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Sunday, September 27, 2020

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Newly discovered letters once again reveal that Darwin was a passionate and loving family man. Even so, every aspect of his personal life was devoted to his understanding of the natural world.

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Charles and William Darwin, 1842

When William Erasmus Darwin was born in December 1839, his father Charles began to meticulously record observations of his firstborn in a notebook. Now housed at Cambridge University Library, it reads more like a research document than like that of a new parent blissfully observing his son's behaviour, as the opening comments reveal: "During first week, yawned, streatched [sic] himself just like old person – chiefly upper extremities – hiccupped – sneezes sucked...."

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sandstormlightning410

Sandstorms Lightning Displays

By unlocking the secrets of how sparks come to fly in these storms as researchers are now doing, scientists could help grapple with all kinds of problems, from charged particle clouds that can cause devastating explosions in the food, drug and coal industries to charged dust that could obscure vital solar panels on missions to the moon or Mars. Sand is an insulator, so seeing sandstorms generate lightning would be somewhat like watching electricity emerge from a storm full of rubber balls. It has been an enigma for more than 150 years as to how sand grains can transfer the huge amounts of electrical charge needed for lightning to happen.

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This blood sucker might not be your best friend, but it loves you.

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The mosquito, Aedes aegypti, is causing widespread fear in Brazil where it is spreading the Zika virus that has been linked to thousands of babies being born with birth defects. The Zika Virus has already being identified in 30 US States and/or Territories. The recent Zika Surge in Wynwood, a Miami trendy neighborhood prompts travel warning from Federal Health Officials, especially for pregnant woman.

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Have you ever had a "gut-wrenching" experience? Do certain situations make you "feel nauseous"? Have you ever felt "butterflies" in your stomach? We use these expressions for a reason. The gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to emotion. Anger, anxiety, sadness, elation — all of these feelings can trigger symptoms in the gut.

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Technically known as the enteric nervous system, the second brain consists of sheaths of neurons embedded in the walls of the long tube of our gut, or alimentary canal, which measures about nine meters end to end from the esophagus to the anus. The second brain contains some 100 million neurons, more than in either the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system.

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Pregnancy is often one of a woman's most cherished memories. For women with uterine factor infertility (UFI), however, pregnancy is not an option. They cannot carry a pregnancy because they were born without a uterus, have lost their uterus, or have a uterus that no longer functions. Now, in a research study — groundbreaking for the United States — Cleveland Clinic will perform uterus transplants in 10 women with UFI.

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"Although there appears to be potential for treating UFI with uterine transplantation, it is still considered highly experimental," says Tommaso Falcone, MD, Ob/Gyn & Women's Health Institute Chair. "Cleveland Clinic has a history of innovation in transplant and reproductive surgery and will explore the feasibility of this approach for women in the United States."