Tag Archives: fights
KOBE, Japan |
KOBE, Japan (Reuters) – Life looked grim for Yu, a loggerhead turtle, when she washed up in a Japanese fishing net five years ago, her front flippers shredded after a brutal encounter with a shark.
Now keepers at an aquarium in the western Japanese city of Kobe are looking for a high-tech solution that will allow the 25-year-old turtle to swim normally again after years of labor and 27 models of prosthetic fins behind them without achieving their goal.
Yu, weighing 103 kg (227 pounds) and 82 cm (32 inches) long, first came to the attention of keepers at the Suma Aqualife Park in Kobe after she was rushed there from a port on the southern island of Shikoku in 2008.
“She was in a really bad way. More than half her fins were gone and she was bleeding, her body covered with shark bites,” said Naoki Kamezaki, the park’s director general.
After nursing the loggerhead – an endangered species – back to health, keepers enlisted the help of researchers and a local prosthetics-maker to get her swimming again.
Early versions of prosthetic flippers caused her pain or fell off quickly, and with money short, Kamezaki said he sometimes felt like packing it in.
“There have been times I wanted to give up and just fix her up the best we can and throw her back in,” he told Reuters. “Then if luck’s on her side she’ll be fine, if not, she’ll get eaten and that’s just life. The way of nature, I suppose.”
The latest version – made of rubber and fixed together with a material used in diving wetsuits – was unveiled on February 11 and proclaimed a success, with Yu swimming smoothly around her tank.
But on Friday, one flipper slipped out as soon as she hit the water, forcing keepers back to the laboratory again.
Though Kamezaki admits that it’s unlikely Yu will ever live a normal turtle life, he still has hopes.
“My dream for her is that one day she can use her prosthetic fins to swim to the surface, walk about, and dig a proper hole to lay her eggs in,” Kamezaki said.
“When her children hatch, well, I just feel that would make all the trauma in her life worthwhile.”
(Reporting by Ruairidh Villar, writing by Elaine Lies, editing by Paul Casciato)
- Share this
- Digg this
BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s foulest fortnight for air pollution in memory has rekindled a tongue-in-cheek campaign by a multimillionaire with a streak of showmanship who is selling canned fresh air.
Chen Guangbiao, who made his fortune in the recycling business and is a high-profile philanthropist, on Wednesday handed out soda pop-sized cans of air, purportedly from far-flung, pristine regions of China such as Xinjiang in the northwest to Taiwan, the southeast coast.
“I want to tell mayors, county chiefs and heads of big companies: don’t just chase GDP growth, don’t chase the biggest profits at the expense of our children and grandchildren and at the cost of sacrificing our ecological environment”, Chen said.
China’s air quality is closely watched as it fluctuates dramatically from day to day but in recent weeks has registered far into the unhealthy zone.
Air pollution is measured in terms of PM2.5, or particulate matter 2.5 micrometers in diameter, which are absorbed by the lungs and can cause heart and lung disease. The World Health Organisation recommends a daily PM2.5 level of 20 and says that levels greater than 300 are serious health hazards.
Beijing’s air quality frequently surges past a level of 500, and on January 12 soared to 755, the highest in memory.
“I go outside, walk for about 20 minutes, and my throat hurts and I feel dizzy”, Chen told Reuters in an interview on a busy Beijing sidewalk.
He handed out green and orange cans of “Fresh Air”, with a caricature of himself on them saying, “Chen Guangbiao is a good man”.
“Be a good person, have a good heart, do good things,” reads a message along the bottom of each can.
The 44-year-old entrepreneur, whose wealth is estimated at $ 740 million according to last year’s Hurun Rich List of China’s super-wealthy, is an ebullient and tireless self-promoter.
He is something of a celebrity in China, with more than 4 million followers on Sina Weibo, China’s most popular Twitter-like microblogging platform.
He concedes that his canned-air effort is tongue in cheek, but says it’s a way to awaken people to the importance of environmental protection. His campaign is attracting bemusement but also plaudits from the media and from people desperate to escape the smog.
“Beijing’s air really needs to improve, so we need a good man like him to appear,” said a 21-year-old resident surnamed Hu. “It reminds people to use less fuel and do what they can for Beijing’s air”.
The cans of air were free on Wednesday, but usually sell for 5 yuan (80 cents) with proceeds going to poor regions of China, and places of historic revolutionary importance.
Sales, which had been moderate, took off after the recent streak of bad air days, with 8 million cans sold in the last 10 days, Chen said.
(Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel)
- Share this
- Digg this
For years, cancer patients have used pot to combat the side effects of chemotherapy. But evidence has grown, both clinical and anecdotal, that cannabis has the potential to impede the spread of cancer itself. Now, researchers in Japan are reporting that CBDA keeps breast cancer cells from spreading.
CBD, the miracle of component of cannabis that has been shown to have profound efficacy as a pain reliever, is obtained from its parent molecule, cannabidiolic acid or CBDA. Until now …More
Sept. 25, 2012 — Viruses that kill acne-causing bacteria might make a powerful acne treatment, new research suggests.
A specific species of bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes, is a major cause of the unpleasant, sometimes disfiguring disease doctors call acne vulgaris. The bacteria live inside the pits in the skin that contain hair follicles and sweat glands.
But the acne bug has an enemy: a kind of virus called a bacteriophage, or phage for short. Phages inject their genetic material into bacteria, forcing them to make more and more new phages until they burst.
Now UCLA researchers Laura Marinelli, PhD, Robert Modlin, MD, and colleagues have taken a close look at 11 different phages that kill acne bacteria. They find that unlike most phages, the ones capable of killing P. acnes are closely related to one another, with relatively little difference in their genetic makeup.
Most of the phages were able to kill most strains of acne bacteria.
“Phages are programmed to target and kill specific bacteria, so P. acnes phages will attack only P. acnes bacteria, but not others like E. coli,” Marinelli says.
These properties “makes these phages ideal candidates for the development of a phage-based topical anti-acne therapy,” Marinelli, Modlin, and colleagues suggest.
The phages also make an enzyme that dissolves the cell walls of acne bacteria. This enzyme itself might make a good acne treatment, the researchers suggest.
The new findings appear in the September/October issue of mBio, the journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Marijuana extracts, taken orally, significant reduce muscle stiffness, pain and spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to new clinical trial data published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.
The orally administered marijuana extracts were “superior” over a placebo in the treatment of MS-associated muscle stiffness and pain, investigators reported.
“Treatment with standardized oral extract of cannabis sativa relieved muscle stiffness,” the authors concluded. “The proportion of participants experiencing relief was almost twice as large in the cannabis extract group as in the placebo group.”
“Effective pain relief is also achieved by cannabis extracts, especially in patients with a high baseline score,” the investigators reported. “Our findings suggest that standardized cannabis extracts can be clinically useful in treating the highly complex phenomenon of spasticity in MS.”
Several clinical trials looking at the effectiveness of oral cannabis extracts on MS patients have indicated that cannabinoids can not only relieve symptoms of the the disease, but may also act in ways the slow the progression of the disease.
Sativex, an oral spray from GW Pharmaceutical which contains the cannabinoids THC and CBD in a one-to-one ratio, is already legal for prescription to MS patients in more than a dozen countries, including Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand, Germany and Spain.
However, for apparently political (as opposed to medical) reasons, the National MS Society of the United States seems to have little enthusiasm for marijuana in treating MS, issuing borderline-misleading statements like “Studies completed thus far have not provided convincing evidence that marijuana or its derivatives provide substantiated benefits for symptoms of MS.”