Archive for September 13th, 2012

Gerbils of a Lesser God.

Gerbils are notoriously bad at lip-reading, which might be in part related to the fact that they do not actually use language.
The inability of gerbils to operate in modern society was a risk scientists were willing to take when they purposely deafened the little rodents in the name of the progression of science.

The animals were deafened using a drug to destroy their auditory nerves…   Fox News – Health

Some big-brained guys stuck needles into their little gerbil ears and deafened them with chemicals.  Now, if that isn’t modern science, I don’t know what is.  It’s what makes us #1 over all the animals, this ability to deafen lower life-forms at will.

… before receiving an injection of around 50,000 human embryonic stem cells, which had previously been treated with growth factors to coax them into becoming ear cells.

Ewww.  They gave stem cells the equivalent of Fuzzy Navels fortified with vodka in order to biologically peel their panties and get them to behave all different-like.

Deafness is caused primarily by loss of sensory hair cells in the ear and auditory nerves.

And, I might add, by injecting chemicals directly into the ear.

The authors of the article are keen to point out:

Cochlear implants offer a partial solution to loss of hair cells but there is no treatment for nerve loss, or auditory neuropathy, which accounts for 10-15 percent of cases of profound deafness.

But here again, gerbils are basically screwed.  Compare them to see just how screwed.  An implant could probably take a gerbil.
So is it useful research?
After treating 18 gerbils with complete deafness in one ear, his team reported in the journal Nature that stem cells produced an average 46 percent recovery in hearing function, as measured by electrical signals in the animals’ brains.
You tell me.
I’m inclined to say yes, if this kind of research can improve the life of just one gerbil, it is worth it.
While this is news, it isn’t by even a tiny stretch surprising.  Especially considering the beating she took.

A 73-year-old woman who told police she was raped in New York City’s storied Central Park said she’d like for someone to torture and “kill” her attacker.

The unidentified victim spoke in an exclusive interview with the New York Post following the 11 a.m. Wednesday attack… [snip]

“Kill him,” the Upper West Side resident told the newspaper. “Cut off his penis. That’s fine. Cut off his feet, then hit him over the head. Then give him life in prison.”

The avid birdwatcher said she feels jittery following the attack, but is mostly enraged. She suffered a broken eye socket, a black eye and several bruises and scrapes in the attack.

So is it news-worthy?  Yeah, maybe.  I like that the reporter and editor kept the part of her comment where she adds:  “Then give him life in prison.”  (emphasis mine)


Maybe more later…?

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