Liposuction Fat Turned Into Stem Cells, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 8, 2009   View Article

Using leftovers from liposuction patients, scientists have turned human fat into stem cells, a new study says.

The new method is much more efficient than a previous practice that used skin cells, researchers say.

Ancient Egyptians Drank Medicinal Wines

Publication: By John Roach   Date: April 15, 2009   View Article

“Doctor’s orders,” the pharaohs may have said with a wink as they took swigs of wine.

At least 5,000 years ago, the ancient Egyptians had begun a long-standing tradition of infusing their libations with medicinal herbs, according to a new chemical analysis of residues on wine jugs.

The earliest written evidence for the practice comes from Egyptian papyri that date to 1850 B.C. The new find pushes archaeological evidence for medicinal wines back to 3150 B.C., the beginning of Egyptian history. The wine jar was found in the tomb of Scorpion I, one of the first pharaohs.

“It makes sense that it is part of this ongoing tradition that eventually starts to get recorded around 1850 B.C.,” Patrick McGovern, an archaeochemist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, told me.

McGovern is an expert on the origins and history of drinks that give a buzz. His new book, Uncorking the Past, is due out this fall.


Ancient Ginkgoes, Redwoods, Threatened in China

Publication: National Geographic Magazine   Date: April 16, 2008   View Article

China is home to more than 31,500 plant species, about 10 percent of the world’s total. Several species, including the dawn redwood and the maidenhair tree—also called ginkgo—are as old as the dinosaurs.

But 20 percent of these plants are at risk of extinction due to human pressures, according to Peter Raven, director of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis.

Oil Platforms, Deep Seas, Mined for New Drugs

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 25, 2006   View Article

The thousands of oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico may soon become a source for blockbuster drugs, researchers say.

“They are all very, very rich in organisms” that could provide ingredients for powerful pharmaceuticals, said Lawrence Rouse, the director of the Coastal Marine Institute at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

Oldest Dentistry in Americas Found – Fang Dentures?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 14, 2006   View Article

The earliest dental patient in the Americas spent many hours with the dentist and likely experienced excruciating—perhaps deadly—pain, according to an analysis released today of skeletal remains uncovered in the volcanic highlands of west-central Mexico.

Found at the oldest known burial site in Mesoamerica—the area from central Mexico south to El Salvador—the remains are dated to between 2570 B.C. and 2322 B.C.

Men Have Biological Clocks Too, Sperm Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 6, 2006   View Article

Note to men: You’ve got a biological clock too, and it’s ticking.

It’s not just women who face decreased reproductive success with age. The genetic quality of sperm deteriorates as men get older, according to a new study.

Family Quarantine Is a Key to Fighting Bird Flu, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 26, 2006   View Article

Strict isolation of households is among the tactics touted by scientists in a new study on how to combat a bird flu pandemic.

The study recommends rapid treatment and quarantine of not only infected people but also their uninfected household contacts. Travel restrictions, school closures, and vaccines were also studied to estimate their effectiveness in mitigating an avian influenza pandemic.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach