Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cat giving birth

All in all she gave birth to 5 cute kittens.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Sweet 'tuak'

What's so interesting?

About 'aki' and 'buah genok'

to the eyes of these photographers?

Many. These are foreign photographers, covering the event's at Rh.Gare, Sg.Kain.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mai Se Cawan

Six to eight 'cups of coffee' a day shown to protect mice from developing MS-like disease, Cornell study finds

High quantities of caffeine may do more than just keep people awake. The stimulant may one
day offer researchers a way to prevent multiple sclerosis.

Mice given caffeinated water -- in doses equivalent to a person drinking six to eight cups of coffee a day -- were protected from developing an MS-like disease called experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), according to Cornell researchers.

The findings were presented April 7 at the Experimental Biology 2008 meeting, which is part of the American Association of Immunologists 95th Annual Meeting in San Diego.

However, the researchers cautioned against drinking large amounts of coffee to treat MS, as more studies are needed to understand how caffeine blocks receptors that play a role in the autoimmune disease.

MS is a disease in which the immune system attacks and damages nerves in the brain and spinal cord, resulting in paralysis and impairment in speech, vision and mental function.

"We're not advocating large quantities of caffeine to prevent MS," said Jeffrey Mills, the study's lead author and a postdoctoral associate with senior author and principal investigator Margaret Bynoe, associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine. "We know that caffeine suppresses MS-like effects in mice with EAE."

In mice and humans, when inflammation occurs in the brain, damaged cells signal an immune response by releasing ATP (adenosine 5'-triphosphate), which gets broken down into adenosine. The compound is important in many biochemical processes, including energy transfer and sleeping. The adenosine molecule begins to degrade seconds after its creation, which means the body must use it very near where it is made.

The researchers reported that when adenosine binds to one of four types of adenosine receptors in an area of the brain called the choroid plexus, channels open up that allow immune cells known as T-lymphocytes to enter the brain. In EAE in mice and in MS in humans, these T-lymphocytes damage insulating fats called myelin that surround nerves, which leads to MS-like symptoms.

The researchers used genetically engineered mice (developed by co-author Linda Thompson at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation) to investigate whether adenosine and its receptors were truly responsible for EAE. The engineered mice lacked an adenosine-synthesizing enzyme called CD73. When tested, these mice had fewer lymphocytes enter the brain and failed to develop EAE. But, using immune cells from these mice, the researchers determined that CD73 plays a role in EAE only because it helps create adenosine outside the choroid plexus.

To test their hypothesis, the researchers turned to caffeine, which is known to block adenosine receptors. The caffeine prevented lymphocytes from entering the brain and causing nerve damage in mice with EAE. In the study, mice that drank highly caffeinated water did not develop MS-like symptoms.

"This study could lead to new therapeutic intervention to use adenosine receptor blockers including caffeine," said Bynoe. There is currently no way to detect MS in people prior to the onset of symptoms. Although caffeine would not provide a cure, one day it could lead to new ways of protecting against relapses of symptoms, she said.

By Krishna Ramanujan

Sex as an appetite suppressant.

Discovery of link in mosquito mating mechanism could lead to new attack on dengue and yellow fever

Cornell researchers have identified a mating mechanism that possibly could be adapted to prevent female mosquitoes from spreading the viruses that cause dengue fever, second only to malaria as the most virulent mosquito-borne disease in the tropical world.

Specifically, they have discovered 63 proteins that male mosquitoes transfer to Aedes aegypti females during mating and are thought briefly to change the females' physiology and behavior, in particular suppressing the female's appetite for mammalian blood.

In a study published in the journal Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the Cornell researchers report that the proteins in the seminal fluid of the males also trigger a loss of sexual appetite in the females, stimulate egg production and influence clotting of the blood she has ingested.

The findings could lead to novel strategies to prevent the spread of dengue as well as mosquito-borne yellow fever viruses. "This is a new angle in our fight against vector-borne disease," said Laura Harrington, Cornell associate professor of entomology and the paper's senior author.

Dengue affects 50 million people annually, and two-thirds of the world's population is at risk. In the past year, it has reached epidemic levels in Asia, South and Central America and Mexico, where the number of dengue cases has increased by more than 300 percent from a year earlier. No dengue vaccine is available, and no treatment exists beyond supportive care.

Laura Sirot, a postdoctoral researcher in molecular biology and genetics, is the paper's lead author, and Mariana Wolfner, Cornell professor of molecular biology and genetics, also is a co-author. The work builds on Wolfner's work on the reproductive biology of fruit flies.

The next step, said Harrington, is to isolate, identify and verify the targets of the mosquito proteins that regulate such key post-mating behaviors as reduced sexual drive or lack of appetite for blood; and also, to manipulate such physiological responses as increased egg production. Eventually, the researchers hope that this knowledge will lead to new ways to control mosquitoes that spread disease. This could involve the identification of highly specific chemicals that affect these newly discovered reproductive proteins, or potentially could inform experiments on the use of genetically modified mosquitoes with knocked out (or turned off) genes or modified reproductive behaviors.

The study was funded primarily through U.S. Department of Agriculture Hatch Funds awarded to Harrington and Wolfner. It complements and enhances Harrington's work as a member of a global team of scientists that received a $19.7 million grant from the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health to cure dengue fever and control the mosquitoes that transmit the viruses that causes it.

By Krishna Ramanujan

Have a nice day

On a boat
Inside a basket

In a pond.

Going Up River

This is how going up looks like.

and down river.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Malay Monument (N 02.29246: E 111.82021)

Who came first?

Wisma Sanyan (N 02.28980 : E 111.82504)

This is the Tallest Building in Sarawak