Thursday, April 25, 2013

#75 - Clarity (aka Invisibility!)

Today I learned about a group at Stanford that have figured out a way to make biological tissues invisble! They don't call it invisible...they use the term "clarity" but basically you can see through the tissue!

You've got to see this! Below is a mouse brain before and then after 2 days of the clarity process in which a gel is placed around the brain to hold its structure and then fats are removed which leave the brain see through! Isn't it cool?!!
Check out this cool youtube video about the process!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

#74 - Redbud Tree aka Judas Tree

I snapped a picture of this beautiful trio of redbud trees during my lunch walk today. Aren't they gorgeous?!

Today I learned an interesting fact about them. They are also called "Judas trees" because it's said that  Judas hanged himself from a redbud tree after betraying Jesus. The flowering redbud is said to "blush with shame". Poor little tree, why should it blush with shame? It did nothing wrong!

Monday, April 15, 2013

#73 - Historic Day in Science and Medicine - Patent a gene? yes or no?

DNA Helix Glass Pendant Necklace by BigHelmetHead on Etsy, $26

Today while chatting with my awesome boss, I learned that today is a historic day in science and medicine! Why??

Today the Supreme court will hear a case to determine whether or not a person or company can patent a gene.

Myriad Genetics is seeking patent for two genes related to hereditary breast cancer - BCRA1 and BCRS2.

My personal view is that this should not happen because there is a law in place that you cannot patent "products of nature". My genes (and your genes) are products of get off Myriad Genetics.

I worry that if we allow companies to patent genes then treatments that would be fairly inexpensive will soon become expensive. Also, where's the limit...if you can patent my genes can you patent other things that are technically MINE?

For more on the topic, click here.

What do you think? Sound off! :)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

#72 - Lake Hillier, Australia

Today I learned there is a lake in Australia that is naturally bubble gum pink! How neat is that! The lake is thought to get its pink color either from the mix of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and sea salt or from bacteria present in the lake. Though the pink color is somewhat freaky, there water is not toxic to humans.

Would you swim in a pink lake? I would love to see it but I'm not so sure I'd get in it! ;)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

#71 - Allergy Testing

Yesterday I had a very new adventure and to be honest, I was scared about it. I know I have allergies. I've had big reactions to horses and rabbits. I also itch like crazy if I sit in grass. But I've never actually been allergy tested. Lately I've been breaking out in hives and so I was sent to have allergy testing since none of the allergy medicines have helped me.

I was afraid I was going to get stabbed with giant needles but the pokes on the back didn't really hurt at all. It was more like a little poke than an injection.The needle must be really short because I even wondered if it was a needle at all or just something that scratched me. This part of the testing didn't cause any bleeding. The poke isn't very deep at all. This test was done on my back instead of my arm.

Everything that tested negative at the low dose on my back was checked again at a higher dose on my arm. To do the higher dose, she had to inject it. This part of the test kinda hurt. It was like getting about 20 TB skin test injections!

Turns out I'm allergic to tons of things...mostly plants and animals but also dust mites and EGGS!  The egg allergy is tragic considering I eat a ton of eggs. :(

Here's my back after testing:

I start allergy shots next week or the week after (depends on when they get my custom shot ready) and hopefully in 6 months or so I'll be feeling much better. :)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

#70 - 10 Facts About Dandelions

Dandelion Watercolor by CKpigments on Etsy, $25

It's spring time and these pesky little flowering weeds will soon be invading gorgeous lawns everywhere!

Besides the fact that they ruin lawns each year, here's 10 cool facts about them:

1. Dandelions originated in Asia where they are used as both food and medicine. 

Heirloom Dandelion Seeds from seedsshop on Etsy, $1.79

2. The plant was brought to the US by the Spanish (New Mexico) and the German (Pennsylvania) for use in nutrition.

3.The word "dandelion" comes from the French name for the plant "dents de lion" which means "teeth of the lion" in reference to the jagged leaves of the plant.

4. On a breezy day, a strong wind can transport the tiny seeds of the plant miles away from the parent dandelion plant.

Dandelion Seed Necklace by ScrappinCop on Etsy, $15

5. Dandelion flowers are photosensitive; they bloom under the morning sun and close in the evening or in dull, gloomy conditions.

6. Dandelion is grown as a crop in Belgium.

7. In Chinese medicine, the dandelion plant has been used for over thousand years in treating various conditions like diabetes, cancers, as well as bacterial and fungal infections.
Dandelion and Nettle Herbal Tea by good4you on Etsy, $14

8. Dandelion is popular for its diuretic properties and it increases urine output.

 9. The entire dandelion plant is edible. (obviously it you're going to eat one, don't eat one that's likely been sprayed with pesticide or peed on by dogs, etc...just a thought)

10.  The dandelion is also an ingredient in root beer.

Root Beer Print by FlyGraphics on Etsy, $15