Failures and breakthroughs – exposed, reflected, considered

Archive for the ‘health’ Category

high dose of “magic mushrooms” causes personality openness

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Single high dose of the hallucinogen psilocybin, active ingredient of “magic mushrooms,” was enough to cause a measureable personality change lasting at least a year in nearly 60% of the 51 participants, according to a new study.

Personality was measured on a scientifically validated personality scale, which psychologists consider constituents of personality: openness, extroversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, conscientiousness.

Lasting change was found only in “openness,” which includes traits related to imagination, aesthetics, feelings, abstract ideas and general broad-mindedness.

Researchers will now explore possibilities of using psilocybin for helping cancer patients handle the depression and long-time cigarette smokers to overcome their addiction.

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Written by Hayk

October 13, 2011 at 7:15 am

future of human life and biomimicry

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4.5 billion years of evolution taught nature what works and what lasts.

We’ve been increasingly distancing ourselves from nature: agricultural revolution – grow stock and abandon hunting/gathering; scientific revolution – “torture nature for her secrets;” industrial revolution – machines replace muscles.

Biomimicry is the study of nature for solutions to our problems. Having 96% of our bodies built upon carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, nature can teach us how to:

  • use only the energy needed
  • fit form to function
  • recycle everything
  • curb excesses from within
  • tap the power of limits
  • devise systems that can face unknown situations
  • update ourselves by feedback loops

Written by Hayk

October 3, 2011 at 8:04 am

gamers find HIV enzyme structure

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FoldIt is a fun-for-purpose video game developed in 2008 by Uni Washington. In it gamers divide into competing groups and try to solve scientific puzzles using online tools.

They figured out the 3D structure of a monomeric protease enzyme, an essential protein in construction/replication of retroviruses, a family that includes HIV. Finding 3D structures of proteins allows to understand causes and potential cures of viruses.

Foldit creator Seth Cooper explained the success of gamers by saying:

People have spatial reasoning skills, something computers are not yet good at.

Until then only a 2D structure was known using microscopes.

Written by Hayk

September 20, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Posted in health, science, technology

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