Scientists build tiny human brains in the lab

Published: Thursday, August 29, 2013 @ 8:01 AM
Updated: Thursday, August 29, 2013 @ 8:01 AM

For the first time, scientists have grown miniature human brains in a lab — pea-sized models that could hold the key to understanding developmental disorders like autism.

The scientists took skin cells, turned them into stem cells, then grew them into tiny versions of human brains, complete with some basic brain organization and structure. (Via New Scientist)

They call them “organoids,” lab-grown clumps of cells that are almost organs, but not quite. And these neural organoids are the closest thing to a functioning human brain ever grown in the lab. (Via Nature)

The researchers say these mini brains are roughly equivalent to the brain of a 9-week-old fetus.

One of them even developed retinal tissue, which in a normal brain would go on to form part of the eye. (Via LiveScience)

But the researchers aren’t just trying to build a brain in a jar. The mini brains don’t think or feel or have anything like a neural network. That’s because the goal, according to one researcher, is to understand the brain, not rebuild it.

“What’s important here is that we’re trying to understand how the cells behave during development — not that we’re trying to recreate organs or large fragments of tissue.” (Via BBC)

In fact, they’ve already helped scientists understand at least one disorder.

Microcephaly is a condition when the brain and head are smaller than normal. A writer for The Scientist explains how the researchers studied the disorder in one Scottish patient. (Via Wikipedia

“They took skin cells from the patient, reprogrammed them into a stem-like state, and used them to grow organoids that ended up much smaller than usual. By dissecting the organoids, the team discovered the reason for this stunted size.” (Via The Scientist)

Basically, an important step in brain development came too early, brought on by a mutation in a particular gene. Scientists can now use the same techniques to study the effects of other mutations.

And eventually, if the teams can grow somewhat larger brains, they may be able to study the causes of the more common disorders schizophrenia and autism. (Via MIT Technology Review)

See more at Newsy.com

Iguana foils robbery at Indiana pet spa

Published: Saturday, May 27, 2017 @ 6:38 AM

Iguana
ARUN SANKAR/AFP/Getty Images

An Indiana sheriff is thanking an iguana for taking a bite out of crime.

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Warwick County Sheriff Brett Kruse said someone broke into the Groomingdale’s Pet Spa in Newburgh on Tuesday night and attempted to steal the owner’s pet iguana, Princess Ursula, WFIE reported.

Apparently, the iguana had other ideas. “The Iguana took offense to leaving his home and inflicted what is probably a pretty nasty bite,” Kruse wrote in a Facebook post.

Angie Stanley, the owner of Groomingdale’s, told WFIE that the would-burglar broke into her shop through a window that was accidentally left unlocked, but that nothing was taken. However, she did say said there was blood in Princess Ursula’s cage and bloody human footprints on the floor. 

"I am not happy that someone broke in my shop at all, but I do have some concern for that person, because if they don't go to the doctor or the hospital, I don't know if it was bad enough to need stitches, but at the very least they need antibiotics because iguana bites are really bad and it will get really superinfected," Stanley told WFIE.

In his Facebook post, Kruse had some fun, writing that if residents knew “of anyone that has an unexplained bite injury that looks like it could have been inflicted by a pet lizard, please call the Sheriff's Office and let us know. We want to make sure they get proper medical treatment.”

Someone broke into a local business near Newburgh last night and attempted to steel a pet Iguana. The Iguana took...

Posted by Brett Kruse on Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Report: Tillerson declines request to hold event marking Ramadan

Published: Saturday, May 27, 2017 @ 5:18 AM

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

According to two U.S. officials, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has declined a request to host an event to mark Islam's holy month of Ramadan, Reuters reported.

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Since 1999, secretaries of state have nearly always hosted either an iftar dinner to break the day's fast during Ramadan or a reception marking the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of the month.

Tillerson turned down a request from the State Department's Office of Religion and Global Affairs to host an Eid al-Fitr reception as part of Ramadan celebrations, Reuters reported, citing two U.S. officials who asked for anonymity.

According to an April 6 memo seen by Reuters, the office recommended that Tillerson hold an Eid al-Fitr reception. The month of fasting and prayer for Muslims begins in many countries on Saturday.

A State Department spokesperson told Reuters that the department is “still exploring possible options for observance of Eid al-Fitr."

Tillerson issued a statement on Friday to mark the start of Ramadan, which he called "a month of reverence, generosity, and self-reflection."

"Most importantly, it is a cherished time for family and friends to gather and give charity to those who are less fortunate," he said.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright started the tradition 18 years ago of America's top diplomat hosting a public event for Ramadan.

Man crashes truck into Nevada brothel

Published: Saturday, May 27, 2017 @ 2:34 AM

A semi-truck crashed through the front gates and the front door of the Moonlite BunnyRanch, the famed Nevada brothel featured in the

A man backed a tractor-trailer through the gate of Nevada’s Moonlite Bunny Ranch early Thursday, crashing it into the front door of the brothel featured in the “CatHouse” reality television show, CBS News reported. 

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Brian Brandt, 40, of Reno, was arrested and faces charges of assault with a deadly weapon, property destruction and possession of stolen property, the Lyon County Sheriff's office said. He remains in jail, authorities said.

Brothel owner Dennis Hof said none of the five employees, 30 female prostitutes and 10 customers inside at the time were hurt when the crash happened just after 4 a.m.

“It sounded like a bomb went off,” Hof told CBS News. He estimated that the truck caused $400,000 in damages.

Hof said the suspect was wearing full body armor and a mask. He said he did not know Brandt and none of the people working at the brothel did. 

The truck had been stolen from a northern Nevada terminal of Michigan-based Central Transport hours before it crashed into the brothel, Mickey Blashfield, a company spokesman, told CBS News.

Blashfield said Brandt was a trucker for the company but was fired in recent months because of what he characterized as inappropriate behavior, CBS News reported.

 

Missouri bride’s 92-year-old uncle is her ‘something blue’

Published: Saturday, May 27, 2017 @ 2:05 AM

Something blue.
Deb Perry/Getty Images

A Missouri bride wanted to include “something blue” for her wedding earlier this month. 

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She got it in a touching way, as her 92-year-old uncle participated in her service on May 13, in his Marine Corps dress blues.

Alison Ferrell of Cape Girardeau wanted to include Bill Lee Eblen in her ceremony. But Eblen, a sergeant in the Marines who served during World War II and saw action at Okinawa, was sick with pneumonia.

“When we first got engaged I knew that I wanted to include Uncle Bill in a special way," Ferrell told KFVS

“I come from a family where we were taught to have the utmost respect and admiration for the armed services and honoring him as the ‘something blue’ just seemed like the natural choice,” Ferrell told ABC News

"The nurses there at the hospital asked him what his goal was and that what they wrote on the board. He said 'I want to be something blue in your wedding,'" Ferrell told KFVS.

Eblen said he worked hard on his recovery, and on Ferrell’s wedding day he came down the aisle in a wheelchair, holding a sign that read “I’m her something blue.”

"I said I'm 92 years old this is a miracle happening to me," Eblen told KFVS.

Ferrell said she was grateful to have her uncle as part of her special day.
"Looking at him in his dress blues, it gave me a lot of joy to see how happy he was that day. And obviously a lot of pride for him and his service," she told ABC News. "I really wanted to highlight that day and give him some recognition because he definitely deserves it."

"What's your goal?" One of the nurses asked him. "To be her "Something Blue" on her wedding day," my uncle replied...

Posted by Love What Matters on Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Posted by Ali Ferrell on Monday, May 15, 2017