I’ve declared myself as a technology fan. I use many tools of current technology every single day, at work (twitter, yammer, blogger, wikispaces, skype, Notebook for SMART Boards, etc.), and despite the fact that I spend hours in front of the computer, I would have never thought to integrate technology in such a physical way, yes physical, like really!!

However you can’t help what people can do. regardless of practicality, inserting a USB 2 Gb fingertip is something that deserves a comment. How far are we going to get?

There is a computer programmer from Finland that lost part of one of his fingers, and replaced the tip with a USB flash memory. You can visit his blog at this link.

That is shocking, at least, practical maybe, but couldn’t he get a larger capacity? I mean, come on…..2 Gb? They sell 8 and 16 Gb devices for less than a friday night dinner price.

Anyway, I know it has practically nothing to do but I read a story a few weeks ago about a frenchman who discovered in his 40s that the size of his brain was significantly smaller than any other human being, living an average and quiet life.

Extremes are not good, I guess my mother was right when she used to tell me that. Judge for yourself.

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Lifting a ban on progress

About 8 years ago I moved to the US to work on science-related fields. It came as a very cold shower to hear the president Bush announce the world that the US government was cutting federal funding to Embryonic Stem Cell Research, and would only award funding for the atrins already obtained. time proved that those strains didn't produce major scientific breakthroughs.
It is well known that the US is no longer the major contributor of scientific breakthroughs in the world. That has several causes and implications, decreased number of undergraduate and graduate scientific research projects, ultra expensive college and university tuition costs, etc.
It is in Europe and Asia, where science has been bubbling for the last decade. Well, not all has been true, as is the case of some asian scientists reporting false information, but apart from that, research in stem cells has been in a better position in those latitudes.
Banning Stem Cell research funding was a religious-motivated decision, and let's not summon up all the backwards effects that the church has had over science and knowledge in human history.
It is not the dangers of the evil characters investigating and designing negative effects over stem cell research or any other scientific endeavor, it is the great advancement in knowledge and understanding in life and its origins that should prompt us to promote investigation in science.
Any activity has goods and bads, and banning an activity because it mat have negative effects, may have banned thousands of current and legal activities in our daily lives.
Stem cell research is not the panacea, but it's a great way to determine what we can get from the understanding of timing and programming.
I salute President Obama's decision on lifting the ban, as a citizen of the world and as a biologist.

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Can child diabetes be prevented with a vaccine?

A few weeks ago a friend of mine came from Monterrey, Mexico. We were having dinner with him and other friends from university. We're all biologists graduated from the same class. We were talking about many things in general, and one of them mentioned the fact that obesity could be caused by a virus. As interesting as it sounded, it didn't seem plausible to the rest of us.

It actually became a good reason to mock his comment, due to the overweight that many of us on that table carry. Although obesity has not been proved to be directly related to a viral infection, I just found out a report that indicates that a virus may trigger child diabetes.

Diabetes type 2, no longer referred to as late-onset diabetes because the onset age has been reduced from 40s to the teen years or less, is a serious public health concern in many countries arounf the world, especially in the 1st world countries, where that is becoming as common as a common cold.

Diabetes type 1, insulin-dependent, or juvenile insulin is also quite common around the world. And it is said that three-quarters of diabetes' cases are type 2.

But, what does this have to do with a virus, which is not alive or dead, however is a pre-life complex form of macromolecules perfectly structured and organized?

Well, it appears that enteroviruses have been found in 60% of pancreatic samples from type 1-diabetes patients and 40% of type 2-diabetes. This article was published in March, in the Diabetologia journal.

This is a great story to tell my students when teaching them about the way science funstions, and how sicientists' work is validated, cross-referenced, proved right or wrong, somtimes without any direct connection.

it appears that enteroviruses affects both types of diabetic patients intervening in immune reactions causing the disfunctionality of the insulin-producing machinery in the beta-cells of pancreas.

Another separate report in Science magazine mentions mutations in a gene that reduces the risk of diabetes, it just so happens that the gene is involved in the immune reaction to enteroviruses.

As in many cases of the intricate nature of our human physiology, no single-reason, single-effect is the cause of a major disease or condition. Multifactorial pathologies are immensely common.

The good news is that it could be possible to prepare an inactive form of the enteroviruses (one they're identified) and use it in a vaccination campaign to reduce the incidence of diabetes cases.

For more information, visit this link.

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