Slate reviews Bill Schutt's forthcoming book Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History. Guardian review here. Schutt is a Research Associate in Vertebrate Zoology and Mammalogy at the American Museum of Natural History. [more inside]
Douglas Starr, in Blood, quotes the British Secretary of War, asked in 1937 what the nation proposed to do about a mass blood supply. The secretary was dismissive. Blood could not be stored for long or in great quantities, he said. On the hoof was better. “It was more satisfactory to store our blood in our people.” Janet Vaughan did not agree, and Janet Vaughan did something about it. Her medical director gave her £100, and she sent off her assistants in taxis to find all the tubing that London shops could provide.Longreads profiles Janet Vaughan, a British scientist who found better treatments for anemia than arsenic using herself as a test subject, was a major force in creating London's first blood banks using cheap tubing and ice cream trucks, studied emergency nutrition in a post-liberation concentration Nazi death camp, and continued active research into blood and radiation into her eighties, while occasionally serving as a model for Virginia Woolf characters.
Invasive amniocentesis and chorionic villi sampling (CVS) tests are commonly used to determine the chromosomal, structural and genetic abnormalities in fetuses. But could they eventually become obsolete? A Chinese study has found that a complete copy of the fetal genome exists in the mother's blood, suggesting many prenatal diagnoses could potentially be performed noninvasively. [more inside]
Are the Rules That Determine Who Can Donate Blood Discriminatory? Canadian AIDS researchers Dr. Mark Wainberg and Dr. Norbert Gilmore say that while the ban on blood donation from men who have sex with other men may have been ethically and scientifically justified in the 1980's, it no longer makes sense. (CMAJ.) Even though the US FDA reaffirmed their long-standing ban in 2007, they plan to revisit the policy in June. [more inside]
Haven't you always secretly wondered what would happen if a ninja accidentally stumbled into, say, Bill and Ted's time traveling Phone Booth and ended up somewhere around 7th century BC, only to come face-to-face with a feisty Spartan? Have you not pondered what would happen if you locked up an Apache with a Gladiator inside some sort of 21st century battle dome? Are you frustrated because you feel like there's nobody doing proper scientific studies to see what would happen when you pit two historically violent warriors that could have never actually met in real life? Worry no more people - I present to you Spike TV's newest offering - Deadliest Warrior! [more inside]
Blood Falls - The iron rich red liquid gushing from a buried Antarctica lake shows how life may have existed on a snowball Earth, or on Europa.
Microscope Imaging Station opens a door to the wonder of the microscopic world and allows the layman to explore it. They seek to recreate some of the excitement and wonder that the earliest biological researchers found. Features include cells with potential as well as bad oogy. The microscopic Galleries are inhabited by zygotes and organelles.
Scientists have discovered that "endometrial regenerative cells" (ERC's) -- in other words, human menstrual blood -- contains stem cells. ERC-derived stem cells seem to have a number of superior traits to both bone marrow derived and umbilical cord derived stem cells, the previous gold standards: they can give rise to a variety of different cell lines without differentiation, they multiply more quickly than other stem cells, they are able to replicate more times without adversely mutating, and they apparently do not need to be closely genetically matched to the recipient. Now some women have even begun banking their menstrual blood to preserve their stem cells through a company called "C'Elle: Your Monthly Miracle" -- check out their FAQ and online video. This follows last May's announcement that menstrual blood derived cells can pretty much cure Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in mice, a disease for which there is no current therapeutic treatment available.
The end of mad cow disease? Scientists announce a filter that can remove the prions that cause vCJD - blocking the spread of the disease, at least via blood transfusions.
The relief of pain and suffering, and the history of bloodletting, courtesy of the UCLA Online Medical Library Online Exhibits.
Growing meat in a laboratory may seem like a good idea. They evey suggest that it might stop us "having to slaughter animals for food." But, to do it, they have to soak the meat in the blood of unborn baby cows.... Somehow, that doesn't sound right.....
Donate blood Fellow Canadians, if you want to donate blood, call 1-888-236-6283 to set up an appointment. A friend at Canadian Blood Services said that the level in NY is very low - it's the least we can do.