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A reflection on encouraging undergraduates to pursue graduate eduction.

Rose M. Reynolds:

Really interesting post on the “PhD Problem”

Originally posted on The Contemplative Mammoth:

A month after last January’s  State of the Union Address, in which President Obama called for an increase in STEM graduates, The Atlantic published this piece on the “Ph.D Bust,” lamenting the decline in academic job placement rates for scientists. The latter has been making the rounds again, coincident with the latest William “Don’t get a PhD” Pannapacker’s piece in which he reiterates that a humanities PhD is an immense investment of time and money, and that the job prospects are prohibitively dismal. Meanwhile, says Pannapacker, we know very little about job placement rates for PhDs, (if you have a moment, please fill out your information at the PhD Placement Project), and– most tellingly, to me– Academia is doing a deplorable job in general of preparing students for “alternative careers.”

This, to me, is the crux of the matter. People call Academia a pyramid scheme; certainly, if one scholar produces…

View original 852 more words

Recent research indicates that we may actually get better with age… in some ways, anyway. Although increases in age are associated with physiological decline, it looks as if emotional resilience and a positive self-image help to keep us young and happy. Here’s a link to the news article:

http://www.biosciencetechnology.com/news/2012/12/paradox-aging-older-we-get-better-we-feel

And a link to the primary research:

http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?articleid=1478351

Resveratrol May Not Extend Life | The Scientist.

Hector et al. recently published a meta-analysis of the overall effects of resveratrol (link below).� Overall, resveratrol it seems to decrease risk of death, but the strength of the effects are highly variable depending upon species. It seems to extend lifespan reliably in yeast and worms, but not so reliably in other critters. Too bad! We all love our red wine… we’ll have to await the results of human trials… Who’s with me??

The paper in Biology Letters: http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2012/06/13/rsbl.2012.0316

 

via Resveratrol May Not Extend Life | The Scientist.

DNA Methylation Declines with Age | The Scientist.

DNA methylation is one method by which the expression of our genes (how much protein our genes make and when) can be changed within mere minutes. With age, our genes make proteins less reliably – they’re produced (or not) at inappropriate times or at inappropriate levels. Some researchers think this phenomenon can lead to age-related disease. This article in The Scientist gives an update on the status of research on why and how this wide-scale gene dysregulation happens, and how it relates to the aging process.

Parkinson’s Vax Enters Clinical Trials | The Scientist.

In what is possibly the biggest news of the year, scientists in Vienna are entering trials to vaccinate people against Parkinson’s Disease. The method is based upon building an immune response to alfa-synuclein, a protein naturally produced by the body. This smacks of the potential for massive organ failure due to a massive auto-immune response, akin to what we saw in the early days of gene therapy. I hope I’m wrong…

Here is the full press release: http://www.affiris.com/html/en/presse_medien/pressemeldungen.html

via Parkinson’s Vax Enters Clinical Trials | The Scientist.

Targeting DNA | The Scientist.

After more than a decade of failure (and even several human deaths), gene therapy trials are becoming more successful and less risky…

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