Analysis of King Richard’s mummified heart reveals preservation process

A group of French researchers have published a paper in which they reveal how King Richard I, also known as Richard the Lionheart, had its heart mummified after he succumbed from gangrene in 1199.  Apparently the great monarch’s heart was preserved in mercury, mint and frankincense, among other sweet-smelling plants. As it was customary at the time, Richard’s heart was removed and preserved

Virus steals bacteria immune system and kills it

Researchers at Tufts University School of Medicine came across a particular strain of bacteriophage – a virus that infects and replicates within bacteria – that had stolen the functional immune system of the cholera bacteria.  The virus used the bacteria’s immune system against it to replicate and eventually kill the bacteria. The findings hint to the prospect of developing new phage therapies against bacterial diseases

Pessimists live longer than optimists, study finds

While brighter expectations of the future might help most of  us battle the harsh realities of life, a recent study conducted by German researchers has found that pessimists, who tend to have lower expectations about the future, live on average longer and are less inclined to develop disease or disabilities than optimists. Data collected between  1993 to 2003 by the national German Socio-Economic Panel, an

Cutting healthcare costs by giving up on patients

When you hear most discussions about healthcare, they almost always revolve around cost-cutting and saving money, as if the purpose of the health industry is to make money – newsflash, it isn’t. It’s about having healthy, long lived people, and that’s an investment that will more than pay for itself in the long run. But that’s not only a US,

Sugar-coated scaffolding guides and differentiates stem cells

One of the miracles of modern day medicine science, stem cells, are regarded by scientists as the basic building blocks for devising treatments, cures or transplants for some of today’s yet incurable diseases like Alzheimer or diabetes. The biggest hurdle researchers face is differentiating stem cells so that they may grow into a specific type of cell. Researchers at Manchester

Sterilizing with the Sun

Using nothing more than sunlight, researchers and students from the MIT are trying to change how medical equipment is sterilized in remote clinics which don’t have many alternatives; they’ve started a pilot project in Nicaragua, one that’s working out pretty fine for them. Nicaragua is a mostly rural country of six million is served by some 11 hospitals, dozens of

Science confirms: Mediterranean diet is really good for heart disease

A Mediterranean diet high in olive oil, nuts, fish and fresh fruits and vegetables helps prevent strokes and other heart issues. Now before you put on your “Captain obvious” t-shirts, you should know that while (many other) previous studies have suggested that people who eat a Mediterranean-like diet have healthier hearts, they haven’t ruled out other differences associated with this

Baby’s ability to interpret languages is innate, research shows

Despite having brains that are still “under construction”, babies are able, even three months before full term, to distinguish between different syllables. It was recently shown that full born babies, even just a few days after they are born, display remarkable linguistic sophistication: they can distinguish between two different languages [1], they can recognizes their mother’s voice[2], and they can

Stealth nanoparticles sneak past immune system’s defences

Most of the time, when you’re sick, you want to deliver drugs and imaging agents to diseased cells or tumours where they’re needed most – that’s a problem researchers have solved quite a while ago, we can get particles pretty much wherever we want to. The thing is, most of the time, these agents are stopped by your immune system,

Human brain found to have unique brain structures from other primates

Humans were granted with an evolutionary edge that differentiated us from other primates and may have helped us become the dominant species on planet Earth. A recent study which scanned the brains of humans and rhesus monkeys found that humans have at least two functional brain networks absent in rhesus monkeys. Previous genetic research concluded that our ancestors split from

Get Responsible Pain Relief When Taking Acetaminophen

The dangers of prescription drugs A while ago I wrote a post on the dangers of prescription drugs; the next day, I woke up to see many concerned emails regarding responsible medication, self medication, and other related topics. I tried my best to reply to each and every one of them, but I figured since this is such a big

Scientists find protein that stimulates bone growth in humans

A new study conducted by US researchers has found that a protein called Jagged-1 stimulates stem cells to differentiate into bone-producing cells, possibly saving or improving the qualify of life for millions of people. The fact that their research was peer reviewed and accepted for publishing in the Stem Cells journal definitely backs the validity of their claims. They suggest

Retina implant restores sight to the blind

In the culmination of 15 years worth of painstaking research work related to retina implants, scientists from Germany and Hungary have for the first time demonstrated that a light sensitive electronic chip, implanted under the retina, can restore useful vision in patients blind from hereditary retinal degeneration. As part of the research, nine persons previously completely blind have had their vision

Learning to play a musical instrument doesn’t make you smarter, study finds

There seems to be a general belief, especially among parents, that if you send children to music lessons the experience will make them smarter. However, a group of researchers at  University of Toronto, intrigued  by this highly thrown about, yet never proven, link between the two conducted a study to see if this belief genuinely holds. Their findings suggest, in the authors’ own words,

How the brain tackles tongue-twisting words and why it’s important

Can you imagine an imaginary menagerie manager imagining managing an imaginary menagerie? Sorry about that folks – that was a bit twisted right? Just earlier you’ve used your  lips, tongue, jaw and larynx in a highly complex manner in order to render these sounds out loud. Still, very little is known of how the brain actually manages to perform this

Biological marker for dyslexia found. Good news: reading can be improved

Researchers at Northwestern University claim they have uncovered the mechanisms that lead to difficulty in reading. Apparently, there is a direct correlation between one’s ability to encode speech sound in the brain and ease of reading. The scientists also devised an experiment and saw that children with reading impairment significantly improved after being fitted with a listening device. It’s rather

3D printer ear looks and works just like the real one

3D printing is like a piece of future in the present – the number and extent of applications are just staggering. Recently, researchers from Cornell University have reated an artificial ear using 3-D printing and injectable molds that works pretty much just like the real thing. In a study published in PLOS One, Cornell bioengineers and physicians described how using

Prescription Drug Overdoses Killed 23,000 Americans in 2010, more than heroin and cocaine combined

In 2010, prescription drug overdoses killed 23,000 Americans, while cannabis continued its over 10.000 year history of not killing anyone by overdose. Actually, there is no physical way to overdose on smoked or ingested cannabis, making it basically one of the safest, most natural, non-toxic painkillers, sleeping aids, and stress relievers on the planet. However, the government thinks that other

Is evolution predictable? Research shows specialization isn’t that special after all

There are millions of species on Earth, and naturally understanding the mechanics of evolution is of great importance for understanding further on what sparks life. What sparks consciousness, well that’s a whole different ball-game. Currently, scientists are concentrating on how diversification occurs in order to better their knowledge of how so many species surfaced along the eons. Is this task

How seals sleep with only half their brain

A new study led by an international team of biolgoists has shown just some brain chemicals allow seals to sleep with only half of the brain. “Seals do something biologically amazing — they sleep with half their brain at a time. The left side of their brain can sleep while the right side stays awake. Seals sleep this way while