NEWS: New elements, neural migration

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Tue, 08 Jun 1999 13:10:46 -0500

"Elements 116 and 118 discovered at Berkeley Lab":

> BERKELEY, CA Discovery of two new "superheavy" elements has been
> announced by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence
> Berkeley National Laboratory. Element 118 and its immediate decay
> product, element 116, were discovered at Berkeley Lab's 88-Inch
> Cyclotron by bombarding targets of lead with an intense beam of
> high-energy krypton ions. Although both new elements almost instantly
> decay into other elements, the sequence of decay events is consistent
> with theories that have long predicted an "island of stability" for nuclei
> with approximately 114 protons and 184 neutrons.

"Transplanted neural stem cells migrate throughout the abnormal brain, reduce disease symptoms":

> For years, researchers have probed the mysteries of neural stem cells --
> immature cells that can differentiate into all the cell types that make up
> the brain -- with the idea that they might be useful for treating brain
> disorders such as Parkinson's disease. Important new animal research
> now suggests that these cells may be effective in treating a much
> broader array of brain diseases than previously anticipated, including
> Alzheimer's disease and many childhood brain disorders.
> In the new study, Dr. Snyder and his colleagues injected cultured neural
> stem cells into the brain ventricles of newborn mice from a mutant
> strain that develops severe tremors by 2 to 3 weeks of age. The tremor
> develops because the mice lack a key protein needed to make myelin, the
> insulating coating that surrounds nerve fibers. The lack of normal myelin
> in these mice mimics the defect seen in many human demyelinating
> disorders, such as multiple sclerosis and a group of childhood disorders
> called leukodystrophies. The researchers found that most of the
> transplanted cells migrated throughout the brain and matured into
> normal-looking oligodendrocytes, the brain cells that produce myelin.
> These oligodendrocytes produced a significant amount of the missing
> protein and began to cover nearby nerve fibers with myelin just as normal
> oligodendrocytes would. Moreover, tremors disappeared almost
> completely in 60 percent of the tested mice that received the
> transplants.

           Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Running on BeOS           Typing in Dvorak          Programming with Patterns
Voting for Libertarians   Heading for Singularity   There Is A Better Way