Allen Zderad Is the First Minnesotan to Have a Bionic Eye Installed

Categories: Science

Mayo Clinic Facebook
Science is amazing

If you haven't been awed by science lately, consider the miracle of the bionic eye. Earlier this month Dr. Raymond Iezzi at the Mayo Clinic successfully installed a tiny array containing 60 electrodes inside a blind man's eye, and attached a connected antenna and small electronics pack to the outside of the eye.

Video streaming from a camera mounted on special glasses is routed through a hip-mounted computer system the size of a deck of cards, then it's wirelessly transmitted to the antenna attached to the eye. (Watch an animation of the process here)

See also:
The Science of Scent: One Smelly Researcher Decodes it All

More »

Aaron Miller, GOP-endorsed Congress candidate, repeats bizarre anti-evolution story

If it were up to Miller (pictured), creationism would be taught in public schools.
Obamacare, Benghazi, NSA surveillance... these are the issues you expect to hear Republicans railing about in the run up to November's congressional elections.

But evolution? We thought that one was more or less settled right around the time the Lucy fossil was found, at least for those of us inclined toward rational thought.

See also:
Allen Quist rides into the sunset on dinosaur he believes lived concurrently with humans [CARTOON]

More »

Michele Bachmann's Stephen Hawking quotes are fake, people

The absurd Michele Bachmann quotes about Stephen Hawking you may have seen circulating around the internet are fake, her spokesman confirmed to us last night.

RELATED: The Onion's "Bachmann Thankful No Americans Died In Sikh Shooting" story dupes dozens

No, Bachmann didn't really say Hawking's revised theory of black holes and his admission that a previous one is his "biggest blunder" underscores "the danger inherent in listening to scientists," as Andy Borowitz of the New Yorker wrote in a piece published on his blog yesterday.

More »

Star Tribune draws GOP ire for "Science made a comeback at the State Capitol" lede

strib science lede rect.jpg
Is the lede a statement of fact or an editorial comment?
As a "down the middle" publication, does dinging legislators skeptical of climate change -- most of them Republican -- represent a breach of objectivity?

SEE ALSO: Star Tribune stands by Bachmann coverage, reporter's "butthurt" response to criticism

Today, the Star Tribune is taking heat from local Republicans for doing just that. Particularly controversial is the lede to a piece by Josephine Marcotty and Bill McAuliffe about the DFL-controlled legislature's promised effort to deal with climate change, which reads as follows: "Science made a comeback at the State Capitol on Tuesday." (A screengrab of the controversial lede is at top of this post.) The implication is that the voices of climate researchers haven't been taken seriously in the legislature, which was controlled by the MNGOP during the last biennium.

More »

Recent U of M research on time helps explain why this afternoon is going to feel so long

Categories: Science, U of M
Wikimedia Commons and PLOS Biology
A rhesus macaque, the kind of monkey brain the researchers studied, roaming in India. Right, a diagram of what happened in the U experiment.
A lot of us are fascinated by time: How we measure it, or why it seems to fly at a fantastic concert but crawl at work on, say, the afternoon before Thanksgiving.

See Also:
- U of M researchers develop new drug that destroys pancreatic cancer cells in mice
- University of Minnesota responds to animal testing secrecy lawsuit: It "lacks merit"
- University of Minnesota professor's research hijacked

Geoff Ghose wonders about these questions too -- but he's a neuroscientist, so he gets to try to answer them. And after he published new research in the journal PLOS Biology at the end of October, some science writers started speculating that down the road, Ghose's findings could lead to pills that alter how we perceive time.

More »

'God particle' search may have ended, with help from the U of M

Categories: Science
U of M professor Roger Rusack inside the ECAL, a detector in the search for the Higgs boson.
With some help from the University of Minnesota, scientists have discovered a new particle that could aid in answering questions about what the universe is made of, what forces are at work within it, and what gives matter substance. 

Nuclear researchers announced earlier this week that they have observed a new particle that could be extremely important to scientific discovery. And physicists at the University of Minnesota have played a key role in the decades-long search for the particle, according to a statement by the university.

For more than 20 years, physicists have been preparing a search for the Higgs boson -- the theoretical particle that gives mass to the basic building blocks of matter, and the final missing ingredient of the Standard Model of particle physics. Because it could answer so many crucial questions for scientists, it has been nicknamed the "God particle."

More »

Indoor Tanning Association blames Mayo cancer findings on your pale skin

Categories: Science
skin cancer study.jpg
Someone in this picture didn't grow up in Minnesota.
The Indoor Tanning Association is fighting back against a recent Mayo Clinic study that found higher rates of skin cancer in those who use tanning beds, and Minnesotans are getting caught in the crossfire.

A letter released by the association claims that the Mayo study was flawed because the population studied in Olmsted County is much paler and more Scandinavian than the general population of the United States, meaning they were more vulnerable to skin cancer.

More »

Eric Kaler backs up U of M professor against stem cell company

Categories: Science, U of M
Kaler's got his professor's back on this one.
About a week and a half after lawyers for an adult stem-cell company demanded that U of M President Eric Kaler do something to shut up one of his associate professors, the company has its answer.

"Professor [Leigh] Turner's February 21, 2012, letter to the FDA," the reply says, "is fully covered by [our] principle of academic freedom."


More »

Hibernating bears have remarkable wound healing capabilities, finds Minnesota researchers

Categories: Animals, Science
black bear.jpg
The bodies of hibernating bears pretty much shut down, yet their wounds heal double time.
A study by University of Minnesota researchers found that black bears have amazing healing capabilities during hibernation.

Scientists from the U of M, University of Wyoming, and Minnesota DNR monitored 1,000 black bears in northern Minnesota for 25 years. They found many examples of bears settling down in their dens for the winter with wounds from hunters or bite marks from other animals, only to emerge months later with those wounds remarkably healed.

Given that hibernating bears have extremely low body temperatures, heart rates, and slow metabolisms, researchers were surprised to discover that they seem to heal faster during winter than during times of the year when they're more active.

More »

Stem cell company demands U of M bioethicist take back FDA investigation request

Categories: Science
Leigh Turner.jpg
Leigh Turner calls the letter an intimidation tactic.
Late last week, a letter from a Washington D.C. law firm arrived in U of M President Eric Kaler's inbox. In it, attorneys representing an adult-stem cell company named Celltex demanded to know who authorized a bioethicist named Leigh Turner to request an official investigation of Celltex by the Federal Drug Administration.

"Associate Professor Turner's letter contains numerous material false and defamatory allegations," it read.

"I helped raise some concerns," says Turner. "Turns out Celltex isn't so excited about that idea."

More »