Thursday, September 20, 2007

Bogs & Testicles Have Scientists Abuzz

Science goes where every man has gone before. Producing gas, lots of high powered world destructing gas, has scientists examining organisms and fossils that adapted to feeding upon bog methane. Though not exactly a regular British tourist trap, ancient bogs are providing early indicators related to studying the scary effects of Global Warming. Testicles may provide an important key to a healthy heart muscle and increased brain power, not through the usual way, but via stem cell research as scientists familiar with the subject will tell you.
Greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide are widely blamed for global warming. Scientists say average temperatures will rise by 2-6 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, causing droughts, floods and violent storms.

This section of exposed rock offered a clear sediment record of changes in vegetation and indicated how global warming affected the area tens of millions of years ago, Pancost said.

"Methane is a very powerful greenhouse gas," he said. "So if the processes at (the bog) were widespread, then the increase in methane emissions could have caused further warming, amplifying the climate change at this time."

The bog became part of a vicious cycle -- warmer temperatures caused higher emissions of methane, which drove temperatures even higher, he said. (AP photo/Tim Graham)

Bog burps, short ones, even for an old wetland, were actually dangerous to the environment by heating the earth. Testicles, even small ones, are providing a rich scientific body of work to follow upon. Gosh, the ability to regenerate right in a man's own trousers. It boggles the mind that science has found significant source of stem cells in human testicles that have shown the ability to adapt in brain tissue, kidneys and improving damaged hearts. (Note: Not the kind of heartache caused by when he doesn't call again.) These are adult stem cells found in male testes. This provides more impetus to find ways to harvest more of these stem cells for continuing this fruitful study.

According to Reuters, Dr Shahin Rafii (of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute) is pioneering the new bollock-based stem cell production methods.

It seems the ballsy boffin and his team "found a way to easily pick the cells out from other tissue in the testicles". Such dexterity is all the more impressive - not to say eye-watering - when you consider that thus far they have been working with the testicles of mice rather than men.

Reuters says that "Rafii... is starting work now to find the same cells in humans".

More great information about stem cells may be found in a book by world traveling science journalist Cynthia Fox called Cell of Cells: The Global Race to Capture and Control the Stem Cell.

And a wonderful New York Times classic is timely. The Bog People: Iron Aged Man Preserved in paperback by P.V. Glob and illustrated by Elizabeth Wayland Barber.

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