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And my second edition of the Science Daily list of headlines for the week has arrived. Between the large number of links and all the interesting links to related stuff found within them this is proving to be one of the great distractions of our time - ok, we can say THAT about the entire internet. :) Anyway, a few links of particular interest:

Alligators Breathe Like Birds, Study Finds
ScienceDaily (Jan. 15, 2010) — University of Utah scientists discovered that air flows in one direction as it loops through the lungs of alligators, just as it does in birds. The study suggests this breathing method may have helped the dinosaurs' ancestors dominate Earth after the planet's worst mass extinction 251 million years ago.

etc. - see link.
Basically birds have a unidirectional breathing system, and so do crocodilians. Which suggests the development of such may date back to before the crocodiles split off the line from which birds and dinosaurs and things descended. The article is interesting in its own right, also it points to this one:

Alligators Hint At What Life May Have Been Like For Dinosaurs
ScienceDaily (Apr. 18, 2009) — During the last 540 million years, the earth's oxygen levels have fluctuated wildly. Knowing that the dinosaurs appeared around the time when oxygen levels were at their lowest at 12%, Tomasz Owerkowicz, Ruth Elsey and James Hicks wondered how these monsters coped at such low oxygen levels. But without a ready supply of dinosaurs to test their ideas on, Owerkowicz and Hicks turned to a modern relative: the alligator.

etc. - see link.
I found that one interesting for two reasons - first off the adaptability of the alligator in general, second the impressiveness of the adaptability of the individual alligator. This study was done with a batch of alligator eggs divided into three and raised in different atmospheric concentrations of oxygen: 12%, 21%, and 30%. All three groups survived, with notable differences both at hatching (the low oxy batch still had yolk sacs and had to wait a few days before they could walk) and three months later, when the low oxy gators had larger lungs, the high oxy gators breathed more slowly. This in one generation!


New Stroke Therapy Successful in Rats: Protein Completely Restores Motor Function
ScienceDaily (Jan. 13, 2010) — People with impaired mobility after a stroke soon may have a therapy that restores limb function long after the injury, if a supplemental protein works as well in humans as it does in paralyzed rats.

as usual etc. - see link
Wow. Still in the "promising" stage, but it's hard to overestimate what a boon THIS will be if it works out.

Probably more tomorrow - I'm only halfway through. :)



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jan. 20th, 2010 07:10 am (UTC)
Oh my gosh. My mom had a stroke 6 years ago. I wonder if I can get my mother in any of the trials. No, not holding my breath. She was vibrant and healthy. She is now severely stroke disabled and waiting for death. And that healthy body keeps going and going. It is so sad.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )