07 November 2008

Remember thalidomide?

We're so used to being at the top of the food chain, we sometimes forget... "You don't know... what you don't know"...

At the U of A, a team lead by Dr. Holt made their discovery while conducting experiments on a human enzyme that is the target for drugs to treat Parkinson's disease.

The researchers were trying to inhibit the activity of the enzyme with ammonium chloride. They were surprised to find that even when they only added one part per million of the ammonium chloride, an amount that is so minute it was expected to have little effect, some mystery substance was still blocking the enzyme function.

The team initially suspected contaminants in the chemicals they were using, but eventually they determined that biologically active substances were leaking from the plastic tubes they used to transfer liquids in the experiment.
Remember... it wasn't all that long ago, we were using lead pipes to transport drinking water.

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7 comments:

Pissedoff said...

Thet also said the earth was warming because of man. Neither is true.

Neo Conservative said...

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hmmm... you might wanna take into consideration... these guys have absolutely no political agenda.

but, you're a big boy... you can make up your own mind.

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Pissedoff said...

Scientists always have a political agenda, more money. And at 67 I remember thalidomide very well. No more comment needed!

Neo Conservative said...

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screw science, huh?

gotta confess... i just don't know how to respond to that.

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langmann said...

The discoverers of cis-platin, a common cancer therapeutic were originally performing experiments on cells using electicity delivered through platinum electrodes. A by-product was released from the platinum which prevented cell division. That accident and good observation has helped prolong life.

As a scientist, there is no doubt in my mind that there are effects on our bodies from products we've introduced into our environment. What effects those are, as you say, we don't know. I'm not one to throw out the baby with the bathwater. However, a famous person once said, there are known knowns, known unknowns, and then unknown unknowns...

While I do agree with pissedoff that scientists are driven by publication and monetary agendas, I don't really see how in this case they are biased.

Anonymous said...

The anti-science types are so tiresome. They remind me of the door to door evangelists. If they can find some way to convince you some part of your faith is wrong, then your entire faith must be wrong and you should join theirs.

So it is with the anti-science types. Instead of seeing mistakes in science as mistakes, they are seen as the smoking gun that science is entirely wrong. Then such folks get in their horseless carriage and drive off! And they laugh at "left wing hypocrisy". The anti-science ones take the cake.

Neo Conservative said...

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"anon says... The anti-science types are so tiresome."

i just can't for the life of me figure out what this scientist's ulterior motive would be here.

i mean, does he make this announcement... and then start frantically short-selling all his morton-thiokol stock?

what exactly, is the payoff here?

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