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On Medicine : Can Heart Disease Shed Light on Cancer?

Cardiologists learned that they could prevent plaque accumulation by changing diet or habits or by using cholesterol-lowering drugs like Lipitor. Beyond prevention, the doctors could forcibly widen the arterial blockade or inject clot-busting drugs. The image of scales of lead clogging old pipes, and a Roto-Rooter, was hard to shake. Coronary artery disease, it seemed then, was mainly a plumbing problem, demanding a plumber’s toolbox of solutions (to be fair, there’s a cosmos of biology behind cholesterol metabolism and its link to heart disease).PhotoCancer, by contrast, was an exterminator’s problem — a poisoner’s dilemma. Cancer-causing agents unleashed abnormal cellular proliferation by mutating genes involved in regulating growth. These cancer cells, occupying tissues and spreading, demanded a cellular poison — chemotherapy — that would spare normal cells and kill the malignant ones.Cardiologists and oncologists — plumbers and poisoners — lived in different medical realms. We spoke different languages, attended different conferences, read different specialty journals. If our paths intersected, we considered the crossing coincidental, the unavoidable convergence of two common age-related illnesses on the same body.Continue reading the main storyI was a medical resident in Boston in the early 2000s when I heard a theory that would, in time, force these separate worlds to collide. Two cardiologists, Peter Libby and Paul Ridker, were thinking about plaque formation in a different way. Libby and Ridker acknowledged the role of cholesterol and lipids […]

This wood & wool box could be a green alternative to foam coolers

WooBox uses two old-school materials to redesign an eco-friendly container for transporting fresh food. […]

Climate 101 For The President

President Trump has been bombarded with reasons to keep the United States in the climate agreement the international community achieved two years ago in Paris. Everyone from the Pope to America’s leading CEOs have urged Trump to stay the course.As he nears a decision, Trump also has been peppered with platitudes from predictable lobbies about how the Paris deal, as well as climate action in general, will bankrupt the economy and kill jobs. That is a false fear. Consider:Common sense tells us that climate change is far more likely to bankrupt the economy than climate action. The impacts of a disrupted climate will carry enormous costs for families, communities, businesses and governments. The costs will be reflected in everything from food prices families pay because of cropland drought or flooding, to higher premiums for homeowners’ insurance and higher taxes to cover rising government costs for disaster preparation, response and recovery.A successful international collaboration to cut carbon emissions is good for the U.S. economy […]

10 Great trees for small yards

Even small yards and gardens can be home to a variety of trees, without crowding out everything else, and provide fruit, shade, wildlife habitat, or all three. […]

What’s the secret ingredient in food that makes you hungrier?

Study of a simulated mission to Mars makes a surprising discovery […]

What’s A Scientist To Do? March!

It’s hard to believe that 92 years after the Scopes Monkey Trial (which debated teaching evolution in public schools), the integrity of the science community is in politically charged territory.The reality of climate change, possibly the greatest concern of the 21st century, is challenged by those who refuse to accept findings which indicate that the world is warming.There is an ongoing effort to refute that human activity has been a key driver in the “greenhouse effect.”For stakeholders in the fossil fuel industry, facts pointing to human-produced climate change is an impediment to their agenda.With greater fossil fuel carbon in the air, more heat is returning to earth. Arctic sea ice is decreasing, oceans are rising, extreme weather is frequent, birds and other species are changing their behavioral patterns.The new head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, has maintained that the science of climate change is “far from settled.”What’s a scientist to do, beyond present the facts?March! Scientists and supporters of science will do just that at the March for Science on April 22, Earth Day.Science needs a higher profile in our country. Currently, studies show that America lags woefully behind in graduating science majors. Stats underscore that America ranked number 38 out of 40 countries. In 2012, President Obama set the goal of increasing STEM graduates by one million by 2022.Unfortunately, science isn’t considered “sexy.” When featured in news stories it too often doesn’t get the eyeballs (except glazed).That’s about to change — the tagline for the march is, “Science, Not Silence.” The organizers state:“The mischaracterization of science as a partisan issue, which has given policymakers permission to reject overwhelming evidence, is a critical and urgent matter. It is time for people who support scientific research and evidence-based policies to take a public stand and be counted.”There are several core principles featured, with the purpose of bringing key positions to the forefront:Science serves the common good and should be “free from manipulation by special interests.”Science education is essential. (That includes encouraging girls and people of color to go into the STEM fields!)Communication of scientific facts to the public should be freely accessible […]

After sightings, the search is on for extinct thylacine

The last of these dog-like animals, also known as Tasmanian tigers, was thought to have died in 1936. But might they still be lurking elusively in the wild? […]