วันศุกร์ที่ 17 ธันวาคม พ.ศ. 2553

Social bookmarking can get your site indexed very quickly.

Throughout this arsenic-life NASA saga, I’ve been trying to pinpoint the fundamental reasons to explain why this story got out of hand.  Why did NASA feel the need to uber-hype this research?  Why the rush to publish research even if it may not have been ready?

I’ve drawn the conclusion that the primary cause is the need to be PURPOSEFUL while performing scientific research.  For an example, I’ll take the research I currently work on.  I study the aging process in yeast cells, focusing on how the cells’ epigenome changes as a cell gets “older.”  We do this research under a federally-funded grant, for which our purpose is to study the aging process to help us better understand cancer and other age-related diseases.

But, to be honest, I don’t really care about cancer.  I mean, I am someone who is perhaps a bit too comfortable with my mortality, but even beyond that: I actually just think the idea of different proteins and other factors manipulating what sections of DNA are translated and expressed is fascinating.  I want to understand this process better – what proteins do what?  how is this different in different cell types? how did this system evolve? – and this “aging grant” is really just an excuse for me to do so.

I doubt I’m alone here.  I think a lot of scientists are more interested in uncovering the various processes, not for the good of mankind, but simply because we want to understand.  (Correct me if I’m wrong, scientists.)  I’d be happy to cure cancer along the way if I can, but in terms of my own goals and what is possible during my brief stint in this field, I just want to understand this system a little bit better than when I started.

Science wasn’t always done with a purpose.  Think about Charles Darwin.  Sure, he was interested in natural history, but he was on the Beagle to provide friendship to the captain.  Along the way, he collected a bunch of samples of mockingbirds and finches and other organisms, and it wasn’t till decades later that he put the pieces together and formulated his theory of selection of the fittest.  He didn’t collect specimens on his travels for any real purpose, but used the data he collected to draw conclusions later.

Of course, back then science was primarily done by rich men with too much time on their hands.  Now science is the forefront of innovation and progress;  we need more people than bored rich men to be studying it and, hell, anyone should get a chance to do so!  But with greater knowledge and technology, we need more money.  And since I’m not a rich bored man, I don’t have any money.

That’s where the government comes in: grants to fund research.  But since it is taxpayers that are funding this research, it should have goals that will benefit those taxpayers.  Thus I study aging and cancer.  And these grants do keep us on task.  If I find a cool mutation that alters the epigenome of my yeastie beasties and it’s not related to the aging process, I will not be following up on that project.

I go back and forth on whether this is a good thing.  On the one hand, it keeps us accountable to the government and taxpayers, who give us our funding.  But on the other hand, does research for a purpose help us really advance in biology, help us better understand how life works?

One of my bosses, a great scientist, doctor and philosopher king, recently emailed this quote to our lab from Carol Greider, a recent Nobel Prize winner for her work on the discovery of the aging-related enzyme telomerase:

“The quiet beginnings of telomerase research emphasize the importance of basic, curiosity-driven research. At the time that it is conducted, such research has no apparent practical applications. Our understanding of the way the world works is fragmentary and incomplete, which means that progress does not occur in a simple, direct and linear manner. It is important to connect the unconnected, to make leaps and to take risks, and to have fun talking and playing with ideas that might at first seem outlandish.”

This idea burns me to my very core.  Purpose-based science assumes a certain knowledge of the systems we’re studying.  But, let’s face it: we still have so much to learn.  We’re all still flailing toddlers, trying to find a surface to hoist ourselves upon so that we can actually get somewhere.  While scientists are often conceived to be smart and have all the answers, we actually don’t have many.  The more you know, the more you know that you don’t know anything at all.

But instead of being allowed to play, to follow up on work because it’s exciting, to take risks, we have to make sure we stay within the limits of our funding and, thus, our purpose.  Because “playing” or studying something because we think it’s AWESOME doesn’t provide evidence of “progress.”

I could be entirely wrong: maybe the old adage that progress is made in leaps and bounds (as opposed to baby steps, I suppose) is farcical.  Maybe I only believe this because my human soul that thrives on chaos is drawn to it.

Either way: the purpose of research is overemphasized.  When I read papers, I am interested in knowing how their discovery fits into “practical knowledge” (“There is hardly anything known about X disease, BUT WE FOUND SOMETHING!”), but more than that, I’m interested in how it fits in with the current model of whatever system they are studying.  But that rarely gets as much attention in papers.

And this idea of “purpose” is why science in the media is so often overhyped.  News articles often take a definitive stance on how the new study has contributed to the public good.  Maybe it’s “eating blueberries will preserve your memory” or “sleeping 8 hours will make you attractive.”  This makes the science easy to digest, sure, but it also paints an incomplete picture.  These studies are just tiny pieces in a puzzle that scientists will continue to work on for decades.  It’s pure hubris to believe that non-scientists cannot understand the scientific process – that they cannot understand that it takes incremental steps.  But, nonetheless, if your research cannot be easily hyped, no one will hear about it, so you have to serve a purpose.

So with NASA’s arsenic-based life.  The current model, both in funding and the media, of requiring purpose to justify research forced NASA to claim a greater purpose for its discovery: “an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life.”

To give both NASA and the researchers the benefit of the doubt, let’s just say they found this cool bug and wanted to share the news to get help in studying it, as author Oremland suggested.  They submitted the paper to officially get the word out.  But then they needed to find a “good reason” to have been studying arsenic microbes and NASA decided this was a good opportunity to reinvigorate its reputation of performing “useful science” so called a press conference.  You know where it goes from here.

All that is pure speculation – but it probably isn’t too far from the truth.  Maybe I’m being too kind, but I really doubt that the researchers or NASA had any ill-intentions.  They simply lost control, and the following shitstorm took off.

We can scoff at them all we like: “an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life, my ass!”  But it’s really not so different from my lab publishing a paper with the headline, “KEY FACTOR IN CELL AGING UNCOVERED” when, really, we just discovered a factor, and we don’t even know if it’s key.

The idea of “useful science” also dampens my feelings about science: SCIENCE IS COOL!  Longing to pry up the corners of current knowledge isn’t enough: we can’t just look, but have to reveal a direct outcome.  But if we don’t allow ourselves even to look because of various purpose-based limitations, we could be missing out on something FUCKING AWESOME!

I’m just rambling now – and am very interested in hearing your thoughts on this.

  • Does purpose-driven science lead to better science or more innovation?

  • Are there ways of judging research as worthy (e.g. for funding purposes) without having to provide a direct purpose?

  • How should the media change its model for covering stories?  Should every study that comes out get attention, or should we wait for more details and provide more review-like coverage?

  • Would larger, field-based studies dampen competition?  Would this help or hurt scientific progress?

Etc. etc.  If you made it this far, thank you, xox, Hannah.

A Forrester Research report released Monday received a ton of attention for its suggestion that TV and internet usage in the U.S. had reached parity. Now that data is drawing some high-profile skeptics.

The problem is Forrester’s findings don’t remotely square with existing measurement on TV and internet usage. While the study found that in January and February of 2010 consumers reported spending 13 hours per week on both TV and internet, data from Nielsen and comScore (NSDQ: SCOR), arguably the most reliable sources for measurement of TV and internet usage, offer a markedly different picture.

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ESPN plans to meet Wednesday with Forrester, which counts the sports juggernaut as a client, to share its concerns. “Our fundamental concern is that, in a very confusing media landscape, we’re trying to answer very important questions about the behaviors of consumers,” said Dave Coletti, vice president of digital media research and analytics at ESPN (NYSE: DIS). “It’s imperative that we answer questions with the right methods.”

In the first quarter of 2010, Nielsen clocked weekly usage at 38 hours and 44 minutes, nearly three times what Forrester found. Over the same time frame, comScore’s account of internet usage was 7 hours and 24 minutes, about half of what Forrester found.

Why these numbers are so divergent cuts to the heart of the difficulties ESPN has with this Forrester study. The Forrester numbers are entirely based on self-reporting, or what the 30,000 respondents to the survey say is their consumption habits. But that’s a subjective metric different from the kind of metered measurement Nielsen and comScore do. They may have their own well-documented faults, but are at least they’re objective.

But what’s more troubling to Glenn Enoch, vice president of integrated research at ESPN, is that in media-research circles, self-reporting is known to be notoriously slippery. “It’s something we’re generally careful about,” he said.

To wit: In a Video Consumer Mapping study conducted last year by Ball State University Center for Media Design that is widely regarded as a landmark piece of research, one of the key findings noted, “Serious caution needs to be applied in interpreting self-report data for media use. TV was substantially under-reported while online video and mobile video usage were over-reported.”

On Twitter, a few prominent self-appointed critics openly questioned Forrester’s findings. Gian Fulgoni, chairman of comScore, had a rather heated exchange with Forrester’s lead researcher on the report, Jacqueline Anderson, in which he questioned the validity not of his own stock in trade—Internet measurement—but the TV numbers.

“Nielsen says TV 140+hrs /mo. You say it’s only 52. Something very wrong,” he tweeted. After a few back-and-forth tweets, Anderson defended the work as “clear” when you examine the year-over-year numbers. “Clear?” Gulfoni shot back. “There’s huge error level.”

Reached for comment, Anderson doesn’t take issue with the veracity of Nielsen or comScore’s numbers. But she feels they are important pieces of a puzzle that isn’t complete without getting the consumers’ perspective. There’s the reality of what metered measurement yields, but to Anderson there is also value in distilling the perception of what consumers believe is the reality of their consumption habit. “In their minds’ eye now, the time consumers spend between mediums is equal,” said Anderson.

In her defense, Anderson stated clearly in a blog post about the research on Forrester’s site that “the data we present in this most recent Technographics® report is self-reported, so the metrics aren’t the same as those you’d see from a Nielsen or comScore.”

However, the very first line of the executive summary on the page where Forrester makes the full research available to its clients seems to pass off the research as what viewers actually consume instead of what they think they consume: “For the first time ever, the average US online consumer spends as much time online as he or she does watching TV offline.”

Anderson believes that the TV vs. internet comparison is not as significant in this research as the growth—or lack thereof—that each medium experienced since 2009. TV consumption didn’t decrease; it just held steady while internet made the huge leaps it took to catch up. “The data in the year-over-year picture is the more important piece of the puzzle,” said Anderson, who also noted that she was cognizant that respondents tend to under-report, but if they’re doing so year-over-year, it’s an apples-to-apples comparison.

But that nuance was apparently lost on the dozens of press outlets who wrote about the research, trumpeting it as some kind of milestone in the growth of U.S. internet usage yet failing to convey that self-reporting isn’t the best basis for declaring a tie between the mediums’ exposure levels. Few referenced the wealth of statistics that demonstrate just how largely TV consumption still looms over internet usage, a dynamic one industry researcher recently put in perspective by characterizing the Facebook audience as being on par with that of PBS. Maybe it’s hard to resist that sexy narrative of the underdog coming from behind to race neck-and-neck with the longtime leader.

Then there’s the very either-or premise of the research to consider. The distinction between TV and online usage isn’t even entirely clear anymore in a universe in which there are a bevy of boxes that deliver programming directly to the TV set via broadband connection. And concurrent usage of TV and online is already a well-noted phenomenon, making any presentation of data that paints TV vs. online as a zero-sum game off the mark.

Perhaps it’s predictable that ESPN would be the one to want to counter the study. Just last week, the network released its own study that sought to minimize the so-called cord-cutting phenomenon, which drew observations that ESPN was only trying to protect its gravy train. And of course, the Forrester research is now being touted as supporting evidence of cord-cutting.

“When we do raise an eyebrow at things like this is, it’s often interpreted as we’re downplaying the potential of digital media,” said Coletti. “Nothing can be further from the truth. I wave the flag for digital media. It’s more about putting on my professional researcher hat and making sure the data that gets into the marketplace is as accurate and reliable as could be.”

Related Stories

Reference research: business research and health research and shopping research and my social page

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วันศุกร์ที่ 12 พฤศจิกายน พ.ศ. 2553

Create a mini biography for your blog to make it more personal.

Today's educators are bombarded with information from all sides about the latest and greatest research-based instructional techniques in teaching. With all these crazes about instructional methods and the confusion about which one really works and which one is a dud, no wonder our teachers are so exhausted! As charming and inspirational as all these latest claims and success stories seem to be, educators need to be careful when choosing and implementing a new or old "miracle" instruction method. There are things a teacher needs to do before making any big changes to their curriculum and instruction.

First things first, what supporting evidence is there? Educators need to use their resources wisely and take all initial information with skepticism. Before actually outright backing the "amazing" new research supporting a particular method, whether it be Indirect Instruction, Cooperative learning, etc..., educators must do their research. Talk to colleagues, look the strategy up online, check out education magazines and journals, and any other resource material available. Find out what evidence there is out there to support the research-based strategy. Furthermore, make sure the sources you are calling upon for information are reliable. Reliable sources offer reliable evidence, so seek out unbiased, professional resources. Weigh pros and cons, consistencies and inconsistencies, before making a decision on the strategy at hand.

After thorough research has been done, the next important question is: "How should the research-based program be implemented?" And "What methods does the research show to be most advantageous?" These questions' answers would most probably appear in your research since it was suppose to be incredibly thorough. If not, you'll want to look it up. Many teachers forget this step, and as Grassen states in the article "What Does It Mean To Be a Research-Based Profession" teachers simply aren't properly implementing research-based strategies are thus losing out on potential benefits of the programs. "Cooperative learning was designed to complement teacher-directed instruction by providing further opportunity for students to work together using what they have learned. In most schools today, cooperative learning is used to replace teacher-directed instruction and students are expected to construct their own knowledge working in groups." (N.d). Clearly, teachers need to put a great deal of thought into this step as improper implementation of the program can have catastrophic consequences on learners.

Read up on each research-based method, decide what sorts of lessons would benefit from their use, and which wouldn't. Talk to colleagues about what methods they use in the classroom, why, and how they implement them. Most of all, be aware of comparisons being drawn between different research-based strategies. Look for comparative studies as opposed to non-comparative studies. Comparative studies are more likely to give you accuracy in research. Educators need to look at the whole picture. How is class A using strategy A performing compared to class B using strategy B? How do these same classes perform after trading strategies? How is school A using strategy A performing compared to school B using strategy B? And so on...

Lastly, before implementing any research-based strategy, an educator should ask themselves "Am I biased?" Be sure to be honest with yourself. Try to go into deliberation with an open and unbiased mind. Take into account all reliable sources whether they are in-line with your initial beliefs or opinions on the strategy or not. Remain unbiased until the end. Your openness and willingness to learn can determine the accuracy of your research.

There are a great many research-based programs out there and being implemented everyday. Many of them just don't have the proper supporting research for an educator, especially a new and inexperienced one, to simply throw their weight behind. Don't ask your students to do homework without doing your own. Research your methods before putting them into practice. Find out what's behind them, what's supporting them, and how they should be used to the biggest advantage in the classroom. Without such information your newest instructional plan could be a huge failure. Don't follow fads and trends, look for rock solid evidence and implementation methods before making that big leap of bringing it into your classroom.


Grossen, B. (n.d). What Does It Mean To Be a Research-Based Profession? Retrieved March 8, 2007, from University of Oregon, Eugene Website: http://darkwing.uoregon.edu

Northwest Regional Education Laboratory. (2005). Research-Based Strategies. Retrieved March 5, 2007 from, Focus on Effectiveness Web site: http://www.netc.org/focus/strategies/

Reference research: business research and computer research and travel research and my bookmark page


วันอังคารที่ 9 พฤศจิกายน พ.ศ. 2553

research in motion

In every era of rapid human development, boundaries that previously were thought to be sacred, have been breached. Embryonic stem cell research is no different. The controversy arises because there is experimentation on living tissue, and some would claim that this brings pain to tissue that already has human life.

This debate rages between those that claim that the good of some cannot be gained by the pain of others. So, currently, the financial resources needed for research are limited because it is a hot issue. To think debate whether government should pay for it, is a delicate topic! It’s not good for election results.

Traditionally, taxes are paid to a government with the intent that the it makes decisions for the group, ensure the safety and wellbeing of the group and spend the accrued money on anything that the people cannot provide for themselves individually. While some would argue that this safety and wellbeing only encompasses the invasion of other countries (war), others would argue that it includes a broad spectrum of services that enhance and contribute to human beings. Ergo, embryonic stem cell research, which would provide healing for many with conditions such as Alzheimer's, 68 different cancers, auto-immune disease and healing the heart muscle, should seriously be considered as a candidate for government funding. Research, currently, is limited as a result of a short supply of. Much needs to be done and the sooner it is done, the more grief and pain will be prevented.

One of the great fears of the general populace that would discourage the government from funding stem cell research is the fear of cloning, that it would increase the difference that already exists between the haves and have-nots. If this fear can be overcome, and the benefits of stem cell research can be sold more positively. Resistance to it might fade. I have found that reasoning attributed to religious strong points often fade in the face of obvious benefits (with no accompanying negatives).

The Big Question
The greatest reason why the government should fund it is that governments were created to act as leaders for the group and to bring to the group those services which individuals cannot provide as a result of lack of sufficient individual resources.

In this instance, however, the question is whether business or government should provide the finance. Perhaps, there’s more than one solution. Perhaps, the government can provide some financial input in return for a portion of the profits. Perhaps, when research is complete, the research company would donate a certain percentage of its new technology to those that live ‘beneath the breadline’.

While, in many instances, health is a personal responsibility, it is unfortunate that few human beings have the capacity to live the way that optimal life styles demand. Illness is, therefore, always a probability or possibility. If governments were created to look after the wellbeing of the people, government should seriously consider investing in research that brings healing to humanity.

Reference research: business research and health research and shopping research and my bookmark page

All Webboard Topic

วันศุกร์ที่ 5 พฤศจิกายน พ.ศ. 2553

research chemicals

The similarities between scientific research and criminal investigation are the search for the conclusion or a cause of the effect. Both scientists and criminal investigators are specially trained in their field of practice. They tend to use similar methods of research and investigation the cause. Scientists as well as investigators both observe the surroundings, the facts, the areas involved in the research or investigations. They classify the data into categories this can be as simple as determining if it is valid or not valid. There is the use of logic, the formation of a hypothesis or a theory as to why and what has occurred. Both sides must link information together to prove their hypothesis or conclusions. Both scientists and criminal investigators work in a systemic method which seeks accurate answers, not general conclusions.

So how can you tell which is which? It's not really that difficult once you understand the basic principles. Scientific research is a type of investigation which is systemic and basis its research on scientific methods which have been used in the past, and in relation to the scientific field. This type of research can be described as well organized, methodical, and precise. Scientists begin with an idea, a theory or a hypothesis. Scientists begin with an observation or description about what they intend to study/research. From these observations they form a hypothesis to explain their subject. They use the hypothesis to predict what may happen in the course of the research. The scientist begins to experiment or run tests based on their predictions about the hypothesis. They may also collect data about their observations to show that the hypothesis is either valid or not.
Criminal investigations begin with gathering documents and information. They begin to evaluate the facts about the events, or the crime. They use a systemic method to observe the details of the crime, as in who what where when why and how. They begin to piece things together, by assembling the facts and determining if the evidence gathered is useful or not. The hypothesis begins to form at this point which helps to link all the information gathered to the crime. The hypothesis in this sense is used to create a theory as to what happened, and the ability to define what has occurred. The hypothesis is an important part of the criminal investigation. The reason is that the investigator must prove or disprove the theory/hypothesis. Even more important for the investigator is to find the missing pieces, that are not ready available at the time. The investigator must be able to draw conclusions about the events but they must also be able to prove that the events did in fact occur.

Reference research: finance research and health research and travel research and my social page

social bookmark

วันพุธที่ 3 พฤศจิกายน พ.ศ. 2553

What is a Niche Blog?

365.14 (Blogging) by kpwerker

Note: This is designed for WordPress 2.9. The general idea will work for previous versions of WordPress, the exact line number might be different.

There might be a time when you want to post an entry with double hyphens. However, WordPress wants to show items containing more than one hyphen in a row as a solid line. This is not the desired affect you are after. Thank goodness there is a way to disable this from happening blog wide.

Perhaps you want to display the tag as I did in the post on using it to only show a selected excerpt on your blogs main page. To allow for this types of situations to take place, we will look at the file where the replacement takes place.


Line 56 - $static_characters = array_merge(array('---', ' -- ', '--', ' - ', 'xn--', '...', '"', ''s', ''", ' ™'), $cockney);

Line 57 - $static_replacements = array_merge(array('—', ' — ', '-', ' - ', 'xn--', '...', $opening_quote, ''s', $closing_quote, ' ™'), $cockneyreplace);

The first part of the lines above contain the items that are to be converted. We are interested in the first three items. Remove them and the result will be:

$static_characters = array_merge(array('xn-', '...', '"', ''s', ''", ' ™'), $cockney);

$static_characters = array_merge(array(' - ', 'xn--', '...', '"', ''s', ''", ' ™'), $cockney);
$static_replacements = array_merge(array(' - ', 'xn--', '...', $opening_quote, ''s', $closing_quote, ' ™'), $cockneyreplace);

Save the file and re-upload it to your blog. Now when you enter more than one hyphen in a row in a blog post, they will be display correctly.

Source article: how to create a free blog and Business Blogger and Blogging Hosting and Writing Journals and Writing Journal

วันอาทิตย์ที่ 31 ตุลาคม พ.ศ. 2553

research medical center

Shwachman-Diamond America awards grants up to $10,000 for Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome Research. Some larger grants are also available through this 501 (c) 3 non-profit group. Shwachman-Diamond America not only supports Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome research, but it also supports Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome Education.

Shwachman-Diamond America's Mission:
  • Fund and promote research in all aspects of SDS.
  • Disseminate current medical literature to families and physicians.
  • Help fund the biennial International Congress on SDS.
  • Facilitate the development of a medical management plan.
  • Promote parent education through a family support network.

If you are a researcher and are interested in submitting a grant proposal for an Alex Turnquist Memorial Research Grant, the following are the guidelines:

Shwachman-Diamond America awards Alex Turnquist Memorial Research grants up to $10,000. Grant proposals are accepted throughout the year. SDA does not have a grant request form.

Shwachman-Diamond America requires that the grant proposal be in writing and include the following:
  1. Name of Applicant, Principal investigator, project title and summary of proposed investigation (include specific aims, significance and background, any preliminary studies...)
  2. A detailed description of your hypothesis/hypotheses and proposed methodologies
  3. Relevance of the research to Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome
  4. Biographical information on the principal investigator and co-principal investigator, if relevant
  5. A detailed budget sheet (grants are available up to $10,000)
  6. Statement of facilities available
  7. A starting date for the project

General Conditions for the Awarding of Alex Turnquist Memorial Research Grants:
  1. The board wishes to receive periodic progress reports. They need not be lengthy. These reports will help Shwachman-Diamond America give updates to our donors, allow evaluation of progress by our medical advisor and assist SDA in future fundraising efforts.
  2. Any publications distributed as a result of your research should give proper reference to Shwachman-Diamond America.

You can submit a grant proposal by emailing the Word or PDF file to: shwachmandiamondamerica@embarqmail.com or via regular mail:

Shwachman-Diamond America

931-B South Main Street #332

Kernersville, NC 27284

If you need more information, you can visit the Shwachman-Diamond America website or contact Pattie Curran at 336-423-8158.

What is Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome?

Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome (SDS), first described in 1964, is a rare, genetic (autosomal recessive), multi-systemic disorder affecting the pancreas, bone marrow, and skeleton. The most common symptoms are pancreatic dysfunction (malabsorption), low neutrophil count and short stature. Other organs may also be involved in some SDS patients. Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome affects people differently and not all people with SDS have all of these symptoms. In Infancy, the first symptoms are usually loose, foul smelling, greasy stools and failure to gain weight and grow normally. The pancreas fails to produce the enzymes essential to digest food properly. Because of the exocrine pancreatic dysfunction (malabsorption), the child does not absorb enough nutrients, most commonly the fat-soluble vitamins, to grow and develop normally. Oral enzyme replacement therapy helps these children to digest their food, but many still need to take special vitamin supplements. Improving nutritional status does not necessarily improve the growth of children with Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome.

The bone marrow, where blood cells are produced, is also affected in Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome. White blood cells, which fight infection, are most commonly affected. Neutropenia is the most common hematological abnormality in SDS, though all blood cell lines may be affected. Anemia and blood clotting problems are also common in SDS patients. Because of the bone marrow dysfunction, these children are at a greater risk of developing life-threatening infections. Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome is considered to be a bone marrow failure syndrome, because up to 30% of these children will develop leukemia or aplastic anemia.

Reference research: beauty research and computer research and sport research and my bookmark page


วันเสาร์ที่ 30 ตุลาคม พ.ศ. 2553

stem cell research

The late actor Christopher Reeve was a tireless advocate of stem cell research in the last decade of his life. Paralyzed from the neck down by a horseback riding accident in 1995, Reeve dedicated his considerable talents and impressive network of powerful allies to attempt to drive forward stem cell research into the reparation of spinal cord injuries and disorders. Despite his continued acting and directing, advocacy of stem cell research became his primary professional and political focus until his death from heart attack in October 2004, nearly ten years after the accident that paralyzed him.

Reeve held an absolute, unwavering belief that the answers to irreversible spinal cord damage lay in the utilization of this controversial potential therapy. He was undaunted by his own physical limitations when fighting for enhancement of government funding into stem cell research, rather, he used his condition as an extremely effective tool when presenting his case to legislative bodies, funding organizations, and media outlets.

Is it possible that the fruits of the efforts of Christopher Reeve, and those working with him to keep stem cell research on the front burners of scientific discovery and legislative calendars, are finally finding themselves ready to be collected? Perhaps not quite, but this week there is evidence that seeds have at long last been planted that may soon grow into the trees of knowledge that may bare those fruits. And, with a little luck, those trees may grow swiftly.

Exciting new evidence about the viability of stem cell therapy for the treatment of patients living with paralysis has just been published by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University Medical School. In a study published in Annals of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Neurological Association, researchers led by Dr. Douglas Kerr studied rats that had been paralyzed and then injected with embryonic stem cells from mice. The resulting study showed that 11 of the 15 mice treated with the therapy regained significant mobility and motor function in the paralyzed limbs.

In light of this groundbreaking research, and the potential that this unprecedented study has to spark new life into the contentious and often avoided political bugaboo, could a change in the public and political response to the stem cell question be at hand? The push called for by Christopher Reeve and others for increased government funding for stem cell research may have been waiting for a banner breakthrough that could infuse skittish governmental and corporate agencies with a little more nerve. Several public interest groups and private religious organizations have effectively made the issue of stem cell research such a political hot potato that advancements have been seriously crippled by the nervous politicians’ slow response to requests for research funding. Could the work of researchers like Dr. Kerr provide that “ah ha!” moment that will nudge the reticent voters into a more corporeal and vocal support of the research efforts?

Governmental funding for stem cell research is supported by a majority of U.S. citizens. In an August 2005 Gallup Poll, in responding to the question "do you think the federal government should or should not fund research that would use newly created stem cells obtained from human embryos?" 56% of people responded that they should, while only 40% responded that they should not. One month earlier, in a poll conducted by CBS News, when asked “do you approve or disapprove of medical research using embryonic stem cells?” 56% of respondents indicated that they approved, while only 30% responded in the negative.

The work of Dr. Kerr and his associates at Johns Hopkins has been on the stem cell radar for several years now. In a 2001 interview with CNN, Christopher Reeve discussed his optimism for the research being conducted, and reiterated his concern about the effects of lackluster governmental funding for their work.

“What a couple of researchers did recently is proof of principle, which is very, very important,” said Reeve. “It was Dr. Gerhard and Dr. Kerr at Johns Hopkins, and they were able to inject mice or rats with a virus, which simulates ALS. They then injected human embryonic stem cells. Then, over a period of time, the progression of deterioration was stopped, and all the rats showed recovery of function,” he stated.

“Now, that is proof, because some people say, well, we don't know what embryonic stem cells can do; it's never been proven. Well, that's a huge first step,” continued Reeve. “And of course we won't know what they can do until we go and do the work. But the work must not be stopped, absolutely.”

That research described by Reeve in the CNN interview has now advanced to the point that researchers have been able to stimulate the reconnection of the muscles to the spinal cord with the embryonic stem cells of mice.

Still, political trepidation continues. Despite the impressive polling numbers in favor of stem cell research, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005, introduced the year after Christopher Reeve’s death, has been stalled in the U.S. senate for nearly a year. The bill, which would lift many of the current limitations on stem cell research that currently slow down the progress of the research and restrict the money the government puts into it, has polled incredibly well, and garnered strong bi-partisan support at its introduction.

In May 2006, the American Diabetes Association, who, like Christopher Reeve and other paralysis patients, also has a strong interest in stem cell research, spoke out about the lag time in passing the bill. The ADA publicly admonished the U.S. Senate for dragging its feet, and demanded to know just when the bill would be passed.

If Christopher Reeve were alive today to see the most recent results of the work of Dr. Kerr and his associates at Johns Hopkins, he would certainly be encouraged by current advancement in stem cell research, despite the lackluster funding and slow response to stem cell legislation. Now that advancements in the research are more tangible, perhaps the funding restrictions will be loosened and the work of advocates like Christopher Reeve will be honored. Should that happen, the reversal of paralysis due to spinal cord injuries and disorders may be closer at hand. The new research out of Johns Hopkins has certainly taken us several steps closer.

Reference research: research Dr. and home research and general research and recent update

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