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Bob Edwards Signs Off 'Morning Edition'

Bob Edwards signed off Friday after nearly 25 years as host of National Public Radio's "Morning Edition," thanking the "hundreds of people who have done their best to make me sound like I know what I'm talking about."

Morn the loss here.

April 30, 2004 in just news | Permalink | Comments (0)

Neural Engineering's Image Problem

Jennifer French, who was paralyzed from the waist down in 1998 as a result of a snowboarding accident, has a new mission. Standing up? Walking? No. Been there. Done that. With the help of electronics implanted in her legs and lower torso, she can already stand up out of her wheelchair and even move around using her walker. But now she's taken on a different sort of challenge: motivating others with neurological injuries and their caregivers to consider implanted devices. It's a tougher sell than you might think.

Neuroscientists are, at last, realizing one of the greatest ambitions in recent medical history: the ability to tap directly into the human nervous system to restore motor and sensory functions in patients who lost them because of injury, illness, or stroke.

More here.

April 22, 2004 in research, technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hybrid Vehicle Registrations Rise in 2003

Americans are opting more for vehicles with environmentally friendly gasoline-electric hybrid engines, new statistics show, and that trend is expected to continue because of high gas prices and a growing number of hybrid models.

Drive here.

April 22, 2004 in technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sick Kids researchers look at viral triggers for multiple sclerosis in children

Researchers at The Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids) have shown an association between paediatric multiple sclerosis (MS) and the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), indicating that exposure to the virus at a certain time in childhood may be an important environmental trigger for the development of MS. This research is reported in the April 21, 2004 issue of JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association).

"Earlier studies suggested a relationship between childhood exposure to Epstein-Barr virus and the risk of developing MS. This is virtually impossible to quantify in adult MS patients, as nearly 90 per cent of the healthy adult population in Western countries has been exposed to EBV. In the paediatric patients, we can study viral exposures more easily, as children have fewer viral exposures due to their young age," said Dr. Brenda Banwell, the study's principal investigator, a Sick Kids neurologist and associate scientist, and an assistant professor in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto.

The research team found that 83 per cent of the paediatric MS patients showed evidence of a past EBV infection, compared with 42 per cent for the healthy control group. The paediatric MS patients also were less likely than the control subjects to have been exposed to herpes simplex virus. Epstein-Barr virus is very common and transmissible virus in the herpes family that causes infectious mononucleosis.

"We think the Epstein-Barr virus plays an important role in the development of MS, as the genetic code of the virus contains sequences that are identical to genetic sequences in the myelin basic protein, which is expressed in the brain, and destroyed in MS. It is conceivable that the immune system mounts a response to that genetic sequence in EBV, then sees it in myelin and targets it as well," added Dr. Banwell.

More here.

April 21, 2004 in research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mapping A Cure

The symptoms came and went for almost two years, but by the summer of 2000, Art Mellor ’85 couldn’t ignore the numbness in his hands and other odd sensations any longer. He consulted his doctor and was soon diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a neurological disease with no known cause or cure. “It was like a stool was kicked out from under me,” he recalls. At 37, he was in the prime of life, had founded three high-tech companies, had a great girlfriend, and drove a spiffy, royal-blue Porsche Boxster. Within six months, however, the diagnosis spurred him to leave the high-tech world and launch a new startup: a nonprofit aimed at accelerating the search for a cure for multiple sclerosis.

More here.

April 20, 2004 in people | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hamburger Consumption Spurs Amazon Deforestation

One of the world's largest environmental organizations is calling for urgent action to halt the rapid rate of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, following a government report Wednesday that nearly 10,000 square miles of rainforest was chopped down in the 12-month period that ended last August.

Looks like Soy folks aren't innocent on this one either.

Brazil's growing success as an exporter of beef and non-genetically modified (GM) soybeans may be the single greatest factor in the doubling of average annual deforestation over the last several years compared to the previous decade.

Slash and burn here.

April 9, 2004 in environment | Permalink | Comments (0)