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Tara Hamilton, Author at Mirror Daily – Page 9 of 12

Dr. Ajeya Joshi, a physician certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, has teamed up with two colleagues to expand the benefits of stem-cell therapy treatments, reaching into the field of orthopedic injuries.

Dr. Joshi offers alternative treatment solutions to patients who don’t want to get their joints or tendons rebuilt through surgery. According to the physicians working at The Stem Cell Orthopedic Institute of Texas, Dr. Joshi’s team is among the few ones in San Antonio that endeavors to perform such procedures on outpatients.

Besides the benefits of not having to go under the knife for this treatment, Joshi, Dr. John Hall and Dr. David Hirsch work from their office, which in turn, makes the treatment less expensive and more accessible for patients in comparison with having the procedures done in a hospital or a surgical center.

Even though The Stem Cell Orthopedic Institute of Texas is only a few weeks old, the team of doctors have been providing their services with stem-cell therapy for more than one and a half years.

Dr. Joshi said that using stem cells is becoming more widely renowned in orthopedics, with physicians using the patient’s own bone-marrow stem cells to remodel collagen, cartilage, tendon and even bone. The procedure can also be used to significantly lower pains and inflammation.

Even though treatment is not as expensive as those offered by surgical centers, a single therapy session is still in the numbers of thousands of dollars, since health insurance has yet to cover for them.

But booking a treatment appointment with Joshi, Hirsch and Hall’s office will help you save from $1,500 to $2,000. Their practice does not use the controversial embryonic stem cells for ethical reasons. According to Joshi, it’s a simple extraction of stem cells from the patient’s body, minimally altering them, and returning them back into the body.

The stem-cell therapy might prove an attractive option for patients who are not viable for total hip or knee replacements due to various reasons – being too young or too old can decrease your chances of being able to undergo surgery. Even among the patients who are deemed medically stable, there are some who prefer the alternative.

The disruptive and invasive character of surgery is often a turn off, and the fact that it can lead to complications does not help. Stem cells, on the other hand, have a lot of benefits with minimum side effects.

Physicians, however, are careful not to raise people’s hopes up in cases of severe worn down joints, because stem cells won’t “magically” create a healthy cartilage.
Image Source: Bilim

For centuries it was believed that people who have more sex live more happily. A new study confirms sex does not make you happier, according to the findings of the researchers at the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Happiness has wrongfully been connected many times before to a sexually active life. Professors at the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh have finally questioned these sayings and decided to end the mystery by carrying out a research on their own.

The study was performed on 128 married couples with heterosexual orientation, aged between 35 and 65. Scientists asked participants to increase their intercourses during the three-month interval in which the research was conducted.

Respondents were told either to double or to carry on with the usual amount of sex they have had so far, depending on the declarations they have made.

The couples were frequently asked to fill out questionnaires meant to determine their psychological condition.

Results have shown that the group who doubled the amount of sex was not at all happier than the group that maintained the same amount of intercourses.

As a matter of fact, respondents who had to practice more sex than they did before felt stressed and, consequently less happy.

Psychologists, who have viewed the results of the study, have questioned the research’s validity.

According to them, scientists at the Carnegie Mellon University were not able to accurately determine whether increased sex activity really makes you happier or not, precisely because they have stressed their respondents.

In their opinion, researchers should repeat the study and suggest respondents this time to find new methods of reducing stress. Sexy scenarios are more than welcome, according to psychologists, as they can help reduce the stress factor which perturbed CMU’s investigation.

George Loewenstein, the study’s lead investigator, is convinced that the study was biased. He strongly believes that increased sexual frequency can have numerous benefits on humans’ minds and bodies, when and if practiced properly.

According to researchers at CMU in Pittsburgh, the study was meant to improve couples’ sexual life, particularly middle-aged couples.

The latter are usually unhappy about their sexual life, so scientists thought they could find a link between the rare intercourses and the general discontent they feel about themselves and their partners.

Unfortunately the findings of the study were not very relevant. If we are to take into account what researchers have discovered, than it is clear: increased sexual activity does not make you happier.
Image Source: Doctor Oz

Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a warning on early Friday morning concerning the alarmingly high Carbon Dioxide concentration levels registered in the past months.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration constantly measure the carbon dioxide levels to determine pollution levels. Their recent report proves that world leaders and environmental organizations have many reasons to be worried.

The levels of carbon dioxide emissions have reached an all-time high record with 400 parts per million registered throughout March and April.

Despite the alarmingly high carbon dioxide record, scientists are not at all surprised. They have disclosed that the 400 parts per million threshold was long expected considering the powerful industrial activity that many countries carry out.

The most polluting countries remain those with a strong economic and industrial activity.

All restraints aside, scientists have pointed their finger at China, India and the United States as they seem to be the most responsible for the high CO2 emissions.

Data registered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration indicates that these countries have been the leaders of noxious emissions in the past few decades.

Despite the warnings, that the environmental organizations have repeatedly issued in order to determine world powers to reduce their industrial activities, China, India and the United States are still indifferent to these requests.

In fact, these countries intend to continue their activities, regardless of the recent or the past NOAA’s reports.

Pieter Tans, science leader at the NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, further explained that the 400 parts per million record was long foreseen by environmental analysts.

As a matter of fact, these levels were also registered in the past, namely in 2012 and 2013. “It was only a matter of time that we would average 400 parts per million globally,” the scientist further replied.

The alarming aspect is that the current 400 ppm milestone was registered at a global level, whereas in 2012 and 2013 this record was only noticed locally. More specifically, 400 parts per million carbon dioxide levels were only spotted in those years around the Artic sites.

The main culprit responsible for the high pollution threshold remains the burning of fossil fuels, according to the analysis that was carried out by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

World leaders are expected to tackle this subject and come up with relevant solutions during the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, which is due to take place in December 2015, in Paris.
Image Source: Crooks and liars

Two studies regarding the effects of gene therapy on the retina have been published. This is a first step in curing a congenital retinal disease, called Leber’s congenital amaurosis (LCA), a remarkable success in the fields of Genetics and Ophthalmology.

LCA is a inherited disease of the retina, that affects 1 in 80,000 people. The disease has an early onset, appearing at birth or in the first few months of life and its main symptom is, as the name describes, amaurosis. This means the loss of sight that is not associated with a lesion.

The studies were conducted at the University College London’s Institute of Ophthalmology and at the University of Pennsylvania’s Scheie Eye Institute in the US. The principle of the study was injecting healthy genes in the affected retinal area of LCA patients.

Previous gene therapy programmes have been conducted in regards to LCA, using an adeno-associated virus on the RPE65 gene, the mutated gene that causes LCA. While this course of treatment has shown promising results, it still has not reached the point where it may be widely used.

These two studies focusing on injecting healthy genes in the retina have proven to be successful to a certain extent, but as the method is at the moment, it only has a temporary effect on the patients’ sight. An effect has been observed in the night vision of the twelve patients in the study. The improvement observed peeked at six to twelve months post-treatment and then started to decline up to the point where it disappeared completely.

“Within days of the injections, some patients reported increases in their ability to see dim lights they had never seen before. It was remarkable for us to get this feedback that things were indeed changing positively,” said Dr. Jacobson, M.D., Ph.D., who conducted the clinical trial at the University of Pennsylvania’s Scheie Eye Institute.

The studies provided six years of data on the effects of gene therapy on LCA. Aside from the rapid effect on the greater light sensitivity, some patients showed a longer term improvement as well. They managed to make use of the area near the injection site for seeing letters, function for which the fovea is normally responsible. The fovea is a component of the eye that has a high density of photoreceptors and therefore provides detailed sight.

This ground-breaking study will be the base line of future research on the matter, as gene therapy has shown tremendous results. “As with any application of a novel therapy, it now needs to be fine-tuned.”, said Dr. Paul A. Sieving, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Eye Institute.

While not having cured LCA completely, this newest version of gene therapy is the first step in curing a congenital retinal disease. Researchers are looking for a more potent gene-therapy treatment plan, based on the results of these two studies, in the hope that soon enough diseases like LCA will be history.
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Stanford University resident researchers made the news when their tiny bots were displayed for the public to see. Finding their inspiration in the world of geckos, inchworms and ants, the Stanford team developed impressivily skilled new bots.

What is so awe striking about these tiny machines is that they seem to be the superheroes of bot world. A 9 gram bot was designed to pull one kilogram on a vertical surface, yet another weighing only 20 milligrams is able to carry 500 milligrams and then there is the μTug.

μTug is the most impressive in both built and strength conveyed to it by its creator. This mini robot weighs only 12 grams, but can carry more than 2000 times its own weight. Imagine that!

The MicroTugs as they are called by Christensen and Hawkes, the team that developed them, have been designed in the Biometrics and Dexterous Manipulation Laboratory of the Stanford University, using a new technology that goes by the name controllable adhesive. It is a technology that was „stolen” from the animal world, mostly from the cute geckos.

The New Scientist reports that the technology works as follows: „The adhesives are covered in minute rubber spikes that griply firm onto the wall as the robot climbs. When pressure is applied, the spikes bend, increasing their surface area and thus their stickiness. When the robot picks its foot back up, the spikes straighten out again and detach easily.”

On the funny side of the story, Mr. Hawkes was spotted last year climbing the glass walls of a building in Stanford University campus in order to test the developments that were part of his dissertation. It seems he got brilliant results as the bots are now an attraction and, as some may argue, an amazing new asset to technology research and robotics.

No doubt the MicroTugs deserve all the attention they are currently getting. The μTug which is only 12 grams and can carry up to 2000 times his weight is, according to the MicroTug webpage: „the equivalent of a human adult dragging a blue whale around on land”.

The MicroTugs will be on display at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Seattle. It is hoped that these mini bots will be developed for industrial used in the near future. The Stanford team said their value could reach full potention in emergency situations, or in construction sites for heavy lifting and carrying.

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It was April 15, 2013 when the twin bombings that occurred during the Boston Marathon took the life of three and injured more than 260 persons attending the event.

After terror infused breaking news and sparks in the media, it was declared that one of the two main suspects had been shot dead during a chase, while the other had been taken in custody.

These two suspects were the Tsarnaev brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar. With the first dead, the entire media and prosecution attention shifted to the brothers’ background and Dzhokhar as the main suspect in yet another US based alleged terrorist attack.

Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were two young Muslims of Chechen origin who had moved with their family from Kyrgyzstan to Dagestan and in 2002 to the United States, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. While Tamerlan was a declared devout Muslim, his brother, Dzhokhar, seemed to be, by all accounts, simply looking up to his sibling and thus under his influence. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who overtook the investigation, both Tsarnaev brothers were motivated by extremist Islamic beliefs, yet neither was connected to any known terrorist group.

Dzhokhar later confirmed this allegation by stating that they had been operating independently and that their motivation had been solely the defending of Islam from US interference. Consequently, he referred to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars conducted by the US and a CBS report came to reveal that Dzhokhar had written a note inside the boat were the explosive devices had been hidden: they “had been retribution for US military action in Afghanistan and Iraq” and the victims had been collateral damage in the same way the innocent victims had been collateral damage in the US led wars.

Nonetheless, at the time Dzhokhar also stated that his brother had only recently recruited him to help and that Tamerlan had been the brain behind the bombings. In the grim light of this statement, some argued that Islamist pledges only came second to the Tamerlan’s inability to adapt to the American society, his former criminal record and his Chechen background.

And while nothing can erase the fact that 3 people died and more than 260 were injured, all allegations that Tamerlan had been the driving force behind the Boston bombings have been used in favour of his younger brother, Dzhokhar.

The prosecution of young Dzhokhar officially began on April 23, 2013. He is being trialed in the federal criminal court system, with the defense attorney Judy Clarke, member of the Federal Public Defender’s office, leading the defense team. A short chronology of the trial would include the first public court appearance made by Tsarnaev.

At the time he pleaded not guilty for all 30 charges that are held against him. After September 23, 2013, when the defense lawyers requested more time to prepare, it was September 24, 2014 when Judge George O’Toole ruled that the trial would begin on January 5, 2015. Such a delay was motivated by the fact that an enormous amount of evidence waited to be examined by both the defense and the prosecution.

A futile exercise as the defense argued that the overtly negative influence of the media over the possible jury was inevitable. And that under such circumstances any evidence of the young Tsarnaev’s unwilling implication in the Boston marathon bombing will be shred to pieces.

Even so, the trail started on March 4, 2014 with the opening statements of both the prosecution and the defense. Assistant US Attorney William Weinreb attempted to sketch Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as a soldier in a holy war against Americans and an equal participant in the planning and carrying out of the twin bombings.

The defense attorney Jude Clarke did underline the guilt of the defendant in placing the second bomb at the finish line among many other charges that are being brought to her client. Yet she built upon the rhetoric of the US Attorney to highlight just how biased it can be, at the same time making a case for Tamerlan having been the driving force of the bombings, including through the strong influence he exercised on his brother.

With an overall of 90 witnesses brought forward by the prosecution and only 4 by the defense, the trial’s guilt phase was concluded on March 31, 2015.

Little after, on April 8, Tsarnaev was found guilty on all 30 counts, out of which 17 carry the possibility of the death penalty. And while the prosecutors are making the case for execution, the defense team is trying to offer Dzhokhar a life sentence without parole, thus saving him from the death penalty. In humanizing him and trying to mellow the ruthless and heartless terrorist label, Judy Clarke is practicing her belief in the chance and right to life.

She has been called the champion of opposition to capital punishment and it is believed that if Judy Clarke can’t save Dzhokhar Tsarnaev from the death penalty, nobody can. In the past, she has defended and saved some of the most well known murderers in the US. All the credit goes to her ability to humanize her clients and tell a story. Not a story of excuses, but of circumstances and forgiving.

We are still waiting to see how the events will unfold over the course of April 27, 2015 when the defense lawyers present their case. Hopefully, the anti-death penalty sentiment reflected in recent poll results and the team’s attempts to show Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as a misguided youth that needs protecting will convince the 12 jurors to be lenient, despite the brutal and emotionally challenging trial they have attended.

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The Moon could have been formed after a huge collision between Earth and an object that was very similar in composition to our planet.

This new theory could help elucidate why Earth and Moon have so much in common in rock composition, more than experts would expect from a giant impact. But this is only one study regarding the origin of the Moon that were published recently in the prestigious journal Nature.

Two other research papers speak about recently unknown differences in lunar rocks. Researchers believe they are crucial in drawing the picture of the Moon’s history.

Scientists from Israel and France have managed to simulate the turmoil of the early Solar System. The study quantifies the number and versions of collisions that might have happened during that time.

In its beginnings, the Earth would have been the scene of an entire string of heavy collisions with other planets in the forming stage. According to the experts, the last of these was a cataclysmic impact with a planetary rock just ten times lighter than Earth. The theory suggests that the resulting debris eventually merged and the Moon was thus formed.

Previous studies believed that the planet that hit Earth was a different type of space object, but new data denies these theories.

“They are almost identical. This is one of the major challenges for this really beautiful giant impact hypothesis,” said Dr Perets, from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

Dr Perets and his colleagues discovered in their simulations that the planet that hit earth might, in fact, have been made of almost identical materials to those already present on Earth, that is why only subtle differences are observed in lunar material.

The new studies have found an interesting explanation for what happened subsequently to both the Earth and the Moon. Researchers have proposed that both the Earth and Moon gathered a huge amount of extra matter, during a subsequent period when the two were bombarded by large numbers of meteorites.

Even if the Moon and Earth had originally similar building blocks, our planet had a much stronger gravity and deprived the satellite from a balance of ingredients during that period.

The two other new studies of lunar rocks, one from Germany and the other from the US, discovered evidence for this shift, after looking at samples from the Apollo missions with new high tech equipment.

They found that a small but important difference when compared lunar rocks to Earth rocks: an altered ratio in the metal’s different isotopes.

Image Source: Feel Grafix

This Saturday will bring to us the shortest lunar eclipse of the century, which NASA estimates will only last about 5 minutes. So if you want to have a good chance of seeing the moon rising, you must be very quick, otherwise you’ll miss it.

If weather will cooperate with eager early-risers, they should be able to witness at least a partial lunar eclipse on April 4, which will be visible just before the sun rises. Around 7:58 a.m. EDT, West Coasters might have a pretty good chance of also seeing the moon’s strange shade of red while approaching totality.

Once again, stargazers from other parts of the global are more fortunate and their chances of catching a good image of the lunar eclipse are a lot better. Sky & Telescope stated that observers from Southeast Asia, China, Japan, and Australia will have the best “seats in the house”.

Will Gater, astronomer at the online Slooh Community Observatory, gave a statement encouraging people who live in less fortunate location to not lose hope, as such total lunar eclipses are usually caught on camera around the world, some of which will even broadcast it live. So you still have a chance to be a witness, by starting your day with an incredibly ethereal live event.

Slooh has already announced a live webcast on the website, and you can tune in starting 6 a.m. EDT on Saturday, April 4. According to NASA reports, Saturday will mark the third of a lunar eclipse tetrad. First and second sky events happened on April and September 2014, respectively, and the tetrad will come full circle on September 28.

NASA officials have explained the “blood moon” phenomenon in a statement, saying that the color is an effect of sunlight passing through Earth’s atmosphere – filtering most of the blue light, the remaining one casts a reddish color. Hence, the “blood moon” nickname, which in fact isn’t as graphic as it sounds.

The joy of lunar eclipses is that they can be witnessed from any location on Earth that has proper weather conditions that allow viewers to see the moon. Total solar eclipses, on the other hand – like the one form March 20, 2015 – are more exclusive, depending on which way Earth, sun, and moon align.

Image Source: The Oslo Times

Gloomy news from Antarctica as scientists announced on Tuesday they have measured a record breaking high temperature on the continent – 17.5 degrees Celsius (or 63.5 degrees Fahrenheit).

The temperature was measured in the northernmost extremity of the Antarctic Peninsula, at the Argentinian Esperanza Base, and the announcement was first published on the meteorological website Weather Underground. It is the highest registered value in almost fifty years of weather monitoring in Antarctica.

According to available data, the highest temperature ever recorded before was 17.1°C (62.8°F), measured at the same location on April 24, 1961. Earlier this week, researchers expressed concerned when they discovered another record value of 63.3°F at the Marambio Base, set on an island just outside Antarctica mainland, and their fears were confirmed on Tuesday, when they finished measuring the air temperature on the continent itself.

The website labeled this week’s discoveries as part of the “remarkable heat wave” that usually hits Antarctica at the end of the austral summer. The results, however, have not yet been made official by the World Meteorological Organization.

According to some of the international bodies overseeing weather changes in Antarctica, Argentina’s Esperanza Base is not technically part of the continent, so the results the scientists there came with may not enter official records. Christopher Burt, a weather historian, argues there are currently four accepted ways to define Antarctica, and none of them counts the Esperanza Base as relevant for weather concerns.

The World Meteorological Organization will have the final saying on the matter, as the world’s supreme weather body does have the authority to validate the result anyway. But the WMO will have to compare it to some other recent results that suggest the contrary.

For instance, according to Gavin Schmidt, a NASA climate scientist, only last year Antarctica smashed another record, this time for the lowest temperature ever recorded on the continent. He and those who think like him argue that a single measurement of a record high is not relevant enough to come to a conclusion.

One thing all scientists seem to agree upon is that the ocean water surrounding Antarctica has been warming constantly in the past decades, therefore causing glaciers found on the edges of the continent to start melting. Another British study made recently estimates the temperature in the Antarctic Peninsula region increased by 2.8 °C compared to half a century ago. The British Antarctic Survey warns that the area is “the most rapidly warming region in the Southern Hemisphere – comparable to rapidly warming regions of the Arctic.”

However, the image for the entire continent is a little more complex. Researchers took a glance further inland on Antarctica and found out that some of the glaciers located there are actually growing in size. They have yet to conclude if this phenomenon is in any way related to the melting of the glaciers that come in contact with the warm ocean water.

“That has not been satisfactorily explained,” NASA’s Schmidt wrote. “One record warm temperature doesn’t cut through all that complexity.”

Image Source: American Geophysical Union

A genetics study published Thursday in the Science journal claims that the current version of the deadly Ebola virus has very low chance of mutating into a more dangerous version, possibly transmissible by air or immune to current vaccines.

The researchers reached this conclusion by comparing Ebola mutations since the late 2013 outbreak in Western Africa with smaller past outbreaks, observing that the virus is transforming itself at the same rate as in those past cases. While the study acknowledges some degree of genetic difference, it isn’t considered significant enough to warrant more dangerous mutations of the disease anytime soon.

The study was comprised by a mixed team of researchers from the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a number of universities, research centers and World Health Organization branches from Mali and Burkina Faso. If confirmed, it effectively ends fears that its current iteration is a super-virus that could become impossible to contain given enough time.

Many feared that the disease – responsible for more than 10,000 deaths from nearly 25,000 cases since the epidemic started in December 2013 – could evolve to be transmissible by air, which would have catastrophic effects on the poorly prepared African countries, and might even make it spread outside of the area. Currently, the virus can only be caught after having contact with someone already infected.

Meanwhile, batches of a Canadian experimental vaccine have been delivered to Guinea – one of the three Western African countries where the outbreak is still ongoing, alongside Liberia and Sierra Leone – with it being expected to slow the spread of the disease, which killed more than 2,200 people throughout the country. 95 new cases of Ebola have been confirmed in Guinea this week alone.

Also, the unknown US volunteer health-care worker infected with the virus in Sierra Leone, who was flown to Washington two weeks ago, has seen his condition lowered from critical to serious.

Image Source: Post News Group

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