After accidents or cancer surgery, surgeons have to transplant healthy bone tissue or synthetic material to repair the ensuing bone imperfection. Regrettably, these measures do not always have the preferred effect. Now Prof. Matthias Epple and his team at the University of Duisburg-Essen have developed a nanoparticle paste that can be injected into the defect and results in enhanced bone healing. Scientists have combined synthetic calcium phosphate with DNA.
The interface between biology and medical science has been investigating the impact of mineral tissue such as teeth, bone and sea shells for several years and is now using the information to create new biomaterials. The scientists teaming up with medical scientists fashioned the knowhow of this measure. The repair of bone defects is menacingly challenging for surgeons. When possible, surgeons collect the patient’s own bone from various locations, such as the iliac crest, and implant it where desired to fill defect. As there is only a limited amount of surplus bone material in the body, synthetic materials is the next best option. Calcium phosphate is a natural choice since it is an inorganic mineral found in bones in the form of nanocrystals. It is a material familiar to the body, which makes it a suitable carrier. The calcium and phosphate ions lead to improved new bone formation.
The use of synthetic materials creates a host of new problems. The bones heal more slowly, the risk of infection is greater and the mechanical stability is not ideal. Scientists have now created a bone repair paste by coating synthetic nanocrystals of calcium phosphate with nucleic acids, otherwise stated, with DNA. The nanoparticles are taken up by cells. The calcium phosphate dissolves and the DNA that is released stimulates the formation of two proteins important for healing; namely bone morphogenic protein-7, which stimulates bone formation, and vascular endothelial growth factor-A involved in guidance of vascular endothelial growth factor, which is accountable for the making of new blood vessels. As a result, the new bone is supplied with required nutrients.
The University of Duisburg-Essen scientists look forward that the paste will have a long-lasting effect as the nanoparticles are released successively and thus continuously stimulate the surrounding cells. The paste works in three different cell types. This amazing advance will be used several years from now in the field of traumatology and in the treatment of osteoporosis.
Neurobiologists at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology in Vienna examined how the brain is able to cluster external stimuli into stable categories. Neurobiologists found the answer in the distinct dynamics of neuronal circuits. The journal Neuron published the results in its current issue. How do we manage to know a friend’s face, regardless of the light conditions, the person’s hairstyle or make-up? Why do we always hear the same words, whether they are spoken by a man or woman, in a loud or soft voice? It is due to the amazing skill of our brain to turn a wealth of sensory information into a number of defined categories and objects. The ability to produce constants in a changing world feels natural and effortless to a human, but it is extremely difficult to train a computer to perform the task.
At the Institute of Molecular Pathology in Vienna, neurobiologist Simon Rumpel and his post-doc Brice Bathellier have been able to show that certain properties of neuronal networks in the brain are responsible for the formation of categories. In experiments with mice, neurobiologists produced range of sounds and monitored the activity of nerve cell-clusters in the auditory cortex. They found that groups of 50 to 100 neurons displayed only a limited number of different activity-patterns in response to the different sounds.
Neurobiologists then selected two basic sounds that produced different response patterns and created linear mixtures from them. When the mixture ratio was varied continuously, the answer was not an incessant change in the activity patterns of the nerve cells, but rather a sudden transition. Such dynamic behavior is indicative of the behavior of artificial attractor-networks that have been suggested by computer scientists as a solution to the categorization problem. The findings in the activity patterns of neurons were endorsed by behavioral experiments with mice. The animals were trained to distinguish between two sounds. They were then exposed to a third sound and their reaction was trailed. Whether the answer to the third tone was more like the reaction to the first or the second one, was used as an indicator of the similarity of perception. By looking at the activity patterns in the auditory cortex, neurobiologists were able to predict the reaction of the mice.
The findings that are published in the current issue of the journal Neuron, demonstrate that discrete network states provide a medium for category formation in brain circuits. Neurobiologists suggest that the hierarchical structure of discrete representations might be essential for elaborate cognitive functions such as language processing.
On Wednesday, Dame Sally Davies warned a U.K. parliamentary committee about the dangers of antibiotic drug resistance, a threat so dire she wants it added to Britain’s register of civil emergencies alongside other dangers such as terrorist threats, pandemic influenza and natural disasters. The apocalyptic scenario is that when we need a new hip in 20 years, we will die of a routine infection because we’ve run out of antibiotics. It’s very serious because we are not using our antibiotics effectively. This is not the first time Davies has used dramatic language to describe antibiotic drug resistance; she has previously called it a threat as serious to mankind as global warming.
Davies is not alone in sounding the alarm; warning flags have been raised everywhere from the pages of leading medical journals to the World Health Organization and earlier this month, the World Economic Forum included antibiotic drug resistance in its Global Risks 2013 report, calling it “arguably the greatest risk of hubris to human health.” Many take for granted that antibiotics will always be available when we need them, but soon this may no longer be the case. Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization, puts it much more starkly. A post-antibiotic era means, in effect, an end to modern medicine as we know it. Things as common as strep throat or a child’s scratched knee could once again kill. The threat of drug resistance has been looming for as long as there have been antibiotics. In 1945, Alexander Fleming; discoverer of penicillin, told the New York Times his drug should be used sparingly to slow bacterial resistance.
One might say the story of antibiotic resistance was first told by Charles Darwin; natural selection ensures that antibiotic-resistant bacteria will be the ones to survive, multiply and proliferate. The evolutionary process has been sped along, however, by the widespread overuse of antibiotics. In the United States, more than three million kilograms of antibiotics were given to patients in 2009, according to an editorial in The New England Journal of Medicine published Thursday. So we are grappling with emerging diseases such as drug-resistant gonorrhea, extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis, and superbugs that cause unnecessary deaths from hospital-acquired infections. Part of the problem is that medical progress has actually increased our dependence on antibiotics.
Sixty years ago, you just died of cancer; now internist can treat you for cancer but infections are a side effect of that; and in surgeries we use antibiotics with almost every surgery we perform to reduce the risk of infection afterwards. As bacteria become more resistant, the pipeline for new drugs is drying up. According to the World Economic Forum report, no new classes of antibiotics have been discovered since 1987. The existing market model simply doesn’t work. Pharmaceutical companies profit more from drugs used to treat chronic diseases, not antibiotics that patients use for just a few days.
Whatever the solution, it will be a complicated one and prevention will have to be a cornerstone. The most effective way of not using antibiotics is to not have the infection in the first place. The three bacterial infections of particular concern are Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Klebsiella pneumonia. Each of these bacteria can cause a number of infectious diseases, including pneumonia, septicemia and urinary tract infections. In the case of Klebsiella, there’s just one highly toxic drug left, and it’s effective only about half the time it’s used. Some perspective to the issue is, we should not be alarmist but a massive crisis is looming if we leave unaddressed the continued rise in antibiotic-resistant superbugs, since it could result in a catastrophic drop in quality of life.
In dealing with anxiety or fear, you can use "Reverse Psychology" to its maximum. "Paradoxical Intention" (Milton Erickson) is one of the techniques based on this commonly accepted method.
When we feel anxious or fearful, our normal reaction is to counteract it by trying not to feel anxious or fearful. However, the harder we try not to feel anxious or fearful, the more anxious or fearful we become. It is like pouring gasoline onto fire; the more gasoline, the bigger the fire. The more mental energy we pour to counteract the anxiety or the fear, the bigger it grows. What if we do the opposite to this "normal intention" for anxiety or fear? In the Paradoxical Intention, you will try to intensify or magnify the anxiety or the fear in order to see how much or how far you can "take it." You should not try this technique to minimize the anxiety or the fear. You should really "challenge" your anxiety or fear. Your intention should be to test your strength or to try to push yourself beyond your limits.
This technique works because the worst fear is the fear of fear. Once you decide to challenge it, the fear of fear disappears and your anxiety or fear quickly dissipates. Reverse psychology or paradoxical intervention can get complex, and tortuous, than the reverse psychology employed most frequently by parents infuriated by their child’s rebellious attitude. I experience the call for to highlight that utilizing paradoxical interventions to deal with hard to deal with problems only appears irrational. In fact, they make just right and usually reflective psychological sense. Paradoxically, by a therapist’s seemingly distorting logic itself, the recipients of paradoxical messages can be provoked to alter both their point of view and behavior. Such interventions, at their best, can be astonishingly effective; particularly when earlier, more clear-cut methods have already missed their spot.
Reverse psychology is not telling someone to do the opposite of what you really want them to do, which regrettably denotes that the technique is little more than deceit–clever manipulation of another’s resistance. In that paradoxical interventions appropriately applied aren’t simply about something you want others to do, it’s about something they should do, something that would in fact be good for them; which means that employing such techniques isn’t solely about outwitting someone, or cunningly imposing your will on them.
An example with the master of such techniques, psychiatrist Milton Erickson who, when his child declined to eat the asparagus, opposed his wife’s insistence by telling his young son that of course he shouldn’t eat his asparagus; giftedly offering him with the unacceptable reason; "You’re not old enough;" which was sufficient to get the unwilling child to straight away set about to consume his asparagus, to show clearly to his parents that, yes, he was certainly old enough to eat the "advanced" vegetable.
Note that in the above example, Erickson succeeds with his child not because he sides with the child’s confrontation but, far more significant, because he speaks the conflict in such a way that the child is newly motivated to try what earlier he had obstinately refused to. It is primarily the reframing that makes a paradoxical intervention work, rather than just telling the child to go ahead and resist; hoping that in so doing the child will show an emotional reaction in direct contradiction to threaten behavioral freedom because he or she experiences their autonomy as threatened.
Reverse psychology is not that if people highlight their negative behaviors to themselves, they’ll somehow be motivated to change them. When people’s thoughts, attitudes, and actions are self-defeating, they generally reveal little or no awareness of it. So they could hardly be expected to set up nonsensical sayings to rebel against and thus be cured. To employ paradoxical intervention, completely understand and reflect on true spirit of reverse psychology.
Just once wouldn’t you love for someone to simply show you the evidence for God’s existence? No arm-twisting. No statements of, "You just have to believe." Well, here is an attempt to candidly offer some of the reasons which suggest that God exists. But first consider this: When it comes to the possibility of God’s existence, the Bible says that there are people who have seen sufficient evidence, but they have suppressed the truth about God. On the other hand, for those who want to know God if he is there you will have to seek him and find him; when you seek Him with all your heart, you will find Him. Before you look at the facts surrounding God’s existence, ask yourself, If God does exist, would I want to know him? Here then, are some reasons to consider.
The complexity of our planet points to a deliberate Designer who not only created our universe, but sustains it today. Many examples showing God’s design could be given, possibly with no end. The Earth size is perfect. The Earth’s size and corresponding gravity holds a thin layer of mostly nitrogen and oxygen gases, only extending about 50 miles above the Earth’s surface. If Earth were smaller, an atmosphere would be impossible, like the planet Mercury. If Earth were larger, its atmosphere would contain free hydrogen, like Jupiter. Earth is the only known planet equipped with an atmosphere of the right mixture of gases to sustain plant, animal and human life.
The Earth is located the right distance from the sun. Consider the temperature swings we encounter, roughly -30 degrees to +120 degrees. If the Earth were any further away from the sun, we would all freeze. Any closer and we would burn up. Even a fractional variance in the Earth’s position to the sun would make life on Earth impossible. The Earth remains this perfect distance from the sun while it rotates around the sun at a speed of nearly 67,000 mph. It is also rotating on its axis, allowing the entire surface of the Earth to be properly warmed and cooled every day. Our moon is the perfect size and distance from the Earth for its gravitational pull. The moon creates important ocean tides and movement so ocean waters do not stagnate, and yet our massive oceans are restrained from spilling over across the continents.
Water is colorless, odorless and without taste, and yet no living thing can survive without it. Plants, animals and human beings consist mostly of water and about two-thirds of the human body is water. You’ll see why the characteristics of water are uniquely suited to life. It has an unusually high boiling point and freezing point. Water allows us to live in an environment of fluctuating temperature changes, while keeping our bodies a steady 98.6 degrees. Water is a universal solvent. This property of water means that various chemicals, minerals and nutrients can be carried throughout our bodies and into the smallest blood vessels. Water is also chemically neutral. Without affecting the makeup of the substances it carries, water enables food, medicines and minerals to be absorbed and used by the body. Water has a unique surface tension. Water in plants can therefore flow upward against gravity, bringing life-giving water and nutrients to the top of even the tallest trees. Water freezes from the top down and floats, so fish can live in the winter. Ninety-seven percent of the Earth’s water is in the oceans. But on our Earth, there is a system designed which removes salt from the water and then distributes that water throughout the globe. Evaporation takes the ocean waters, leaving the salt, and forms clouds which are easily moved by the wind to disperse water over the land, for vegetation, animals and people. It is a system of purification and supply that sustains life on this planet, a system of recycled and reused water.
The human brain simultaneously processes an amazing amount of information. Your brain takes in all the colors and objects you see, sense temperature around you, the pressure of your feet against the floor, the sounds around you, the dryness of your mouth, even the texture of your keyboard. Your brain holds and processes all your emotions, thoughts and memories. At the same time your brain keeps track of the ongoing functions of your body like your breathing pattern, eyelid movement, hunger and movement of the muscles in your hands. The human brain processes more than a million messages a second. Your brain weighs the importance of all this data, filtering out the relatively unimportant. This screening function is what allows you to focus and operate effectively in your world. The brain functions differently than other organs. There is intelligence to it, the ability to reason, to produce feelings, to dream and plan, to take action, and relate to other people. The eyes can distinguish among seven million colors. It has automatic focusing and handles an astounding 1.5 million messages simultaneously. Evolution focuses on mutations and changes from and within existing organisms. Yet evolution alone does not fully explain the initial source of the eye or the brain — the start of living organisms from nonliving matter.
Scientists are convinced that our universe began with one enormous explosion of energy and light, which we now call the Big Bang. This was the singular start to everything that exists: the beginning of the universe, the start of space, and even the initial start of time itself. Astrophysicist Robert Jastrow, a self-described agnostic, stated, "The seed of everything that has happened in the Universe was planted in that first instant; every star, every planet and every living creature in the Universe came into being as a result of events that were set in motion in the moment of the cosmic explosion…The Universe flashed into being, and we cannot find out what caused that to happen. Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in Physics, said at the moment of this explosion, "the universe was about a hundred thousands million degrees Centigrade and the universe was filled with light. The universe has not always existed. It had a start…what caused that? Scientists have no explanation for the sudden explosion of light and matter.
The universe operates by uniform laws of nature. Why does it? Much of life may seem uncertain, but look at what we can count on day after day: gravity remains consistent, a hot cup of coffee left on a counter will get cold, the earth rotates in the same 24 hours, and the speed of light doesn’t change on earth or in galaxies far from us. How we can identify laws of nature that never change? Why is the universe so orderly, so reliable?
The greatest scientists have been struck by how strange this is. There is no logical necessity for a universe that obeys rules, let alone one that abides by the rules of mathematics. This astonishment springs from the recognition that the universe doesn’t have to behave this way. It is easy to imagine a universe in which conditions change unpredictably from instant to instant, or even a universe in which things pop in and out of existence. Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winner for quantum electrodynamics, said, "Why nature is mathematical is a mystery…The fact that there are rules at all is a kind of miracle.
The DNA code informs, programs a cell’s behavior. All instruction, all teaching, all training comes with intent. Someone who writes an instruction manual does so with purpose. Did you know that in every cell of our bodies there exists a very detailed instruction code, much like a miniature computer program? As you may know, a computer program is made up of ones and zeros, like this: 110010101011000. The ways they are arranged tell the computer program what to do. The DNA code in each of our cells is very similar. It’s made up of four chemicals that scientists abbreviate as A, T, G, and C. These are arranged in the human cell like this: CGTGTGACTCGCTCCTGAT and so on. There are three billion of these letters in every human cell!! Well, just like you can program your phone to beep for specific reasons, DNA instructs the cell. DNA is a three-billion-lettered program telling the cell to act in a certain way. It is a full instruction manual.
One has to ask how did this information program wind up in each human cell? These are not just chemicals. These are chemicals that instruct, that code in a very detailed way exactly how the person’s body should develop. Natural, biological causes are completely lacking as an explanation when programmed information is involved. You cannot find instruction, precise information like this, without someone intentionally constructing it.
We know God exists because he pursues us. He is constantly initiating and seeking for us to come to him. I was an atheist at one time, and like many atheists, the issue of people believing in God bothers me greatly. What is it about atheists that we would spend so much time, attention, and energy refuting something that we don’t believe even exists?! What causes us to do that? When I was an atheist, I attributed my intentions as caring for those poor, delusional people to help them realize their hope was completely ill-founded. To be honest, I also had another motive. I was deeply curious to see if they could convince me otherwise. Part of my quest was to become free from the question of God. If I could conclusively prove to believers that they were wrong, then the issue is off the table, and I would be free to go about my life.
I didn’t realize that the reason the topic of God weighed so heavily on my mind, was because God was pressing the issue. I have come to find out that God wants to be known. He created us with the intention that we would know him. He has surrounded us with evidence of himself and he keeps the question of his existence squarely before us. It was as if I couldn’t escape thinking about the possibility of God. In fact, the day I chose to acknowledge God’s existence, my prayer began with, "Ok, you win…" It might be that the underlying reason atheists are bothered by people believing in God is because God is actively pursuing them. I am not the only one who has experienced this. Malcolm Muggeridge, socialist and philosophical author, wrote, "I had a notion that somehow, besides questing, I was being pursued." C.S. Lewis said he remembered, "night after night, feeling whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed; perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all of England."
Lewis went on to write a book titled, "Surprised by Joy" as a result of knowing God. I too had no expectations other than rightfully admitting God’s existence. Yet over the following several months, I became amazed by his love for me. Look throughout the major world religions and you’ll find that Buddha, Muhammad, Confucius and Moses all identified themselves as teachers or prophets. None of them ever claimed to be equal to God. Jesus said “God exists and you’re looking at Him.” Though he talked about his Father in heaven, it was not from the position of separation, but of very close union, unique to all humankind. God said that anyone who had seen Him had seen the Father, anyone who believed in him, believed in the Father. God is the light of the world and he who follows God will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. The attributes belonging only to God are to be able to forgive people of their sin, free them from habits of sin, give people a more abundant life. God did not say, "follow my words and you will find truth." He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me."
God does what people can’t do. God performs miracles. God heals people blind, crippled, deaf. God has power over objects and he constantly meets our needs, doing the miraculous. If you do not want to believe what I’m telling you, you should at least believe in God based on the miracles you are seeing. God is gentle, loving, aware of our self-centeredness and shortcomings, yet deeply wants a relationship with us. Although God views us as sinners, worthy of his punishment, his love for us ruled and God came up with a different plan. God himself took on the form of man and accepted the punishment for our sin on our behalf. Sounds ludicrous? Perhaps, but many loving fathers would gladly trade places with their child in a cancer ward if they could. The Bible says that the reason we would love God is because he first loved us. God reaches toward humanity, providing a way for us to have a relationship with Him. God proves a divine heart of love, meeting our needs, drawing us to Himself. Because of death and resurrection, God offers us a new life today. We can be forgiven, fully accepted by God and genuinely loved by God. God has loved us with an everlasting love; therefore He has continued his faithfulness to us. This is God, in action.
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. God does not force us to believe in him, though he could. Instead, he has provided sufficient proof of his existence for us to willingly respond to him. The earth’s perfect distance from the sun, the unique chemical properties of water, the human brain, DNA, the number of people who attest to knowing God, the gnawing in our hearts and minds to determine if God is there, the willingness for God to be known.
If you want to begin a relationship with God now, you can.
This is your decision, no coercion here. But if you want to be forgiven by God and come into a relationship with him, you can do so right now by asking him to forgive you and come into your life. God said, "Behold, I stand at the door of your heart and knock. He who hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him or her. If you want to do this, but aren’t sure how to put it into words, this may help: God, thank you for dying for my sins. You know my life and that I need to be forgiven. I ask you to forgive me right now and come into my life. I want to know you in a real way. Come into my life now. Thank you that you wanted a relationship with me.
God views our relationship with him as permanent. Referring to all those who believe in him, God said of us, "I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. So, does God exist? Looking at all these facts, one can conclude that a loving God does exist and can be known in an intimate, personal way.
God, Evidence for God, Earth’s surface, Life on Earth, Steven Weinberg, Nobel laureate in Physics, Big Bang, degrees Centigrade, scientists, Richard Feynman.