taste good, and everything would be alright.

We were so disconnected that companies started to practically poison our food, and we didn’t say anything!

But then some people started waking up, enabling and strengthening healthy and organic eating.

This is only going to get stronger.

But what has this got to do with economy and work? Just about everything, I’d say.

Food production is one of the basic fundamentals of our society. If we change our mindset, our eating habit and our way of consuming, corporations will have to respond and adapt to a new market.

The small farmer is getting back to being relevant to the whole chain of production. People are even growing plants and seeds inside their homes as well.

And that reshapes the whole economy.

7. The awakening of spirituality.

How many friends do you have who practice yoga? What about meditation? Now think back, 10 years ago. How many people did you know by then who practiced these activities?

Spirituality, for too long, was for esoteric folks — those weird-like and mystic people.

But fortunately, this is also changing. We’ve come to the edge of reason and rationality. We were able to realize that, with only our conscious mind, we can’t figure out everything that goes on here. There is something else going on, and I’m sure you want to get hold of that as well.

You want to understand how these things work — how life operates, what happens after death, what is this energy thing people talk about so much, what is quantum physics, how thoughts can be materialized and create our sense of reality, what is coincidence and synchronicity, why meditation works, how it’s possible to cure some ailments using nothing but bare hands, how those alternative therapies not always approved by regular medicine can actually work sometimes.

Companies are providing meditation to their employees. Even schools are teaching the young how to meditate. Think about it.

8 . Un-schooling trends.

Who created this teaching model? Who chose the classes you have to take? Who chose the lessons we learn in history classes? Why didn’t they teach us the truth about other ancient civilizations?
Why should kids follow a certain set of rules? Why should they watch everything in silence? Why should they wear a uniform? What about taking a test to prove what you actually learned?

We developed a model that perpetuates and replicates followers of the system, that breed people into ordinary human beings.

Fortunately, a lot of people are working to rethink that though concepts such as un-schooling, hack-schooling and homeschooling.

Maybe you’ve never thought of that and even may be in shock. But it’s happening.

Silently, people are being woken up and are realizing how crazy it is to live in this society.
Look at all these new actions and try to think everything we were taught so far is normal. I don’t think it is.

There is something extraordinary happening.

Animals Kept In Deep Freeze For 30 Years Brought Back To Life

Microscopic creatures kept frozen for more than three decades have been successfully brought back to life.

The 1mm long tardigrades were collected from a frozen moss sample in Antarctica in 1983, according to a new paper published in the journal Cryobiology.

Japan’s National Institute of Polar Research stored the 8 legged, segmented critters at -4F for just over 30 years. They thawed and revived two of the animals, which are also known as water bears or moss piglets, in early 2014.

The previous record for a tardigrade being revived from a deep freeze was 8 years.

One of them died 20 days into the experiment, reports the BBC. But its companion survived and managed to reproduce with a third tardigrade that had been hatched from a frozen egg. It went on to lay 19 eggs, of which 14 survived.

Tardigrades, found living in water across the world, are renowned for being tough and have previously survived several days after being blasted into space.

According to Japan’s The Asahi Shimbun newspaper, their metabolism shuts down and they enter a cryptobiotic state when faced with low temperatures.

The previous record for tardigrades surviving extreme cold was eight years. “The present study extends the known length of long-term survival in tardigrade species considerably,” researchers wrote in the newly released paper.

A nematode worm was revived after 39 years in deep freeze.

Lead researcher Megumu Tsujimoto said the team now wants to “unravel the mechanism for long-term survival by looking into damage to tardigrades’ DNA and their ability to repair it.”

The tardigrade has some way to go beat the record for surviving in a frozen state, however, which is currently held by the nematode worm – which managed 39 years in deep freeze before being revived.

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