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Transparent Fish Lead to Stem Cell Research Breakthrough

Stem_Cell_Brad Re:Embreyonic stem sells (33 comments)

You may be a bit behind the most recent development. ES cells can be differentiated and substantially engraft into monkey hearts. See http://seattletimes.com/html/l.... Can adult stem cells perform similarly well?

about two weeks ago
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George Lucas Selects Chicago For the Star Wars Museum

Stem_Cell_Brad Re:Is there any 'value' to Star Wars? (98 comments)

Wrong

My 5 year old boy and 7 year old girl freakin love Star Wars.They have watched and rewatched all six movies.

Most of their little friends love Star Wars, too. Take a look at toy stores, and you fill find sections of Star Wars junk, indicating the continued interest among youngsters..

Star Wars.has already been "passed down" to the next generation.

about 2 months ago
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Open-Source Hardware For Neuroscience

Stem_Cell_Brad Re:medical devices directive (41 comments)

I don't think this is as big of a problem as you do.

Regardless of the instrument's origin (bought for big $ from company or open source built), scientists are going to run positive controls. It's a common practice for GOOD experiments. In this case, apply treatment X to a mouse, and you should see response Y as measured by the instrument. If you don't see response Y in the positive control, you cannot trust experimental results. If the positive control give expected results, then reviewers have little choice but to accept the experimental result.

You need to do the same thing for fancypants commercial instruments to make certain they are working properly, operated properly, and the rest of the experimental variables (the mice, the treatment) are as expected.

Bottom line is that if the homebrew instruments work reliably for the positive controls, they will be easily accepted.

about 3 months ago
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Key Researcher Agrees To Retract Disputed Stem Cell Papers

Stem_Cell_Brad Re:"Rigorous" peer-review ahahahahahaha (61 comments)

Yeah, peer review is a horrible system. The only thing it has going for it is that it is better than other method of assessing these sorts of things.

about 3 months ago
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Key Researcher Agrees To Retract Disputed Stem Cell Papers

Stem_Cell_Brad Re:Fabricated results (61 comments)

I think this is the explanation. The lead author convinced herself that the procedure worked. Apparently, she was rather easily convinced by her own ideas. In order to convince other scientists, she had to fabricate some results. Those fabricated results enabled publication of the papers through peer review.

The whole thing stinks. Let's say there is some merit to making pluripotent cells by stressing them with acid. Well, by lying about some of her results, the lead author essentially poisoned the whole area of research. She has made it difficult to now work on this topic because it will be overly scrutinized by any reviewer. Let say the whole idea is bogus. The lead author wasted time and energy of researchers around the world who are interested in this process.

Although this may be obvious. The lesson is just never make up data. It is so myopic to think that you will benefit in any REAL way.

about 3 months ago
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4K Displays Ready For Prime Time

Stem_Cell_Brad Re:Samsung UD590 is nice... (207 comments)

I got the Seiki 39in too. It replaced a set of dual displays. The single huge monitor changed the way I work and has allowed me to better utilize screen space. Plus, I enjoy all of the "Oohh that's a big monitor." comments from people as they enter my office.

about 2 months ago
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Wikipedia Medical Articles Found To Have High Error Rate

Stem_Cell_Brad Re:Osteopath cred? (200 comments)

Not really. Osteopathy works for neck, back and other musculo-skeletal problems. For someone who wants to medically help people, it makes sense to seek this knowledge in addition to the allopathic MD curriculum.

Now, there are some other aspects of the training, like cranial therapy, which have not been proven to be effective. You can call practitioners of these types of therapies quacks. Fine with me. But, most DOs never draw from that part of their training when they actually go to the clinic. To condemn someone as a quack because they sought useful training that included some non-useful aspects - that doesn't make much sense.

about 3 months ago
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Wikipedia Medical Articles Found To Have High Error Rate

Stem_Cell_Brad Re:Osteopath cred? (200 comments)

Didn't mean to call you a name. The AC was the twit, as his example was given for homeopathy, which is complete bullshit witchcraft.

That said, I respectfully disagree with your point of view.

I know dozens of MDs and DOs. I teach at a medical school and know curriculum at Osteopathy schools. Many DOs take the American Medical Association tests for their board exams. As far as I can tell, they are essentially the same with the exception that DOs get an osteopathic manipulation training.

Now, I am not going to argue that the osteopathic manipulations work for non-musculoskeletal problems.

But, I will argue that the person is not some quack just because they got training in osteopathy.

about 3 months ago
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Wikipedia Medical Articles Found To Have High Error Rate

Stem_Cell_Brad Re:Osteopath cred? (200 comments)

You conflate Osteopathy with Homeopathy, you twit. Doctors of Osteopathy (at least in the US anyways) are essentially the same as MDs.

about 3 months ago
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Americans Uncomfortable With Possibility of Ubiquitous Drones, Designer Babies

Stem_Cell_Brad Re:Designer babies (155 comments)

I think genetic engineering is definitely within a lifetime. We have been making genetic changes in the germline of mice for over 25 years. It was horribly inefficient for about 23 of those years. Now, it is fairly easy with RNA Guided Nucleases like CRISPR/Cas9. We are starting to develop treatments for diseases based on engineering somatic cells in adults. Going to germline modification in the human will take some technological developmental and refinements. But, it is not a large conceptual step to go to from genome editing in mice to humans.

about 4 months ago
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Americans Uncomfortable With Possibility of Ubiquitous Drones, Designer Babies

Stem_Cell_Brad Re:Designer babies (155 comments)

Actually, editing the genome is not that far off. We do it in mice and other animals with ease. A recent discovery of CRISPR/Cas9 RNA Guided Nucleases make it a remarkably trivial procedure.

In GATTACA, embryos were screened for beneficial alleles, and the one deemed to be "best" were implanted. This is different than actually editing an embryo's genome.

about 4 months ago
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Americans Uncomfortable With Possibility of Ubiquitous Drones, Designer Babies

Stem_Cell_Brad Why fear designer babies? (155 comments)

OK, I get that it is currently a bad idea to try to clone humans or modify an embryo's DNA. We essentially do not yet know how do it with an acceptable safety. So, the process is likely to cause harm to humans, and is wrong.

But eventually, it will be safe and probably fairly easy.

At that point, what is wrong with eliminating a mutation in an embryo to prevent a disease during subsequent adulthood. And if there is nothing wrong with that, then what is wrong with making a change to make the eventual adult a smarter person?

about 4 months ago
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In a Cloning First, Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adults

Stem_Cell_Brad Re:Have their findings been independently reproduc (43 comments)

While "fundies" may like the results that human ES cells are not used as much because of cellular reprogramming, they played absolutely no helpful role in "forcing" iPS research or any type of reprogramming research for that matter. Trying to block useful ES cell research is not the same as stimulating reprogramming research. The reprogramming research was initiated by and made possible by the scientists who were interested in the concepts and by the funding agencies that supported their efforts.

about 4 months ago
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In a Cloning First, Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adults

Stem_Cell_Brad Re:Have their findings been independently reproduc (43 comments)

Private sector is not willing or able to put in the time and funding needed to perform necessary basic research. It just takes too much time, risk, and money for a company to support the basic biological research, which is what generates the big discoveries.

Basic research (not applied or "translationsal research) in biology leads to knowledge and new techniques. It is not feasible to make a profit off of these unless you can keep the knowledge a secret up to the point of it leading to a product. By definition, for basic research the lag time and uncertainty between investment in research and conversion to a profit making product is too great to realistically expect even large companies to absorb.

Look at the giant drug companies. They have huge research budgets. But, they can support only research that is directly applied to diseases, and only those diseases that will make a profit.

about 4 months ago
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U.S. Biomedical Research 'Unsustainable' Prominent Researchers Warn

Stem_Cell_Brad Re:Empty summary (135 comments)

Exactly. It is not the amount of funding per se, but the way it is given out that is the bigger problem. It is given in 4-5yr spans to labs. even worse, NIH budget changes every year, so their long term planning is usually screwed every year. Reducing the number of PhD students and mandating promotions to staff scientists would work only if funds are stable for a given lab.

about 4 months ago
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U.S. Biomedical Research 'Unsustainable' Prominent Researchers Warn

Stem_Cell_Brad Re:Another thing (135 comments)

Thanks for that perspective njnnja. I would mod up if I had points. Unfortunately, from reading comments on slashdot, it appears that many people don't quite get that putting money into biomedical research is a way of increasing human health or moving toward that "pill that keeps our bodies younger longer."

about 4 months ago
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U.S. Biomedical Research 'Unsustainable' Prominent Researchers Warn

Stem_Cell_Brad Re:The problem is that too much of it is state bas (135 comments)

You bring up an interesting example. But, you should consider that there is a fundamental difference between engineering and research. The article was written by highly successful researchers with experience with policy making. I agree with their perspective. From the article,

"Competition in pursuit of experimental objectives has always been a part of the scientific enterprise, and it can have positive effects. However, hypercompetition for the resources and positions that are required to conduct science suppresses the creativity, cooperation, risk-taking, and original thinking required to make fundamental discoveries."

I think the difference in engineering (building and designing new things from what is already known) and research (trying to figure out stuff that nobody knows) requires different types of support for success. Stability is the key for research to encourage intellectual risk-taking. The problem with the current funding situation is that it stifles innovation and the really basic research. The big ideas are frequently wrong and non productive, but when they are correct, they move biomedical research forward much more than all the short term projects combined.

Finally consider that research is shared knowledge. New insights must be shared for them to be useful. This is different from engineering, where a design or product can be protected and inventors can profit from its use by others.

about 4 months ago
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Ancient Virus DNA Discovery Could Be a Breakthrough In How Diseases Are Treated

Stem_Cell_Brad the in vitro problem (53 comments)

We should be careful in attributing an effect of viruses observed on human embryonic stem cells to an important role on human embryogenesis and evolution. ES cells are grown in tissue culture conditions, which are related to embryonic conditions, but are not the same. Without knowing the mechanism whereby HERV-H affects ES cell self renewal, it seems just as likely that it is due to some artifact of cell culture as it is due to an effect of evolution.

about 5 months ago
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Scientists Publish Letter Saying, "We Need More Scientific Mavericks"

Stem_Cell_Brad Re:I'm the GP of this thread (126 comments)

Sure your comment discusses students. The article in no way does. The article makes salient points about how to support mavericks in science. You do not. Read the article. I'm done.

about 5 months ago

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