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Recently a crew from BBC Horizon came to the lab I toil in as a graduate student to film this clip for a program they titled, “What Makes a Genius”.  They wanted to film a knockout mouse a postdoc in the lab created, and that I happen to be doing my thesis work on.  This mouse is missing a gene that is important for proper growth of neurons.  Some of my work, and others, has shown that it has trouble forming connections in its brain during development.  This is why we think it is not a great learner.  However, the way this clip explains the research, I’d want to give my boss, Elly, a Nobel Prize for finding THE intelligence gene.  So let’s go through this clip’s weak and strong points. Read the rest of this entry »


Fountain in JFK Plaza in Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October / creative commons nakashi

New recommendations on mammography screening for breast cancer came out yesterday from the United States Preventative Services Task Force, a complete reversal of their previous recommendations last made in 2002.  The Task Force recommends no longer doing routine mammography screening for breast cancer in women between the ages of 40 and 50 as well as reducing the frequency of screening for women aged 50-74 to once every two years, and not teaching women breast self exams.  This was reported yesterday in the New York Times by reporter Gina Kolata.  While the article is pretty thorough, it misses some of the details underlying the controversy.

During lunch I took the time to read through the recommendation, published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine, to see for myself what all the hubbub is about.  What I read was disturbing.  The report begins by stating “There is convincing evidence that screening with film mammography reduces breast cancer mortality,” although the greater reduction is seen for women aged 50-74, there is also reduction also seen for women between 40 and 50 years as well.  This to me seems like a benefit to early screening, not a reason to stop. Read the rest of this entry »

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