Tag: medicine

Fake but very detailed scientific paper on why you can’t kill Wolverine. #nerdgasm


(Click on the paper image to download full text pdf of the research paper).

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Wolverine, a mutant from the X-men team, possesses super healing abilities. Wolverine’s healing abilities have striking similarities to that seen in axolotl, an amphibian with the capacity to regenerate amputated limbs. In this study we sought to determine the mechanisms by which Wolverine regenerates. We identified a novel protein, dubbed Howlett, that is nearly identical to the Amblox protein in axolotl which is known to be responsible for the amphibian’s limb regeneration. siRNA knockdown of the howlett and amblox genes demonstrated decreased replication in Wolverine and axolotl, respectively, and Howlett was found in all Wolverine tissues. Using mass spectrometry and x-ray crystallography, we identified an S2 pocket in the Howlett protein that we postulate contributes to the 5.66-fold increased specific activity observed over Amblox in cleaving a large substrate analogue. Our findings show that Howlett is a major contributor to Wolverine’s incredible regeneration capacity, and further investigation of the signaling and regulatory mechanisms associated with this novel protein could provide outstanding advances in the field of regenerative medicine.

Sigrid Alvarez, Emma Conway et al. (2013) “Howlett: Novel Wolverine Protein Contributes to Rapid Regeneration and Heightened Cellular Replication.”  JOURNAL OF SUPERHERO MUTATIONAL SCIENCE. Vol 13 Issue 2. pp297-302

Full text via the Science Creative Quarterly

In case you need an interesting anecdote on human feces and excrement generally

For slides on the value of feces. Like… ecosystem assessment of feces as a seed dispersal system? Nutrient rich manure for soil upkeep? Things that would resemble a sort of poo-nomics: using feces for microbial or metagenomic analysis?


“In 1961 Italian artist Piero Manzoni offered art buyers 90 tins of his own excrement, signed and numbered, each sold by weight at gold’s daily market price.

That would have been a good investment. A tin that would have cost $37 in 1961 was auctioned by Sotheby’s for $67,000 in 1991 — outperforming gold more than seventyfold.”

Text via Futility Closet. Image from Wiki Commons.

Amazing science-y papercraft creations by @lobulo




By Lobulo, via Colossal

The human body in glorious stop motion


By Kelli Anderson, via Colossal.

You might need a double take when you look at these body landscapes.




By Carl Warner, via My Modern Met.

I imagine that it was probably fate for these medical practitioners.

This excellent list from Futility Closet:

Apt names of medical specialists, collected by the MEDLIB-L discussion list in 1998:

Cardiologists: Dr. Valentine, Dr. Hart, Dr. Safety R. First

Chiropractors: Dr. Popwell, Dr. Wack, Dr. Bonebrake, Dr. Bender

Dentists, endodontists and orthodontists: Dr. Pullen, Dr. Fillmore, Dr. Hurt, Dr. Yankum, Dr. Les Plack, Dr. Toothman, Dr. Borer, Dr. Pullman, Dr. Filler, Dr. Harm, Dr. Hurter, Dr. Toothaker

Dermatologists: Dr. Rash, Dr. Pitts, Dr. Skinner, Dr. Whitehead

Family practice, internists: Dr. Kwak, Dr. Blood, Dr. Coffin, Dr. Patient, Dr. Payne, Dr. Slaughter, Dr. A. Sickman, Dr. Deadman, Dr. Will Griever

Hand surgeons: Dr. Palmer, Dr. Nalebuff, Dr. Watchmaker

Medical librarian: Rita Book

Neurologists: Dr. Johnathan Treat Paine, Dr. Brain, Dr. Head

Pediatricians: Dr. Donald Duckles, Dr. Small, Dr. Bunny, Dr. Tickles

Psychiatrists/psychologists/mental health: Dr. Brain, Dr. Strange, Dr. Dippy, Dr. Moodie, Dr. Nutter, Dr. Looney

Surgeons: Dr. Hackman, Dr. Blades, Dr. Klutts, Dr. Graves, Dr. Cutts, Dr. Slaughter, Dr. Kutteroff, Dr. Doctor, Dr. Butcher, Dr. Hurt

More here. In 1977 authors A.J. Splatt and D. Weedon submitted an article on incontinence to theBritish Journal of Urology. It was accepted.

Quantum Proctology explained (sort of).


By Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, via Fresh Photons

Haunting and surreal renditions of scientific imagery by Daniel Martin Diaz




By Daniel Martin Diaz, via Thinx (also Boing Boing)

Cell as a Death Star like entity (with mini virus spaceship in the mix). Awesome science illustration by Glen McBeth

* I wonder if he’s illustrated a card game before… (We do have a Darwin themed deck to work on)


By Glen McBeth (also check out his awesome blog).

Edible Anatomy: Baker’s Edition #whoa

Not sure how I feel about these…



By the Conjurer’s Kitchen, via Thinx

The gamete inspired wooden spoon: note that no gonads were harmed in its making


By Terry Widner, via Thinx.

Human tissue samples reworked as digital mandalas #strangelybeautiful





By Mieke Geenen, via Stacey Thinx

Gotta get me one of these muscle suits…

Would be kind of funny to wear this at the gym…



You can buy it here. Via Sweet Station.

This is what photographic film looks like, when it passes through your digestive system.





Kingston University photography students Luke Evans and Josh Lake decided to turn themselves into human cameras by eating 35mm film squares and letting their bodies do the rest. The single film segments were first ingested, excreted (in a dark room) then washed.

Via Fresh Photons.

BEST ANATOMY GIFT EVER. Eyeball Creature a la Lego.

Eye Creature from Invisible Creature on Vimeo.

By Invisible Creature

A very funny stem cell cartoon from Bizarro


By Bizarro.

They say Christmas is a time for giving, but how much? How about 0.7% or roughly one cup of coffee a day?

(Reprinted and re-edited with more recent statistics from an earlier blog post)

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about good old 0.7%. This is the hallmark figure suggested by Pearson as a target for foreign aid to developing nations. In other words, the main idea is that wealthy nations do something nice and set aside about 0.7% of their gross national income, so that the sorts of things that the UN Millennium Development Goals are focused on, can be proactively tackled.  It’s all noble stuff: challenging yes, but definitely important in the global context.


Problem is, that not many countries actually do this, and this is why you have people like Bono and Jeff Sachs all in an uproar, etc, etc, etc. For example (based on 2009 stats), the United States puts aside approximately 0.2% of GNI, whereas Canada is only a little better at about 0.3%. Indeed, sometimes a small part of these G7 Summits that happen from time to time is about addressing this specific issue, except that often the agreements in place tend placate to long “statement of intent” type timelines – the sorts of timelines that are much longer than the life of existing elected governments.

Now, there is a lot of good debate about the relative merit and/or problems of going for the 0.7% target, which we won’t go into here, but I thought a good exercise in perspective (for you and I as individuals) is to think about what 0.7% actually looks like.

To do this, I thought a good place to start would be to think about that cup of coffee you probably drink every day.

Let us suppose that the average North American buys a single cup of coffee a day. And also let’s guess that the average price of that coffee sits somewhere around the $1.50 range. This takes into consideration, those who don’t drink coffee, those who can get their coffee cheaper (or for free) at work, those who buy larger sizes, those who buy the fancy coffee drinks, those who choose to also get the muffin – more or less, to say that an average cost of $1.50 per day doesn’t sound too unreasonable. Besides, it’s about what I spend daily on my caffeine perk for instance.

The point is, if you multiply $1.50 by the 365 days, you get a yearly budget of about $550.00. If we take that figure and extrapolate using 0.7% as a hallmark, it means that if you make about $80,000 per year, your coffee expenditure (under these parameters) would be equivalent to that 0.7% benchmark. If you make less than $80,000 or buy more than one cup of coffee a day, then your percentage actually jumps up significantly.

To me, the mental exercise here is to appreciate the relative insignificance of 0.7%, and to juxtapose that to what would happen if we all chose to use that coffee money towards developmental aid.

The answer, of course, is that “a lot of good” would happen. Actually, it’s a little mind boggling when you think about what how a person’s coffee habits and culture indirectly divert from some really serious global issues (rather than preach on what these issues might be, I invite you to take a closer look at the Millenium Development Goals to see what’s at stake).

Anyway, this is not to say that we should feel guilty for grabbing a cup of coffee, but rather to consider what that money might actually represent in the global context. Maybe we should all set up 0.7% collection jars or something – certainly wouldn’t be a bad thing. And probably more so in this holiday season.

Felted Anatomy by Dan Beckemeyer



By Dan Beckemeyer, via Colossal.

Sciencegeek Advent Calendar Extravaganza! – Day 11


“Epidemiology of reindeer parasites.”
Halvorsen O. Parasitol Today. 1986 Dec;2(12):334-9.

ABSTRACT: Every Christmas we sing about Rudolph the red-nosed Reindeer, but do we give much thought to why his nose is red? The general consensus is that Rudolf has caught a cold, but as far as I know no proper diagnosis has been made of his abnormal condition. I think that, rather than having a cold, Rudolf is suffering from a parasitic infection of his respiratory system. To some this may seem a bit far-fetched as one would not expect an animal living with Santa Claus at the North Pole to be plagued by parasites, but I shall show otherwise.


Link to pdf of paper.

(see more of Popperfont’s Sciencegeek Advent Calendar Extravanganza here)

Sciencegeek Advent Calendar Extravaganza – Day 2


Psychological Reports [2005, 96(3 Pt 2):1022-1024]

 link to abstract | link to pdf

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(see more of Popperfont’s Sciencegeek Advent Calendar Extravanganza here)

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