Foreign Accent Syndrome? That’s right, Foreign Accent Syndrome!

Karen Butler is from Newport, Oregon but she speaks with an Irish accent. Though, she did not acquire it from spending time across the Atlantic. She picked it up at the dentist’s office.

Butler explained recently on the Today Show, she to the dentists’ for a surgical procedure about a year and a half ago. When she recovered from the anesthesia, the funny voice she was speaking with seemed to be a normal reaction to the procedure, along with the swelling and soreness that is. But as time went on, she healed from the surgery, her body returned to normal yet the voice did not go away.

The culprit may is an extremely rare condition called Foreign Accent Syndrome, triggered by a stroke or brain damage.

Dr. Ted Lowenkopf, medical director of the Providence Stroke Center in Oregon, said on “Today”:

“It’s so rare — less than 100 cases ever reported — that the average neurologist, even a stroke neurologist, would not see a case in their lifetime.”

The condition remains very mysterious, however, the best known case is probably of 30-year-old Georg Herman Monrad-Krohn, who picked up a German accent after being hit by a shrapnel in Oslo from a German air raid in 1941.

Some reports have indicated the condition can clear up over time, NBC’s chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman said during the segment. However, Butler is not demanding a cure, she exactly enjoys it.
It’s just like a new toy.”

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Victory for Those Opposed to Capital Punishment

A pharmaceutical company in India recently announced it would no longer supply a crucial drug to death-penalty states in America.

The decision was an important victory for opponents of the death penalty in the U.S., who lobbied the company and Indian authorities, and leaves capital-punishment states and the federal government with no immediate supplier of the anaesthetic, sodium thiopental.

The Indian firm, Kayem, already sold thiopental to South Dakota and Nebraska, and was approached by 13 other states to buy it..

Earlier this week, the company said on its website it would no longer be selling the drug for lethal-injection purposes.

In view of the sensitivity involved with sale of our Thiopental Sodium to various Jails/Prisons in USA and as alleged to be used for the purpose of Lethal Injection, we voluntary declare that we as Indian Pharma Dealer who cherish the Ethos of Hinduism ( A believer even in non-livings as the creation of God) refrain ourselves in selling this drug where the purpose is purely for Lethal Injection and its misuse.

Without a sufficient supply of thiopental, states are forced to turn to an alternative drug: pentobarbital. It may be used as an anesthetic or as a single death-inducing drug instead of the tripartite cocktail.

NDM-1 the SuperBug

A new report showed that a gene which causes bacteria to become impervious to antibiotics has been found in the water supply in New Delhi. The implications for the rest of the world are huge and formidable, already being observed in Europe, where the gene, New Delhi or NDM-1 superbug, has been found among patients. Health experts in Europe are saying the battle with antibiotic-resistant infections has reached a critical point, and even the strongest and newest drugs are no longer able to fight them.

Superbug NDM1 LancastriaAccording to the BBC over 25,000 people die every year in the EU alone from bacterial infections that even the newest antibiotics will not treat.

The Guardian reports more on the findings in India:

“the gene, known as NDM-1, is widespread in the water used for cooking, washing and drinking in Delhi. It will inevitably be brought into hospitals in the gut flora of patients. The potential for movement around the world is high.”

NDM-1 causes myriad variations of bacteria – including E coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae – to become immune to antibiotics known as carbapenems, that are used when other antibiotics fail to work. The team also found the gene had spread to bacteria that cause dysentery and cholera.

However, the widespread panic over germs and the sanitizer craze, disinfectants, etc., at least in the U.S., continues, in light of being a major part of the problem.

The Guardian quotes Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO regional director for Europe:

“There are now superbugs that do not respond to any drug. Given the growth of travel and trade in Europe and across the world, people should be aware that until all countries tackle this, no country alone can be safe.”

Organ Regeneration

Today, upwards of 100,000 people are waiting for organ transplants in America alone; every day 18 of them die. Not only are healthy organs in short supply, however, donor and patient must be matched closely, or else the immune system of the patient could reject the transplant.

A new solution is incubating in medical labs: “bioartificial” organs grown from the patient’s own cells. Thirty people have already received lab-grown bladders, and other engineered organs in the pipeline.

The bladder technique was developed by Anthony Atala from the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Healthy cells are taken from a patient’s diseased bladder, causing them to multiply profusely in petri dishes, and then they are applied to a balloon-shaped scaffold partly constructed of collagen, the protein found in cartilage.

Solid organs with lots of blood vessels, like livers and kidneys are more difficult to grow than hollow ones such as bladders. But Atala’s group, which is working on 22 tissues and organs, including ears, created a functioning piece of human liver, recently.

Other labs are also hurrying to make bio-artificial organs. A jawbone at Columbia University, a lung at Yale. At the University of Minnesota, Doris Taylor has created a beating rat heart, growing cells from one rat on a scaffold she made from the heart of another simply by washing off its cells.

Growing a carbon of patient’s organ, however, is not always possible. For example, when the original has been too damaged by cancer. One solution for these kinds of patients might be a stem cell bank. Atala’s team has shown that stem cells can be collected without having to harm human embryos. The researchers wheedled those cells into becoming liver, heart, and other organ cells.

Oh Momma, I Got The HPV Blues

Half of men in the general population might be infected by human papillomavirus. That is the human wart virus which causes cervical and other cancers. The new information strengthens the case for vaccinating boys against HPV. Previously, vaccinations were only offered to young women, as HPV infection is the primary cause of cervical cancer, the second most common cancer in women. However, various strains of HPV also cause penile, anal, head and neck cancer.

Anna Giuliano of the H Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, Florida, has been studying infection rates in more than 1,000 men between the ages 18 and 70 in the United States, Mexico and Brazil.

She wrote:

“We found that there is a high proportion of men who have genital HPV infections. At enrollment, it was 50 percent.”

The rate at which men acquire new HPV infections is quite similar to women. They found about 6 percent of men per year will break out in a new HPV 16 infection, the strain known for causing cancer.

Protection is offered by vaccines made by Merck & Co and GlaxoSmithKline.

“The biology seems to be very similar (to women)…What is different is men seem to have high prevalence of genital HPV infections throughout their lifespans.”

said Giuliano.

Women are more able to clear an HPV infection, especially while they age, but men do not seem to have such an ability.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends Gardasil vaccinations for women between 11 and 26 years old. Gardasil had sales more than $1 billion last year. While doctors are free to use the vaccine in boys and men ages 9 through 26, U.S. health officials have thus far declined to recommend routine vaccination for males.

Recently, Dr. Anne Szarewski of the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine in London said:

“This study highlights the high incidence of HPV infection in men, which emphasizes their role in transmission of HPV to women…It must surely strengthen the argument for vaccination of men, both for their own protection, and that of their partners.”

In December, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Merck’s Gardasil HPV vaccine for prevention of anal cancers in both women and men, based on studies showing that Gardasil was effective in homosexual men.

The Latest on Humacyte

The artificial vessels made by Humacyte do not totally mimic nature, that is to say, they are missing an important ingredient of natural vessels. That is, the protein elastin.

Bioengineers at the University of Pittsburgh coaxed engineered vessels to create elastin. This rubber-band material facilitates arteries and veins to snap into shape after each and every pulse. Actually, elastin has long been one of the great challenges in any attempt to make artificial blood vessels. Without elastin, a vessel could eventually become stretched out like an old rubber band; in turn, a stretched-out blood vessel can mean a dangerous aneurysm.

The study leader, Yadong Wang, said “Elastin has been very elusive.” Scientists can increase the protein’s levels by adding artificial genes, but treatments like these could turn out to be risky. Wang and colleagues made grafts with 20% of the elastin found in normal vessels, the highest amount yet reported. Wang also said the body’s cells can add more elastin once the graft is implanted.

Wang’s group convinced cells to manufacture elastin by growing baboon smooth-muscle cells in an elastic, biodegradable scaffold. The process took just three weeks and now the scientists are testing their grafts in rats.

While Wang’s vessels have only one-fifth of the natural amount of elastin, this is more than other researchers can boast. For instance, Robert Tranquillo, of the University of Minnesota, estimates that he gets 1% to 10% in his own artificial grafts.

Wang’s artificial vessels may withstand some 200 millimeters of mercury pressure; a healthy blood pressure maxes out at one-hundred and twenty.

Smoking Marijuana Linked to Early Onset Psychosis

Recent studies have linked the use of marijuana with the onset of psychosis. The meta-analysis found that those who smoked marijuana developed psychotic disorders an average 2.7 years earlier than those who did not use the drug. The review, however, found that people who use any illicit and mind-altering chemicals experienced psychosis two years earlier than non-users.

CannabisWhile alcohol use was not associated with early onset psychoses such as schizophrenia, the research results couldn’t rule out the influence of cigarette smoking, which consequently is a regular habit of people with psychotic disorders and marijuana smokers. In many of the countries from where the data was collected, cannabis is usually smoked mixed with tobacco.

However, based on the meta-analysis, researchers found that the tie continued independent of such factors. Marijuana smoking is therefore dangerous for people with a family history of psychosis.

Researchers, in the new study, also cited research that linked a particular gene to sensitivity to marijuana, which helps to explain why most marijuana smokers do not have a higher risk of schizophrenia.

None of the data, though, which links psychosis to marijuana use can prove causality or explain why rates of schizophrenia have remained stable or even declined since the 1950s

David Geary’s Shrinking Brain

David GearyNew research shows that over the past 30,000 years, human brains have shrunk. This is not a sign, however, humans are growing dumber but that evolution is causing the key motor to be leaner and more proficient. The average size has decreased roughly 10 percent during this period from 1,500 to 1,359 cubic centimeters.

The measurements were taken from skulls in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Other anthropologists, however, note that brain shrinkage isn’t surprising given that the larger and stronger we are the more gray matter is needed to control such a larger mass. The Neanderthal, a cousin of the homo Sapien, who vanished some 30 millennia ago, was much larger and had a bigger brain.

The Cro-Magnons who made cave paintings of large animals in the Lascaux cave over 17,000 years ago had the biggest brain and were stronger.

David Geary, a psychology professor at the University of Missouri researched the evolution of skull sizes 1.9 million to 10,000 years old as our cousins and ancestors lived in a more complex social environment. Professor Geary used population density to measure social complexity, with the hypothesis that the more humans there are living closer together, the better the exchange is between groups, the division of labor and interactions between people.

Brain size, they found, decreased as population increased.

Such downsizing, however, doesn’t mean modern humans are less intelligent than their ancestors, but that they developed in a different way.

Play EteRNA: Educational, Free and User-Friendly

Researchers from Stanford University and Carnegie Mellon University have created an online video game which challenges players to design new ways to fold RNA molecules.

It is called, EteRNA.

It gives non-biologists an opportunity to build complex new ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules and to get quick feedback on the biological functioning of their deigns.The scientists hope the free game with serve as a training ground for citizen-experts who will assist in the creation of a virtual library of biological knowledge.

Rhiju Das, a physicist from Stanford University told the New York Times:

“The dream is that within a year or so we will be able to create RNA that is functional and that we can transcribe into cells to do things such as sense light or even deactivate a virus…”

The role of RNA as a regulator of and messenger to cell functions has been the source of much scientific pondering in the last five years.

EteRNA is a joint effort of a team of scientists led by Dr. Das, and Adrien Treuille, assistant professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon. The two met while postgraduate researchers at the University of Washington.

In the new game, mastering the molecule construction kit requires players to harness their knowledge about aspects of biochemistry.

Dr. Treuille said:

“We’re the leading edge in asking nonexperts to do really complicated things online…RNA are these beautiful molecules. They are very simple and they self-assemble into complex shapes. From the scientific side there is a RNA revolution going on. The complexity of life may be due to RNA signaling.”

A Guide for the Hung-Over

Yes, New Years Eve came and went, leaving for some a resolution and others a hangover. It is not too late, however, to shed some light on the cure of the latter.

Curing a hangover is not much of a mystery to those who are of the age and enjoy a night on the town: take an aspirin before bed, drink lots of Vitamin C, eat a big brunch, hit the hot tub, and you’re ready for that next cocktail.

But just what is it about drinking too much alcohol that drags our bodies into the miserable inferno which we’ve all experienced.

Dr. Jamshid Ghajarm a neurosurgeon and president of The Brain Trauma Foundation in New York has broken down the enigma into a mindless equation, “dehydration plus fatigue equals hangover.”

Alcohol, you see, is a diuretic. This accounts both for the incessant peeing, and dehydration. The excessive loss of fluids interferes with circulation and this is what causes you to feel headachy, dizzy, and weak.

To reduce the chances of hangover, alternate glasses of water with alcoholic beverages; and of course, do not drink on an empty stomach.

The fatigue which accompanies hangovers results from the alcohol-induced buzz preventing the brain from getting a normal night of sleep. Alcohol works as a depressant. It numbs your central nervous system, “like anesthesia,” according to Dr. Ghajar.

“People don’t realize that. They think it’s like cocaine.” He says, “You want to reach that middle range of blood alcohol where you get a nice buzz but you’re still awake.”

When we drink well past the normal limit and go to sleep, our liver does its job, metabolizing the booze, ushering it out of our blood stream. Within hours, our alcohol level has gone down, our excitatory brain circuits have rallied, and we are back to the level of buzzed arousal. This is why, when we go to bed drunk, we find ourselves wide-awake at four in the morning, sleepless, nauseous.

When we wake up in the morning, we feel dehydrated, fatigued, nauseous, and our electrolytes are all out of whack – our blood sugar levels, alas, plunged.

This has to do with why hangovers often bring an emotional depression. Dr. Harris Stratyner, clinical associate professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and vice chairman to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence’s board of directors says, “A hangover plays out psychologically just as much as it does physiologically.” So our minds mirror our bodies, you could say.

Therefore, realizing that getting drunk at parties is inevitable, along with the hang over, Dr. Sratyner says,

“I would say to the people who are hung over and depressed: This too shall pass.”