Unstoppable mutant vermin and farm critters stir up health scares
By Katharine GammonPosted 06.10.2009 at 10:30 am 5 Comments
This Little Piggie Had Ebola
In January, the Ebola virus leapt from pigs to farmers in the Philippines. Butdon't panic. Despite being a cousin of the deadly African strains, this one, Ebola-Reston, merely causes flu-like symptoms in humans, says Pierre Rollin, a biologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To be safe, the Philippine government ordered farmers to euthanize 6,500 pigs from infected farms. Ebola-Reston was first seen in Philippine monkeys in 1989 and has since passed to other species. Scientists think contagious bats urinated in pigs' water supply, and the swine then coughed the virus onto humans.
Is your $30,000 bottle of Chateau Petrus Bordeaux truly a rare vintage, or is it just $30 merlot? Counterfeits plague rare-wine auctions, but researchers in Spain have built a handheld "electronic tongue" that detects them instantly. It measures the signature chemicals, acidity and sugar content in a drop of wine (typically one bottle from a case) and runs those against a database of certified vintage wines to catch fakes that might fool human tasters.
Three of the latest uses for everyone's favorite beam, including making lightning and jump-starting reactors
By Graeme Stemp-MorlockPosted 11.11.2008 at 12:41 pm 3 Comments
Lasers are the key to a new "breathalyzer" for cancer and diabetes, say University of Colorado scientists. Exhale into the device, and molecules in your breath that could indicate disease absorb rays of laser light. A computer diagnoses you by matching the absorption patterns to a library of chemical "fingerprints." The next step is to expand the library, with hopes of selling the device in 10 years.
Artificial skin and livers promise to spare the lives of lab rats
By Dawn StoverPosted 06.25.2008 at 1:51 pm 2 Comments
Awww, how could anyone test experimental pharmaceuticals on that little face? A few new technologies -- substitute tissues, for instance -- aim to take the rat out of the equation, or at least provide other, gentler options for experimenters. Here's a look at three of the best new hopes for rodents.