Biology and Medicine

Advances in the investigation of the physical universe we live in.

Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Typhoon » Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:21 pm

Nature | The myopia boom

Short-sightedness is reaching epidemic proportions. Some scientists think they have found a reason why.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby YMix » Fri May 01, 2015 9:47 am

Consider The Salt-Tolerant Potato
By Monica Nicks on December 19, 2014

Salt water has long been viewed as poison to farming systems, particularly when it comes to the crops we value most.

“None of the top five plants eaten by people — wheat, corn, rice, potatoes and soybeans — can tolerate salt,” agricultural experts Edward P. Glenn, J. Jed Brown and James W. O’Leary wrote 16 years ago, in a definitive Scientific American article. “Expose them to seawater, and they droop, shrivel and die within days.”

Now that scientific principle has been cracked — by a Dutch potato that drinks in salt and doesn’t break a sweat. A researcher and a farmer in the Netherlands teamed up to experiment with crops that could thrive in seawater. They set up shop on the island of Texel, a land rich with salt marshes. Along the way, they met an elderly Dutch farmer with an encyclopedic knowledge of thousands of potato varieties. Together, they created the salt-tolerant potato.

If you’re thinking this means a future of pre-salted veggies, hold it right there.

“What we find is that, if you tease a plant with salt, it compensates with more sugar,” says Dr. Argen de Vos, the researching half of the duo. “You’d have to eat many many kilos of potatoes before you’d exceed your recommended salt intake.”

De Vos and farmer Marc van Rijsselberghe partnered with MetaMeta, a Dutch development consultant, and laid out a game plan for bringing their potatoes to Pakistan’s salt-ridden lands. They were awarded USAid’s Securing Water for Food Grand Challenge in September, which gave them funding to go forth and spread their seed — $100,000 for the first year, and up to $400,000 over the following two years, provided they reach their technical and financial milestones, Amy C. Garrett, deputy press director for USAid, wrote in an email.

The Guardian positions the spud as “poised to launch a world food revolution,” but Glenn advises you take the news with a healthy grain of salt. The Guardian article says the potato is grown on ‘dilutions of seawater,’ not pure seawater,” he wrote in an email. “So I would say the breakthrough claimed in the article is unsubstantiated.”

It’s a cruel irony that 97.5 percent of the Earth’s water is saltwater, and less than one percent of the leftover freshwater is usable. Meanwhile, 70 percent of that freshwater is used for agricultural purposes. Over the years, the idea has been cautiously floated: What if we could feed crops with salt water? Glenn, Brown and O’Leary were something of pioneers in this corner of the agriculture market. Their 1998 Scientific American article presented their experiments with halophytes, plants that grow in highly saline water. They singled out Salicornia bigelovii, a plant that contains an oil similar to safflower oil, and showed promise as a source of both food and fuel.

The Guardian positions the spud as “poised to launch a world food revolution,” but Glenn advises you take the news with a healthy grain of salt. The Guardian article says the potato is grown on ‘dilutions of seawater,’ not pure seawater,” he wrote in an email. “So I would say the breakthrough claimed in the article is unsubstantiated.”

It’s a cruel irony that 97.5 percent of the Earth’s water is saltwater, and less than one percent of the leftover freshwater is usable. Meanwhile, 70 percent of that freshwater is used for agricultural purposes. Over the years, the idea has been cautiously floated: What if we could feed crops with salt water? Glenn, Brown and O’Leary were something of pioneers in this corner of the agriculture market. Their 1998 Scientific American article presented their experiments with halophytes, plants that grow in highly saline water. They singled out Salicornia bigelovii, a plant that contains an oil similar to safflower oil, and showed promise as a source of both food and fuel.

The researchers ended their research on a wistful note: “Our goal in the late 1970s was to establish the feasibility of seawater; we expected to see commercial farming within 10 years. Twenty years later seawater agriculture is still at the prototype stage of commercial development.”

Since then, more contenders have been floated: Remember this healthier version of a tomato, also grown in diluted salt water? You don’t? That’s because we’re still a long ways from any of these developments translating into money.

“We do have crops that can grow on seawater and demonstration farms have shown the feasibility, but it is still not economically feasible to replace conventional crops with seawater crops,” Glenn told us.

As for de Vos and Rijsselberghe’s potatoes, they’re on their way to Pakistan, where they’ll be planted on land that has been unproductive for years. May they cling to the soil and never let go.
“There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country’s so innocent? Take a look at what we’ve done, too.” - Donald J. Trump, President of the USA
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Doc » Wed May 13, 2015 11:28 pm

I know there was a thread about vaccines here somewhere but I don't see it now or I would post it there

Anyway Measles vaccines may protect for more childhood diseases than measles. Even deadly ones

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsod ... es-vaccine
Scientists Crack A 50-Year-Old Mystery About The Measles Vaccine


May 07, 2015 8:58 PM ET
Michaeleen Doucleff
Morning Edition

Worth a little pain? Back in 1990, a school boy got a measles shot in the U.K., and it turns out, he got more than protection against the measles.

Back in the 1960s, the U.S. started vaccinating kids for measles. As expected, children stopped getting measles.

But something else happened.

Childhood deaths from all infectious diseases plummeted. Even deaths from diseases like pneumonia and diarrhea were cut by half.


Writer Roald Dahl and his wife, actress Patricia Neal, with two of their children, Theo and Chantel Sophia "Tessa." The photo was taken a few years after oldest daughter, Olivia, died of measles.

Goats and Soda

Beyond Rash And Fever: How Measles Can Kill

Scientists saw the same phenomenon when the vaccine came to England and parts of Europe. And they see it today when developing countries introduce the vaccine.

"In some developing countries, where infectious diseases are very high, the reduction in mortality has been up to 80 percent," says Michael Mina, a postdoc in biology at Princeton University and a medical student at Emory University.

"So it's really been a mystery — why do children stop dying at such high rates from all these different infections following introduction of the measles vaccine," he says.

Mina and his colleagues think they now might have an explanation. And they published their evidence Thursday in the journal Science.


This World Health Organization map shows the percent of the population vaccinated for measles in each country in 2013. Dark green is at least 90 percent. Light green is 80 to 89 percent. Orange is 50 to 79 percent. Red is less than 50 percent.

Goats and Soda

Measles Vaccination Rates: Tanzania Does Better Than U.S.

Now there's an obvious answer to the mystery: Children who get the measles vaccine are probably more likely to get better health care in general — maybe more antibiotics and other vaccines. And it's true, health care in the U.S. has improved since the 1960s.

But Mina and his colleagues have found there's more going on than that simple answer.

The team obtained epidemiological data from the U.S., Denmark, Wales and England dating back to the 1940s. Using computer models, they found that the number of measles cases in these countries predicted the number of deaths from other infections two to three years later.

"We found measles predisposes children to all other infectious diseases for up to a few years," Mina says.

And the virus seems to do it in a sneaky way.


Rhett Krawitt, 6, outside his school in Tiburon, Calif. Seven percent of the children in his school are not vaccinated.

Shots - Health News

To Protect His Son, A Father Asks School To Bar Unvaccinated Children

Like many viruses, measles is known to suppress the immune system for a few weeks after an infection. But previous studies in monkeys have suggested that measles takes this suppression to a whole new level: It erases immune protection to other diseases, Mina says.

So what does that mean? Well, say you get the chicken pox when you're 4 years old. Your immune system figures out how to fight it. So you don't get it again. But if you get measles when you're 5 years old, it could wipe out the memory of how to beat back the chicken pox. It's like the immune system has amnesia, Mina says.

"The immune system kind of comes back. The only problem is that it has forgotten what it once knew," he says.

So after an infection, a child's immune system has to almost start over, rebuilding its immune protection against diseases it has already seen before.

This idea of "immune amnesia" is still just a hypothesis and needs more testing, says epidemiologist William Moss, who has studied the measles vaccine for more than a decade at Johns Hopkins University.

But the new study, he says, provides "compelling evidence" that measles affects the immune system for two to three years. That's much longer than previously thought.

"Hence the reduction in overall child mortality that follows measles vaccination is much greater than previously believed," says Moss, who wasn't involved in the study.

That finding should give parents more motivation to vaccinate their kids, he says. "I think this paper will provide additional evidence — if it's needed — of the public health benefits of measles vaccine," Moss says. "That's an important message in the U.S. right now and in countries continuing to see measles outbreaks."

Because if the world can eliminate measles, it will help protect kids from many other infections, too.
The classes and the races to weak to master the new conditions of life must give way {..} They must perish in the revolutionary holocaust --Karl Marx
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Heracleum Persicum » Thu May 14, 2015 9:03 am

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USDA
40% of U.S. honeybee colonies died in past 12 months




.

For the first time since the survey began five years ago, the summer loss rates exceeded the winter loss rates, suggesting bees are becoming vulnerable during a time of the year they were thought to be healthy and robust.

.


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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Typhoon » Sun May 31, 2015 3:38 am

Global consanguinity.

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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Heracleum Persicum » Sat Jun 13, 2015 3:17 pm

.


‘ He’s smiling big ’ :
First penis transplant recipient impregnates girlfriend



“He’s definitely smiling big. He’s proud. He’s also a little bit shy,”

..

Van der Merwe, whose work was conducted in tandem with Cape Town’s Tygerberg Hospital, cautioned that there remained a risk of physical rejection, which would manifest itself primarily as skin lesions.

“But at the moment the skin is fine. There’s no rejection and he’s doing well,” reassured van der Merwe.



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Re: Trial uses tuberculosis vaccine to treat diabetes

Postby Azrael » Sat Jun 13, 2015 9:47 pm

Azrael wrote:
Azrael wrote:
Azrael wrote:Trial uses tuberculosis vaccine to treat diabetes.

Now Denise Faustman is gearing up for phase 2 of clinical trials. Please support.

Faustman Lab Winter 2011 Update

update: Stage 2 clinical trial
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Doc » Wed Jun 24, 2015 3:47 am

Quite a breakthrough if true

http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... n-the-gut/
Mental Health May Depend on Creatures in the Gut

The microbiome may yield a new class of psychobiotics for the treatment of anxiety, depression and other mood disorders
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby YMix » Fri Jul 03, 2015 10:19 pm

Cactus as Biofuel Could Help with Food-Versus-Fuel Fight

[...]

But plants that perform photosynthesis through a crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) system may enable bioenergy production without disrupting food supplies. CAM plants are adapted to grow on arid and semi-arid land, where low or unpredictable rainfall makes conventional agriculture difficult. Semi-arid land is estimated to take up 12–18% of the world’s land area and while some of this is already used for farming, much of it is relatively unproductive grazing land. CAM plants can flourish here by conserving water more effectively than traditional crops—they capture carbon dioxide from the air at night and convert it to malate, which fuels photosynthesis during the day. By avoiding the need for gas exchange during the day, they reduce evaporative losses through their leaves and so require much less water per unit of biomass than other plants.

Though well known, CAM plants have barely been studied as potential bioenergy crops. However, new analysis by researchers from the University of Oxford, Tropical Power, Imperial College London and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, say that CAM species like Opuntia ficus-indica (prickly pear) and Euphorbia tirucallli could make a huge contribution to sustainable biogas production.

Bioenergy entrepreneur Mike Mason, who led the work, explains that electricity production from biogas is incredibly flexible, ‘you can bring it up or down as demand goes up and down. The problem is that there isn’t much resource to turn into biogas and it’s horribly expensive.’ But CAM plants, which can be grown cheaply on marginal land, have the potential to change this.

Mason estimates that it would take between 4% and 12% of available semi-arid land to generate 5PWh of electricity per year, equivalent to that generated from natural gas. The products of anaerobic digestion, nutrient rich wastewater and solid digestate, can be re-used for irrigation or as fertilisers. The wastewater could also be used for highly productive forms of aquaculture—potentially increasing food production from land growing biofuels instead of decreasing it.

‘This is a valuable synthesis of the literature and new data,’ notes biofuels expert Richard Murphy from the University of Surrey, UK. ‘They make a positive and optimistic case.’ However, he cautions that careful consideration needs to be given to issues such as nutrient cycling, electricity infrastructure and conservation management to ensure the long-term sustainability of such agro-ecosystems.

Although some CAM plants such as pineapple and agave are already cultivated on a large scale, they are not currently employed for biogas production. ‘There is no doubt that plant science and breeding improves crops,’ says Mason, the problem is that ‘we are with CAM plants where we were with cereal crops 10,000 years ago.’ But with increasing research interest and sustainable electricity in ever greater demand, that situation might change quickly.
“There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country’s so innocent? Take a look at what we’ve done, too.” - Donald J. Trump, President of the USA
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Heracleum Persicum » Fri Jul 31, 2015 11:27 pm

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First "Hand Transplant" by Iranian doctor at UCLA







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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby YMix » Sun Aug 23, 2015 6:34 pm

Pesticides in paradise: Hawaii's spike in birth defects puts focus on GM crops

[...]

In Kauai, chemical companies Dow, BASF, Syngenta and DuPont spray 17 times more pesticide per acre (mostly herbicides, along with insecticides and fungicides) than on ordinary cornfields in the US mainland, according to the most detailed study of the sector.

That’s because they are precisely testing the strain’s resistance to herbicides that kill other plants. About a fourth of the total are called Restricted Use Pesticides because of their harmfulness. Just in Kauai, 18 tons – mostly atrazine, paraquat (both banned in Europe) and chlorpyrifos – were applied in 2012. The World Health Organization this year announced that glyphosate, sold as Roundup, the most common of the non-restricted herbicides, is “probably carcinogenic in humans”.

The cornfields lie above Waimea as the land, developed in the 1870s for the Kekaha Sugar Company plantation, slopes gently up toward arid, craggy hilltops. Most fields are reddish-brown and perfectly furrowed. Some parts are bright green: that’s when the corn is actually grown.

Both parts are sprayed frequently, sometimes every couple of days. Most of the fields lie fallow at any given time as they await the next crop, but they are still sprayed with pesticides to keep anything from growing. “To grow either seed crops or test crops, you need soil that’s essentially sterile,” says professor Hector Valenzuela of the University of Hawaii department of tropical plant and soil science.

When the spraying is underway and the wind blows downhill from the fields to the town – a time no spraying should occur – residents complain of stinging eyes, headaches and vomiting.

[...]
“There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country’s so innocent? Take a look at what we’ve done, too.” - Donald J. Trump, President of the USA
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Doc » Fri Sep 25, 2015 5:11 am

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34351983#
Body's 'chemical calendar' discovered
By James Gallagher Health editor, BBC News website

25 September 2015
From the section Health


The way the body can track the passing of the seasons in a "chemical calendar" has been discovered by scientists.

The team, reporting in Current Biology, found a cluster of thousands of cells that could exist in either a "summer" or "winter" state.

They use the lengthening day to switch more of them into summer mode and the opposite when the nights draw in.

The annual clock controls when animals breed and hibernate and in humans may be altering the immune system.

A team from the Universities of Manchester and Edinburgh analysed the brains of sheep at different times of the year.
Calendar

They found a cluster of 17,000 "calendar cells" in the pituitary gland, which sits at the base of the brain, and releases hormones that control processes throughout the body.

The research team say the cells have a "binary system" like a computer that can exist in one of two states - they can either produce "winter" chemicals or "summer" ones.

And the proportion of the calendar cells in each state changes throughout the year to mark the passage of time.

"It looks like there's a short period of the year in the middle of winter and the middle of summer when they are all in one state or the other," Prof Andrew Loudon from the University of Manchester told the BBC.

However, it is still not clear how the body knows it is spring or autumn when some calendar cells are in winter mode and others are in a summer state.

This annual clock is known as the circannual rhythm and is the longer-term cousin of the circadian or daily rhythm which keeps us awake at the right time of day.

The annual pattern is used to trigger migrations, hibernations and mating seasons and ultimately explains why lambs are born in spring.

Both the daily and annual body clocks are controlled by light.

More of the sleep hormone melatonin is produced in the winter when the days are darker.

Prof Loudon said: "We've known for some time that melatonin is critical for these long-term rhythms, but how it works and where it works had not been clear until now."

His colleague Prof Dave Burt, from the University of Edinburgh, added: "The seasonal clock found in sheep is likely to be the same in all vertebrates, or at least contains the same parts.

"The next step is to understand how our cells record the passage of time."

Even though people do not have a mating season, there are signs we are still influenced by the seasons.

A study earlier this year, led by the University of Cambridge and reported in Nature Communications, showed human genes involved with immunity became more active in the cold.

They said it could help fight off winter viruses such as flu but may make some conditions like arthritis worse.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Typhoon » Tue Oct 06, 2015 1:48 pm

All the world's a stage.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Doc » Fri Oct 23, 2015 4:33 am

http://nation.com.pk/snippets/23-Oct-20 ... w-research

Briton who could smell Parkinson’s prompts new research
October 23, 2015
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LONDON - The widow of a man who suffered with Parkinson’s has triggered new research this week into the condition after she discovered she could “smell” the disease. Joy Milne, 65, told researchers that she had noticed a change in the odour of her late husband, Les, years before he developed symptoms of Parkinson’s. He passed away from the disease, a nervous system disorder whose symptoms include shaking and slowness of movement, earlier this year at the age of 65.
“I’ve always had a keen sense of smell and I detected very early on that there was a very subtle change in how Les smelled,” Milne, from Perth, Scotland, said on Thursday. “It’s hard to describe but it was a heavy, slightly musky aroma. I had no idea that this was unusual and hadn’t been recognised before.”
About one in 500 people suffers from Parkinson’s, a degenerative illness that is difficult to diagnose and for which there is no cure. Milne made the connection between the smell and the disease after picking up the same scent from other sufferers. She went on to tell researchers, who dubbed her “super-smeller” after finding that she could identify Parkinson’s sufferers from T-shirts they had slept in. That prompted research charity Parkinson’s UK to this week launch a project to find whether the disease and odour are linked. “It’s very early days in the research, but if it’s proved there is a unique odour associated with Parkinson’s, particularly early on in the condition, it could have a huge impact,” said Arthur Roach, director of research at the charity. “Not just on early diagnosis, but it would also make it a lot easier to identify people to test drugs that may have the potential to slow, or even stop Parkinson’s, something no current drug can achieve.” Researchers are investigating whether the condition triggers changes in sebum, an oily substance secreted by skin, and aim to recruit 200 people with and without the condition for the study. Swabs taken from them will be analysed by machine at the molecular level, and will also be scrutinised by Milne and a team of smell experts from the food and drink industry.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby kmich » Tue Dec 15, 2015 1:11 am

Molecules of the protein myosin drag a ball of endorphins along an active filament into the inner part of the brain's parietal cortex. Keep on truckin....

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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Heracleum Persicum » Sun Dec 20, 2015 10:29 pm

.

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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Typhoon » Sun Jan 10, 2016 5:38 pm

kmich wrote:Molecules of the protein myosin drag a ball of endorphins along an active filament into the inner part of the brain's parietal cortex. Keep on truckin....

Image


Very cool.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Typhoon » Sun Jan 10, 2016 5:38 pm

All the world's a stage.
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Medicine in the Fourth Dimension

Postby Nonc Hilaire » Fri Jan 29, 2016 9:20 pm

Looks interesting. Kmitch?

Oncology is forever chasing ways to separate the enemy within from its surrounding tissue and reduce ghastly treatment side effects. Just as each of our cells has a circadian cycle, tumour growth is rhythmic. Some lymphomas see a peak in cell division late in the evening, whereas gut lining divides 23 times as much in the early morning as it does at night. In this case, chemotherapy in the evening targets the tumour while doing away with excruciating effects on healthy tissue. The point is that distance between healthy and diseased tissue does not have to be spatial if you can separate them in time.


http://www.lastwordonnothing.com/2016/0 ... dimension/
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Typhoon » Sun Feb 07, 2016 12:41 am

Economist IL | A generation ago, guinea-worm disease was bringing misery to millions; now it is down to two cases a week. Tom Whipple talks to its nemesis, Donald Hopkins, who has already helped to see off smallpox

In 1986 there were 3.5m cases of guinea worm. Last year, there were 148. This year, up to late September, just 80 had been recorded: 68 in South Sudan, two in Ethiopia, nine in Chad and one in Mali. For only the second time ever, we could be about to eradicate a disease in humans.

. . .

It is crippling, both literally and economically. The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes it as “a disease of poverty and also a cause of poverty” because of the disability it brings. “Parents with active guinea-worm disease might not be able to care for their children,” the CDC says. “The worm often comes out of the skin during planting and harvesting season. Therefore, people might also be prevented from working in their fields and tending their animals.” So people stay at subsistence level or below, without the education or resources that would rid them of the disease. The worm feeds on this vicious cycle as much as it feeds on its human host. But there is a way to break it.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Heracleum Persicum » Tue Mar 01, 2016 3:46 am

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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby noddy » Tue Mar 01, 2016 12:16 pm

Heracleum Persicum wrote:.


How a Dog Helped Me Manage My Anxiety and Depression


Very much so


.


the city folk in their concrete and glass boxes dont get to have dogs as a general rule.

one of the million and four reasons im not that keen on a high density future.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Simple Minded » Tue Mar 01, 2016 1:48 pm

noddy wrote:
Heracleum Persicum wrote:.


How a Dog Helped Me Manage My Anxiety and Depression


Very much so


.


the city folk in their concrete and glass boxes dont get to have dogs as a general rule.

one of the million and four reasons im not that keen on a high density future.


Amen. two dogs & four cats, the wife and I enjoy their company. the dogs and cats enjoy each other's company much more than most city dwellers.

With any luck, in the next few months, I will be successful in training our younger dog as a therapy dog. she has the right temperament, hopefully I can clear that bar.

watching her experience the joy of running on rough terrain for a couple hours while hiking is one of our therapeutic activities

a bit of time each week in places where therapy dogs are appreciated should be all it takes to change my whiney moods to appreciation.
Sometimes other people "trigger" me. More often than not though, I do it to myself.
Kinda like Marxist sex.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Parodite » Wed Mar 23, 2016 6:05 pm

Outside, away from the noise, grows a flower.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Nonc Hilaire » Wed Mar 23, 2016 6:58 pm

Simple Minded wrote:
noddy wrote:
Heracleum Persicum wrote:.


How a Dog Helped Me Manage My Anxiety and Depression


Very much so


.


the city folk in their concrete and glass boxes dont get to have dogs as a general rule.

one of the million and four reasons im not that keen on a high density future.


Amen. two dogs & four cats, the wife and I enjoy their company. the dogs and cats enjoy each other's company much more than most city dwellers.

With any luck, in the next few months, I will be successful in training our younger dog as a therapy dog. she has the right temperament, hopefully I can clear that bar.

watching her experience the joy of running on rough terrain for a couple hours while hiking is one of our therapeutic activities

a bit of time each week in places where therapy dogs are appreciated should be all it takes to change my whiney moods to appreciation.

Image
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