Beaches, barbecues and baseball: summer is absolutely my favorite time of year, though it does come with a few drawbacks. The Texas heat is unrelenting, and getting more than a brief exposure to the sun often leaves me roughly the color of Elmo. I should know to be more diligent with the Coppertone, but, well, I’m not.
Perhaps you’re nursing a nasty burn as you read this. Take a look – do you ever wonder what exactly causes your skin to turn red and painful after sun exposure? Richard Gallo and his lab at the UC San Diego School of Medicine recently published their answer to that question in the journal Nature Medicine.
Listen all you girly men – obviously you have missed an all-important message from two of the most highly respected body-sculpting authorities of all time. All they wanted was to pump <clap> you up, and their philosophy was clear: a muscle is a terrible thing to waste.
Fortunately, there are researchers in the medical field who would agree, though perhaps for slightly different reasons. A collaboration between scientists at the Salk Institute and the University of Lausanne, published last November in Cell, have discovered a natural inhibitor of muscle growth that could be used to develop treatments for a range of patients with muscular degeneration problems.
I cannot tell you how obsessed I was with Looney Tunes back in the day. I mean, I had a replica Taz basketball jersey from the Space Jam movie. It was serious. I wonder now, though, how I never questioned the massive injuries that were always going on. Looking back, I wonder if the Warner critters may have realized the potential utility of stem cell treatments way ahead of their time.
The usefulness of stem cells in helping to heal serious brain damage is now even better understood, after a paper published in December in the Journal of Neurotrauma. A group in Dr. Ping Wu’s lab at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX, has not only reported that stem cell transplants can help to repair brain injury, but also have discovered some underlying reasons why.