Body

Physicians have recognized scoliosis, the abnormal curvature of the spine, since the time of Hippocrates, but its causes have remained a mystery -- until now. For the first time, researchers have discovered a gene that underlies the condition, which affects about 3 percent of all children.

The new finding lays the groundwork for determining how a defect in the gene -- known as CHD7 -- leads to the C- and S-shaped curves that characterize scoliosis.

Giant prehistoric penguins? In Peru? It sounds more like something out of Hollywood than science, but a researcher from North Carolina State University along with U.S., Peruvian and Argentine collaborators has shown that two heretofore undiscovered penguin species reached equatorial regions tens of millions of years earlier than expected and during a period when the earth was much warmer than it is now.

Folk medicine, prayer, astrology, spells, mysticism - your treatment for disease in medieval times mattered most on the beliefs of the people around you rather than a codified study of the body.

It has long been known that eating potatoes is good for bowel health, but new research suggests that they may also have a beneficial effect on the whole immune system. Especially if eaten cold or in a potato salad, Anne Pichon reports in Chemistry & Industry.

Researchers have shown that bone marrow stem cells injected into a damaged inner ear can speed hearing recovery after partial hearing loss.

A team of American and Irish researchers has concluded that the mysterious appearance in 2001 of an infant female bonnethead shark at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo in a tank that held only two adult female sharks was the result of parthenogenesis (Gr. virgin birth.) Parthenogenic reproduction takes place without fertilization by a male through the process of cell division, when the mother's egg fuses with a degenerative cell called a polar body, producing a new individual.

What does this mean for the evolution of the species?

Pediatricians now have a practical tool to help determine whether children with chronic diseases like Crohn’s, juvenile arthritis and anorexia nervosa – or those undergoing cancer treatment – are at increased risk for bone mass deficiencies, fracture or osteoporosis as they get older, according to a new study.

You have 60 days to make a difference. That's the amount of time the USDA is going to allow for comments on its amendments to add 38 inorganic ingredients to organic food.

Sound like it doesn't make sense?

Here's why it does, according to the USDA.

The 38 minor ingredients contained in the interim final rule are non-organic, agricultural ingredients that may be considered for use in an “organic” processed product. A minor ingredient cannot comprise more than 5 percent of an “organic” product.

University of Nottingham researchers want to eliminate animals in laboratory research and they're rebuilding their lab to do it.

By improving the use of cell and tissue cultures, computer modelling, cell and molecular biology, epidemiology and other methods, they intend to show they can completely remove animals from medical research — while still working to defeat diseases that affect millions of people.

The laboratory is called FRAME – Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments - and they've been quietly advocating reduced animal testing for 25 years.

Freeing knotted shoelaces with fingers that are frozen stiff is extremely difficult and can even be painful. The reason that sensitivity and dexterity are poor is that both nerves and muscles perform their tasks reluctantly when they are cold.

Nevertheless ice-cold fingers ache and do so all the more in response to the lightest of knocks or squeezing. As unpleasant as this is, it serves as protection against frost lesion. The question of how pain can still be registered despite the otherwise hampered function during cooling has recently been explained.

Tissue Regeneration Therapeutics Inc. will exclusively license its human umbilical cord perivascular cell (HUCPVC) technology to Stem Cell Authority Ltd. for family stem cell banking in the U.S.

The technology originated at the University of Toronto and has been offered to the public in Canada since March 2007 through a licensing agreement between TRT and Toronto-based CReAte Cord Blood Bank (CCBB).

A bee’s favorite color can help it to find more food from the flowers in their environment, according to new research from Queen Mary, University of London.

Dr Nigel Raine and Professor Lars Chittka from Queen Mary’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences studied nine bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) colonies from southern Germany, and found that the colonies which favored purple blooms were more successful foragers.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have identified proteins in the rod and cones of the eye that could lead to the discovery of the genetic causes of a host of inherited eye diseases. The investigators hope to gain a clearer understanding of what goes wrong at the most basic level in these diseases that cause blindness and other disorders.

A team of researchers, led by surgeons at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson in Philadelphia, has found further evidence supporting the ability of a protein to predict how well a patient with advanced pancreatic cancer will do after surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. The levels of the protein CA 19-9 in the blood can be used to determine the need for further therapy, they say.

18-year old Nicholas Tan Xue-Wei will soon depart for the U.S. to present a research paper at The 2007 World Congress in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Applied Computing (WORLDCOMP'07), June 25 to 28, in Las Vegas.

Before returning home to Singapore, Nicholas will continue to represent Singapore's Bioinformatics Institute by presenting his research paper at the World Congress on Engineering 2007 (WCE 2007), July 2 to 4 in London.