Posts Tagged ‘The Telegraph’

Blue M&Ms ‘mend spinal injuries’

The food dye that gives blue M&Ms their colour can help mend spinal injuries, researchers have claimed after tests on rats.

Published: 7:00AM BST 28 Jul 2009

Blue M&Ms 'mend spinal injuries'

On the downside, the treatment causes the skin to temporarily turn bright blue and BBG needs to be injected soon after the trauma

The compound Brilliant Blue G blocks a chemical that kills healthy spinal cord cells around the damaged area – an event that often causes more irreversible damage than the original injury.

BBG not only reduced the size of the lesion but also improved the recovery of motor skills, the rodent tests showed.

Those treated with BBG were later able to walk, although with a limp. Rats that did not receive the BBG solution never regained the ability to walk.

On the downside, the treatment causes the skin to temporarily turn bright blue and BBG needs to be injected soon after the trauma. The test injections were given within 15 minutes.

The new findings by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Centre in New York build on work reported five years ago by the same team.

They discovered that adenosine triphosphate (ATP) – a chemical that keeps our cells alive – quickly pours into the area surrounding a spinal cord injury.

But they found it overstimulated otherwise healthy neurons and caused them to die from metabolic stress, creating a secondary injury.

Injecting oxidised ATP into the site of the injury helped stop this, they found.

But neurosurgeon Prof Maiken Nedergaard, who led the research, said: “No one wants to put a needle into a spinal cord that has just been severely injured so we knew we needed another way.”

The new approach of using BBG has answered this problem because it can be administered intravenously.

More tests will be needed to prove the safety of BBG before human clinical trials can begin.

But researchers are optimistic new treatments for acute spinal cord injuries could emerge in the next few years.

Mole and Thomas: living pictures formed by thousands of US soldiers

There’s something to be said for sheer numbers…

Meet the Real Life Invisible Man

Meet the real-life Invisible Man, an artist with the ability to disappear.   Liu Bolin is able to blend into any surroundings – no matter how complicated they might be.   The 36-year-old artist from Shandong, China, paints on himself to merge with whatever is behind him… People walking past his performances often have no idea he is there until he moves.  Liu said his work requires a lot of patience with him having to pose and work on his photographs for more than 10 hours at a time to get it just right.  Liu’s intention is to show how city surroundings affect people living in them.

He sees his work as a silent protest against the Government’s persecution of artists.

The Chinese authorities shut down his art studio in Beijing in 2005. Contemporary art was in quick development, but the Government decided it did not want artists to gather and live together.

“The situation for artists in China is very difficult,” he says.”The forced removal of the artist’s studio is in fact my direct inspiration for this series, ‘Hiding in the city'”.

The series has received critical acclaim from art experts across the world.

He says: “There are many people who like my work I think because my work has a quiet strength.”

“My work is a kind of reminder, to remind people what the community we live in really looks like, and what kind of problems exist.”