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Gene Therapy Converts Heart Cells Into "Biological Pacemakers"

Japie_H Re:It's a start (26 comments)

This does work in complete heartblock. They injected their adenoviral construct into the right ventricle, in fact they tested this approach in pigs with complete heartblock (as per title of the paper).

Having said that, this is not the first time (or the only approach for which there is prove of principle) to create a biological pacemaker in big animals. And there are many considerations to take into account, a basic one is the different sequence of cardiac activation and how this influences pump function. With an electronic pacemaker you can reposition the lead, program it differently (timing, pulse strength etc.), but with gene-therapy you just have to hope for the best. Also, cloning a sinoatrial node/AV-node is not a simple matter as they are both highly complex structures, composed of multiple cell types. While definitely interesting gene therapy approaches to create a biological pacemaker have a long way to go.

about 6 months ago

Sleep Is the Ultimate Brainwasher

Japie_H Re:Extremely variable sleeping periods (210 comments)

A quote from the accompanying editorial:

"Sleep is universal among vertebrates (9) and has been found in invertebrates (9, 10). The total number of hours of daily sleep varies from as much as 20 hours in bats to as little as 3 to 4 hours in giraffes and elephants (8, 11)—and there is currently no reasonable physiological hypothesis to explain this variation (11).Because CSF perfusion of the interstitial space is limited to the surface of the brain during waking, and brain volume increases faster than brain surface area [even with the folding of the cortical surface (12)], larger brains should have a relatively larger volume of interstitial space to “buffer” the accumulation of sleep-driving molecules, and thus might be able to withstand much longer periods of waking before the inevitable switch to the waste-clearing state of sleep occurs. If only neuroscientists could easily bring live, large-brained animals to the lab." (emphasis mine)

about a year ago

Universal Flu Vaccine "Blueprint" Discovered

Japie_H Re:why universal? (100 comments)

From there abstract (I'm not at work so I don't have access to the full text at the moment) they don't claim to have found a universal vaccine.

What is important to know is that many virusses (including influenza) have a core containing the genomic material and a protective envelop. The immune system can make antibodies to both the protective envelop and the proteins of the core. The different strains of influenza (H1N1, H5N1 etc.) are classified based on 2 proteins on the envelop of the virus (wiki link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Influenzavirus_A)

The authors followed a group of people during the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. They found that when healthy naive individuals got infected with pH1N1 (i.e. people without antibodies against H1N1, which is taken to mean that they have never been infected before with H1N1) indivuduals with antibodies against the core proteins of another influenza strain did not get as sick as individuals who did not have such cross reactivity of their antibodies.

This may guide vaccine development to target core proteins, but it is by no means a blueprint for a universal vaccine (and the idea to target core proteins in vaccins is not new either)

about a year ago

Most Doctors Don't Think Patients Need Full Access To Med Records

Japie_H Re:Conspiracy! (659 comments)

In the Netherlands every patient has a right to a copy of his medical files (it's your data!), except for 'notes' that you can apply to the patient files. These notes are however supposed to be personal and not to be shared among docters.

Furthermore if your patient is an addict you should mention it in his/her medical files. But on the other hand, in the Netherlands we don't have the whole claim culture; even if a patient files a lawsuit, if you can explain why you think the patient is an addict you'll never get convicted. There is always a risk of damage to your relation with the patient, but that is just how it is.

If you're recommending expensive tests just because you deserve to get your ass handed to you in court.

about 2 years ago

Why You Shouldn't Write Off Google+ Just Yet

Japie_H Re:Google What? (286 comments)

I've configured noscript (ABE to be precise) to only allow facebook.com and fbcdn.net when I'm visiting facebook.com :
Site .facebook.com .fbcdn.net
Accept from .facebook.com .fbcdn.net

I believe ghostery does something similar out of the box as well.

more than 2 years ago

'Mein Kampf' To Be Republished In Germany

Japie_H Re:The English version is good for this (462 comments)

They did not only make assumptions about Hitler, but early on they (The French, British and also Americans) did not disagree that much with the German eugenics practice. There were even articles published in respected medical journals in which American doctors decried that they were lagging behind Germany with respect to forced sterilisation. See for example: Eugenic Sterilization and a Qualified Nazi Analogy: The United States and Germany, 1930-1945 (sadly behind a paywall)

In the eugenics program they first sterilized and later developed methods to mass murder "disabled" people. (with gas, first with carbon mono-oxide from exhausts later with the pesticide Zyclon-B) They later used the methods of the eugenics program in the concentration camps as part of the final solution.

more than 2 years ago

Doctors "Fire" Vaccine Refusers

Japie_H Re:Seems reasonable.. (1271 comments)

I'm almost a doctor and as a doctor you have a moral (and depending where you live, a legal) obligation to treat people. Just because they don't agree with everything you say does not give you the right to refuse treatment. I do think it's a stupid (and amoral since you children are too young to choose for themselves) decision to deny them the benefit of modern science. However, people smoke around their kids as well and give them crappy food. Both of those have more damaging effects than not vaccinating (as long as the majority of people is still vaccinated at least) and we still give care to them. [br] In the Netherlands we have a special arrangement that in the case of parents that don't want a blood transfusion for their child because of religious beliefs and the doctor thinks the child needs it, the parents are temporarily deprived of parental authority untill the procedure is done. After which the parental authority is returned. I believe most parents are actually happy with this arrangement since their child survives and they did not decide against their religion.

more than 2 years ago

Gut Bacteria Can Control Diabetes

Japie_H Re:so (271 comments)

One of the reasons is that almost all bacteria you ingest (by pill, normal food or special yoghurt) die when they come in to contact with the stomach acid. Which makes the pills and yoghurt quite pointless!

about 3 years ago

White House Pressuring Registrars To Block Sites

Japie_H Re:Translation: Big Pharma is bleeding (569 comments)

You forget that it's not just about wheter or not the stuff you're buying will help you, it's also about wheter or not it will harm you because of inferior quality.

Good point about the cost of medicine in poorer countries. It's all about maximizing profit...

more than 4 years ago

Enlightenment Returns To Bring Ubuntu To ARM

Japie_H Re:not for long (198 comments)

While I agree that most effects are just fun for a couple of minutes (wobly windows, water drops etc., there are some compiz functions/plugins that I find quite usefull.
For example:
Scaled down versions of windows when you're alt tabbing
Being able to scale down a whole window (which I really like when I'm just looking for a pattern in a log file
and don't need to see the specifics
Scaling down all windows so that you can easily find the right terminal

While I don't think that most effects are very useful there are some effects that make you (or at least me) a bit more productive.

more than 4 years ago

Firefox To Replace Menus With Office Ribbon

Japie_H Re:the haters won't notice, but... (1124 comments)

Looks like they took some hints from the chromium developers, which I think is a good thing, I like the way chromium works. It's efficient how the address bar doubles as search bar (in firefox and opera I use a lot of custom searches) and the exclusion of a menu bar gives chromium an elegant look(except for the lack of integration with the rest of my desktop...).

more than 5 years ago

Swine Flu Kills Obese People Disproportionately

Japie_H Re:Well... yeh. (661 comments)

Eating slowly definitly helps you to eat less. Small bites and chew each bite 30 times (which is a lot...).

This is because the reaction of your body to your food takes a while to get going (something aroung 15-20 minutes). So you don't
feel like you've eaten untal 15 minutes after your first bite. Furthermore we have some sort of "bite counter" so
taking lots of small bites and chewing each of them very well not only increases your eating time, but also
your bite counter. You'll also be able te taste what your eating a whole lot better

Losing weight is a very hard problem, look at the sheer amount of diets there are. It's a pity none of them work.
The only thing that will cause you to lose weight and not regain it is a lifestyle change. When your're on a diet
and eating very little your body goes into survival mode and holds on to everything you eat. The results of this
is that after the diet you're body is still in survival mode and you'll regain the weight you lost really fast.

more than 5 years ago

HIV/AIDS Vaccine To Begin Phase I Human Trials

Japie_H Re:Is this it? (329 comments)

That depends on whether it is of human origin or not. If there are animal carriers it will not disappear. But the number of infected people
(especially in countries where the animal carrier does not live) will drop drastically.

There is however another risk and that is recklessness, if the chance of getting HIV gets very low (or lower, if you live in the western
world and look at the infection rate) there is a danger that people will stop being
carefull. There are already reports that people are taking less care because of improved treatment.

Furthermore as others pointed out this is just a Phase I trail, just to see whether you can actually administer the drug
in therapeutic dosages to patients without killing them and to assess parameters like the half life etc.

more than 5 years ago

Being Slightly Overweight May Lead To Longer Life

Japie_H Re:BMI is worthless (383 comments)

Not necessarily wrong, it's just not suitable for everybody. But is is fast and correlates quite well with diseases.

Having said that there are better measures like waist circumference which do not have the problem with "false positives" like
BMI has. Furthermore waist circumference correlates better with e.g. diabetes. It's not only the amount of fat that counts,
the location is also important. Abdominal fat is a larger risk factor than fat on your legs for example.

more than 5 years ago

Student Who Released Code From Assignments Accused of Cheating

Japie_H Re:Teachers wrong here (333 comments)

By posting his assignments, even after the due dates, he may be influencing his fellow students in the follow on assignments.

I really don't see anything wring with influencing your felllow students. Learning from each other is as valuable (maybe even more valuable) than learning from a book or teacher. Assuming that he did not do things the wrong way. But even if he did things the wrong way you could discuss what is wrong about his implementation and why it is wrong. Those discussions can be very helpful (whether you're explaining or trying to understand why it is wrong)

I think that the focus should not be on secrecy, it should be on openness. In the end every student is(should) there be there because they want to learn something and they should realize that by copying the work of someone they are going to get in trouble later on. Students will talk to each other and assignments that change very little will be shared anyway, so you'll might as well be open about it and motivate the students to do their own work and stimulate them to work together. That way you'll develop the skills to work together; have more fun because you can share your frustration of not knowing how to handle a certain problem (and finding out that your friends can't either) and you'll learn more because you're enjoying yourself.

more than 5 years ago

Teen Diagnoses Her Own Disease In Science Class

Japie_H Re:Surprised? (582 comments)

Wonder how they missed it (granulomas are relatively "easy" to spot). During lectures from pathology they would always show slides and point out a million different things only visible to them!

That said Crohn's disease is really nasty because it is a transmural (contrary to ulcerative collitis in which "only" the upper layer is inflamed) and can occur throughout the whole digestive tract (from mouth to anus...) Quite a lot of patients need repetitive surgery to remove inflamed intestine.

As other pointed out as well most of the symptoms are common which makes it a difficult to diagnose (cause you can't put every patient trough a endoscopy, for financial, patient well being and capacity reasons).

There are off course typical cases but most patients do not have the decency to stick to the symptoms they should have according to the text book ;)

more than 5 years ago

MS Word 2010 Takes On TeX

Japie_H Re:Apples to Oranges (674 comments)

LyX is OK, but I find that Kile suits my needs better. Is has a couple of really nice features like quickbuilds, autocomplete from a bibtex file and an easy way to include environments. It's very extensible and customizable as well.

I especially like it that it does not hide the code from you so that it doesn't get in your way.

more than 5 years ago


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