6 Heart Surgeons Who Changed Cardiology Forever.


http://www.medicalonline1.com/2017/04/08/6-heart-surgeons-who-changed-cardiology-forever/

Japanese scientists to use giant undersea drill to reach Earth’s mantle.


Earth’s elusive mantle is too much to resist for a team of Japanese scientists who plan to be the first to reach it. The team will use a giant drill to reach the molten rock, located six kilometers (3.7 miles) beneath the planet’s surface.

“If we dig into the mantle we will know the whole Earth history, that’s our motivation to search,” researcher Natsue Abe, who is involved in the project, told CNN.

Japan’s Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) are undertaking the massive project that will see a drill dropped four kilometers into the ocean, before drilling through six kilometers of the planet’s crust to reach its destination.

“We don’t know the exact (composition) of the mantle yet. We have only seen some mantle materials — the rock is very beautiful, it’s kind of a yellowish green,” Abe said.

The mantle has been observed before by scientists, extruding from ocean ridges and in areas of the ocean where crust is missing, but JAMSTEC’s research will be the first time it has been viewed directly at such a depth.

Three locations in the Pacific Ocean are being scouted for the expedition, planned to start before 2030. A location in Hawaii will be used for preliminary research in September, which will use sound waves to study the thickness and temperature of the crust, reported The Yomiuri Shimbun.

When the drilling begins JAMSTEC will enlist the help of the Chikyū, a Japanese scientific drilling ship designed to drill deeper into the Earth than any ship before it.

“It’s the biggest drilling ship of our science area, so the drilling capability is three times longer, or deeper, than the previous,”Abe said.

There are four objectives to the project, according to Abe, the first of which is to access the mantle.

“The second aim is we want to investigate the boundary between the oceanic crust and the mantle,” she said. “The third one is we want to know how the oceanic crust formed.”

The fourth objective is to examine how life exists inside the planet and see if it has any limitations.

Source:www.rt.com

6 Heart Surgeons Who Changed Cardiology Forever.


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Cardiologist is a physician who specializes in the diagnoses and the treatment of heart related diseases and disorders. Cardiologists all over the world are tremendously valued and treasured, as they play a significant role in the healthcare system. Cardiology is perhaps one of the most miraculous inventions in the field of medical science that has saved the lives of millions of people suffering from heart related problems. The field of cardiology originated around 1628, when English physician William Harvey came out with his publication on the anatomy and the physiology of the heart. In 1938, American cardiologist, Robert E. Gross performed the very first heart surgery in the world. Later, in the year 1952, the world’s first successful open-heart surgery was performed by American cardiologist, F. John Lewis.

Towards the end of the 20th century, the field was enriched with many innovative and improved diagnostic tools and the treatment opportunities expanded. Today, being a cardiologist is one of the most rewarding, satisfying and prestigious professions in the world. There are several prominent cardiologists all across the globe, who have left indelible mark in the field of medical science and the society as a whole. Here is a list of famous cardiologists with their biographies that include trivia, interesting facts, timeline and life history.

Adrian Kantrowitz Adrian Kantrowitz

He was an American cardiologist who performed the world’s first pediatric heart transplant. NATIONALITY American BORN ON 04 October 1918 DIED AT AGE 90
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Dr. Adrian Kantrowitz was an eminent surgeon and a pioneer in the field of pediatric cardiology. He and his team of surgeons performed the world’s first pediatric heart transplant at the Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn on December 6, 1967. This surgery happened in America just three days after the first ever human heart transplant took place in South Africa, performed by Dr. Christiaan Barnard. Thus Kantrowitz is credited with performing the world’s second ever human heart transplant. The fact that he became one of the greatest ever cardiologists of his time would not have come as a surprise to those who knew him.

According to his mother, little Adrian knew from the age of three that he wanted to be a doctor. After completing his medical studies he served in the Army for a couple of years before delving deep into the field of cardiology. He had spent years studying the human heart and had performed several heart transplants on dogs before performing the heart surgery that would usher in a new era in human organ transplants. Working along with his brother Arthur, he also invented the intra-aortic balloon pump which served as the precursor to the implantable pacemaker.

Christiaan Barnard Christiaan Barnard

He is one name that we associate with the first ever heart transplant. FAMOUS AS Cardiac Surgeon NATIONALITY South African BORN ON 08 November 1922 AD
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It was on the historical third day of December in the year 1967 when Christiaan Barnard added a new glorious chapter to the pages of medical history with his first human-to-human heart transplant. It was his deep fascination and his sincere personal drive that led him to accomplish this groundbreaking surgery. Born and brought up in South Africa, Barnard hailed from a Dutch family and had an exceptional academic career to boast of. His interests in medicine were dedicated to tubercular meningitis in which he wrote a doctoral thesis in the year 1953. After he was transferred to the historic operation site, Groote Schuur Hospital, he developed his interests in surgery.

Barnard was an avant-garde who is credited for conducting and successfully accomplishing human heart transplant. His outspoken talents have made him one among the most significant and influential people in medicine. Barnard raised the bar by conducting a daring experiment at a time when such ideas were unheard of and deemed as dangerous and this achievement brought to the fore the true magnitude of his talent and passion. In his journey, he continued to astound people with major and remarkable achievements.

Clarence Walton Lillehei Clarence Walton Lillehei,

A pioneer in cardiology, was the “Father of Open Heart Surgery”. FAMOUS AS Pioneer of Open-Heart Surgery NATIONALITY American BORN ON 23 October 1918 AD DIED ON 05 July 1999 AD

054b297b2478d6942e3a657381e450a0.jpgA pioneer in open heart surgery, Clarence Walton Lillehei was an American cardiac surgeon who was part of the team that performed the world’s first successful open-heart operation. Open heart surgery, as commonplace as it is today, was an unimaginable concept just six decades ago. Even up until the 1950s, certain cardiac defects which are fully treatable today were fatal. But thanks to the pioneering work of Dr. Lillehei who designed medical devices that made it possible to support the patient’s blood circulation while the heart was opened and operated upon, many formerly untreatable heart conditions are now easily treatable. Even as a young boy, Clarence was very bright and talented. The son of a dentist, his first career choice was to follow in his father’s footsteps though he later changed his mind to become a medical doctor.

 He received his medical training from the University of Minnesota and completed his residency under the guidance of Dr Owen Wangensteen who had mentored many a great surgeons. Lillehei was on his way to becoming a brilliant cardiologist when he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and given a 10% survival rate. The brave man did not let the devastating news deter his spirit and courageously fought the disease to become one of the foremost cardiologists of all times.

Denton Cooley Denton Cooley

is the American cardiologist who performed the world’s first implantation of an artificial heart. NATIONALITY American BORN ON 22 August 1920 AD AGE 95 Years
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American cardiologist Denton Cooley is the surgeon who performed the world’s first implantation of a total artificial heart. During the 1960s the techniques of human heart transplant were still in their infancy and at such a time he implanted an artificial heart into a patient when a real human heart was unavailable. This artificial heart helped to keep the patient alive for the 64 hours before a donor heart became available. As a heart surgeon he worked closely with the brilliant senior cardiologist, Michael DeBakey, but the fact that Cooley performed the artificial heart implantation without DeBakey’s supervision created a rift between the two. As a young boy Cooley wanted to be a dentist but changed his mind later on as he grew fascinated with the human heart.

He studied medicine at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore where he found a mentor in the experienced doctor, Dr. Alfred Blalock. Having grown up with an alcoholic father, Cooley found in Dr. Blalock a father figure he had sorely missed as a youngster. Under his guidance the hitherto shy and insecure boy thrived and went on to become one of the 20th century pioneers in cardiac surgery. In spite of his hectic schedule he remains a devoted family man and loves to play golf in his free time.

Magdi Yacoub Magdi Yacoub

is one of the world’s most respected cardiac surgeons. ALSO KNOWN AS Dr. Magdi Yacoub, Sir Magdi Habib Yacoub, Sir Magdi Habib Yacoub, FRS NATIONALITY Egyptian Famous BORN ON 16 November 1935 AD AGE 80 Years 34638e89fa823e14a02ade890f009642.jpg

Magdi Yacoub is one of the world’s most respected cardiac surgeons. Born in Egypt, he decided early on that he wanted to become a doctor and help others. He studied medicine at Cairo University and thereafter moved to the U.K. Most of his innovations and pioneering work in the field of heart surgery came during his stint in the hospitals in U.K. He is well known for his innovations in tissue engineering, myocardial regeneration, and transplant immunology. He has not only been a top-rated heart surgeon, but has also given back to the next generation of doctors as a professor at the prestigious Imperial College in London.

He has written over 1,000 articles and co-authored several books on the heart surgery techniques he has developed. He has also founded a children’s charity called ‘Chain of Hope’, in order to help children in war-torn and developing countries receive much needed cardiac care. When not practicing medicine, he likes to spend time with his family which includes his wife Marianne, and their three grown children.

Michael DeBakey 

was a prominent American cardiologist and innovator. NATIONALITY American BORN ON 07 September 1908 AD DIED ON 11 July 2008 AD

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A pioneer in surgery, American cardiovascular surgeon Michael DeBakey was a physician, scientist, and innovator, all rolled into one. He is the inventor of the Roller-pump that makes it possible to provide continuous supply of blood during operations. This invention was a milestone in cardiac surgery, as open-heart surgery would have been impossible without the use of this pump. Even as a young boy he knew that he wanted to be in the medical profession. Curious and intelligent from an early age, he had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and loved to invent things.

This innate curiosity in him led him to invent many surgical devices later in his life as a medical doctor. Over a long career spanning over seven decades, Dr. DeBakey revolutionized the field of cardiology in ways too numerous to count. During his stint with the army, he helped to develop the mobile army surgical hospital (MASH) units which facilitated the fast transportation of wounded soldiers to surgical hospitals. Often regarded as one of the greatest surgeons of his time, he is credited to have performed over 60,000 operations. He was also famous for being called to treat world leaders like President Boris N. Yeltsin of Russia.

Source:http://www.medicalonline1.com

Plants can ‘hear’ themselves being eaten, say researchers


Researchers have found that plants can identify sounds nearby, such as the sound of eating. 

Most people don’t give a second thought when tucking into a plate of salad.

But perhaps we should be a bit more considerate when chomping on lettuce, as scientists have found that plants actually respond defensively to the sounds of themselves being eaten.

The researchers at the University of Missouri (MU) found that plants can identify sounds nearby, such as the sound of eating, and then react to the threats in their environment, reports Daily Mail.

“Previous research has investigated how plants respond to acoustic energy, including music,” said Heidi Appel, senior research scientist in the Division of Plant Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and the Bond Life Sciences Center at MU.

“However, our work is the first example of how plants respond to an ecologically relevant vibration.

“We found that ‘feeding vibrations’ signal changes in the plant cells’ metabolism, creating more defensive chemicals that can repel attacks from caterpillars.”

Appel collaborated with Rex Cocroft, professor in the Division of Biological Sciences at MU.

In the study, caterpillars were placed on Arabidopsis, a small flowering plant related to cabbage and mustard.

Using a laser and a tiny piece of reflective material on the leaf of the plant, Cocroft was able to measure the movement of the leaf in response to the chewing caterpillar.

Cocroft and Appel then played back recordings of caterpillar feeding vibrations to one set of plants, but played back only silence to the other set of plants.

When caterpillars later fed on both sets of plants, the researchers found that the plants previously exposed to feeding vibrations produced more mustard oils, a chemical that is unappealing to many caterpillars.

“What is remarkable is that the plants exposed to different vibrations, including those made by a gentle wind or different insect sounds that share some acoustic features with caterpillar feeding vibrations did not increase their chemical defenses,” Cocroft said.

“This indicates that the plants are able to distinguish feeding vibrations from other common sources of environmental vibration.”

Appel and Cocroft say future research will focus on how vibrations are sensed by the plants, what features of the complex vibrational signal are important, and how the mechanical vibrations interact with other forms of plant information to generate protective responses to pests.

“Plants have many ways to detect insect attack, but feeding vibrations are likely the fastest way for distant parts of the plant to perceive the attack and begin to increase their defenses,” Cocroft said.

“Caterpillars react to this chemical defense by crawling away, so using vibrations to enhance plant defenses could be useful to agriculture,” Appel said.

“This research also opens the window of plant behavior a little wider, showing that plants have many of the same responses to outside influences that animals do, even though the responses look different.”

The study, “Plants respond to leaf vibrations caused by insect herbivore chewing,” was funded in part by the National Science Foundation and was published in Oecologia.

Plants can ‘talk’ too…

Researchers in Bonn, Germany, found plants give off a gas when under “attack”.

Super-sensitive microphones picked up a “bubbling” sound from a healthy plant.

But this rose to a piercing screech when it was under threat.

Even a tiny insect bite could have an effect.

“The more a plant is subjected to stress, the louder the signal,” said Dr Frank Kühnemann.

Plants do not actually scream in pain. But different sounds are heard when the gas they emit, ethylene, is bombarded with lasers.

The research could help to work out which pieces of fruit and vegetables are likely to stay fresh longer, as a cucumber which is starting to go off produces a squealing sound.

It could then be separated from the fresher ones.

Source:nzherald.co.nz

IIT Bombay uses mango leaves to make fluorescent graphene quantum dots 


The quantum dots can be used for bioimaging and measuring intracellular temperature

Using mango leaves to synthesise fluorescent graphene quantum dots (nanocrystals of semiconductor material), researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay have been able to produce cheap probes for bioimaging and for intracellular temperature sensing.

Unlike the currently used dyes, quantum dots synthesised from mango leaves are biocompatible, have excellent photostability and show no cellular toxicity. The results were published in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.

Green route

To synthesise quantum dots, the researchers cut mango leaves into tiny pieces and froze them using liquid nitrogen. The frozen leaves were crushed into powder and dipped in alcohol. The extract was centrifuged and the supernatant evaporated in an evaporator and then heated in a microwave for five minutes to get a fine powder.

Using mice fibroblast cells, a team led by Rohit Srivastava from the Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering at IIT Bombay evaluated the potential of quantum dots for bioimaging and temperature-sensing applications. In mice cell in vitro studies, the graphene quantum dots were able to get into the cells easily without destroying the integrity, viability and multiplication of the cells. The quantum dots get into the cytoplasm of the cell.

The quantum dots, 2-8 nanometre in size, were found to emit red luminescence when excited by UV light. “Even when the excitation wavelength was 300-500 nanometre, the emission from the quantum dots was at 680 nanometre. The quantum dots exhibited excitation-independent emission,” says Mukeshchand Thakur from the Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering at IIT Bombay, one of the authors of the paper.

The quantum dots have smaller and larger fluorescent units. When the excitation is at lower wavelength, the smaller units transfer energy to the larger units and there is red emission. And when the excitation is at higher wavelength, the red emission comes directly from the larger units, thus remaining excitation-independent.

The quantum dots that Mukesh Kumar Kumawat (left) and Rohit Srivastava have fabricated can be used for bioimaging.

Nanothermometer

“Since the quantum dots get into the cytoplasm of the cell, the graphene quantum dots can be used for cell cytoplasm labelling applications,” says Mukesh Kumar Kumawat from the Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, IIT Bombay and the first author of the paper.

The quantum dots found inside the cells showed intense florescence at 25 degree C. As the temperature rises to 45 degree C, the intensity of fluorescence tends to decrease.

As a result, the researchers found up to 95% reduction in fluorescence intensity when the temperature was increased by 20 degree C. “So quantum dots can be used for detecting temperature variation in the intracellular environment,” says Thakur.

“The graphene quantum dots can be used as a nanothermometre. Besides measuring intracellular temperature increase, they can be used for measuring temperature increase in cancer cells and when there is inflammation,” says Prof. Srivastava. “We are seeing interest by companies making imaging probes. There is also interest to use it as a temperature probe.”

“Since the quantum dots emit red light, they can be used for making organic light-emitting diodes as well,” says Kumawat.

Source:thehindu.com

Google co-founders and Silicon Valley billionaires try to live forever


Sergey Brin

One hundred and fifty thousand people die every day, reports Tad Friend of The New Yorker in the article, “The God Pill: Silicon Valley’s quest for eternal life.” Most check out well before what is considered the maximum age of 115, and some of them could afford to keep going far longer, if only science would allow it.

The urge to combat aging, especially among the affluent, is an old one, but new technological breakthroughs can make the prospect seem tantalizingly close.

Friend joins Nobel Prize-winning scientists, icons of the entertainment industry such as Goldie Hawn and Moby, and tech billionaires like Google co-founder Sergey Brin, for the launch of the National Academy of Medicine’s Grand Challenge in Health Longevity, which will distribute $25 million as part of its endeavors to, as one doctor puts it, “end aging forever.”

Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and Palantir, at the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.

Alex Wong
Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and Palantir, at the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.

For the super rich in the “life-extension community,” it’s a small world. Brin, whose company has invested over $1 billion in a “longevity lab”called Calico (short for the California Life Company), is dating Nicole Shanahan, the founder of a patent-management business that will work with some of the National Academy’s biotech patents.

 According to Friend, Shanahan attended the launch with Brin:

“I’m here with my darling, Sergey,” she said, referring to her boyfriend, Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google. “And he called me yesterday and said, ‘I’m reading this book, “Homo Deus,” and it says on page twenty-eight that I’m going to die.’ I said, ‘It says you, personally?’ He said, ‘Yes!’ ” (In the book, the author, Yuval Noah Harari, discusses Google’s anti-aging research, and writes that the company “probably won’t solve death in time to make Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin immortal.”) Brin, sitting a few feet away, gave the crowd a briskly ambiguous nod: Yes, I was singled out for death; no, I’m not actually planning to die.

If all goes well, Brin won’t age, either, or not past a certain point. Slowing or stopping that process is the current focus of biochemist Ned David, co-founder of Unity Biotechnology, who is 49 but, according to Friend, looks 30. The scientist’s youthfulness is part of his appeal, writes Friend.

Last fall, Unity raised a hundred and sixteen million dollars from such investors as Jeff Bezos and Peter Thiel, billionaires eager to stretch our lives, or at least their own, to a span that Thiel has pinpointed as “forever.” In a field rife with charlatans, Ned David’s Dorian Gray affect has factored into his fund-raising. “One class of investor, like Fidelity, finds my youthful appearance alarming,” he said. “Another class — the Silicon Valley type, a Peter Thiel — finds anyone who looks over 40 alarming.”

Investing in bio-tech breakthroughs is one way the super rich are trying to stay young and healthy indefinitely. Others in the community are settling for cryogenic freezing, in the hopes that they can be thawed once regenerative science has sufficiently advanced.

Alcor CEO Max More poses in front of the dewars that house his 147 cryopreserved patients.

Qin Chen
Alcor CEO Max More poses in front of the dewars that house his 147 cryopreserved patients.

CNBC reported in 2016 that “thousands of people around the world have put their trust, lives and fortunes into the promise of cryonics.” At that point, at Alcor’s center in Scottsdale, Ariz., nearly 150 individuals had elected to preserve either their heads ($80,000) or their entire bodies ($200,000) in liquid nitrogen.

Some wealthy individuals are covering their bases: Thiel has invested in both Unity and Alcor.

If there is a way to “solve death,” as Friend puts it, whether through cryonics or gene therapies, a kind of vampirism in which Silicon Valley billionaires “end up being sustained by young blood” or more wholesome methods such as good nutrition and medicine, some combination of the above or perhaps an actual sorcerer’s stone, the next generation of well-funded alchemists is determined to find it.

As a 30-year-old start-up founder confidently tells Friend, “The proposition that we can live forever is obvious. It doesn’t violate the laws of physics, so we will achieve it.”

Source:http://www.cnbc.com

The Secret to Overcoming Depression.


Depression affects untold millions of people each year and, is a serious psychological disorder. Unfortunately, many people who are suffering from depression do not seek treatment for it, apprehensive about what the society may think of them.

They might be unwilling to face change on their own as they lack the courage to do so. Depression treatment still suffers from a lot of misconceptions – how long it takes for treatment to be effective, and whether it is actually worth it.

1Depression – What is it?

The occasional bouts of sadness that all of us experience from time to time is not depression. Instead, it is an unrelenting feeling of immense sadness for at least two weeks and longer. It is characterized by the inability to take pleasure from almost any of life’s activities, and feeling broken or lacking the normal energy levels that you had before the depression set in.

People diagnosed with clinical depression find it difficult to maintain normal sleeping and eating patterns. These are physical symptoms that accompany depression. There is also an immense feeling of hopelessness for most of the people who suffer from depression. As if nothing will ever get better again.

Thus it is no wonder that a person with depression does not see the light at the end of the tunnel. A sense of hopelessness prevails. You become a pessimist and become negative towards everyone including yourself. It is not just the blues; it seems as if someone has greyed out the entire world altogether.

Read more: https://blog.portea.com/the-secret-to-overcoming-depression/

Cannibalism Study Finds People Are Not That Nutritious


This cup made from a human skull was found at an archaeological site in England called Gough’s Cave.

While our ancient ancestors did practice cannibalism, eating other humans just couldn’t compare with taking down a mammoth.

Note to the prehistoric party planner: One dead mammoth can feed 25 hungry Neanderthals for a month, but cannibalizing a human would provide the crowd with only a third of a day’s calories.

Essentially, you’re a walking lunch.

 A new look at the nutritional value of human flesh shows that, compared with other Paleolithic prey animals, humans weren’t especially packed with calories for their size.

“When you compare us to other animals, we’re not very nutritional at all,” says study author James Cole of the University of Brighton, who published his work Thursday in Scientific Reports.

According to his estimates, boars and beavers pack about 1,800 calories into each pound of muscle compared with a measly 650 calories from a modern human. That’s about what would be expected based on our overall size and muscularity compared to other animals, he says.

So, Cole asks, if humans aren’t especially valuable in terms of prey, why eat them? After all, unless they are sick or dying, they wouldn’t be easy to hunt.

“You have to get together a hunting party and track these people, and then they aren’t just standing there waiting for you to stab them with a spear,” says Cole.

Instead, Cole argues that perhaps not all ancient cannibalism was for filling bellies; it may have also served various social functions for early humans and their ancestors.

CANNIBAL ROOTS

Archaeologists have found evidence of cannibalism in the human family tree at least as far back as 800,000 years. And though cutting and gnawing marks on bones can’t reveal motivations, ancient remains do offer a few clues to how widespread cannibalistic practices were throughout human evolution.

At the Gran Dolina cave site in Spain, for instance, the butchered remains of bison, sheep, and deer were mixed with those of at least 11 humans, all children or adolescents, whose bones showed signs of cannibalism. In addition to marks showing flesh was stripped from the bone, evidence suggests the Gran Dolina residents—an ancient human relative called Homo antecessor—ate their victims’ brains.

 

Bone fragments from Gough’s Cave in England. Evidence from this Upper Palaeolithic site suggests that people there practiced cannibalism and perhaps used human skulls for ritual purposes.

The butchered human parts appear in layers in the cave spanning about a hundred thousand years, suggesting that the practice occurred somewhat regularly.

The remains were also mixed with those of other animals and had been prepared the same way, leading some anthropologists to suggest that cannibalism at the site might not have been done in a food-stress emergency or as ritual behavior.

Perhaps human flesh was a common supplement to their diet, or perhaps the youngsters were outsiders, and cannibalism served as an effective “keep out” sign—the bones can’t say for sure.

That’s true for most cases of prehistoric cannibalism, says anthropologist Silvia Bello of the Natural History Museum in London.

“I agree with [Cole] that Paleolithic cannibalism was probably more often practiced as a ‘choice’ rather than mere ‘necessity,’” she says. “I think, however, that to find the motivation of the choice is a very difficult matter.”

MEAT IS MEAT?

In some cases, cannibalism may have been purely practical.

 

A scientist works at Caune de l’Arago in France, another site of potential prehistoric cannibalism.

“The issue is not one of nutrition as an alternative to large game,” says anthropologist Erik Trinkaus of Washington University in St. Louis. “It is an issue of survival when there are no other food sources, members of one’s social group have died, and the surviving members consume the bodies of already-dead people.”

Cole acknowledges there’s only so much we can take from his limited analysis of human nutritional value, which was based on only a few modern humans. And certainly our ancient ancestors weren’t counting calories to make dinner choices.

Perhaps, he says, the real message is that ancient people had more of a mix of motivations for cannibalism than we’ve given them credit for. After all, human cannibalism in recent centuries has many roots, including warfare, survival, spiritual beliefs, and psychosis.

 Most likely, ancient people survived by being incredibly opportunistic, and sometimes cannibalistic, says Bill Schutt, a biology professor at Long Island University’s Post campus and author of the new book Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History.

“Cannibalism is extremely widespread in the animal kingdom,” Schutt says, and humans are no exception. “What makes us different are the rituals, the culture, the taboos,” he says. “We’ve been patterned to believe that cannibalism is the worst thing you could do.”

Indeed, Cole says that working out the calorie count of human flesh was a bit disconcerting, as it forced him to think about what cannibalism would be like. “I found it quite difficult to eat bacon for the last year or so,” he says.

Source:nationalgeographic.com

Genetically engineered microbes make their own fertilizer, could feed the world’s poorest.


Industrial fertilizers help feed billions of people every year, but they remain beyond the reach of many of the world’s poorest farmers. Now, researchers have engineered microbes that, when added to soil, make fertilizer on demand, producing plants that grow 1.5 times larger than crops not exposed to the bugs or other synthetic fertilizers. The advance, reported here this week at a meeting of the American Chemical Society, could help farmers in the poorest parts of the world increase their crop yields and combat chronic malnutrition.

Radishes fed fertilizer by microbes in the soil (right) grow larger than their counterparts without the bugs.

 

A key component of fertilizer is nitrogen, an element essential for building everything from DNA to proteins. Nitrogen is all around us, comprising 80% of the air we breathe. But that nitrogen is inert, bound up in molecules that plants and people can’t access. Some microbes have evolved proteins called nitrogenases that can split apart nitrogen molecules in the air and weld that nitrogen to hydrogen to make ammonia and other compounds that plants can absorb to get their nitrogen.

The industrial process for making fertilizer, invented more than a century ago by a pair of German chemists—Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch—carries out that same molecular knitting. But the Haber-Bosch process, as it’s now known, necessitates high pressures and temperatures to work. It also requires a source of molecular hydrogen (H2)—typically methane—which is the chief component of natural gas. Methane itself isn’t terribly expensive. But the need to build massive chemical plants to convert methane and nitrogen into ammonia, as well as the massive infrastructure needed to distribute it, prevents many poor countries from easy access to fertilizer.

A few years ago, researchers led by Harvard University chemist Daniel Nocera devised what they call an artificial leaf that uses a semiconductor combined with two different catalysts to capture sunlight and use that harvested energy to split water molecules (H2O) into H2 and oxygen (O2). At the time, Nocera’s group focused on using the captured hydrogen as a chemical fuel, which can either be burned directly or run through a device called a fuel cell to produce electricity. But last year, Nocera reported that his team had engineered bacteria called Ralstonia eutropha to feed on the H2 and carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and combine them to make hydrocarbon fuels. The next step, says Nocera, was to broaden the scope of their work by engineering another type of bacterium to take nitrogen out of the air to make fertilizer.

Nocera and his colleagues turned to a microbe called Xanthobacter autotrophicus, which naturally harbors a nitrogenase enzyme. But they still needed a way to provide the bugs with a source of H2 to make ammonia. So they genetically engineered Xanthobacter, giving them an enzyme called a hydrogenase, which allows them to feed on H2 to make a form of cellular energy called ATP. They then use that ATP, additional H2, and CO2 from the air to synthesize a type of bioplastic called polyhydroxybutyrate, or PHB, which they can store in their bodies.

This is where the microbes’ nitrogenase enzyme kicks in. The bacteria harvest H2 from their PHB store and use their nitrogenase to combine it with nitrogen from the air to make ammonia, the starting material for fertilizer. It doesn’t just work in the lab: Nocera reported yesterday at the meeting that when he and his colleagues put their engineered Xanthobacter in solution and used that solution to water radish crops, the vegetables grew 150% larger than controls not given either the bugs or other fertilizers.

Leif Hammarström, a chemist at Uppsala University in Sweden who also works on making fuels from solar energy, says he was impressed with the work. Making ammonia without using an industrial process “is a very challenging chemistry,” he says. “This is a good approach.” It may even be one that could help many of the world’s poor. Nocera says Harvard has licensed the intellectual property for the new technology to the Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai, India, which is working to scale up the technology for commercial use around the globe.

Source:http://www.sciencemag.org

No more dialysis, Scientists Have Developed A Bionic Kidney! 


Natural remedies are indeed very powerful, but there are times when we have to turn to modern technology. Dialysis patients can’t live without the treatment, but their suffering is enormous.

Many of them must wait for years to get a kidney transplant and live normally, with seemingly no other solution on the horizon. However, there’s finally a light in the dark tunnel – scientists from the University of California at San Francisco, USA, have developed the world’s first bionic kidney which can replace damaged kidneys easily and effectively.

Natural remedies are indeed very powerful, but there are times when we have to turn to modern technology. Dialysis patients can’t live without the treatment, but their suffering is enormous.

Many of them must wait for years to get a kidney transplant and live normally, with seemingly no other solution on the horizon. However, there’s finally a light in the dark tunnel – scientists from the University of California at San Francisco, USA, have developed the world’s first bionic kidney which can replace damaged kidneys easily and effectively.

The bionic kidney is a perfect replica of our kidneys. It consists of numerous microchips and is moved by the heart. Like the normal kidneys, it is able to filter waste and toxins from the bloodstream.

The project was unveiled by Willian Vanderbilt Fissels and Shuvo Roy from the University of California, offering renewed hope for millions of kidney dialysis patients. Now, some of you may be wondering “But, what if the body rejects it?”, but, the scientists assure us that the chances of rejection are zero! Incredible, right?

This is because the bionic kidney is made from renal cells. The first prototype is the size of a coffee cup and can balance the levels of sodium and potassium in the body while regulating blood pressure.

The project is wonderful news for any dialysis patient. In the beginning (November 2015), the scientists received $6 million from the Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, and it’s safe to say that the money were well spent.

The scientists have high hopes for the bionic kidney, and the lead researcher, Dr. Victor Gura, says that the device will be available for sale in only 2 years.

The bionic kidney is a perfect replica of our kidneys. It consists of numerous microchips and is moved by the heart. Like the normal kidneys, it is able to filter waste and toxins from the bloodstream.

  The project was unveiled by Willian Vanderbilt Fissels and Shuvo Roy from the University of California, offering renewed hope for millions of kidney dialysis patients. Now, some of you may be wondering “But, what if the body rejects it?”, but, the scientists assure us that the chances of rejection are zero! Incredible, right?

This is because the bionic kidney is made from renal cells. The first prototype is the size of a coffee cup and can balance the levels of sodium and potassium in the body while regulating blood pressure.

The project is wonderful news for any dialysis patient. In the beginning (November 2015), the scientists received $6 million from the Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, and it’s safe to say that the money were well spent.

The scientists have high hopes for the bionic kidney, and the lead researcher, Dr. Victor Gura, says that the device will be available for sale in only 2 years.

Source:medicalonline1.com