do you know these guys?

My readings for today:

“Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have synthesized a pair of small molecules that dramatically alter the core biological clock in animal models, highlighting the compounds’ potential effectiveness in treating a remarkable range of disorders — including obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and serious sleep disorders.”

paralyzed man dances with his wife

“Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, led by Ronald M. Evans, a professor in Salk’s Gene Expression Laboratory, showed that two cellular switches found on the nucleus of mouse cells, known as REV-ERBα and REV-ERBβ, are essential for maintaining normal sleeping and eating cycles and for metabolism of nutrients from food.

The findings, reported March 29 in Nature, describe a powerful link between circadian rhythms and metabolism and suggest a new avenue for treating disorders of both systems, including jet lag, sleep disorders, obesity and diabetes.”


montalban · April 10, 2012 at 12:26 pm

“Paralyzed man dances with Wife for first time”
With how fast our technology is growing these days I am a little surprised that it took us this long for this sort of therapy to gain traction. This story is so amazing and there could be many more similar stories if more people knew about this treatment. I am curious though how much a treatment like this costs per individual, not only in the amount of equipment but time and individuals to help out. I am also curious as to what the limits of this therapy are; for instance, how disabled/paralyzed can an individual be and still see progress with this treatment. I wonder if it is possible if an individual is born paralyzed to teach their muscles to work through this sort of repetition. I also think it is really great that the people talked about in the video who created the whole idea came up with a location to help others. This is only a small glimpse of how influential one person’s idea can be and how it only takes one miracle story to get the ball rolling for an idea.

montalban · April 10, 2012 at 12:27 pm

“Scientists redraw the blueprint of the body’s biological clock”
Although these findings seem to work for mice I would still be hesitant in applying these techniques to human subjects. For one thing, humans are a different creature and despite the similarity we have with mice I feel like there are many complex differences in our systems that may cause different reactions. Although many people disagree with messing with stem cells I wish that we could find some way to apply these techniques without testing actual human beings. Metabolism is something that is different for every individual and a good outcome in one case doesn’t mean that all cases will be the same. Despite the scientists’ apparent findings, I would say that much more testing has to be done before we can even begin to think of applying these techniques to humans. Yes it could help and it is worth a try but the cost of screwing up the individual’s metabolism and interworkings of the body when they are already not working at their prime would be too great.

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