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A blog on science, global health, social science and science policy...

Charles
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  • April 6, 2013
  • 05:22 AM
  • 331 views

The beat the mosquito’s heart didn’t skip…

by Charles in science left untitled

It pulsed continuously without stopping. Then it repeated, as it had done many times before. Then, without delay, almost without skipping a beat, it changed direction. The action was as old as man himself, yet this time, completely and uniquely different — the perfect heartbeat. The perfect mosquito heartbeat. An interesting quirk of nature is [...]... Read more »

  • March 21, 2013
  • 03:10 PM
  • 209 views

The Contagion of Violence…

by Charles in science left untitled

When Professor Plum killed Dr Black, in the library, with the candlestick it was for no other reason than murder is a disease. Murder is infectious and the contagion of violence is everywhere. Violence begets violence.Violence within nations and cultures. It occurs within families and between partners. It increases the risk of violence directed at [...]... Read more »

  • March 12, 2013
  • 08:50 AM
  • 371 views

Invasion of Asian tiger mosquitoes…

by Charles in science left untitled

Sometime during that glorious decade known as the 1980s, a shipment landed in Houston, Texas. A shipment carrying more than its cargo. The point of origin was Japan. The shipment was used tires. The payload was Asian tiger mosquitoes. Within years of landing in Texas the tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, rapidly displaced resident populations of Aedes aegypti mosquito. [...]... Read more »

  • February 3, 2013
  • 01:20 PM
  • 252 views

The bacteria that live inside hurricanes…

by Charles in science left untitled

Seven miles above the Earth’s surface, where the weather is born, lies the troposphere – the lowest layer of Earth’s atmosphere. Up there, where the clouds dance around, are bacteria that can make it rain, and are important for the formation of clouds. The atmospheric microbiome is a concept and field of study that is [...]... Read more »

DeLeon-Rodriguez, N., Lathem, T., Rodriguez-R, L., Barazesh, J., Anderson, B., Beyersdorf, A., Ziemba, L., Bergin, M., Nenes, A., & Konstantinidis, K. (2013) Microbiome of the upper troposphere: Species composition and prevalence, effects of tropical storms, and atmospheric implications. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1212089110  

  • January 27, 2013
  • 11:01 AM
  • 218 views

The animal link to sleeping sickness…

by Charles in science left untitled

As with many parasites, the nuisance they bring is partly compensated for by new insights they provoke. The African trypanosome is perhaps unique among all of the diseases of developing worlds. The diseases of sleeping sickness, inflicted on man and cattle alike, perhaps drove early man ‘out of Africa’ — in an attempt to avoid [...]... Read more »

  • January 20, 2013
  • 03:15 AM
  • 279 views

Morphine hurts…

by Charles in science left untitled

Why does Morphine cause pain? He was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 27. At the age of 39 he was in so much pain he begged his doctors to die. He was in pain because of morphine. In the 12 years he lived since he was diagnosed he had a therapeutic regimen [...]... Read more »

Wilson GR, & Reisfield GM. (2003) Morphine hyperalgesia: a case report. The American journal of hospice , 20(6), 459-61. PMID: 14649563  

Ferrini, F., Trang, T., Mattioli, T., Laffray, S., Del'Guidice, T., Lorenzo, L., Castonguay, A., Doyon, N., Zhang, W., Godin, A.... (2013) Morphine hyperalgesia gated through microglia-mediated disruption of neuronal Cl− homeostasis. Nature Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1038/nn.3295  

  • November 19, 2012
  • 06:24 AM
  • 337 views

After Sandy…

by Charles in science left untitled

Before hurricane Sandy touched down on the east coast of America, it passed through the Caribbean, causing around 80 fatalities — 60 of them occurred in Haiti, 11 in Cuba, two in the Bahamas, two in the Dominican Republic and one in Jamaica. Hurricane Sandy started life out over central America, nonchalantly, as a collection [...]... Read more »

Arya SC, & Agarwal N. (2012) Prevention and control of infections after natural disasters. Expert review of anti-infective therapy, 10(5), 529. PMID: 22702315  

Kouadio IK, Aljunid S, Kamigaki T, Hammad K, & Oshitani H. (2012) Infectious diseases following natural disasters: prevention and control measures. Expert review of anti-infective therapy, 10(1), 95-104. PMID: 22149618  

  • October 30, 2012
  • 07:50 AM
  • 295 views

Panique au village: the revolution that caused an epidemic…

by Charles in science left untitled

It boasts, struts, and flaunts with that kind of assurance that only comes from the mentality of knowing that you are right, and that even if you may be wrong, others will admire you for it. This is Paris. Where other cities flowed and spilled out to occupy a space larger than its originality, Paris [...]... Read more »

  • October 19, 2012
  • 07:01 AM
  • 315 views

Making the Moon…

by Charles in science left untitled

It began… where it always begins — out there — in the vastness of space. What would it look like, that void of empty nothingness? So early on in the sound of creation, indescribable things all around. Not yet planets, not yet moons. Not yet defined. A titanic mass of rock. Different. Ugly and melancholic. [...]... Read more »

  • October 15, 2012
  • 01:05 PM
  • 384 views

The evolution of human mortality…

by Charles in science left untitled

How long until we live forever? The general consensus is that we are getting older and living longer. Despite consequences and kryptonite, it is getting easier to stay alive. Heaven can wait, it seems. Every year each baby born is expected to live 3 months longer than its predecessor of the previous year. This has been the [...]... Read more »

Oskar Burgera, Annette Baudischa, and James W. Vaupela. (2012) Human mortality improvement in evolutionary context. PNAS. info:/10.1073/pnas.1215627109

  • October 8, 2012
  • 02:59 PM
  • 323 views

Eternal sunshine of the drugless mind…

by Charles in science left untitled

What if you could wipe the memories of drugs from your mind? What if the sweet taste of relapse was no longer a fear for recovering drug users? Wiping drug memories Relapse back into drug use is complex. Taking into account the environmental cues that come along with using drugs. The effect of the drug [...]... Read more »

Milton AL, & Everitt BJ. (2012) Neuroscience. Wiping drug memories. Science (New York, N.Y.), 336(6078), 167-8. PMID: 22499932  

Xue YX, Luo YX, Wu P, Shi HS, Xue LF, Chen C, Zhu WL, Ding ZB, Bao YP, Shi J.... (2012) A memory retrieval-extinction procedure to prevent drug craving and relapse. Science (New York, N.Y.), 336(6078), 241-5. PMID: 22499948  

  • September 13, 2012
  • 04:04 PM
  • 335 views

The tribe that eradicated rinderpest…

by Charles in science left untitled

The Karamoja region in northern Uganda is one of pastoral communities and closely dispersed ethnic groups that rely on livestock for their livelihood. It is within a semi-arid place like this that economies based on meat, milk, and blood from cattle thrive. In communities such as this one, cattle plague will always be the number [...]... Read more »

Jeffrey C. Mariner,James A. House, Charles A. Mebus, Albert E. Sollod, Dickens Chibeu, Bryony A. Jones, Peter L. Roeder, Berhanu Admassu, Gijs G. M. van ’t Klooster. (2012) Rinderpest Eradication: Appropriate Technology and Social Innovations. Science, 337 (6100), 1309-1312. info:/10.1126/science.1223805

  • September 6, 2012
  • 03:37 AM
  • 420 views

Alien encounters and the man from Grenada…

by Charles in science left untitled

The month of August indeed belonged to the tiny rover that could — Curiosity. We were all hooked right from the landing and until those first images of the red planet were beamed back. Not even Will.i.am could spoil it for us. We revelled in everything in between, from the missed high-fives, peanuts, Neil deGrasse [...]... Read more »

Dominik M, & Zarnecki JC. (2011) The detection of extra-terrestrial life and the consequences for science and society. Philosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences, 369(1936), 499-507. PMID: 21220276  

Othman M. (2011) Supra-Earth affairs. Philosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences, 369(1936), 693-9. PMID: 21220292  

  • September 1, 2012
  • 04:29 AM
  • 434 views

The rise in representation of non-human entities…

by Charles in science left untitled

It happened over ten years ago. Jimmy was incarcerated against his will, held in a cage, isolated, and denied the basic freedom he deserved. A Habeas Corpus request was put in on his behalf. A long ordeal involving lawyers and various international organisations. It happened again last year, in San Diego USA, Tilikum, Katina, Kasatka, [...]... Read more »

[No authors listed]. (2011) Great ape debate. Nature, 474(7351), 252. PMID: 21677704  

  • August 21, 2012
  • 01:38 PM
  • 485 views

Fear of Ebola…

by Charles in science left untitled

“…the last big outbreak I experienced in Uganda [was] in 2007. When MSF arrived a lot of the staff in the hospital had died and the rest had run away because they were scared.” – Dr Kamalini Lokuge, who is about to head off to Uganda with MSF to fight the latest outbreak. At the end of [...]... Read more »

Gonzalez JP, Pourrut X, & Leroy E. (2007) Ebolavirus and other filoviruses. Current topics in microbiology and immunology, 363-87. PMID: 17848072  

Pourrut X, Kumulungui B, Wittmann T, Moussavou G, Délicat A, Yaba P, Nkoghe D, Gonzalez JP, & Leroy EM. (2005) The natural history of Ebola virus in Africa. Microbes and infection / Institut Pasteur, 7(7-8), 1005-14. PMID: 16002313  

  • July 12, 2012
  • 03:49 PM
  • 413 views

The extinction that is yet to come…

by Charles in science left untitled

The Amazon rainforest contains a wider variety of plant and animal life than any other biome in the world. The region in its entirety is home to roughly 2.5 million insect species, tens of thousands of plants, and some 2000 birds and mammals. To date, at least 40,000 plant species, 2000 fishes, 1000 birds, 427 [...]... Read more »

Soares-Filho B, Moutinho P, Nepstad D, Anderson A, Rodrigues H, Garcia R, Dietzsch L, Merry F, Bowman M, Hissa L.... (2010) Role of Brazilian Amazon protected areas in climate change mitigation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(24), 10821-6. PMID: 20505122  

Ricketts TH, Soares-Filho B, da Fonseca GA, Nepstad D, Pfaff A, Petsonk A, Anderson A, Boucher D, Cattaneo A, Conte M.... (2010) Indigenous lands, protected areas, and slowing climate change. PLoS biology, 8(3). PMID: 20305712  

  • July 2, 2012
  • 11:30 AM
  • 423 views

The clues to human uniqueness…

by Charles in science left untitled

Over 2 million years ago, before the emergence of the genus Homo, within the rift valleys and savannah grasslands of Africa during the Pliocene period, a unique event took place. One that, with some hyperbole, admittedly, shaped the course of human evolution. The event was on a molecular scale but had its bearings on what we now call [...]... Read more »

Wang X, Mitra N, Secundino I, Banda K, Cruz P, Padler-Karavani V, Verhagen A, Reid C, Lari M, Rizzi E.... (2012) Specific inactivation of two immunomodulatory SIGLEC genes during human evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(25), 9935-40. PMID: 22665810  

Varki A. (2010) Colloquium paper: uniquely human evolution of sialic acid genetics and biology. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 8939-46. PMID: 20445087  

  • June 24, 2012
  • 05:43 AM
  • 531 views

Ceci n’est pas la marijuana…

by Charles in science left untitled

“You have been assigned to the condition to smoke an active marijuana cigarette that contains THC. THC is the primary psychoactive cannabinoid that gets people high.” Does the fact that you are told you are taking a drug effect your reaction to that drug… or the drug’s effect itself? This was the simple question posed [...]... Read more »

  • June 15, 2012
  • 08:38 AM
  • 479 views

Slippery when wet…

by Charles in science left untitled

It’s a trap! In the fields of Brunei Darussalam in North Borneo, once a crown colony of Great Britain, lies the pitcher plant. The pitcher plant is carnivorous, capturing and devouring insects that seek to harvest its nectar. The pitcher plant is beguiling, attractive, and has evolved many ways to seduce its predator. Insect prey [...]... Read more »

  • June 13, 2012
  • 04:58 PM
  • 609 views

Addicted to Love…

by Charles in science left untitled

The ultimate reductio ad absurdum argument is that any behaviour can become potentially addictive. Which leads to the next logical question: are there any good addictions? Researchers today talk of addiction as a disease. And in that trope, the “disease concept” of addiction is really just a metaphor. A metaphor with connotations. Researchers posit that [...]... Read more »

Reynaud, M., Karila, L., Blecha, L., & Benyamina, A. (2010) Is Love Passion an Addictive Disorder?. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 36(5), 261-267. DOI: 10.3109/00952990.2010.495183  

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