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Thread: Science News, Articles, and Discoveries: Strange and Hopeful

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    Science News, Articles, and Discoveries: Strange and Hopeful

    Brain of a white-collar worker




    A 44-year-old man presented with a 2-week history of mild left leg weakness. At the age of 6 months, he had undergone a ventriculoatrial shunt, because of postnatal hydrocephalus of unknown cause. When he was 14 years old, he developed ataxia and paresis of the left leg, which resolved entirely after shunt revision. His neurological development and medical history were otherwise normal. He was a married father of two children, and worked as a civil servant. On neuropsychological testing, he proved to have an intelligence quotient (IQ) of 75: his verbal IQ was 84, and his performance IQ 70. CT showed severe dilatation of the lateral ventricles (figure); MRI revealed massive enlargement of the lateral, third, and fourth ventricles, a very thin cortical mantle and a posterior fossa cyst. We diagnosed a non-communicating hydrocephalus, with probable stenosis of Magendie's foramen (figure). The leg weakness improved partly after neuroendoscopic ventriculocisternostomy, but soon recurred; however, after a ventriculoperitoneal shunt was inserted, the findings on neurological examination became normal within a few weeks. The findings on neuropsychological testing and CT did not change.


    With sincere respect,
    Olli
    On my way to understanding the greatness of gratitude.
    Thank you Sifu, Sigung, and Past Masters!

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    How curiosity can protect the mind from bias

    How curiosity can protect the mind from bias

    Neither intelligence nor education can stop you from forming prejudiced opinions – but an inquisitive attitude may help you make wiser judgements.

    By Tom Stafford
    8 September 2016

    Ask a left-wing Brit what they believe about the safety of nuclear power, and you can guess their answer. Ask a right-wing American about the risks posed by climate change, and you can also make a better guess than if you didn’t know their political affiliation. Issues like these feel like they should be informed by science, not our political tribes, but sadly, that’s not what happens.

    Psychology has long shown that education and intelligence won’t stop your politics from shaping your broader worldview, even if those beliefs do not match the hard evidence. Instead, your ability to weigh up the facts may depend on a less well-recognised trait – curiosity.

    The political lens

    There is now a mountain of evidence to show that politics doesn’t just help predict people’s views on some scientific issues; it also affects how they interpret new information. This is why it is a mistake to think that you can somehow ‘correct’ people’s views on an issue by giving them more facts, since study after study has shown that people have a tendency to selectively reject facts that don’t fit with their existing views.

    This leads to the odd situation that people who are most extreme in their anti-science views – for example skeptics of the risks of climate change – are more scientifically informed than those who hold anti-science views but less strongly.

    But smarter people shouldn’t be susceptible to prejudice swaying their opinions, right? Wrong. Other research shows that people with the most education, highest mathematical abilities, and the strongest tendencies to be reflective about their beliefs are the most likely to resist information which should contradict their prejudices. This undermines the simplistic assumption that prejudices are the result of too much gut instinct and not enough deep thought. Rather, people who have the facility for deeper thought about an issue can use those cognitive powers to justify what they already believe and find reasons to dismiss apparently contrary evidence.

    It’s a messy picture, and at first looks like a depressing one for those who care about science and reason. A glimmer of hope can be found in new research from a collaborative team of philosophers, film-makers and psychologists led by Dan Kahan of Yale University.

    Kahan and his team were interested in politically biased information processing, but also in studying the audience for scientific documentaries and using this research to help film-makers. They developed two scales. The first measured a person’s scientific background, a fairly standard set of questions asking about knowledge of basic scientific facts and methods, as well as quantitative judgement and reasoning. The second scale was more innovative. The idea of this scale was to measure something related but independent – a person’s curiosity about scientific issues, not how much they already knew. This second scale was also innovative in how they measured scientific curiosity. As well as asking some questions, they also gave people choices about what material to read as part of a survey about reactions to news. If an individual chooses to read about science stories rather than sports or politics, their corresponding science curiosity score was marked up.

    Armed with their scales, the team then set out to see how they predicted people’s opinions on public issues which should be informed by science. With the scientific knowledge scale the results were depressingly predictable. The left-wing participants – liberal Democrats – tended to judge issues such as global warming or fracking as significant risks to human health, safety or prosperity. The right-wing participants – conservative Republicans – were less likely to judge the issues as significant risks. What’s more, the liberals with more scientific background were most concerned about the risks, while the conservatives with more scientific background were least concerned. That’s right – higher levels of scientific education results in a greater polarisation between the groups, not less.

    So much for scientific background, but scientific curiosity showed a different pattern. Differences between liberals and conservatives still remained – on average there was still a noticeable gap in their estimates of the risks – but their opinions were at least heading in the same direction. For fracking for example, more scientific curiosity was associated with more concern, for both liberals and conservatives.

    The team confirmed this using an experiment which gave participants a choice of science stories, either in line with their existing beliefs, or surprising to them. Those participants who were high in scientific curiosity defied the predictions and selected stories which contradicted their existing beliefs – this held true whether they were liberal or conservative.

    And, in case you are wondering, the results hold for issues in which political liberalism is associated with the anti-science beliefs, such as attitudes to GMO or vaccinations.

    So, curiosity might just save us from using science to confirm our identity as members of a political tribe. It also shows that to promote a greater understanding of public issues, it is as important for educators to try and convey their excitement about science and the pleasures of finding out stuff, as it is to teach people some basic curriculum of facts.

    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/2016...mind-from-bias

    Excellent news for all the cheeky monkeys across the Shaolin Wahnam Family.

    With sincere respect,
    Olli
    On my way to understanding the greatness of gratitude.
    Thank you Sifu, Sigung, and Past Masters!

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    Scientists have rejuvenated old mice with the blood of human teenagers

    Scientists have rejuvenated old mice with the blood of human teenagers

    PETER DOCKRILL
    16 NOV 2016

    It might sound like something out of a creepy folk tale, but scientists have found evidence that injecting young human blood into older bodies does seem to offer powers of rejuvenation – even if those old bodies aren't human themselves.

    In a new study, researchers took blood samples from a group of healthy, young 18-year-old human participants and injected them into 12-month-old mice – late middle age in mice years, or the equivalent of being about 50 years old in human terms.

    [...]

    According to neuroscientist and Alkahest founder, Karoly Nikolich, the rejuvenating properties of young blood are down to the different protein makeups of young and old plasma.

    Plasma contains thousands of proteins, but while young plasma contains a number of proteins that can rejuvenate tissues, with age these disappear and are replaced by damaging molecules.

    [...]

    It's not the only company looking into this kind of research. Another US startup called Ambrosia is currently recruiting volunteers for a clinical trial in which people aged 35 or older can receive a one-off injection of young plasma.

    It's unclear though what anti-ageing benefits a one-off treatment would confer – and the trial has also attracted some criticism for charging participants a US$8,000 fee to cover costs.

    That said, any studies in this area attracts a lot of attention – most notably from tech entrepreneur and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, whose personal interest in blood-based anti-ageing treatments has seen him channel millions into health research.

    Ultimately, Alkahest says it would manufacture synthetic versions of the proteins required, as there isn't enough natural young human plasma in the world to help the number of people facing Alzheimer's.

    www.sciencealert.com/scientists-have-rejuvenated-old-mice-with-the-blood-of-human-teenagers

    Interesting result, but I found the ethics of research questionable, especially with an earlier study where they stiched two live mice together and obversed an older mouse being rejuvenated by the younger's blood.

    With sincere respect,
    Olli
    On my way to understanding the greatness of gratitude.
    Thank you Sifu, Sigung, and Past Masters!

  4. #4
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    Western Medicine Donates Mankind a New Internal Organ

    Exciting news everyone,

    Western medicine has identified a new internal organ!

    Irish surgeon identifies emerging area of medical science

    A University of Limerick professor has identified an emerging area of science having reclassified part of the digestive system as an organ.

    The mesentery, which connects the intestine to the abdomen, had for hundreds of years been considered a fragmented structure made up of multiple separate parts. However, research by Professor of Surgery at UL’s Graduate Entry Medical School, J Calvin Coffey, found the mesentery is one, continuous structure.

    In a review published in the November issue of one of the top medical journals, The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Professor Coffey outlined the evidence for categorising the mesentery as an organ.

    “In the paper, which has been peer reviewed and assessed, we are now saying we have an organ in the body which hasn’t been acknowledged as such to date,” Professor Coffey stated.

    Better understanding and further scientific study of the mesentery could lead to less invasive surgeries, fewer complications, faster patient recovery and lower overall costs.

    “When we approach it like every other organ…we can categorise abdominal disease in terms of this organ,” professor Coffey said.

    According to Professor Coffey, the Foundation Chair of Surgery at UL’s Graduate Entry Medical School and University Hospitals Limerick, mesenteric science is its own specific field of medical study in the same way as gastroenterology, neurology and coloproctology.

    “This is relevant universally as it affects all of us. Up to now there was no such field as mesenteric science. Now we have established anatomy and the structure. The next step is the function. If you understand the function you can identify abnormal function, and then you have disease. Put them all together and you have the field of mesenteric science…the basis for a whole new area of science,” he said.

    “During the initial research, we noticed in particular that the mesentery, which connects the gut to the body, was one continuous organ. Up to that it was regarded as fragmented, present here, absent elsewhere and a very complex structure. The anatomic description that had been laid down over 100 years of anatomy was incorrect. This organ is far from fragmented and complex. It is simply one continuous structure,” Professor Coffey explained.

    Already, medical students around the world are, from this year, learning about the mesentery as a continuous organ, after research by Professor Coffey prompted an update in one of the world’s best-known medical textbooks Gray’s Anatomy.
    https://www.ul.ie/research/blog/iris...edical-science


    The mesentery: structure, function, and role in disease

    Systematic study of the mesentery is now possible because of clarification of its structure. Although this area of science is in an early phase, important advances have already been made and opportunities uncovered. For example, distinctive anatomical and functional features have been revealed that justify designation of the mesentery as an organ. Accordingly, the mesentery should be subjected to the same investigatory focus that is applied to other organs and systems. In this Review, we summarise the findings of scientific investigations of the mesentery so far and explore its role in human disease. We aim to provide a platform from which to direct future scientific investigation of the human mesentery in health and disease.
    http://www.thelancet.com/journals/la...026-7/abstract


    Congratulations to everyone! I think we all have done well enough that we deserved a new internal organ!

    I wonder how the organ would be categorized in the Chinese medical meridian system?

    With sincere respect,
    Olli
    On my way to understanding the greatness of gratitude.
    Thank you Sifu, Sigung, and Past Masters!

  5. #5
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    Humans are Mammals

    Dear Family and Friends,

    I'm myselt not too much believer in science, but to my knowlede it's even scientifically proven and we all learned it in school and heard and read it a thousand times;

    Humans are mammals.

    In other words:

    Humans are animals.

    I feel fine with that.

    Sincerely,

    With Shaolin Salute,

    Michael

  6. #6
    Mark CH is offline Sifu Mark Hartnett - Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Ireland
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    What is science?


  7. #7
    Mark A is offline Sifu Mark Appleford - Chief Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam UK
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    Interesting Stuff

    Hey Folks,
    I just want to say thanks for all the research people are doing. I find it great that Science is finding new developments and showing the potential of human beings

    Peace

    Mark
    I
    Sifu Mark Appleford


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