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December 2010

By: Cynthia | December 27 2010 | Category: Science History, Science News, Tidbits for Teachers

Against the Odds Exhibit PosterAgainst the Odds:  Making a Difference in Global Health, an exhibit by the National Library of Medicine

As we wrap up the old year and ring in the new this week, many of us share wishes for good health, prosperity, and peace with family and friends around the world. It seems like the perfect time to visit the National Library of Medicine’s latest exhibit, Against the Odds: Making a Difference in Global Health. It’s rich with heart-warming stories about the sometimes challenging but rewarding global efforts to improve the health and well-being of all people.

At the online exhibit,

The physical traveling exhibit is scheduled for various sites around the country through May of 2013. Check the schedule to find out if it’s coming near you.
By: Cynthia | December 21 2010 | Category: Research & Technology, Science News

illustration of the ideas emerging from a brainAn NIH-funded study shows our thoughts can manipulate computer images

Remember “The Matrix” movies? Characters in them are connected to a cyber world through a rod jammed into the backs of their heads. The cyber world can be influenced by thoughts and beliefs. The lead character, Neo, has to believe he’s “The One” so he can have the super powers needed to free humanity from the machines. Such science fiction technologies once seemed impossible, but not so much any more.

In an NIH-funded study External Web Site Policy at UCLA Medical Center, Itzhak Fried and his colleagues showed that humans can regulate their neurons to alter a cyber reality, while being subjected to competitive stimuli. They worked with patients being treated for intractable epilepsy who’d had wires implanted into their brains. After connecting the wires to a computer, subjects were shown two merged images on a computer screen. With focused attention, they were able to force the computer to display one image and discard the other.

The brain-computer interface helps scientists understand how the brain processes information and how thoughts and decisions affect cell activity. The potential applications of the research are wide-ranging and could help paralyzed individuals communicate or control prosthetic limbs.

The results leave me wondering what’s next for our high-tech civilization.
By: Cynthia | December 7 2010 | Category: Science News, Tidbits for Teachers

pictorial life cycle of bedbugLearn how to deal with bedbugs by using online resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Just the thought of sharing a bed with creepy-crawly critters is enough to give most of us the willies. But with the current epidemic of bedbug outbreaks, it’s becoming a living nightmare for people all across the country. Many of us will be traveling to visit family and friends over the holidays, making this an ideal time to learn how to protect ourselves from these pesky bugs. The CDC and EPA have come up with some great online resources for helping us prevent and deal with infestations, and life science teachers can use the sites to add a timely topic to their core curriculum. 

Experts believe we’re experiencing a resurgence of bedbug outbreaks because people are traveling more, most of us don’t know how to prevent or handle infestations, and the insects are becoming resistant to many pesticides. Bedbugs are a problem, but if we do the right things, we can prevail!
Check out the CDC and EPA resources to learn how to
Let’s enjoy our holiday travels but leave the bedbugs behind!
By: Debbie | December 1 2010 | Category: NIH Resources, Science News, Tidbits for Teachers

World AIDS Day logoAn estimated 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV, and yet one out of five don’t know it. Today (December 1) is World AIDS Day. It is an opportunity for us to take action!
Here are a few simple, powerful, and engaging ways:
  • Share information on Twitter about how you’re taking action for World AIDS Day (and beyond!) Use the official hashtag #WAD2010
  • Follow this blog about World AIDS Day
  • Learn the facts about HIV prevention and diagnosis
  • Learn about the biology of HIV/AIDS
  • To learn more about the scientific research being conducted on HIV/AIDS, visit the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases website.
  • Find HIV/AIDS prevention and service providers
  • Check out the official White House proclamation on World AIDS Day from President Obama.
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