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Archive for the ‘biosciences’ Category

skeletonThe Anatomage Table is the most technologically advanced anatomy visualization system for anatomy education and is being adopted by many of the world’s leading medical schools and institutions. Jack Choi lectures on the development of the table and some of the remarkable features it displays. St Mary’s Hospital in London has become the first hospital in Europe to purchase a digital anatomy table. It is changing the way surgeons teach anatomy, and even how they plan real operations.

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banana_slug_thumbThe Encyclopedia of Life has an ambitious mission statement to increase awareness and understanding of living nature through a resource that gathers, generates, and shares knowledge in an open, freely accessible and trusted digital resource. They remain committed to bringing you information on all organisms, as they say “Our knowledge of the many life-forms on Earth – of animals, plants, fungi, protists and bacteria – is scattered around the world in books, journals, databases, websites, specimen collections, and in the minds of people everywhere. Imagine what it would mean if this information could be gathered together and made available to everyone – anywhere – at a moment’s notice.”

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bikram-poseWhile all are agreed that physical activity and exercise are beneficial for health there is less consensus surrounding the length and duration this activity should take. The science journalist Catherine de Lange casts a critical eye over the pros and cons of some recent developments in this field. Whether it is the relatively leisurely jog or the more intense Tabata workouts, the mysteries of spinning classes or the enigma of Bikram Yoga, de Lange consults the various sports scientists to help throw some light on the heat generated.

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GlasgowGlasgow City of Science is a partnership of over 50 organisations including Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Life, universities, Glasgow School of Art, colleges, research pools and local industry. Their mission, “To inspire the curious, stimulate the creative, empower the wise and connect those with passion”, determines that their site has something for everyone with an interest in any aspect of science. Whether you want to keep up to date with current developments, or sign up for one of their Science Walks, the site has something for you.

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After a public vote, the blobfish has been named as the mascot for the Ugly Animal Preservation Society. The competition aimed to celebrate the more asthetically-challenged threatened species. The society began as a science-themed comedy night, inviting support from comedians such as Stephen Fry and Simon Pegg. Professor Brian Cox also supported the campaign saying, “I support the ugly animal campaign, there are too many people trying to save cute animals. They get all the press, and all the attention. Ugly animals are more deserving than cute animals. So I think it is a superb campaign.” So congratulations to the blobfish, officially the world’s ugliest animal!

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120px-Ifosfamide-3D-spacefillIn the decade since the sequencing of the human genome, there has been a steadily increasing flow of knowledge about the detailed molecular landscape of cancer, and this is now moving from research into clinical practice. The falling price of molecular analysis, in particular sequencing of DNA, is allowing us to routinely interrogate cancer tissues at a level of detail that was hard to imagine at the beginning of this century, and this in turn is posing challenges for the way we conduct clinical trials. It seems likely that our old models, which served well at a time when cancers were classified by their tissue of origin, will progressively give way to both a new taxonomy and new ways of determining the value of therapies for the entities that we define.

Peter Johnson, Chief Clinician at Cancer Research UK, provides insight into molecular stratification and the changing face of cancer trials…

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_66758600_cellsA collaborative Scottish team, drawn from the universities of Glasgow, Strathclyde and the West of Scotland, are developing a new technique which could help patients with spinal injuries grow new bone. They call it “nanokicking”. It plays on the potential our bodies’ stem cells possess to turn into any other kind of tissue – blood, muscle or, in this case, bone.

Persuading stem cells to become bone has been done in the laboratory before. But existing techniques typically involve complex and expensive engineering or cocktails of chemicals. Instead, this technique mimicks a natural process – when broken bones need to knit, they vibrate.

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