Chicken embryos with dinosaur snouts created in lab

 

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An artist rendition of the non-avian dinosaur Anchiornis (left) and a tinamou, a primitive modern bird (right), with snouts rendered transparent to show the premaxillary and palatine bones. (John Conway)

Chicks with dino-snouts? With a little molecular tinkering, for the first time scientists have created chicken embryos with broad, Velociraptor-like muzzles in the place of their beaks.

The bizarrely developing chickens shed new light on how the bird beak evolved, scientists added.

The Age of Dinosaurs came to an end with a bang about 65 million years ago, due to an impact from a giant rock from space, which was probably about 6 miles across. However, not all of the dinosaurs went extinct because of this catastrophe — birds, or avian dinosaurs, are now found on every continent on Earth. [Avian Ancestors: Images of Dinosaurs That Learned to Fly]

“There are between 10,000 and 20,000 species of birds alive today, at least twice as many as the total number of mammal species, and so in many ways it is still the Age of Dinosaurs,” study lead author Bhart-Anjan Bhullar, a paleontologist and developmental biologist at Yale University, told Live Science.

Fossil discoveries have recently yielded great insights into how birds evolved from their reptilian ancestors, such as how feathers and flight emerged. Another key structure that sets birds apart from their dinosaurs ancestors is their beaks. Researchers suspect that beaks evolved to act like tweezers to give birds a kind of precision grip. The beaks help make up for the dinosaurs’ grasping arms, which evolved into wings, giving them the ability to peck at food such as seeds and bugs.

“The beak is a crucial part of the avian feeding apparatus, and is the component of the avian skeleton that has perhaps diversified most extensively and most radically — consider flamingos, parrots, hawks, pelicans and hummingbirds, among others,” Bhullar said in a statement. “Yet little work has been done on what exactly a beak is, anatomically, and how it got that way either evolutionarily or developmentally.”

To learn more about how the beak evolved, a research team led by Bhullar and developmental biologist Arkhat Abzhanov at Harvard University have now successfully reverted the beaks of chicken embryos into snouts more similar to ones seen in Velociraptor and Archaeopteryx than in birds. [See Images of the Chicken Embryos with Dinosaur-Like Snouts]

“The experimental animals did not have a beak, instead developing a broad, rounded snout,” Bhullar said. However, “they still lacked teeth, and possessed a horny covering on the snout.”

These embryos did not live to hatch, researchers stressed. “They could have,” Bhullar said. “They actually probably wouldn’t have done that badly if they did hatch. Mostly, though, we were interested in the evolution of the beak, and not in hatching a ‘dino-chicken’ just for the sake of it.”

The researchers first analyzed the skeletons of modern birds, extinct birds, extinct dinosaurs and the closest modern reptilian relatives of birds. They analyzed the bones of embryos, juveniles and adult specimens to deduce how the anatomy of the ancestors of birds evolved the beak over time.

The bird beak developed from the premaxillae, which are a pair of small bones at the tip of the upper jaw in most animals. However, in birds, the premaxillae are enlarged and fused to form a beak.

The researchers next looked for genetic changes in birds that were linked with these anatomical changes. They analyzed genetic activity in the embryos of emus, alligators, lizards and turtles, with Bhullar sampling DNA from various animals, such as alligator nests in the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge in southern Louisiana and an emu farm in western Massachusetts.

The researchers focused on two genes that help control the development of the middle of the face. The activity of these genes differed from that of reptiles early in embryonic development. They developed molecules that suppressed the activity of the proteins that these genes produced, which led to the embryos developing snouts that resembled their ancestral dinosaur state.

The researchers stressed that they are not yet capable of genetically modifying chickens to make them resemble their dinosaur ancestors. “We’re not altering the genes themselves yet — we’re altering the proteins that the genes produce,” Bhullar said.

One intriguing implication of this research is that relatively simple genetic changes could have caused this anatomical change in the ancestors of birds, and that one might expect to see abrupt changes in anatomy in the fossil record. Bhullar said that such changes are seen in an extinct near relative of modern birds known as Hesperornis.

The strategy the research team followed to analyze the evolution of the beak could also help researchers study other major evolutionary transformations, such as the origin of mammals from their reptilian ancestors, Bhullar said. In the future, researchers could also investigate all the genes involved in the evolution and development of the beak, he added.

The scientists detailed their findings online May 12 in the journal Evolution.

 

Copyright 2015 LiveScience, a Purch company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Woman gets snake venom injection instead of Botox

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 (CEN)

Injecting a toxin to reduce skin wrinkles isn’t unusual— after all, Botox derives from a toxin. But what one Romanian woman believed to be a similarly harmless treatment turned out to be anything but when she learned she had been injected with snake venom.

Racula Crisan, 38, went to a clinic to have Botox injections at the recommendation of plastic surgeon Adrian Oancea, 47. The injections were administered below her eyes and in her lips. Hours later, she was admitted to the hospital for swelling and her face was paralyzed for nearly a year, Central European News (CEN) reported.

Crisan has taken Oancea to court claiming, “When he testified, he said he did not actually know what it was that he gave me because he’d ordered it from a Chinese supplier— and the writing was all in Chinese.”

Crisan, who lives in the town of Alba-lulia in central Romania, told CEN that the Ministry of Health told her lawyer that the substance is not authorized for use in the country, and a search on the Chinese provider’s website revealed that the product used was viper venom.

“My face was paralyzed for about eight months to one year,” Crisan told CEN. “My lacrimal glands [the ones that make tears] were paralyzed, and I had to permanently use pharmaceutical drops. I could not use any facial muscles: I couldn’t laugh, I couldn’t cry. It was terrible.”

Now, two years of intensive medical treatment has given Crisan back control of about 70 percent of her facial muscles.

Oancea was suspended from the Alba County Hospital but still sees patients privately.

Snake venom is used as a wrinkle-reducing treatment, but it is supposed to be put in a cream that’s used on the surface of the skin, not injected, undiluted, into the skin itself, CEN reported.

Crisan’s trial started two years ago, but she still awaits a verdict.

 

Orginally posted here :

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2015/01/30/woman-gets-snake-venom-injection-instead-botox/?intcmp=features

New dad given 2 hours to live after bike accident survives with heart pump implant

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    Curtis and Heather help their son CJ blow out the candles at his first birthday party. They found out Heather was pregnant with CJ only three days before Curtis went into cardiac arrest. (Judy Italiano, Heather’s mom)

Nearly three years ago, 47-year-old Curtis Broome and his wife, Heather, set off on a 32-plus-mile bike ride along a route called The Three Bears in Northern California. While the couple had scheduled the ride in an attempt to play matchmaker for friends who had come along, about five miles into the trip Curtis began to fall behind.

He had been wearing a heart monitor for nearly nine months after a routine doctor’s visit showed he had high blood pressure, but was otherwise healthy. Heather, then 38,  slowed her pace to make sure he was OK, and he said he was— until the two came to a descending portion of the route where they surpassed speeds of over 30 miles per hour for at least one mile. The rest of the group was farther ahead, and the pair got caught at a red light before they would need to hustle across the Highway 24 entrance.

“I went into a sprint, and that’s the last thing I remember,” Curtis told FoxNews.com, “and not until the Golden Gate Bridge. There’s nothing in between.”

First responders who arrived on the scene thought Curtis, who was on the ground with his body beat up and bruised, might have gotten hit by a car. Rather, he went into cardiogenic shock after his heart rate surpassed 200 beats per minute. When the Silicon Valley entrepreneur lost consciousness, he did a head-dive and fractured his eye socket, suffering contusions in the front part of his brain.

“I think he had a couple of hours to live,” Dr. Richard Chang, an interventional cardiologist at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, Calif., and of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography Interventions (SCAI), told FoxNews.com. “Most patients who have sudden cardiac arrest outside the hospital— the statistics are less than 1 percent leave the hospital functional.”

‘He was lucky’

When Curtis fell, Darlene Vendegna-Guare, a cycling coach and spinning instructor at the downtown Berkeley YMCA, was on a 12-mile bike ride with a group of about 30 people to train for a sprint distance triathlon. Their route, along the San Pablo Dam Road, overlapped with Curtis’ and Heather’s along The Three Bears.

One of Vendegna-Guare’s riders’ chains fell off her bike, so she stayed back to help her fix it. As she did, she stood stationary on a path parallel to two riders stopped at a red light— people she would later identify as Heather and Curtis— who were headed in the opposite direction.

“I heard the distinctive sound of a bike falling over,” Vendegna-Guare told FoxNews.com, “and I chuckled to myself because I figured that one of the riders had  not started quickly enough when they were clipped in— and that happens sometimes, and the worst injury is a bruised ego. But I heard somebody frantically screaming: a woman yelling, ‘No, no, no!’ I jumped off my bike and ran over.”

Vendegna-Guare is required to renew her CPR certification every two years for her job at the YMCA. She’d never performed the life-saving exercise, so when she saw Curtis on the pavement, with eyes rolled back in his head, she thought, “I hope I remember how to do this, and let me just give it a try.”

“It seemed like forever,” she said, “but it was probably only a couple of minutes because the fire station was very close by.”

EMTs transported Curtis to the John Muir Medical Center, where doctors observed that he had gone into cardiogenic shock from ventricular fibrillation, an electrical event that causes the heart to beat wildly and induces cardiac arrest. The condition—  usually the result of a heart attack— rendered Curtis’ heart unable to pump blood to his body’s vital organs, leaving him at risk of dying from poor blood flow or multi-organ failure.

Of the various risk factors that exist for cardiac arrest, high blood pressure was the only one Curtis had.

“When I came in, I even told his wife, Heather, ‘He’s dying; we’re gonna try to do this and see if we can pull him back,’” Chang recalled.

Chang, who hadn’t been on call that day, was at his partner’s Memorial Day barbecue when the hospital called. Chang was the only one on the hospital staff who knew how to input the mechanism that the team deemed may help save his life: the Impella 2.5, a device only 5 millimeters in diameter with an electric motor that pumps about 2.5 liters of blood per minute. Chang threaded the pump through Curtis’ groin artery to his heart’s main pumping chamber.

The Impella 2.5— which was relatively new at the time doctors implanted it in Curtis’ chest, but has since been used in thousands of patients— sucks blood from the heart’s main chamber and propels it to the main heart valve. Chang and his team used a fluoroscopy, or a real-time X-ray, to place the device in his chest.

Heather remembers Chang consulting her prior to the surgery: “They explained this is what they’re going to do,” she told FoxNews.com, “And I asked, ‘What happens if it doesn’t work?’” And then he said, ‘Well, he dies.’”

‘Like playing chess’

Next, Chang and his team sent Curtis to their center’s sister site, in Concord— John Muir Medical Center’s main cardiac institute— to receive a larger, 5 liter heart pump called the Impella 5.0.

Doctors had studied Curtis’ heart on ultrasounds with the smaller pump daily, but scans were showing that his heart wasn’t squeezing well. The CPR, the arrhythmia, and the trauma from his head injury led Chang to diagnose him with stress-induced cardiomyopathy.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved implantation of the Impella 5.0 via the femoral artery, in the groin area, but Chang and his team wanted Curtis to be able to sit up in his hospital bed, so they opted to input the device in a way that would allow him to do so.

“We did what we call a cut-down: We opened up a big artery in the shoulder area and surgically tied in a graft-conduit,” Chang said. “That allowed me to put in the 5-liter pump into the shoulder area through a graft, and pull the other one out from the groin. That ultimately I think is like playing chess— you gotta plan for the next move.”

After inputting the Impella 5.0, doctors put Curtis on a cooling protocol and froze his body for 24 hours, a method that can compromise circulation but also help prevent brain injury from trauma.

Throughout his time in the hospital, Heather, who had learned three days prior to the accident that she was expecting their first child, never left Curtis’ side.  She forewent three nights of sleep. Her mother flew in from Wisconsin, and a guard let them sleep in an empty hospital room.

“I had to compartmentalize that this baby is inherent and baking, but I thought given what had happened and the trauma I was going through mentally, there’s a strong chance he wouldn’t survive … I have to give everything I can to him (Curtis) for the time being, and hopefully we’ll have something to show for this,” Heather said.

As a precaution, doctors transferred Curtis to the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center after spending a week at the John Muir Medical Center. He was also struggling with kidney and lung complications, and if he ended up needing a heart transplant, he could recieve one at that hospital but not at the John Muir Medical Center.

“If he recovers on his own, we can remove it (the Impella 5.0),” Chang said, recalling his thought process. “It would have allowed him to leave the hospital and be functional. If that wasn’t the case, he could have gotten a heart transplant, which isn’t a good, ideal long-term solution.”

Within a few days, doctors were able to remove the heart pump, as his heart resumed beating on its own.

‘I could see the Golden’

When Curtis opened his eyes and came to, it was a sunny, clear-blue-skied day, stunningly similar to the one when he fell. He looked out the window to see a sight he’d known all his life: the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean.

“I didn’t know where I was,” he said, “but I could see the Golden.”

Curtis hadn’t remembered that he and Heather were expecting, but when Heather reminded him, the news gave him the strength to persevere through recovery.

“It was something we had put off, but it’s something I really wanted to experience. Seeing my wife, her helping to calm me down, although being in an unfamiliar environment … she’s my rock, if you will. And for her to tell me we were going to be parents was tremendously powerful,” Curtis said.
Today, Curtis, now 50, leads a life he describes as his “new normal.” He wears sunglasses indoors to reduce sensitivity to light, but the daily cocktail of drugs he takes has been reduced from 14 to only six pills plus a vitamin D supplement: Prozac, two blood pressure pills, a water pill, a statin and a baby aspirin. He also has an implantable cardioverter defibrillator that doctors input after removing the Impella 5.0. The device monitors every one of Curtis’ heart beats, and in the event of arrhythmia the defibrillator will shock his heart out of it and restore a healthy heartbeat.

Pre-injury, Curtis would sleep six hours a night, but during recovery, his daily sleep schedule increased to about 12 hours a night and two hours during the day. In total, he spent 30 days in the hospital and underwent multiple surgeries.

“You think the same just for everything, but it always seems to be a diminished result where you have to make compromises,” Curtis said. “I’m not just talking physical activity but also mental activity— even in doing something technical, I still only have the mental strength to do it 80 to 90 percent before I start getting mentally tired, which didn’t happen before.”

About six months after undergoing cardiac arrest, Curtis attempted to return to his job at Seofficient.com, an e-commerce company for which he served as president. But when he started to forget about emails with specific directions that he’d sent his team, he realized his injury had taken a bigger toll on his short-term memory than he thought.

“He finally accepted there was something going on,” Heather said. “He had been through so much.”

‘What else is going to go wrong?’

Shortly before their child’s birth, Curtis noticed a bump on his chest where the Impella 5.0 had been implanted then removed. He thought the mark was a sign of the wound healing, but when it became progressively itchy, and in the months following protruded to about the size of an egg and a half, he and Heather knew something wasn’t right.

In December 2013, doctors at UCSF conducted blood tests and an ultrasound, and then drew tissue from his chest to discover it had become infected. In removing the heart pump, doctors inserted synthetic material that Curtis’ body ended up rejecting.

Four days before his son’s birth, Curtis had surgery to remove the infected tissue and replace the synthetic material with organic tissue from the lung of a lamb. Curtis ended up losing 80 percent of his body’s blood during the procedure because the necrotic, or dead, tissue was deeper and more widespread than doctors originally thought. Instead of taking an hour as doctors predicted, the procedure took four.

“It was extremely frustrating, and yes, I was downtrodden about it,” Curtis said. “I remember asking myself, ‘What else is going to go wrong?’”

‘The miracle in this’

Heather and Curtis welcomed their baby boy, C.J. Broome, on Jan. 19, 2013. Since leaving his job, Curtis has become a stay-at-home dad to care for C.J. full time in the couple’s Montclair, Calif., home, while Heather is self-employed in executive search for technology companies.

The Broomes have started a technology network organization for alumni of the University of California, Berkeley called Berkeley Technology, which they’d planned to launch around the time Curtis collapsed. Life today for Curtis is less about career and more about spending time with C.J.— reading him “Curious George” and “Thomas the Tank Engine,” and spending as much time as possible outdoors.

He and Heather still bike together on flatland but not as frequently as they did before— less so because of the potential health risks involved and more so because they’re busy with C.J.  They began teaching him to ride tricycle when he was about 16 months old.

“Heather grew up a gymnast … so he certainly has her sense of balance,” Curtis said. “The first time he completely shocked us with his tricycle was when he literally stood up on the seat and raised his hands. He wasn’t even 2 years old when this happened, and he absolutely blew our minds.”

While the prospect of being a father helped Curtis endure the days following his surgeries, of all the circumstances and people that contributed to his recovery, he said he owes the most credit to Heather.

“I never would have dreamed I would’ve put her through the hell I unintentionally put her through,” Curtis said, “and the simple fact that she carried our child and didn’t lose our child despite an unimaginable amount of stress and anxiety … I have such a deep, deep level of respect and admiration for her.”

“(My doctors) tell me it’s amazing how I’ve survived with amazing neurological damage, but for me it’s beyond amazing what Heather has accomplished, and I don’t want that to get lost in all of this. She kept our family together: It wasn’t me, it wasn’t C.J., it was Heather. If there’s a miracle in this, it’s that.”

Russian volunteer for world’s first head transplant seeking funds to meet surgeon

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Valery Spiridonov who has put himself forward to have the world’s first head transplant is going to meet the surgeon. (CEN)

A Russian man who has agreed to undergo the world’s first head transplant is raising funds for a trip to America so he can meet the Italian surgeon who will perform the operation, Central European News (CEN) reported.

Valery Spiridonov, 30, a computer programmer who suffers from Werdnig-Hoffman, a rare genetic disorder that causes his muscles to deteriorate, only has one leg and is confined to a wheelchair, CEN reported.

Spiridonov is appealing to Russian President Vladimir Putin and others to help fund the research and operation, which he hopes will be performed in 2017. More immediately, he hopes to raise funds to travel to the U.S. so he can meet Sergio Canavero, the surgeon who will operate, next Thursday in New York, according to the report.

“This is ground breaking research and we need a lot of funding. If I can get the right body, I will look after it and nourish it,” Spiridonov told CEN.  “This could transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Where there is an opportunity there is hope,” he said.

The procedure is expected to take 36 hours, and has received both praise and backlash.

“I would not wish this one anyone. I would not allow anyone to do it to me, as there are a lot of things worse than death,” Dr. Hunt Batjer, president-elect of the American Association for Neurological Surgerons said, according to CEN.

Still,Spiridonov said he refuses to change his mind.

“If I don’t try this out, my fate will be very sad. With every year my situation is getting worse,” he told CEN. “My decision is final, and I do not plan to change my mind.”

Canavero, who is still seeking funding for the project, is due to address the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons’ 39th Annual Conference in Annapolis, Maryland, in June.

Crane, flatbed truck needed to move 1,000-pound Rhode Island man

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A Providence man weighing more than 1,000 lbs. was moved by crane to a flatbed truck in order to make the trek down Interstate 95 to his new home.

A coalition consisting of the Providence and Cranston Fire Departments, Lifespan, the Hospital Association of Rhode Island and Bay Crane Northeast helped move the man from his closing nursing home room to a new facility in Cranston on Sunday.

Michael Raia of the Rhode Island Executive Office of Health & Human Services says planning for the move began weeks ago.

WJAR-TV reports (http://bit.ly/1H7nAlG ) the transport took nearly seven hours

Cutting-edge cancer treatment uses laser to zap brain tumors

Meghan Schultz was 25 weeks pregnant when she started having seizures in the kitchen as she was preparing dinner in 2011.

“My left hand, my fingers, just started shaking and I had no idea what was going on. I was terrified,” she said.

It got so bad that the 8th grade teacher passed out and was taken to a hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Scans showed she had a brain tumor.

“I thought this can’t be happening to me. This doesn’t happen to me. This happens to other people. These are stories you hear on the news, happening to other people,” Schultz recalled.

Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic told Schultz she would have to wait until her son, Liam, was born to undergo surgery to remove the tumor. After the procedure, she underwent rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, but less than two years later, her brain tumor returned.

Schultz knew she would need another surgery, so in the fall of 2013, she opted for a new kind of laser treatment called Neuroblate.

“A laser which is a couple millimeters in size is directed into the tumor, and then the neurosurgeon controls the laser with a [magnetic resonance imaging] MRI,” said Dr. Manmeet Ahluwalia, a medical oncologist and associate director of clinical trials operations at the Cleveland Clinic. “We heat the tumors to kill the tumor cells.”

The treatment is currently only used on patients who have already had surgery to remove a brain tumor. The procedure can take up to 10 hours depending on size of the tumor, but recovery times can be much shorter than with traditional surgery. Schultz went home after only two days.

“I was very tired for a few days, had very little pain, and I was back to work in five weeks,” she said. “It was definitely more emotionally taxing than it was physically taxing.”

Today, Schultz is cancer-free and grateful to be able to enjoy time with her family.

Cancer centers around the U.S. are starting clinical trials to test Neuroblate as a first-line treatment on newly diagnosed patients.

For more information, visit ClevelandClinic.org.

Scientists identify brain’s sarcasm center

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 (iStock)

Sarcasm might feel like a natural way to communicate to many people, but it’s sometimes lost on stroke survivors. Now, a new study finds that damage to a key structure in the brain may explain why these patients can’t perceive sarcasm.

Researchers looked at 24 people who had experienced a stroke in the right hemispheres of their brains. Those with damage to the right sagittal stratum tended to have trouble recognizing sarcasm, the researchers found. This bundle of neural fibers connects a number of brain regions, including those that process auditory and visual information.

The finding may help families caring for stroke survivors understand why their loved ones don’t understand the reason for an eye roll or a certain tone of voice, according to the study, published March 25 in the journal Neurocase.

“We typically tell families that they [right-hemisphere stroke survivors] might have difficulty understanding sarcasm, so it’s better just to be literal,” said the study’s senior researcher, Dr. Argye Hillis, a professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. “If you want to say something, say it straightforwardly.” [Top 10 Mysteries of the Mind]

Hillis has spent a large part of her career working with people who have lived through a right-hemisphere stroke. These people have no problems in hearing and understanding words, but often misunderstand the meanings of sarcastic quips, because they struggle to recognize a speaker’s facial expressions, emotions and intent, she said.

“Even though they understand the words, there’s often a real failure of communication,” Hillis told Live Science.

It’s no wonder sarcasm can be hard to interpret; it’s a complex way to communicate, Hillis said. First, the person has to understand the literal meaning of what someone says, and then the listener has to detect the components of sarcasm: a wider range of pitch, greater emphatic stress, briefer pauses, lengthened syllables and intensified loudness relative to sincere speech, the researchers wrote in the study.

“There’re a number of cues people use, and it’s both facial cues and tone of voice,” Hillis said.

Brain scans

Earlier studies have linked damage to certain areas of the cortex (the brain’s surface) to difficulties in understanding sarcasm, the researchers said. But it was less clear whether the brain’s white matter tracts, which relay information between brain regions, also played a role.

To investigate, the researchers took MRI brain scans of the 24 stroke patients, and looked for damage in eight white matter tracts in each patient. The participants also took a sarcasm test, in which they listened to 40 sentences spoken either sincerely or sarcastically, and had to identify which was which. (For example, one sentence was, “This looks like a safe boat.”)

After the researchers controlled for age and education level, they found that damage to the right sagittal stratum significantly impaired a person’s ability to understand sarcasm.

Five of the participants had significant damage to this structure, Hillis said. On the sarcasm test, these participants correctly identified only about 22 percent of the sarcastic statements, compared with 50 percent of patients who did not have damage to that structure.

The right sagittal stratum group also did worse in identifying sincere statements: They got 57 percent correct compared with 67 percent from the group without sagittal stratum damage.

On average, people in the general population identify 90 percent of sarcastic statements correctly, Hillis said.

It makes sense that people with sagittal stratum damage would have trouble deciphering sarcasm, she said. The tract connects different parts of the brain, such as the frontal cortex (important for decision making) and the thalamus (which processes both auditory and visual information).

Future research may find ways to help people with damage to the right sagittal stratum regain the ability to recognize sarcastic cues. “Alternatively, family and friends can be counseled to avoid sarcasm to prevent misunderstandings,” the researchers wrote in the study.

Copyright 2015 LiveScience, a Purch company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Woman wakes from coma, is told she gave birth to baby

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(GoFundMe)

Sharista Giles opened her eyes on Wednesday, four months after she went into a coma following a December car accident. One of the first things she saw: a picture of the baby she delivered in January.

Giles, then five months pregnant, was on her way home from a concert in Nashville with friends when the driver fell asleep at the wheel and hit a barrier,WATE reports; the station reported at the time that Giles suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Doctors had to deliver her son prematurely. He was less than two pounds at birth, but is now 6 pounds, 4 ounces, Giles’ aunt tells ABC News.

Without the 20-year-old new Tennessee mom awake to name him, the family has simply been calling him “Baby L.” When Giles’ dad held up the picture of him, Giles “followed the picture” with her eyes, even turning “her neck, her whole head trying to follow and find the picture again” when her dad replaced it on a bulletin board, Giles’ aunt says.

Though Giles’ prognosis is still unclear, that she woke up at all may be a miracle: “Doctors were telling us there was nothing else they could do,” her aunt says; she told WATE in December that the family was told the chance Giles would recover was as low as 2 percent.

A Wednesday post on a Facebook page set up by her family says she was “blinking [and] squeezing our fingers when we ask her to. … She is not communicating yet but this is a great start!” As for Baby L, he is still in the neonatal intensive care unit at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, but as soon as he can leave, the family wants to bring him to his mom.

A GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $1,000 for the pair. (This womandelivered her baby soon after emerging from a coma.)

This article originally appeared on Newser: Woman Wakes From Coma, Is Told She Had Baby

More From Newser

Girl born with heart on wrong side of body prepares for 8th birthday

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A Romanian girl who was born with her heart located on the wrong side of her body is preparing to celebrate her eighth birthday this summer, Central European News (CEN) reported. The condition had only been seen in 35 babies and only 10 babies had survived before the girl’s birth.

When the 7-year-old was born, her heart was positioned on the right side of her body, and the major vessels connected to the organ were also in the wrong spot, which prompted a need for emergency surgery. Doctors in the Romanian capital of Bucharest turned the family away and predicted the girl, who was not named, wouldn’t live longer than one week.

“They told me there that here in Romania, ‘We don’t fix scrap people,’ and there was nothing that could be done for her,” her father, 36-year-old Alexandru Conovaru, a well-known TV presenter in Romania, told CEN.

Conovaru told CEN that he and his partner, 28-year-old Oana Geambasu, refused to believe their little girl couldn’t be saved. They transported her to Germany, where she received the first of two life-saving surgeries. Doctors in Boston would later complete the third surgery on her.

CEN reported that as her heart grows, she likely will need corrective surgery on her veins and arteries at least two more times.

But today, the little girl is healthy and suffers only from hearing problems. Conovaru said his daughter is one of only two born with the condition who has been able to live a normal life without any obvious difficulties.

“All I ever wished for was what any parent wanted— which was for my daughter to be healthy,” Conovaru told CEN, “and I always knew that, because of her fighting spirit, she would make it.”

This drug could be better than medical marijuana

This drug could be better than medical marijuana

In this Aug. 29, 2013 photo, a marijuana plant grows in a hydroponics garden. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

Pain, insomnia, nausea, and some psychological conditions are among the health issues medical marijuana is used to treat—but the drug can come with frustrating side effects like dizziness, dry mouth, and telltale red eyes.

Plus, not everybody wants to get high, a doctor notes. Another drug that’s been in use since the 1970s, however, is showing promise for treating similar conditions, and it’s known for not having many side effects; this site lists gallstones and liver problems as “infrequent” ones.

Fenofibrate, aka Tricor, is currently used to treat high cholesterol. The link between the two drugs has to do with the way they bind to cells, Popular Sciencereports.

Compounds in fenofibrate adhere to what are known as cannabinoid receptors in some cell membranes—just as compounds in marijuana do. In the lab, scientists found that fenofibrate made cells with these receptors behave in the same way marijuana does.

The discovery could pave the way for a new class of pot-like drugs, researchers say. “It may be difficult to persuade people in Colorado, Washington, and the District of Columbia that there are people who want the beneficial effects of marijuana without actually getting high,” says the editor of The FASEB Journal, where the research report was published, in a press release.

“But there are people who do not want to get stoned just to get the relief that marijuana brings.” (Here’s what’s really in retail pot.)

This article originally appeared on Newser: Drug That Could Top Medical Marijuana Exists

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