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People who "drink heavily every so often" are 45% more likely to develop coronary heart disease

Posted: August 4, 2010 at 12:05 am

Occasional heavy drinking was defined as having 5 or more standard drinks in a day at least 12 times per year. "Regular" heavy drinkers - those who averaged at least 5 drinks per day, were excluded from the analysis.

In general, moderate drinking - a drink or two per day - is considered a potentially heart-healthy habit. A number of studies have found that moderate drinkers have lower risks of heart disease than teetotalers do.

Research suggests that alcohol can increase "good" HDL cholesterol, has anti-inflammatory effects in the blood vessels and may make the blood less prone to clotting.

On the other hand, regular heavy drinking may increase blood pressure, promote blood clotting and contribute to development of arrhythmias.

References:
Occasional binges may undo alcohol's heart benefits. Reuters, 2010.

Image source: OpenClipArt.org, public domain.

Posted at Clinical Cases and Images. Stay updated and subscribe, follow us on Twitter and connect on Facebook.


Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

Molecule Discovery Might Help ALS Patients

Posted: August 3, 2010 at 8:20 am

(HealthDay News) -- Researchers have identified a molecule that can reduce symptoms and prolong the life of mice with a type of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The molecule, called microRNA-206 (miR-206), is produced naturally by skeletal muscles in response to nerve damage caused by ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The molecule acts as a chemical signal to guide new nerve endings and maintain their interactions with muscles.

However, this research in mice suggests that miR-206 only works for a limited period of time. As nerves continue to die because of ALS, eventually surviving nerves can no longer compensate and symptoms such as muscle weakness begin to develop.

"While miR-206 initially prompts nearby surviving nerves to send new branches to the muscles, it only delays the inevitable," study senior author Eric Olson, chairman of molecular biology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, said in a university news release. Read more...

Immunice Support

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

Mr. Potato Head Anatomy

Posted: August 3, 2010 at 8:18 am

Mr. Potato head anatomy by Jason Freeny

This is the latest anatomical breakdown of a beloved childhood toy by Jason Freeny. He provides a detailed breakdown of all of Mr. Potato Head’s parts, and we mean all parts…

This print is available on Jason’s site for $59!

[spotted by Ryan]

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

Improving simultaneous saccharification and co-fermentation of pretreated wheat straw using both enzyme and substrate feeding

Posted: August 3, 2010 at 8:18 am

Background:
Simultaneous saccharification and co-fermentation (SSCF) has been recognized as a feasible option for ethanol production from xylose-rich lignocellulosic materials. To reach high ethanol concentration in the broth, a high content of water-insoluble solids (WIS) is needed, which creates mixing problems and, furthermore, may decrease xylose uptake. Feeding of substrate has already been proven to give a higher xylose conversion than a batch SSCF. In the current work, enzyme feeding, in addition to substrate feeding, was investigated as a means of enabling a higher WIS content with a high xylose conversion in SSCF of a xylose-rich material. A recombinant xylose-fermenting strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (TMB3400) was used for this purpose in fed-batch SSCF experiments of steam-pretreated wheat straw.
Results:
By using both enzyme and substrate feeding, the xylose conversion in SSCF could be increased from 40% to 50% in comparison to substrate feeding only. In addition, by this design of the feeding strategy, it was possible to process a WIS content corresponding to 11% in SSCF and obtain an ethanol yield on fermentable sugars of 0.35 g g-1.
Conclusion:
A combination of enzyme and substrate feeding was shown to enhance xylose uptake by yeast and increase overall ethanol yield in SSCF. This is conceptually important for the design of novel SSCF processes aiming at high-ethanol titers. Substrate feeding prevents viscosity from becoming too high and thereby allows a higher total amount of WIS to be added in the process. The enzyme feeding, furthermore, enables keeping the glucose concentration low, which kinetically favors xylose uptake and results in a higher xylose conversion.

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

Molecule Discovery Might Help ALS Patients

Posted: August 3, 2010 at 8:18 am

(HealthDay News) -- Researchers have identified a molecule that can reduce symptoms and prolong the life of mice with a type of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The molecule, called microRNA-206 (miR-206), is produced naturally by skeletal muscles in response to nerve damage caused by ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The molecule acts as a chemical signal to guide new nerve endings and maintain their interactions with muscles.

However, this research in mice suggests that miR-206 only works for a limited period of time. As nerves continue to die because of ALS, eventually surviving nerves can no longer compensate and symptoms such as muscle weakness begin to develop.

"While miR-206 initially prompts nearby surviving nerves to send new branches to the muscles, it only delays the inevitable," study senior author Eric Olson, chairman of molecular biology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, said in a university news release. Read more...

Immunice Support

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

Berkeley Open Science Summit 2010 Notes

Posted: August 2, 2010 at 10:53 pm

I just returned from the Open Science Summit held at Berkeley July 29-31, 2010.

There certainly was an impressive list of presenters as well as attendees. Many of the talks were quite good, although several on the last day were more about closed collaborations than Open Science. During these presentations the assumption that patents are required to exploit discoveries in health care was repeated. This was in sharp contrast to the second day's session on gene patents, where IP protection was shown to stifle innovation and the exploitation of discoveries.
A refreshing exception to this pattern on the last day was Andrew Hessel's presentation on the Pink Army Cooperative. Andrew's strategy to cure cancer is based on the idea of customizing drugs for each individual affected by the disease. Since each drug is only applicable to one individual, the approach of expensive clinical trials doesn't apply. Since he is not interested in generating a profit from selling the drugs, IP protection also doesn't apply and allows him to make every part of the drug design process, including genetic analysis, publicly available. It wasn't clear if such an approach would be legal in the US but he did mention going to another country if necessary. Although he didn't currently have cancer, he did indicate that he might have need of this technology one day by pulling out a pack of cigarettes in the middle of his talk.
Unfortunately my panel on Open Data was canceled at the last minute due to time management problems (see FF discussion on how it happened). However, I did have a chance to generally catch up with old friends (Carmen Drahl, Joanna Scott, Cameron Neylon, Jack Park).
I also discussed some promising collaborations with several people:
1) CoLab. I spoke at length with DJ Sprouse and Casey Stark about their system for scientific collaboration. We will try to represent one solubility experiment from the ONS Challenge notebook and one organic synthesis experiment from the UsefulChem notebook to see how the information can be represented within CoLab. There may be some opportunities to visualize raw data in new ways - perhaps using non-Java tools to interact with JCAMP-DX spectra.
2) IPzero Principles. I continued a conversation with Lisa Green started with John Wilbanks and Thinh Nguyen at Creative Commons about coming up with a series of simple recommendations for ensuring that an Open Notebook can effectively prevent the patenting of inventions within an area of interest to the Open Science community.
3) Open Chemistry Reactions. I had the chance to discuss our Reaction Attempts database with Peter Murray-Rust over breakfast on Saturday. He also showed me how he is using Oscar to extract chemical reaction information from various documents. Peter suggested that we pool together our data for a demonstration in September at the London Science Online Conference. Reaction Attempts will cover the reactions done in the UsefulChem and the Todd group's Open Notebooks. Peter will extract information from both patents and Acta Crystallographica.
4) ChemTaverna. I was pleased to learn from Carole Goble that Taverna is extending its coverage to cheminformatics applications with the ChemTaverna project. I had just mentioned that we would be interested in revisiting Taverna for creating virtual libraries of organic compounds and filtering them based on predicted solubilities in various solvents. This would allow us to contribute cheminformatics workflows to MyExperiment. Carole put me in touch with the project leader Peter Li at the University of Manchester.

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith


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