Category Archives: Biology

Teleportation of consciousness rediscovered

Experiments by researchers at the Karolinksa Institutet in Sweden show that it is possible to rather easily trick the mind’s sense of self into leaving the body. Given visual cues and physical sensations of the right timing your brain will ‘teleport’ what you experience as ‘you’ into space, into a complete stranger or even into a mannequin.  This can… Read More »

Bacteria can Shrink Tumors

If there is a microbial cause for cancers, and especially if certain microbes disable the human immune system in some way, then using other microbes to trigger the body’s immune system makes sense. In the 1890s, a New York surgeon named William Coley tested a radical cancer treatment. He took a hypodermic needle teeming with… Read More »

Scientists discover bees of the sea

For the first time, researchers have found evidence that underwater ecosystems have pollinators that perform the same task as bees on land. Just like their terrestrial cousins, grasses under the sea shed pollen to sexually reproduce. Until now, biologists assumed the marine plants relied on water alone to spread their genes far and wide. But… Read More »

Fighting superbug bacteria with other bacteria

Want to save 10 million people? Find a solution to superbugs. … If things keep going as they are, antibiotic-resistant superbugs are expected to kill 10 million people by 2050, and so far, we have no solution. But researchers have found that we could actually fight fire with fire – a predatory bacterium has been… Read More »

Meditation Improves Brain Function

There is mounting evidence from researchers at leading research institutions about the benefits of meditation for brain health and function. One of the latest series of studies, from researchers at Harvard, was explained at length in the Washington Post. The short story – meditation improves brain function and grows the brain in important ways. Sara… Read More »

Scientists Create First Lab-grown Limb

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have taken the first step toward developing artificial, lab-grown limbs, building a rat forelimb with functioning vascular and muscular tissue. This experimental approach could be applied to the limbs of primates – creating replacement limbs suitable for transplantation, a challenge because of the composite nature of limbs. “Limbs contain… Read More »

Woman sees dragon faces

A 52-year-old woman whose rare condition was reported in The Lancet suffered from hallucinations that caused her to see human faces as dragons. “She could perceive and recognize actual faces, but after several minutes they turned black, grew long, pointy ears and a protruding snout, and displayed a reptiloid skin and huge eyes in bright… Read More »

Video: The Chemistry of Love

Here’s a summary of some science of love, from one biological perspective. Love is a mechanism nature uses to ensure that we reproduce and that our offspring survive. The chemicals involved in our brains can make losing love one of the most painful emotional experiences we can have as human beings. Many people have died… Read More »

Gut microbes predict undernutrition

Gut microbes may predict whether or not children will suffer undernutrition as they grow, according to a study with twins in Malawi. Tens of trillions of microbes live in the gut, where they synthesize vitamins and process nutrients in the diet to keep the body healthy. These microbes and their genes, collectively known as the… Read More »

The only known dwarf who grew to be a giant

Adam Rainer (1899 — 4 March 1950) is the only person in recorded history to have been both a dwarf and a giant. Rainer was born in Graz, Austria-Hungary. In 1917, at age 18, he was measured at 122.55 cm (4 ft 0.25 in). A typical defining characteristic of dwarfism is an adult height below… Read More »

Video: Common blood pressure drug reverses diabetes in mice

New research conducted at UAB has shown that the common blood pressure drug verapamil completely reverses diabetes in animal models. Now, thanks to a three-year, $2.1 million grant from the JDRF, UAB researchers will begin conducting a potentially groundbreaking clinical trial in 2015 to see if it can do the same in humans. Update 2018:… Read More »

New hope for diabetics from babies who make too much insulin

Targeting a cell cycle inhibitor promotes beta cell replication One of the factors underlying the development of type 2 diabetes is loss of cell mass, resulting in decreased insulin production. Once lost, cell mass cannot be restored. In contrast, infants with focal hyperinsulinism of infancy exhibit rapid expansion of the cell mass due to a… Read More »

Vermont passes GMO labeling law

Senator David Zuckerman and Representative Carolyn Partridge describe the amazing efforts, which spanned more than a decade, resulting in this unprecedented, game-changing new law…. Here’s the quick facts: 1. Starting July 1, 2016, products sold in Vermont that contain more than 0.9% GMO content contamination will require a statement on the label indicating that genetic… Read More »

The Eagle Cam

Both cameras are equipped with infrared (IR) technology that allows viewing at night. This light spectrum is outside the viewing range of both bald eagles and humans. When on location at night, no light source can be seen by the naked eye. In September 2013, our bald eagle couple returned to the Berry College campus… Read More »

The pink fairy armadillo of Argentina.

… in the deserts of Argentina. Here dwells the remarkable pink fairy armadillo (Chlamyphorus truncatus), a 5-inch-long, quarter-pound critter with a rosy shell atop silky white hair. This smallest of all armadillos spends almost its entire life burrowing through the earth, hunting various invertebrates and chewing up plant matter. It is a rarely seen, almost… Read More »

Spiders build sculptures of other spiders

Two species of spider have been discovered building life-like spider effigies from dead insects, leaves, & twigs. What’s remarkable is that one species is in Peru, the other in the Philippines. Scientists think the spider sculptures either help lure prey or scare off predators. Perhaps the spiders are just very lonely. Or even more disturbing,… Read More »

Caveman With Blue Eyes Shocks Scientists

Scientists examining the DNA of ancient remains find surprising new evidence of how early Europeans had dark skin and blue eyes. Image: An artist’s impression of the face of a 7,000-year-old man, reconstructed from his skeleton. His remains were discovered in a cold subterranean cave 5,000ft below sea level in the Cantabrian mountains of northwest… Read More »

Parasitic DNA proliferates in aging tissues

The genomes of organisms from humans to corn are replete with “parasitic” strands of DNA that, when not suppressed, copy themselves and spread throughout the genome, potentially affecting health. Earlier this year Brown University researchers found that these “retrotransposable elements” were increasingly able to break free of the genome’s control in cultures of human cells.… Read More »

Biologist discovers a new species, up his nose

Tony Goldberg, a US professor of pathobiological science, recently returned from an Africa research trip only to discover that a potentially new species of tick had come back with him hidden up his nose. “When you first realize you have a tick up your nose, it takes a lot of willpower not to claw your… Read More »

Surprising diversity in aging revealed in nature

For several species mortality increases with age — as expected by evolutionary scientists. This pattern is seen in most mammal species including humans and killer whales, but also in invertebrates like water fleas. However, other species experience a decrease in mortality as they age, and in some cases mortality drops all the way up to… Read More »

Your brain is eating itself constantly

A type of brain cell once thought to be little more than the neuron’s supportive sidekick may have a lead role in pruning the electrochemical connections that are crucial to brain development, learning, memory and cognition, a new study suggests. Astrocytes, a type of glial cell, turn out to be veritable Pac-men, steadily gobbling up… Read More »

Seahorses stalk their prey by stealth

The beautiful creatures are famously bad swimmers, but they have a secret weapon to sneak up on their prey. Their peculiar snouts are shaped to create very few ripples in the water, effectively cloaking them as they creep up and pounce on tiny crustaceans. To their victims, seahorses are more like sea monsters, say scientists… Read More »

Mushrooms ‘Make Wind’ to Spread Spores

Many once thought that mushrooms spread by passively dropping their spores, after which the reproductive packets would hopefully get picked up by a gust of wind, and carried thither and yon. But new research shows mushrooms take a more active role in spreading their seed: They “make wind” to carry their spores about, said UCLA… Read More »

Ethical debate on face transplantation has evolved over time

Once viewed as an “outlandish morally objectionable” concept with science-fiction overtones, face transplantation is now accepted as a “feasible and necessary treatment” for severely disfigured patients. The evolving ethical debate over face transplantation is analyzed in a special topic paper in the December issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery†, the official medical journal of the… Read More »

Colossal new predatory dino terrorized early tyrannosaurs

This is an illustration of Siats meekerorum. Credit: Jorge GonzalesA new species of carnivorous dinosaur — one of the three largest ever discovered in North America — lived alongside and competed with small-bodied tyrannosaurs 98 million years ago. This newly discovered species, Siats meekerorum, (pronounced see-atch) was the apex predator of its time, and kept… Read More »