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Nanoparticles increase biofuel performance

How to put more bang in your biofuels? Nanoparticles! A new study in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy shows that the addition of alumina nanoparticles can improve the […]

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Common genetic cause of autism and epilepsy

Researchers from the CHUM Research Centre (CRCHUM) have identified a new gene that predisposes people to both autism and epilepsy. Led by the neurologist Dr. Patrick Cossette, the research team […]

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Cells That Heal Us From Cradle To Grave: A Quantum Leap in Medical Science

Dr. Roger Nocera discusses the healing mechanisms of adult stem cells. He also examines stem cell medicine in the context of historical advances in medicine.

See the original post here:
Cells That Heal Us From Cradle To Grave: A Quantum Leap in Medical Science

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Tackling Obesity

The basic formula for losing weight is simple; eat fewer calories than you expend over the same time period and you’ll lose weight. So why has the obesity problem in the United States continued to grow? Why is it so hard to eat fewer calories than one expends?

There are lots of reasons. When we try to eat too few calories, our brains fight against the calorie shortage, encouraging us to eat. Our metabolism may decline when we are in “starvation” mode. Junk food is cheap and plentiful. Marketers are skilled at selling us food that is profitable, even if unhealthy. We’re encouraged by friends and families to eat. We don’t get enough exercise…the list goes on and on.

Is there a solution? According to a recent article in Scientific American, the solution is not likely to come from more knowledge about metabolic processes or even from a diet pill. Taking off those extra pounds and keeping them off over the long run will probably require the application of behavioural modification principles combined with consistent peer support (think Alcoholics Anonymous and Weightwatchers). Changes in government policy that encourage healthy eating, such as requiring calorie counts on restaurant menus, banning trans-fats from deep-fryers, or taxing sugary drinks would help as well.

Reference: Freedman, David H. How to Fix the Obesity Crisis. Scientific American Feb. 2011, pp. 40-47.

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March 2011 Special Report – Energist Portrait PSR

Special Report Cover

Aesthetic Trends & Technologies
March 2011
Special Report

Portrait PSR Technology


By Christopher B. Zachary, M.D.

The impact of the economic crash in 2008 was felt by many of us, both personally and professionally. Some of what happened was predictable, most was unforeseen. One unexpected turn of events in the aesthetic market was the loss of a new treatment technology, namely the use of plasma energy (Portrait® Plasma Skin Regeneration, PSR).

PSR characteristically treats many aspects of chronic sun damage and various other skin conditions, including superficial and deep wrinkles, dyschromia, actinic keratoses, some benign skin lesions, and acne scarring, while improving skin tone, texture, and elasticity. PSR had achieved significant success in the market with its distinctive mechanism for treating skin architecture to achieve cosmetic improvement using a completely different technology from the traditional laser, light, and RF technologies. Unfortunately, the company that introduced PSR hit the perfect economic storm and had to pull out of the market after three years, even though several hundred systems were sold to physicians in the U.S. and 30 other countries and after treating an estimated 40,000 patients.

However, PSR has recently been reintroduced by Energist Group and Energist North America. This is positive news for those who purchased this system, as the plasma technology offers additional treatment options for patients. As a new technology, PSR actually delivered effective cosmetic outcomes that were claimed, as they were based on an extensive series of preclinical and IRB-controlled studies by reputable physicians across several aesthetic specialties. Furthermore, now there are proven long-term patient results out over five years.

A Unique Energy Source for Treating the Skin PSR delivers millisecond pulses of nitrogen (gas) plasma to the skin’s surface that initiates a somewhat unique regeneration response in the skin’s architecture.2 Gas plasma is different…READ ON – Click Here to Download Full Article

Dr. Zachary

About Dr. Zachary
Dr. Christopher B. Zachary, M.D. is a Dermatologist specializing in cutaneous oncology and reconstruction, cosmetic, and laser surgery. Dr. Zachary is a professor and chair, Department of Dermatology, at the University of California- Irvine. Dr. Zachary is frequently featured as an invited speaker at national and international symposia and is often sought out by the media (eg NY Times, CNN, Today Show) for his candid comments. His ability to critique has drawn some ire, but so far his humor and English accent have saved him from his detractors. His interest in lasers has led to considerable industry supported research in optimal systems for cutaneous laser surgery. He has been the program director for the Mohs College and the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery Annual Conferences. He is a past president of the Association of Academic Dermatologic Surgeons.

He is an educational innovator, having founded both and co-founded He has written and edited his share of papers and books. Dr. Zachary was born in Yorkshire, England, and educated at Ratcliffe College, Leicester, United Kingdom. Following his medical school education at the Royal Free Hospital, University of London, he subsequently trained in internal medicine and dermatology. During his time at the Institute of Dermatology, Guys and St. Thomas’ Hospitals, he gained an interest in dermatologic surgery. His formal surgical education was received at the Department of Dermatology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He returned to the United Kingdom in 1986 to set up the first Mohs and laser surgery unit in London.

In 1988 he was recruited to the Department of Dermatology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, as Director of the Cutaneous Surgery and Laser Center where he spent the next 9 years. In 1997 he sold his boat and lakeside cabin, and moved West to UCSF where he spent 8 splendid years with his friend and colleague Roy Grekin, M.D. as clinical professor and co-director of the Cutaneous Surgery and Laser Center, UCSF, San Francisco, California. In 2005, he accepted the position as professor and chair, Department of Dermatology at the University of California-Irvine where he currently resides. This and his family are his main current projects.

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Promoting Science One High School at a Time

I grew up in Foley, Minnesota, a small town (population: 1600 people) in the middle of nowhere. My early world view was shaped by a very homogeneous local population, television, and movies. For example, my isolated perspective made me think that Hollywood was a vision of wealth and fame. Then I moved to Los Angeles for graduate school and these visions were shattered in one fell swoop during my first trip to a shockingly crowded Hollywood strip that offered souvenir stands, sex-toy/lingerie shops, and shattered dreams.

Without meeting a scientist, a similar contrast between reality and imagination can also emerge. Impressions of science and scientists can instead be based on movies like Frankenstein, The Fly or others. For many, this impression can also be affected by anti-evolutionists and climate-change deniers who demonize scientists.

To help add reality into this equation I decided to do what I could, one talk at a time, starting with my former high school. At the beginning of March I was a visiting speaker for my former teacher, Dave Voeltz, in three chemistry classes and one physics class. This was my first attempt at showing the reality of being a scientist and, more specifically, the importance of science and chemistry.

Sam Mueller, my friend since high school, agreed to video tape my talk, cut together some of the more important points, and create a video. I am sharing this video with you with the hope of spreading the importance of science to an even greater audience. Here is the outcome of his 48 hour, video-editing binge (Thanks Sam). I apologize preemptively for my compulsive swaying. With much energy comes much movement.



If you are interested in more of Sam Mueller’s work check out the preview for his latest film Raising Sparrows, which is currently making the documentary film circuit.

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Antidepressants linked to thicker arteries

Antidepressant use has been linked to thicker arteries, possibly contributing to the risk of heart disease and stroke, in a study of twin veterans. The data is being presented Tuesday, […]

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Human Theome Project sets sights on 2012

Joe and Mary Juke are models of piety. They attend services twice a week, are active in faith-based charity organizations, and their house brims tastefully with Christian iconography and literature….

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Weight training for the older set

Getting older doesn’t mean giving up muscle strength. Not only can adults fight the battle of strength and muscle loss that comes with age, but the Golden Years can be […]

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Sun and shade leaves play different roles in tree canopies

‘Outer’ tree canopy leaves influence the sunlight reaching inner canopy leaves by changing their shape, says a new study. The shape and physiology of leaves within the tree canopy is […]

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Dogged by pain — stem cell therapy for dogs

Visit: for more pet stories — A new technique for fighting the crippling effects of severe hip dysplasia is catching the attention of many large breed dog owners. Anne Marie Ogle of Napanoch, the owner of Dasha, a 9 year-old German Shepherd, hopes stem cell therapy will improve her pet’s quality of life. Two vets from Rondout Valley Veterinary Associates in Kerhonkson studied up on the process offered by a California-based company called Vet-Stem.

Dogged by pain — stem cell therapy for dogs

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Macular Degeneration Improved With Stem Cells Meet Sam, a visual artist who was confronted with the one thing a man in his profession fears most: Compromised vision. In his case his ability to see clearly was being undermined by age-related macular degeneration (AMD.) As conventional medicine could offer little hope of significantly turning his condition around, Sam sought out pioneering physician and stem cell medicine expert, Dr. David Steenblock

Follow this link:
Macular Degeneration Improved With Stem Cells

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What do Glycemic Index (GI) and Glycemic Load (GL) mean?

Opposite to good carbohydrate (= “Slow Carbs”), bad carbohydrates – in neo-German also known as “Fast Carbs“ – cause the blood sugar level to rise quickly.
The faster – and thus the higher concentrated – carbohydrates are, the more insulin our body will produce in order to lower the blood sugar level.

As a consequence thereof, the blood sugar level will drop below normal, the appetite – in particular for sweets – will increase, and fat burning will be restricted during this «insulin fattening».

Therefore, GI and GL were invented, to facilitate distinction between «bad» and «good» carbohydrates.

Glycemic Index (GI)
The glycemic index – in short GI – is exclusively applied to foods containing carbohydrates. The GI does not rate foodstuffs with respect to their carbohydrate content but provides figures on their respective blood sugar level increasing effects. Read more…

Immunice for Immune Support

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Beauty Giants Help During The Japan Crisis

Japanese Flag

Beauty Giants Help During The Japan Crisis

Japan has always been on the fore front of all things beauty and many of the larger corporate giants that are involved in beautification are giving a helping hand to those tsunami victims in Japan.

With the recent events in Japan victims will need a certain amount of help from everyone including the community that makes beauty possible.

According to Stylist:
“And so some of beauty’s biggest names have stepped forward in the aftermath of the earthquake devastation, looking to help the battered country rebuild with the aid of remarkably generous donations — some of which reach into the millions.”

L’Oréal: The beauty giant — which owns brands as diverse as The Body Shop, Lancôme, Kiehl’s and its namesake drugstore label – will donate $1.3 million to the Japanese Red Cross, in addition to encouraging L’Oréal U.S. employees to personally contribute to American Red Cross relief efforts via an automatic payroll deduction.

Creed: A luxury fragrance dynasty that has continuously passed from father to son since 1760, Creed will donate a portion of all online sales to the American Red Cross. While the percentage is yet to be determined, a brand spokesperson expects it to match or be near Creed’s 10 percent donation to Haiti earthquake relief.

This is just a sampling of the beauty companies looking to help our fellow friends over in Japan by either donating proceeds or a portion of proceeds to help the victims of the tsunami. The beauty industry has the power to create some substantial funds to help our fallen friends and many have taken the first step to do so.

If you are interested in donating visit the American Red Cross and make your donation today.


Source: Jeffrey Spiegel, M.D.

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Pandemic Preparedness

The nations of the world are not well prepared for a truly serious pandemic, according to a draft report by a committee of independent experts who studied the World Health Organization (WHO)’s response to the swine flu pandemic of 2009. Fortunately, swine flu turned out to be rather mild, but we may not be so lucky the next time around.

The report found that the production of vaccine took too long to have been of much help if the outbreak had turned out to be really severe. Not surprisingly, rich countries tended to get the vaccine first. Later, when it became apparent that rich countries had stockpiled more vaccine than they would need, millions of doses were donated to poor countries, but they went unused because of liability concerns by vaccine-makers. Some countries panicked, closing their borders to travel or needlessly restricting trade in certain items (such as pork). And the World Health Organization produced too many documents and not enough clear communication and guidance, according to the report.

The report will be discussed at a meeting of the committee this week.

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Gorillas need greens, not processed food

Joel Fuhrman, M.D.

The leading cause of death for male gorillas in zoos is heart disease. Sadly, animals that live in close contact with (and fed by) humans end up with human chronic diseases.
Gorillas are the largest of the primates, and they are one of the four species of great apes (great apes make up the Hominidae superfamily, which includes chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans, and gorillas). Following chimpanzees, gorillas are the closest living relatives to humans, differing in only about 3% of our genetic makeup.
Gorillas are herbivores that live in the forests of central Africa, where they can eat up to 50 pounds of vegetation each day, mostly leaves and fruit. Although most gorillas have a preference for fruit, they also eat large amounts of leaves, plus herbs and bamboo, and occasionally insects. In the wild, gorillas spend most of their day foraging and eating.1
In the wild, gorillas eat an extremely high fiber diet, and derive a significant proportion of caloric energy from the fermentation of fiber by bacteria in the colon, producing short-chain fatty acids. The approximate proportions of macronutrients in a wild gorilla’s diet is 2.5% of calories from fat, 24.3% from protein, 15.8% (non-fiber) carbohydrate, and up to 57.3% from short chain fatty acids derived from bacterial fermentation of fiber.2
In contrast, the standard diet for gorillas in captivity is usually not made up of natural leaves, herbs, and fruits – it is a diet of nutrient-fortified, high-sugar, high-starch processed food. Read more…

Immunice for Immune Support

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Being just overweight, not obese, still shortens lifespan

Deana Ferreri, Ph.D.

It is becoming more widely known that obesity can lead to a premature death – but what about those who fall in between healthy weight and obese? A new study suggests that even “a few extra pounds” can be dangerous.

This comes just a few months after a large study that concluded that waist circumference was associated with risk of death from all causes. These two studies used different methods of measurement, but they agree on a very important point – even a small amount of excess weight increases the risk of death. In the waist circumference study, even people who had a normal body mass index (BMI; calculated based on height and weight) were at greater risk of death if they had a 4-inch larger waist compared to others in their BMI category – that four extra inches of abdominal fat translated into a 16% (men) and 25% (women) increase in mortality risk over a nine year period. Read more…

Ayurtox for Body Detoxification

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Better Pranking Through Chemistry

“I have some news…I’m pregnant.” That’s my wife’s opening line on her yearly April 1st telephone call to her mother. It’s not really considered an effective “fool” anymore, but at this point it’s a fun and expected tradition. With April 1st quickly approaching, I’ve realized that chemists have a significant advantage over our non-chemistry friends when it comes to pranks (Unless they are diabolical engineers. I imagine that is a relatively even and terrifying match). I don’t have any April fools’ traditions, but it might be time to start planning some especially given the wealth of ‘fools” available to the average chemist.

Disclaimer time: If you choose to use your chemistry powers to prank either in or outside of the lab it is important to understand the associate risks and consider the safety of others as a priority. Always wear the proper protective equipment.

Ga Spoon

Gallium, while solid at room temperature, will turn into a liquid just above ~30°C (~86°F). That is a relatively low melting point, well below the temperature of a cup of coffee or tea. If one were to pick up some Gallium, heat it up above ~30°C, inject it into a spoon shaped mold, and ever so kindly offer it to a friend/coworker/significant other that was trying to stir a hot drink, it might result in a funny outcome.

*Note: Although gallium is not readily soluble in water it is probably not a good idea to drink the solution after the spoon melts.


Explosive Ketchup:

If we take a quick flash back to our 6th grade science fair everyone remembers at least one baking soda and vinegar volcano. These demonstrations utilize the evolution of CO2 bubbles after mixing sodium bicarbonate and acetic acid to create the eruption effect (reaction below).

Because there is a significant amount of vinegar (1-2%) in ketchup, the same concept can be used to create a ketchup volcano.

Be aware that pressure is being created in a closed system so only the minimal amount of baking soda should be used to create the desired effect.


Burning Money

Nothing invokes panic like taking a friend’s $20 bill and lighting it on fire right in front of them. The key to preforming this act, without getting a phone call from the Secret Service, is to cover the flammable dollar in a volatile solvent like ethanol. To do this you need to soak the bill in a 50/50 ethanol/water solution. You can add a little bit of table salt to change the color of the flame from blue to yellow/orange. Once you ignite the bill, the ethanol will burn away but the dollar will remain intact.


Liquid N2 Rat

Most people have heard or seen of the chemistry magic show bit where a flower, frozen with liquid nitrogen, is smashed into a million pieces. Now (disturbing concept alert), imagine the same scenario but with a dead rat/mouse in a dorm room. It probably becomes very difficult to clean up when the pieces thaw. I do not personally know of someone actually doing this, but there is no doubt a special place in science hell for anyone that does. I am not going to link a video of someone smashing a rat but here is a video of a flower. You can use your imagination.

These pranks are just the tip of the chemistry-based tom-foolery iceberg. If you are going to try any of them, please enjoy, but be safe.

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Altruistic Aussie bird isn’t

A puzzling example of altruism in nature has been debunked with researchers showing that purple-crowned fairy wrens are in reality cunningly planning for their own future when they assist in raising…

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Radiation risks to health: A joint statement from leading scientific experts

The growing concern surrounding the release of radiation from an earthquake and tsunami-stricken nuclear complex in Japan has raised fears of radiation exposure to populations in North America from…

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Enhancing the magnetism

“The nation that controls magnetism will control the universe,” famed fictional detective Dick Tracy predicted back in 1935. Probably an overstatement, but there’s little doubt the nation that leads…

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Scientists Find a Key to Maintaining Our DNA

DNA contains all of the genetic instructions that make us who we are, and maintaining the integrity of our DNA over the course of a lifetime is a critical, yet complex part of the aging process. In…

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Fixodent denture cream can cause nerve damage, says report

A recent ABC News investigation has identified a connection between the use of the popular denture cream Fixodent and permanent neurological disorders. Some Fixodent users allege that regular use of the cream has caused them to develop serious, debilitating nerve damage, which has sparked a class-action lawsuit against Proctor and Gamble (P&G), the maker of Fixodent.

“I started getting tingling in my fingertips,” said Mark Jacoby, a Fixodent victim, to ABC News’ 20/20 anchor Chris Cuomo. “I started getting weaker and, you know, I couldn’t walk right, off balance and I’m at this point now.”

The Fixodent ingredient in question is zinc, which unless taken along with copper, can rob the body of the necessary mineral over time and cause irreversible nerve damage. And since denture users affix zinc-containing creams to their gums every single day, their long-term absorption rates of zinc are much higher than normal than an average person’s. Read more…

Ayurtox for Body Detoxification

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

The Simeons Therapy Diet Fad

The New York Times published an article this week on the latest diet fad; a daily food intake of just 500 calories a day combined with daily injections of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). It’s known as the Simeons therapy, and it’s been around since 1964.

Frankly, the New York Times article stirs up an old “controversy” that shouldn’t still exist. Anyone who can stick to a 500 calorie-per-day diet will lose weight. Weight loss accomplished on the Simeons therapy diet has nothing to do with the added hCG, according to a well-documented review written in 1995.

The FDA has warned that non-injectable “homeopathic” forms of hCG available over the counter cannot be labelled as having have weight-loss properties. But there’s a long-standing tradition of allowing physicians to decide what is best for each patient (in consultation with the patient, of course). Therefore, physicians can legally prescribe injectable hCG as part of a diet plan if they wish, whether or not it works. And of course, they are free to charge whatever they like for the consultation/evaluation prior to writing the prescription.

Acquaint yourself with the facts, and then don’t waste your money on this diet.

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Redefining Evolutionary Relationships

The evolutionary tree of life may undergo a makeover in the next decade or so.

In the past, the primary sources of information about the evolutionary relationships between organisms came from the fossil record or from comparative anatomy, physiology, or biochemistry. But now a new scientific field called phylogenomics (the study of the evolutionary history of organisms based on genetics) has emerged, thanks to the increased availability and cheap cost of sequencing DNA.

How does comparative DNA sequence data tell us anything? By tracing specific differences in the nucleotide sequences of the genes of closely related species, phylogeneticists can tell just how closely related two species are and when they most likely split from a common ancestor. That’s because when a mutation (a change in nucleotide sequence) occurs by random chance in a common ancestor, that mutation should still be present in all subsequent descendants of that ancestor. So when exactly the same mutation appears in the same gene in two species, the mutation most likely occurred before the two species split from a common ancestor – i.e. the two species are related to each other by a common ancestor.

The DNA sequences of a wide variety of species are now known, and more are being determined every day. We can expect challenges to the current tree of life (also called the phylogenetic tree) as the data are analyzed and debated.

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith