A woman in the US has developed a tumour-like growth eight years after a stem cell treatment to cure her paralysis failed. There have been a handful of cases of stem cell treatments causing growths but this appears to be the first in which the treatment was given at a Western hospital as part of an approved clinical trial.
At a hospital in Portugal, the unnamed woman, a US citizen, had tissue containing olfactory stem cells taken from her nose and implanted in her spine. The hope was that these cells would develop into neural cells and help repair the nerve damage to the woman's spine. The treatment did not work – far from it. Last year the woman, then 28, underwent surgery because of worsening pain at the implant site.
The surgeons removed a 3-centimetre-long growth, which was found to be mainly nasal tissue, as well as bits of bone and tiny nerve branches that had not connected with the spinal nerves.
The growth wasn't cancerous, but it was secreting a "thick copious mucus-like material", which is probably why it was pressing painfully on her spine, says Brian Dlouhy at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, the neurosurgeon who removed the growth. The results of the surgery have now been published.
Unpredictable consequences "It is sobering," says George Daley, a stem cell researcher at Harvard Medical School who has helped write guidelines for people considering stem cell treatments. "It speaks directly to how primitive our state of knowledge is about how cells integrate and divide and expand. " (...)
(...) However, it's unclear at the moment just how much Gliese 832c resembles Earth. Indeed, its discoverers think the newfound world may be more similar to scorching-hot Venus, with a thick atmosphere that has led to a runaway greenhouse effect.
"Given the large mass of the planet, it seems likely that it would possess a massive atmosphere, which may well render the planet inhospitable," Wittenmyer and his team wrote in their paper, which has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal. "Indeed, it is perhaps more likely that GJ (Gliese) 832c is a 'super-Venus,' featuring significant greenhouse forcing."
Either they're hosting the website somebody's high school kid designed on an original iMac over a dialup connection or the hype is producing too much traffic, but it's been hard to get anything out of their site. From the home page statements it seems they have yet to actually build and test one.
Site is running WordPress with a paid$ theme. Site appears overloaded - 503 message. Likely exceeded their contracted for hosting bandwidth, etc. Website developer now no longer around/on-line. Some people's kids...
Either they're hosting the website somebody's high school kid designed on an original iMac over a dialup connection or the hype is producing too much traffic, but it's been hard to get anything out of their site. From the home page statements it seems they have yet to actually build and test one. Some nice CAD renderings and one image that kinda looks like a prototype but too many weasel words like "estimated" and "imagine" around their performance figures.
The sealing problems they claim to have solved are inherent in the rotary design—you have to seal on the perimeter of the rotor, leading to high surface speeds and lots of frictional losses. Their claimed efficiency of 53% ("imagine") is better than the best diesel boat engines, currently the standard for non-turbine internal combustion engines. Until they run one on a dyno (someone else's dyno) I don't believe that for a second.
Don't know what they're claiming for emissions or how they claim to have overcome some of the inherent problems there, especially the large quench areas typical of rotaries.
The rest of their claims are either trivial (fewer moving parts, half crank speed for the same number of firing cycles, compact design—yeah, it's a rotary) or gibberish (60% more "torque leverage" than piston engines...um, whatever). This looks like more hype than progress. Don't go investing the life savings in this.
I recently scored a copy of Sir Harry Ricardo's classic The High Speed Internal Combustion Engine via free PDF download from Scribd. He covers just about every wonder engine idea anybody has ever had, what the issues were, how well they worked, and why they were abandoned in favor of the contemporary piston engine. It's a very thorough book, easy to comprehend even if you can't do the thermodynamic calculations necessary to produce its many charts and graphs. If you have a brilliant idea for an innovation for an internal combustion engine you'd be wise to check this book first; chances are it's in there.
It doesn't cover the Wankel engine because the first patent wasn't issued on it until 1929. The first edition of Ricardo's book was in 1923.
This is why my first reaction to a claim of a breakthru in internal combustion engines is skepticism. We've made some tremendous strides in materials and control technology and these have driven most of the advances we've seen since the first world war. Clever people have spent years coming up with innovations, and they haven't missed much. Mostly what they've achieved is making things that had already been thought of affordable.
Single, unwanted, unloved eccentric, crusty ol' fart with cats
Location: In a hovel in effluent Damnville, VA Gender: Zodiac: Chinese Yr:
This week, amid so much discouraging news of irredentist militias and unrepentant neocons, there was a small bit of news that might cheer people up, at least a little: Pluto, it seems, may be accepted back into the club of planets. It got kicked out, you will recall, eight years ago, when the I.A.U.—the International Astronomical Union, which exists to hold elections on these things—voted it out. It was too remote, too lonely, and generally too slovenly in its behavior to count as a planet. It even—lovely, incriminating phrase—failed to “clear the neighborhood around its orbit.” (And there seemed to be other even larger similar objects out beyond it.) It was demoted to a “dwarf planet,” and became a mere “Trans-Neptunian object.”
Now, though, Pluto has been discovered to have several moons, in regular orbit around it. It was already known to have three when it was de-listed, but the Hubble Space Telescope has since found two more. “Many Moons” was the title of James Thurber’s finest fable, and actually having many moons, apparently, helps make you a planet in the eyes of people on other ones, as having children was once said to make you an adult. One’s planetary distinction is redeemed, by this measure, by the clear presence of the orbit of the littler ones around you. And it could be a vindication for Pluto-lovers, too, a group who turn out to be more numerous than seems quite plausible. As you discover sifting through astronomical chat groups, the original decision to kick Pluto out of the planetary club was met with hysterical resistance, not to say resentment. Indeed, the state of Illinois decided, on its own, in 2009, to reinstate Pluto as a planet—making Pluto a planet when seen from Wrigley Field, merely a sub-Neptunian object across the way in Gary.
Some of the indignation on behalf of Pluto was, as so much indignation is these days, launched in the name of democracy. Apparently, only a small fraction of the I.A.U.’s members were there when the vote that booted Pluto was taken—one imagines it as a kind of Ted Knight-in-“Caddyshack”-style conspiracy of snobs, with poor Pluto in the Rodney Dangerfield part. No respect at all. But more of it seemed purely affective, astronomically tribal. Plutonic nationalism can be found everywhere. There are pro-Pluto Web pages, pro-Pluto books, pro-Pluto pressure groups. They contain, and generate, heated argument and loud accusation. (One anti-Pluto activist produced this perfect sentence: “We’ve heard this emotional story of planetary bullying over and over, so I won’t go over the details again.”) (...)
Researchers have found evidence of the world that crashed into the Earth billions of years ago to form the Moon.
Analysis of lunar rock brought back by Apollo astronauts shows traces of the "planet" called Theia.
The researchers claim that their discovery confirms the theory that the Moon was created by just such a cataclysmic collision.
The study has been published in the journal Science.
The accepted theory since the 1980s is that the Moon arose as a result of a collision between the Earth and Theia 4.5bn years ago.
Theia was named after a goddess in Greek mythology who was said to be the mother Selene the goddess of the Moon. It is thought to have disintegrated on impact with the resulting debris mingling with that from the Earth and coalescing into the Moon.
It is the simplest explanation, and fits in well with computer simulations. The main drawback with the theory is that no one had found any evidence of Theia in lunar rock samples.
Earlier analyses had shown Moon rock to have originated entirely from the Earth whereas computer simulations had shown that the Moon ought to have been mostly derived from Theia.
Now a more refined analysis of Moon rock has found evidence of material thought to have an alien origin. (...)